From time to time there may arise some maintenance or construction needs in your HOA community—tasks that are far beyond the capabilities of volunteers or Board members. For these occasions, it falls to the HOA Board to find HOA contractors who will provide some excellent work for a reasonable price—not always an easy feat. Frankly, contractors have a reputation for being hard to read: Not all are disreputable, but some are, and it can be tough to know exactly what kind of contractor you’re getting.
For members of the HOA Board, due diligence is key. You can never fully guarantee that the HOA contractors you hire is the right one, but you can certainly do some legwork to figure out whether your contractor is basically trustworthy.
- Always start from a pool of several contractors—three to five, ideally—and review bids from each of them. Remember that you want to find value, which is not necessarily the same thing as a low price. Astoundingly low bids may be red flags: To a large extent, you get what you pay for.
- The proposals you receive should be detailed and in writing; make sure they encompass the specific labor and material needs, the scope of the project, the timeline, and itemized costs.
- Be wary of contractors who want to get paid in full upfront; in fact, even a 50 percent deposit is out of the ordinary. 20 percent upfront is the standard, and anything higher than that is a potential warning sign.
- Always ask for references, and check up on some of them! Be highly skeptical of any contractor who is unwilling to provide you with references.
- Obviously check on insurance and licensure—and as an added precaution, check with the local BBB to see if the contractor has a negative reputation.
Again, it’s all about due diligence—and taking the right precautions on behalf of your community.