A successfully run condominium is never a solo endeavor. It takes an engaged board, an experienced Condominium Manager and multiple vendors whom you can rely on for maintenance, landscaping, and more. If your board is struggling to find and keep the right contractors, check out these tips for choosing the right vendors so you can keep your community running smoothly no matter what comes your way.
CHOOSE BETWEEN AN EMPLOYEE AND AN INDEPENDENT CONTRACTOR.
Depending on your communities needs, you may consider hiring an employee or using an independent contractor. Each has advantages and disadvantages. Weigh your options carefully and consult with your Condo Manager for advice on best practices for each scenario to ensure you fully understand the implications of each choice.
DETERMINE YOUR BUDGET AND STICK TO IT.
When you serve on your Board, you have a fiduciary responsibility to do what’s best for the community as a whole–including smart money management. Anytime there’s something that requires outside help, you’ll need to allocate funds to get it done. Set a budget, then do your best to stick to it. Work with your fellow board members, and make sure all required approvals happen before signing off on your budget.
INTERVIEW AND GET QUOTES FROM MULTIPLE VENDORS.
After your pre-planning work is complete, it’s time to explore your options. Be sure to avoid going with the first bid you receive. Also, proceed with caution if you’re interviewing anyone that has a personal relationship with a board member and make sure that doesn’t influence your decision making. Interview multiple people and get several quotes so that you have all the information you and the board will need to make the right call when comparing multiple bids.
CHECK THE VENDOR’S REFERENCES.
Many vendors and service providers will promise you the world. Before jumping into a relationship, ask for two to three references. Take the time to call some of their past and current clients to ensure what they say they can do matches their track record. You may also want to explore their online ratings. There are several ways you can find honest reviews about potential vendors and their quality of service and work.
VERIFY CREDENTIALS, LICENSES, AND INSURANCE.
Without the proper paperwork, your corporation may be liable for potential accidents, injuries, and property damage that occurs. Mitigate your risk by working with pre-approved vendors that have been vetted by Wilson Blanchard, or by having your Condo Manager verify current credentials for new vendors that the Board is considering working with.
CONSIDER MORE THAN JUST THE PRICE.
While it may be tempting to select a potential vendor based on the lowest bid, it could end up costing you in the long run. Licenses, permits, insurance, and other fees for doing business are not cheap. If your vendor is quoting you a price that sounds too good to be true, it might be.
REVIEW YOUR CONTRACTS.
Typically, the final step in the process will be signing a contract or agreement with the vendor. Protect the interests of your condo by reading through the contract carefully before signing. If needed, have other members of your board, your Condo Manager and lawyer review before inking the deal to ensure there will be no surprises along the way.
Originally published in the Q1-2020 edition of the WB Condo Connection. As this article was published prior to the COVID-19 outbreak, we would also recommend in addition to the above that a vendors safety precautions related to COVID-19 be reviewed prior to the commencement of any work.