If you’re on an HOA board or you manage a community, one of your most pressing duties will involve hiring contractors. These contractors might be for a one-time project or ongoing services. No matter the duration, it’s crucial to research and vet potential vendors and contractors before you sign a contract.
That sounds straight forward, but it’s also helpful to know what types of contractors you might need. We discuss the different kinds of vendors and provide tips on how to ensure you hire the right one.
1. Property manager
Some communities are too big for a volunteer board to maintain. Even a single building can require a community property manager. You can hire an individual or choose a property management company.
Before hiring anyone, be sure to review your HOA’s governing documents (bylaws, covenants, restrictions, and easements) to determine the rules for hiring a community manager. You also want to be clear about his/her responsibilities versus the HOA’s responsibilities.
Services can include:
- Area/building management and light repairs
- Security surveillance
- Enforcing HOA rules
- Collecting dues and assessments
- Assist in hiring vendors and place job orders with vendors
Before hiring anyone, be sure to determine if the person or company is licensed, certified, and registered. This is required by law in many states. You also want to ensure the company has the proper insurance and other compliance documents.
2. Landscaping contractor
Landscaping is an ongoing service, especially for a large managed community. The bigger the property, the more service it will require. It’s also likely to be one of the largest expenses for your community.
Landscaping is essential because it makes owners and residents happy. It also attracts new buyers and helps maintain property values.
Services can include:
- Cutting/maintaining the grass in common areas
- Pruning/maintaining trees and shrubs in common areas
- Trimming ornamental trees/plants/shrubs
- Planting/maintaining flower beds
- Tree and/or limb removal
- Landscaping design
- Landscape lighting
- Design and maintain irrigation systems
- Debris removal
- Snow and ice removal (depending on location)
Be sure to assess a vendor’s operations to make sure they have the workforce and resources to maintain your property.
3. Maintenance contractor
Let’s face it. There will be ongoing repairs within your community. Things will break or become damaged due to age, accidents, or mother nature. You might also have short-term or one-time needs that require specific expertise.
Services might include:
- Cleaning/janitorial service
- Trash pickup/hauling
- Parking lot maintenance
- Fence installation and repair, including wooden, masonry and wrought iron/welding
- Power washing
- Roof/ceiling troubleshooting and repairs
- Electrical troubleshooting
- Order, install and maintain amenities (picnic/BBQ areas, playgrounds, fitness center, pool, etc.)
4. Construction contractor
Chances are you will have both minor and major construction projects within your community. From building a new guardhouse to adding a clubhouse with a pool, these projects require a professional who understands current code regulations.
You might also need to bring older buildings and facilities up to code to avoid fines or to ensure the safety of your residents.
5. Professional services: accounting and legal
Professional services like accounting and attorneys are a must with any HOA. You will have both ongoing needs and single/specific issues that must be handled.
Accountant services may include:
- Cloud Accounting
- Billing and accounts receivable
- Budget consulting
- Tax preparation and filing
- Financial reporting/auditing
- Assessment of procedures
- Compliance documentation
- Planning for capital expenditures
- Special assessment analyses
- Escrow, lender and appraiser services
Legal services may include:
- Draft HOA governing documents: articles of corporation; bylaws; CC&Rs (covenants, conditions & restrictions); rules and regulations
- Interpretation and enforcement of HOA rules
- Resolve legal disputes that affect individual homeowners or the HOA
- Represent homeowners’ interests
- Prepare legal documents
- Negotiate and resolve disputes with outside parties, vendors, and contractors
- Ongoing management issues
- Collect fees and assessments
Let VendorSmart help you vet HOA contractors
As an HOA, you will have to hire several different contractors to provide services for your community. These five are the most common, so do your homework to find the ones that are the right fit for your needs. You don’t have to do it all on your own. VendorSmart will be your HOA management partner from the moment you start the vetting process. We also provide ongoing vendor support, including risk management and compliance management. If you are looking to hire a vendor or manage certifications of current vendors, contact us to get started.