Do your due diligence as a residential community manager by going through this list of the top 10 qualities to look for in your vendors
Finding the right vendors is crucial for property managers and HOA board members alike. It ensures that the community receives the highest quality services, whether roof repair, pest control, landscaping, or pool maintenance.
When vetting vendors for grounds upkeep and beyond, consider these top 10 qualities which will drive the selection process and ultimately improve the quality of life within the residential community you manage.
As the general population continues to demand to know more, from what’s in their food to the ingredients in their shampoo, it’s important for vendors to be transparent about everything that’s included in their pricing. If the payment structure is not easily found or disclosed in your initial communications with them, it could be a warning sign that they have no sound financial structure in place, or that they charge too much.
Part of beginning a new relationship with a vendor is having transparency. Only then can you work together to ensure that both your needs are being met, and that their services are right for your residential community.
2. Strong track record
Just as important is the vendor’s track record. What kind of references can they show you? Read online reviews to assess how happy previous customers have been. When you speak, ask about any unflattering reviews to see if the issues were addressed. This will also show you how they handle criticism and what kind of attitudes they use in dealing with their customers.
If your vendor is a landscaper or a similar service provider, for example, you could ask for them to show you previous clients’ landscaping as examples of work they’ve done. You can then get a better sense for whether their work will fit your community.
3. Insurance coverage
Appropriate insurance coverage will need to be provided by a number of vendors, including landscapers or roofing contractors. Companies should be able to provide workers compensation and general liability, insurance, so that any damage to your property or injuries that take place on the property are covered. They should also be bonded, which means you’re protected if a responsibility isn’t fulfilled.
Consider vendors with high liability insurance coverage so you won’t have to worry about these costs in the event that something happens while they’re on the clock. It’s easy to overlook insurance coverage by assuming that everything will go smoothly, but accidents do happen.
It will probably become clear in your initial interactions with a vendor whether or not they are committed to portraying the company in a professional manner. Those with experience in their given industry should communicate clearly and professionally about expectations, details, and services.
Professionalism considerations could also include whether a company has a system in place to test workers for drug and alcohol use. Because these jobs require attention to detail, focus, and often added safety measures, it’s important that companies will do their due diligence in ensuring workers are fully able and prepared to carry out tasks.
5. Safety as a high priority
Because vendors for HOAs and home communities often require the use of dangerous machinery or working space, like on the roof, find out what their safety procedures and practices are, such as whether they employ a safety officer or provide safety training to workers.
Also ensure that vendors take community members into account when performing their services; for instance, ensuring residents aren’t present when pesticides are being distributed, or that lawn care services won’t interfere with outdoor activities.
Vendors will need to provide regular services in many cases. For example, pool maintenance crews will need to be available multiple times per week during busy months.
Because these jobs require regular visits, reliability is an important quality for vendors you’re bringing into the community. Make sure you set up a strict schedule with a company. Monitor that schedule to ensure they’re showing up on time and providing the highest quality services possible.
7. Sustainability and environmental considerations
Especially with vendors like pest control or roofing companies, environmental considerations need to be addressed from the beginning. Find out what kind of pesticides are being used to ensure the safety of residents, and also to ensure that they are easy on the environment.
Research what kind of roofing solutions promote energy savings in homes, especially in the Florida heat. Work with vendors who integrate these considerations into their business model and make the environment a high priority in their service offerings.
8. Customer relationship management
Any vendor you work with will be a potential repeat-vendor. Approaching vendor relationships with this mindset will allow you to truly think through whether a business is one you would want to work with again.
Part of a vendor’s ability to score repeat customers is how well they maintain customer relationships. If it’s not clear if your potential vendor has any system in place for customer relationship management, you should ask. This should be a top priority for any modern vendor, so if they haven’t given it any thought and have strong system in place, you may want to reconsider.
9. Commitment to excellence
Some companies may be more focused on the bottom line than providing high quality, personalized services. The vendors you choose should listen to your needs and deliver thoughtful, superior services that will provide the results you’re looking for.
It’s not hard to tell when a job has been done at 50 percent. You need vendors that operate at 100 percent while working on your property or properties.
Finally, an important quality for any vendor to have is responsiveness. They should reply right away to emails or text messages, or return your calls within a day or two. It’s a red flag if you can’t get your vendor to call you back or answer an email. This means that if they’re needed in an emergency, they probably won’t be reachable.
To ensure you’re working with the best vendors, make sure they have all of these qualities. Open communication about practices, plans, and needs is important for each and every vendor that you hire. Doing your own due diligence ensures the health and prosperity of your residential community and its members.
Vendorsmart connects vendors and community managers with an easy-to-use marketplace and comprehensive platform. We vet vendors for compliance considerations help communities source vendors for projects and ongoing services. Get in touch with our team at Vendorsmart today to learn about how our services can help.