Most HOA communities need to enlist the services of a third-party lawn care vendor—perhaps not for each individual lawn in the community, but certainly to keep up with the landscaping needs of common areas. The role of the HOA board is to find a lawn care company that will perform all needed services on-budget and on-time, week in and week out; at the same time, the HOA board needs to find the best lawn care vendor that provides true value, never cutting corners or doing subpar work.
One important strategy for all HOA boards is to consider bids from a few different vendors—at least three—on a yearly basis. Even if there is a company that you like and have used for many years, regularly taking new bids ensures that you’re paying competitive prices. As you seek out a new vendor, or even just accept a few bids, keep these six tips in mind:
- Before talking with any lawn care vendor, make sure your HOA formally understands what, exactly, you are looking for—weekly mowings, fertilizing, pest control, tree trimming, etc. Know your expectations in advance.
- When interviewing lawn care companies, inquire about their lawn care philosophy. Is the company going to try to treat problems you don’t even have? Is it going to take a long-term solution to fertilization and to pest control?
- Always get referrals from your lawn care vendor candidates, and actually follow through on them, calling other associations/homeowners and asking for feedback.
- Ask for a free lawn inspection and a customized quote; be wary of companies that give you a “guaranteed” price without even seeing your property!
- Ask about any guarantees. Some companies will ensure the efficacy of their fertilizing and pest control treatments, and offer money back if you are not fully satisfied.
- Finally, always make sure that the candidates you are considering have good ratings and recommendations from the BBB.
The bottom line is that picking a lawn care vendor is a big step for any HOA, but following these tips will help your community get the most bang for its buck.