In order to keep the HOA community in tip-top shape, it’s necessary to find the right vendors to help out. From landscaping to maintenance to painting, HOAs rely on industry professionals to get the job done. But that doesn’t mean picking the first name out of the phone book. It is important to vet each company and make sure they’re a good fit for the needs of the community and its budget.

Get bids – several of them. Ideally the HOA should review three to five bids for a contract. This allows them the opportunity to really compare what each vendor has to offer and how they can meet the needs of the community. Remember that not every contractor may provide the same types of services or skills, and some may offer a broader range or more focused expertise than others. Do your research and read the fine print.

Don’t make it all about price. Yes, cost is an important factor, especially when trying to maintain a feasible budget, but it shouldn’t be the only factor. Look at what the HOA is getting in return. One bid may be higher than another, but are they offering more services? Do they come more frequently or include regular maintenance checks? Compare the value being provided compared to the cost.

Be specific about needs. Before putting out an RFP, make sure the HOA board has clearly defined what exactly it is looking for in a vendor. It’s not enough to just say you need someone to mow the lawn, trim the trees, and plant flowers. How much space needs to be tended to? How often should it be done? How many trees are there? Is snow removal needed or provided as well? Lay out the entire scope of the project and ask for detailed and itemized proposals.

Check qualifications. Before signing on the dotted line, make sure that the vendor has all of the necessary licenses, certifications, bonds, and insurance in place. The HOA doesn’t want to take on any unnecessary liability. Also, double-check the company’s reputation. Look at online reviews and see whether they’re accredited by the Better Business Bureau or an industry organization.

Working with a property management company such as Kuester can be helpful as well. A property manager can help the HOA to determine its needs, create an effective RFP, compare bids, and much more. They can also make recommendations based on vendors they have experience working with and provide valuable insight into the process. Make sure the HOA gets the most bang for its buck by taking the time to do its research and compare options when it comes to selecting vendors.

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