Vendor Management Tips Every Community Manager Should Know

A group of graphs labeled “Vendor Management.”

Identifying and mitigating potential risks makes the job far more straightforward and eliminates potential problems.

Key takeaways:

  • Community managers face daily risks
  • Vendor selection is one of the most pressing
  • Cost reduction also matters
  • Partnering with VendorSmart provides a solution

Risk management is an essential task for community managers. Every day brings new hazards in the form of liability, conflict, and resident relations, but vendor management is also a vital part of the equation. 

Most community managers bring in outside help for jobs like maintenance, repairs, security, pest control, and renovations. You’ll trust these vendors to complete their tasks safely, on time, and on budget, but things don’t always work out as planned.

Poor vendor selection can leave you with significant problems like unsatisfactory work and unfinished maintenance. These issues could change how residents think of you and the community you manage, hurting your business.

Choosing the right service providers to meet your needs is critical for community managers, and fortunately, VendorSmart can help. Here’s a look at some vendor management tips you should be aware of and information on VendorSmart’s risk management services.

How to qualify your vendors

Just because a business operates successfully in your area doesn’t necessarily mean it’s trustworthy. Informed vendor selection is paramount for community managers because you don’t want to end up with a contractor or other service provider who becomes a risk for your residents or their homes. Careless or untrustworthy vendors can damage property, take items from the community, or perform substandard jobs, all of which make the community as a whole look bad. 

VendorSmart offers a solution to this problem by identifying and qualifying vendors before you hire them. All you have to do is fill out a project form, and our team will source pre-vetted contractors from our network of over 50,000 vendors. We have vendors in 24,000 communities across more than 36 states, so there’s a good chance we’ll have the perfect one to meet your needs. 

In addition, you don’t have to mindlessly hire a vendor just because we present you with a bid. You’ll have the opportunity to go through multiple offers on most projects and select your desired vendor. You can even explore reviews from other community managers as part of the vetting process, ensuring that the contractor you choose has come through for industry professionals in the past. 

These ratings and reviews provide the utmost transparency in the vendor selection process. The result is less risk for you and your community as you seek service providers in your area.

Ways to reduce your vendor risks

Hiring a vendor is a risky proposition. While it’s true that most vendors aren’t inherently dangerous, you don’t want to risk hiring a company that hasn’t adequately vetted its employees. 

Shoddy work quality can cause problems in communities. For instance, bringing in a company to handle window installs only to have them damage homes during the process will cause difficulties for your residents and more headaches for you.

You also have to worry about your vendors completing the agreed-upon work in a timely manner. Watch out for contractors who ask for a deposit and then take their time getting to your job. You need accurate timelines to keep your residents informed and prepared, so make sure that’s spelled out in the contract. 

VendorSmart helps mitigate these risks by vetting all vendors for compliance before passing their bids to you. We check vendor insurance documents and workers’ compensation standing, too, so you can be confident that your contractors have a policy protecting your community if something goes wrong. 

We’ll present you with a bid packet with proposals from multiple vendors and recommend the option that best suits your needs. Of course, you can select any bid you prefer, as the final step is entirely up to you.

From there, we’ll assist in monitoring vendor performance. Our platform tracks vendor tasks in real time and ensures they’re working within the agreed-upon schedule. It also reminds you of your contract status and will automatically renew any ongoing agreements you wish to continue. 

Hiring vendors doesn’t have to be risky when you trust a professional organization to handle all the heavy lifting. This process makes your job far more manageable and ensures that every contractor who works in your community lives up to your standards.

Cost management tips

Community managers have an obligation to reduce costs as much as possible for their residents. This process can include negotiating group rates on services, opting for the most cost-efficient vendors, and reducing maintenance fees whenever possible. 

Perhaps the main reason to utilize a vendor management platform is the money it can save your communities. Hiring the right vendor the first time means you won’t have to bring in another contractor to complete an unfinished or poorly finished job. You also won’t have to worry as much about property damage if your vendors have adequate liability insurance. 

Administrative tasks are another significant expense. The VendorSmart system automatically sends 1099 forms to your vendors, so you and your team can spend less time at the accountant’s office. This step alone can save thousands of dollars in accounting fees, and you can pass the savings on to your community members.

VendorSmart’s bid system assists with cost management by allowing you to choose the most cost-efficient proposal from among multiple options. Remember that the lowest bid isn’t always the best, so you’ll want to read through the packet and choose the vendor that fully meets your community’s needs.

Use technology to your advantage

In the old days, community managers had to seek out vendors individually and compile a list of proposals. They’d then have to select a service provider based on these bids without much in the way of vetting. But thanks to VendorSmart, those days are over.

VendorSmart’s vendor management platform reduces risks whenever you bring in outside help. The result is a more efficiently managed community that avoids a lot of the risks that come with hiring outside help. Contact us today to find out how VendorSmart can help upgrade your vendor management process.