Doing business with HOAs don’t have to be daunting. Learn how to properly market your business and ensure you have the right qualifications
As a vendor, it can be hard to find solid repeat clients. But working with a homeowners’ association (HOA) can be a great way to get a reliable client and learn a lot in the process.
Plus, HOAs are generally experienced in working with a wide range of vendors, so you likely will be working with a contact person, like a board member or a community manager, who knows their stuff.
Here’s what vendors need to know about landing their first HOA client, from marketing to research to qualifications.
Vendor marketing tactics
First of all, if the company’s name isn’t out in the community, it’s going to be hard for HOAs to find it when they need its services. Vendors should make sure to have a website that uses SEO best practices so these organizations can find them from a simple Google search.
A related consideration is social media, which can also help the company’s Google search ranking. Create a Facebook profile and post updates, blog posts, and news to better connect with the target audience. This is also a great way for people to refer to the vendor.
Vendors should also make sure to include reviews and testimonials in their online presence strategy. If they’re getting feedback on a platform such as Yelp, they should make sure to read these reviews, at a minimum, and correct any issues they reveal. They should also make it a habit to respond to reviews, especially the negative ones, in a positive way to show the community they’re engaged and open to constructive criticism. This is important, as BrightLocal data shows that 86 percent of consumers read reviews for local businesses they’re considering.
With the right digital marketing strategy, vendors are more likely to be found by organizations in their area.
Learn about HOAs
Do you know how an HOA operates? While they are similar to any business or organization, they do have some nuances in the way they function. For example, each HOA has a board and a collection of governing documents, called the Covenants, Conditions, and Restrictions (CC&Rs). These documents outline things like community rules and may spell out procedures about working with vendors outside the community.
The board of directors makes decisions for the community and enforces the CC&Rs. Sometimes a community manager is in charge of running the day-to-day in an HOA.
The board or the community manager will be responsible for hiring vendors, so whether it’s a landscaper, accountant, roofer, or a management company, they’ll likely be interacting with management. Because these HOA officials (which in the case of the board are usually members of the community themselves) make all the decisions, it’s important to make a good impression and to be willing to work with them on any negotiations. These are the people who will be searching the community for vendors.
Update your qualifications
A vendor just starting out as a small business owner might not be aware of each and every qualification HOAs will require. All companies should have the necessary insurance coverage, depending on their line of work. HOAs usually look for workers’ compensation insurance and general liability insurance, among others.
Just as important is for vendors to ensure that they have all necessary licenses or certifications required in their field. HOA boards and managers do their due diligence when hiring vendors because they have to make sure the community will be protected both financially and legally. Thus, vendors must hold a state license in their given specialty, be bonded, and hold the necessary insurance.
Whatever industry the business’s services are in, make sure to take great care in updating all licenses and certifications regularly. Otherwise, an HOA won’t want to work with you. For them, it’s not worth the risk.
Always display professionalism
Finally, one of the most important parts of landing an HOA client is putting your most professional self forward. Make sure you’re using the latest technologies and equipment, and always be sincere. Vendors will be able to impress HOA management if they know their industry and services well, so be prepared to sell yourself and show them you know your stuff.
Depending on the line of work, vendors could even consider having vehicles or clothing with the company’s brand name on them so they look even more professional and legitimate. Any logos, mission statements, or messages should align with the vendor’s website and social media presence as well.
In sum, it’s important to simply be prepared before trying to work with an HOA client. HOAs do their homework before hiring anyone because they have an entire community to watch out for and they’re governed by often strict rules and regulations.
By revamping your marketing strategy, researching HOAs, double-checking your qualifications, and exuding professionalism, you’ll be landing your first HOA client in no time. VendorSmart is a web-based marketplace that connects community managers with certified vendors. To gain access to associations and to bid on projects, contact VendorSmart today.