As an HOA board member, you’re tasked with the general upkeep and oversight of the entire community. This may occasionally mean that you roll up your sleeves to prune some bushes in the common areas, or maybe even apply a new coat of paint to the clubhouse, but more likely than not your upkeep tasks are going to be outsourced to vendors. Of course, it is important for your board of directors to be careful about which vendor you select for each task: You want to get the best value, not overpaying but also not ending up with inferior workmanship.
In most cases, then, you’re going to want to review proposals from a handful of different vendors before settling on one. Our first tip here is that your HOA board is bound by your governing documents/CC&Rs, which likely spell out some of the technical and legal points you must adhere to in taking vendor bids. If you aren’t sure what these stipulations are, make it a point to review them soon!
A general tip we’d offer is that, when soliciting and Reviewing Vendor Bids, more information is always better. Saying you need a lawn care provider to help you with flowerbeds isn’t really helpful. Specifying how many beds, and of what size, is necessary; noting what exactly you want done in these beds, and in what timeframe, is also helpful. Providing the full scope of the project is a must.
You should make it clear to potential vendors that you’re only going to review completed proposals. The two most important pieces of information, in any proposal, are the total cost and the timeframe for the project. A proposal that doesn’t include both points is not really a serious proposal.
As you select a vendor and move forward with the project, you will need to know that your vendor has all the appropriate licenses, bonds, insurance, and certifications—depending on what the project is. You should ask for these documents up front, during the vendor bidding process.
Finally: Remember that what you’re ultimately seeking is value. Yes, you need to make effective use of the HOA’s funds, but you also want to ensure the job is done well. Make sure you look for vendors that offer affordability, but also high quality.