As a member of your HOA board, there are certain responsibilities you have to your community. You and your fellow board members are responsible for such things as regular upkeep and maintenance of the grounds and common areas, as well as any repairs or remodeling projects that your community needs. In some cases, you might take it upon yourself to do this work—but a lot of the time, you’re going to hire a vendor to get the job done.
But not so fast! Before a vendor can start his or her work, you must follow the necessary steps to reviewing HOA vendor proposals. There may be some state guidelines you must follow here; in some areas, you’re required to review a certain number of proposals before choosing one, for instance. Your HOA management company can help you in this regard. In addition, there are rules set in place by your community’s own governing documents, and it’s important that you follow those, as well.
The process of reviewing a vendor proposal may look different from one community to the next, then, but here is a general rundown of how the process should go:
- Be thorough in reviewing the proposal, and anticipate the questions you are likely to get from community members (starting with how much it will cost, and how long it will take to complete).
- Ensure that you check for any licenses, bonds, or other kinds of assurance (i.e., insurance) that are required by your state or by your community’s governing documents.
- Provide the vendor with any HOA insurance certifications you may have.
- Ensure that you obtain the vendor’s Tax ID number—vital if he or she wishes to be paid!
- Follow up on any references the vendor provides for you. These references will help you determine whether the vendor is a good fit for your project, and for your budget.
- Create—and agree upon—a “job checklist” with any vendor, before he or she begins work. For example, make sure you have it in writing if you expect the vendor to clean up every day after work, when you expect the project to be completed, and so forth.
- A final thing to consider is sending a friendly letter to any vendors whose proposals you review, but ultimately decline—because of course, there’s no sense in burning your bridges!