When is it time to say goodbye to a vendor? Here’s how to tell when the relationship just isn’t going to work out and how to handle it.
HOA property managers and management companies are tasked with contracting out certain services for the community, such as landscaping, painting, snow removal, construction, repairs, maintenance, and more.
It can be a headache to manage all of these relationships, especially when you’re dealing with different contracts, terms, and business styles. It makes it even more complicated when vendors aren’t keeping up with their side of the bargain.
Sometimes, circumstances may be telling you that it’s time to say goodbye to a vendor. However, before you do so, make sure that you’re not violating your rights under the contract, otherwise, you could land in court.
Watch for these five signs that it’s time to say terminate the relationship, and then follow the recommended steps to ensure you do it the right way.
1. You’ve already communicated the problem
It’s smart to be cautious before ending a vendor relationship. When a problem arises, first address it directly with the vendor before making any other move. Often these issues can be solved with a gentle reminder or query.
However, if you’ve already discussed the issue on multiple occasions, and nothing has changed, this may be a sign it’s time to let go and find another vendor.
2. Communication has stopped or dwindled
Another sign that a different vendor may be a better fit is if the vendor has stopped communicating with you. One of the most important parts of building strong contractor relationships is keeping communication open and being reachable. If the vendor isn’t doing those things despite your efforts, that could be a sign of a big problem. It makes working together difficult or impossible.
3. Performance is lacking
You’ve hired a vendor for a specific purpose, and it’s important for the community that these tasks are done right the first time. Once you start noticing regular instances of low-quality work from a vendor, think through whether you really want to continue to deal with the consequences: reaching out to the vendor, cleaning up the mess, or whatever steps you have to take to make up for their bad work. This is often a sign that it’s time to say goodbye and find a vendor that has solid reviews and client satisfaction ratings.
4. Missing deadlines
Many vendors have to first provide HOA managers with estimates of the work to be done before a contract is signed or a new project is agreed to. If tasks such as this seem to be hard for the vendor to complete by the deadline or agreed-upon date, this could be a sign to either not sign the contract or, if it’s an ongoing relationship, to have a talk and begin to end the relationship.
5. Showing up late
If a vendor is continuously showing up late for scheduled services, that’s is no small matter. Your HOA needs vendors who are punctual. Otherwise, you’ll be wasting a lot of your time trying to hunt them down, extending project timelines, and having to shift around an already busy schedule.
How to let go of a vendor
First and foremost, remember that you’re under a contract with your vendor. Even if some of the above issues are occurring, you may not legally be able to end the relationship yet. Sometimes, because the HOA board changes over time, board members could lose track of when contracts expire and fire a vendor when they actually don’t have the right to do so.
Also remember that a vendor could be violating terms of the contract with their lack of communication, missed deadlines, poor work quality, or project timelines. Reviewing the contract can bring to light that they’ve violated the terms, so always consult the contract first.
Another good idea for your HOA is to compile all the terms of each vendor contract in a place that’s easy to access. This way, when an issue comes up, you’ll have an easy way to reference key terms and see when the agreement expires.
Sometimes you’ll be able to terminate a contract if both parties consent to the ending. However, if mutual consent isn’t possible, you’ll have to show the contract is expired, has become impossible, or prove that the vendor is in breach.
Finally, remember to consult your lawyer if you’re even thinking about ending a vendor relationship. An experienced attorney can review the contract to make sure you’re within your rights. Because contracts are often hard to interpret, leave the work to a legal professional.
Make your life easier when managing and vetting vendors with VendorSmart, the web-based solution that connects community managers with certified, reviewed vendors. Contact VendorSmart to get started.