As a homeowner association (HOA) manager, it’s important to understand your clients. When you can see things from the HOA’s perspective, you can anticipate their needs and offer better services. Ask yourself the same questions your clients’ HOA board members will be asking themselves. For example, it’s common for board members to wonder, “How do I choose an HOA management company?”
A well-organized, reliable HOA management company is crucial to the success of a client’s community. Managers can ensure that HOA residents follow the association rules, help the HOA manage its finances, assist with upkeep, and generally improve the HOA’s day-to-day operations. To offer the highest quality service to your HOA clients, learn what the HOA is looking for in a perfect manager. Then, incorporate those qualities and best practices into your business.
Here are some common questions an HOA will ask when it’s choosing an association management company. Using these questions, you can also help new clients evaluate their HOA’s needs and determine the best way to work together.
What Are the HOA’s Needs?
Whether you’re pitching your management business to a potential new client or reevaluating an existing contract, it’s important to consider the HOA’s specific needs. After all, no two associations are exactly alike. Every HOA is a unique community, which may require its association manager to perform different duties.
For example, some HOA boards may want you to be very involved and help facilitate community events. Others may only need assistance with collecting fees, paying vendors, and other financial duties. As an HOA manager, you also need to be flexible and make sure your business services can evolve as your clients’ needs change over time.
When evaluating an HOA’s needs, your HOA management software can help. Software like CINC Systems is fully customizable. With CINC, you can provide high-quality management services to HOAs of all sizes. CINC will help your business manage your HOA clients’ finances, work orders, violations, and more.
To request a free demo, call (855) 943-8246 for more information.
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What Is the HOA’s Budget?
To help clients see that your business is the best choice for managing their HOA, advise them to consider the association’s budget. Are they a small HOA with a limited budget, or a large association with deep pockets? How is the client’s overall financial health? What is the status of their reserve fund?
Once you understand the HOA’s budget, you can create a custom cost structure. This is a precise breakdown of your services each month, detailing what percentage of your fees go to different tasks and duties. There are several ways to create a cost structure for your HOA business. Depending on the client, you may choose to charge an hourly rate for certain services or a flat fee.
When creating a cost structure for a new HOA client, always remember to be transparent about your costs. This builds integrity and ensures that clients will see you as the best choice for HOA management.
Does the HOA Management Company Have a Specialty?
Clients may also ask if your HOA management company has a specialty. This will usually occur after the association board members have assessed their community’s specific needs. They may look for an HOA management company that focuses on certain areas, such as:
- Financial Management: Collecting resident fees, managing accounts payable and receivable, general ledger accounting, budgeting for projects, and annual audits.
- Community Management: Enforcing HOA rules and guidelines, taking disciplinary action against violators, scheduling community events, and managing shared resources such as outdoor spaces and athletic facilities.
- Legal Document Assistance: Helping the HOA create, update and maintain its necessary legal documents, such as articles of incorporation, bylaws, and Declaration of Covenants, Conditions, and Restrictions (CC&R).
- Administrative Tasks: Coordinating with vendors and contractors, organizing resident directories, maintaining the association’s calendar, handling emails and phone calls for the association.
If you’re thinking about changing your association management business to offer a specialty, you can also consider narrowing your focus to HOAs of a specific size or focusing on specific neighborhoods in your region.
Regardless, when a potential HOA client is trying to decide how to choose an association management company, make sure they understand that your services can cover their community’s specific needs.
How Do They Handle Day-to-Day Duties?
When assessing a management company, the HOA board will also want to know how you handle day-to-day duties. How much time do you spend each day on various tasks for the association, such as accounting? How do you organize and process work orders for maintenance and repair?
When clients are choosing an HOA management company, it will help them make a decision by understanding how you conduct your business. Although the association won’t necessarily need to know all the details, be ready to explain your process for daily responsibilities.
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What Software Does the Management Company Use?
Next, an association hiring a new management company may wonder what kind of HOA management software you use. If they’ve done their homework, they’ll choose an HOA management company that uses cloud-based software. Cloud-based software like CINC Systems offers multiple advantages over traditional desktop software, including:
- Greater data security via cloud encryption.
- Mobile app integration.
- Easy setup for online resident portals.
- Real-time, online bank integration for all HOA financial accounts.
What Is the Management Company’s Availability?
HOA board members will also want to know about a potential manager’s availability. Due to the nature of an HOA, there are many instances where a manager may need to work beyond typical nine-to-five business hours.
If there’s a plumbing emergency or another issue within the community that needs addressing right away, will you or another employee be on-call? Do you charge overtime for after-hours situations, or is this included in your standard contract? Because availability is important to clients who are choosing an HOA management company, make sure you communicate your hours clearly.
Do They Have Good HOA Customer Reviews?
Finally, don’t forget that your reputation matters. Potential clients who are choosing an HOA management company will want to make sure they choose the best manager for the job, so they’ll look for online reviews.
To help with this, find a tactful way to ask existing clients to review your work on websites like Yelp and Facebook Reviews, or ask for a testimonial quote you can use on your own website. If you receive a bad review, do your best to address the reviewer’s grievance with respect and maturity.