If you’re looking for a new management company, you and your fellow board members are busy evaluating your options and deciding who can best meet your needs. Part of that process includes interviewing every company you’re considering with a variety of questions. This is a powerful tactic to determine which companies have the capabilities and philosophies you’re looking for – but only if you ask questions that will yield truly insightful information that will help guide your decision.
To help you make the most of your management company interviews, try asking the following questions along with listening for information that makes up a competent answer.
1. What kind of technology do you provide? The answer to this question will let you know what tools are available for protecting your funds, ensuring your association’s information security, and connecting with your community. Listen for a list of tools that cover each of these areas at the very least. A management company’s technology is vitally important to your association because it can potentially streamline processes for your board and give you peace of mind about security and transparency.
2. What kind of service can I expect? When you have a request or a homeowner has a question, it’s important that your company is dedicated to giving your community a high level of service. When you have a problem or just need information, working with a partner that holds customer service as a key value makes a significant difference in the quality of response you’ll receive. Did the company conduct a walkthrough of your community before meeting to accurately assess your needs as opposed to taking a cookie-cutter approach? This sheds some light on the service you can expect once you're a client.
3. Are your services flexible? Because every community has their own unique needs, your board needs to ensure that a management company can tailor their services accordingly. Ask for examples of how they’ve handled unique community needs in the past with similar communities to assess their experience.
4. What additional programs do you offer to help our community succeed? A community’s needs extend beyond the basics of management and finances; maintenance, insurance, and emergency restoration services are just a few of the additional services that associations need. Ask for a complete list of additional services offered to see how well-equipped a management company is to not only meet your defined needs today, but your potential needs tomorrow.
5. How are your managers educated? Because a community manager is meant to be your board’s trusted advisor, their qualifications are crucial to your community’s success. Ask about your potential manager’s industry designations and licensing, and ensure that any manager assigned to you will read your governing documents and learn the ins and outs of your community.
6. What kind of training and educational resources do you offer board members? Continuing education allows board members to have all the knowledge they need to lead confidently, so look for a management company that will offer you their own resources – like webinars, whitepapers, blogs and ebooks – to help you keep your board member skills sharp.
7. How is a manager’s portfolio size determined? It’s important that the answer alludes to the concept of total work, not total number of communities. A community manager can have a varying number of communities based on size, type (condos vs. single family) amenities, and meeting frequency. Ensuring a manageable workload for your community manager not only helps a community succeed but promotes a positive work life balance to avoid burnout.
By asking these key questions during your next meeting with a management company, you’ll get a more complete picture of who they are and how they can help. The information you uncover will be crucial for helping your board choose the right company that will ultimately become a true partner to your community.