There is an important distinction between property management and community association management
Property management is an essential component of community association management, but professional association management goes one step further and also supports the board with the added governance component.
Once it’s decided to select a management company, the board needs to be ready to invest time in the process. An organized approach will help the board avoid taking a cursory route or settling for a bad fit for the community.
The selection process includes developing a request for proposal, finding suitable candidates, scheduling on-site visits for each candidate, inter- viewing references, analyzing the data and making a final selection.
Bid specifications reflect the services the board expects from a management company. Detailed specifications make up the central document of a request for a proposal and ensures “apples-to-apples” bidding from each company.
The board should compile a list of prospective management companies by contacting similar as- sociations in the area, a local CAI chapter, or the CAI website for recommendations. Don’t rely on the Yellow Pages or send a mass mailing to all local businesses. Many of these companies will be unqualified or mismatched.
Look for an Accredited Association Management Company (AACM) or those whose managers hold professional credentials, including:
- Certified Manager of Community Associations (CMCA)
- Association Management Specialist (AMS)
- Professional Community Association Manager
- (PCAM) Large-ScaleManager(LSM)
An association should never hire a management company based on price alone. It’s important to hire a firm that has a strong knowledge of community associations and the ability to solve complex problems. Make sure to look for a management company that can provide the community with solid managerial leadership.
Once the board has made a decision, it should meet again with the new firm, review the proposal and specifications, answer any remaining questions and finalize the contract.
Selecting a management company is an important task. If any portion of the selection process isn’t properly completed, the association may choose the wrong firm.
The board and the management company should agree from the start how the association should be run. Similar expectations, good communication and quality work will ensure a smooth re- lationship between the partners for years to come.
Published by CAI – Community Association Institute
For more information about this topic, see Management Companies: How to Find the Right Community Association Professional at www.caionline.org/shop.