Hiring a professional community management company has countless benefits, including reduced costs, increased efficiency, and stable and reliable operations. Building and maintaining a good relationship between the board of directors and management staff is crucial and a key component to a well-run association. Read on to learn about HOA management companies and how to create a successful partnership that’ll prepare your community for a strong future.
What’s an HOA Management Company?
A community association management company, or HOA management company, is contracted by the board to fulfill duties they cannot carry out. These companies generally administer the association's business affairs and support maintenance, accounting, and other efforts.
Why Do We Need A Professional Management Company?
Associations do have the option to self-manage; however, it's a big undertaking and can be a full-time job. Board members are volunteers, and many have families, careers, or other interests that can prevent them from properly managing the association. Hiring a professional management company offers continuity, lightens the board's burden and liability, and provides peace of mind.
6 Tips for Succeeding with Your HOA Management Company
For an association to be successful, the board of directors, residents, and management staff must work together and maintain a healthy partnership. The following are six ways board members can avoid conflict with the management company to support the community’s best interest and outcome.
1. Understand one another’s roles.
Board members and management staff must have an accurate understanding of one another’s roles and duties. It’s common for people to believe the management staff controls and makes decisions for the board; however, this isn’t the case. The management team can only take action and execute at the direction of the board. Misunderstanding responsibilities can create friction and prevent everyone from doing their jobs correctly.
2. Be open-minded.
Serving on your community’s board isn’t a task that should be taken lightly. It’s a big job, and volunteers aren’t expected to be experts on day one. Newly-elected board members can, at times, take an authoritarian or critical approach before having a sound comprehension of their role and governing procedures, adding stress to collaborative efforts. Start your position by rolling up your sleeves, listening, and learning. Staying open-minded and educating yourself will signal a positive response and promote harmony with fellow board members, partners, and the management company.
3. Identify objectives.
Adopting an annual plan consisting of agreed-upon projects, issues to be addressed, and execution processes are crucial for effective operation and continuity. Failing to have mutual expectations and distinct priorities and objectives among the board, committees, and management staff can result in confusion, uncertainty, and frustration.
4. Make meetings count.
The board and management staff are required to meet regularly to confirm operations are running smoothly and ensure the community's success. This time is valuable, so it’s essential to take steps to enhance meeting productivity. Come prepared by reviewing materials beforehand, asking questions, actively participating, and being professional. It's also important for board members to give management clear direction and avoid perpetually tabling action items.
5. Eliminate hidden agendas.
One of the most common recurring board errors is members using their position to carry out personal agendas. An HOA is a non-profit corporation designed to run as a business. That means leaders have a duty to act in the best interest of the association—not themselves. Board members must separate themselves from any personal views and conflicts, as they can get in the way of making the right choice for the community and disrupt management's role. Decisions should always be fair, consistent, and based on standard practices rather than emotional opinions and preferences.
6. Implement communication processes.
Strong communication is the foundation of strong communities. To ensure quality communication, the board must determine the primary liaison, the frequency of formal communication, and the means of communication. Establishing an explicit communications process and system with the management staff holds both groups accountable and limits misunderstandings and disappointment.
Finding the HOA Management Company That’s Right for Your Community
To learn more about selecting the best management company for your association, check out our ebook, “Top Questions to Ask Before Hiring Your Next HOA Management Company.” In it, we identify questions that will help you discover information to make the right choice for your community.