A crucial relationship for every board member is the one with their community association manager, or CAM for short. As a board member, your CAM will advise on key aspects of your association’s operations and serve as your representative with other service providers. Read on to learn more about the CAM’s role and what makes a good one.
What is a CAM?
The community association manager is the face, and an employee, of the HOA management company. They work closely with the board to perform many vital functions and resolve any complaints or issues that come up along the way. Contrary to popular belief, CAMs don’t make decisions for the community; they serve as consultants, make recommendations, and execute the board’s decisions.
What does a CAM do?
The CAM’s responsibilities are defined in your community’s governing documents or your contract with your management company. While they vary by association, the most common CAM responsibilities include:
- Overall operations and administration of the association in accordance with board policies, governing documents, and applicable local, state, and federal laws and regulations
- Contract negotiations and oversight
- Managing contractors and vendors
- Project management
- Insurance administration
- Assisting in member dispute resolution
- Meeting attendance and agenda preparation
- Building maintenance
- Grounds maintenance
- Preparing and executing the association budget
- Managing financial reports
- Collecting assessments
- Reserve fund analysis
8 Qualities of a Good CAM
The success of a board is often determined by the type of management they choose. A strong manager helps leaders stay on task, fulfill their duties, and prepare the community for a bright future. The following are eight qualities of a good CAM:
1. Strong Customer Service Skills
The CAM is responsible for the day-to-day management of an association and ensuring everything runs smoothly. If any community-related questions, concerns, or comments arise, the CAM should respond and resolve issues in a timely manner while maintaining a positive customer-first attitude.
2. Effective Communicator
Effective communication is one of the most important elements in the success of a community. A quality CAM should be easily accessible and facilitate regular, clear, and prompt communication with board members, service providers, and residents.
Goal-oriented CAMs have advanced their careers and furthered their education by obtaining various credentials from the Community Associations Institute (CAI). Earning these credentials proves they’re dedicated to providing exceptional service and prepared to help your community.
From collecting assessments and negotiating contracts to attending meetings and managing projects, CAMs have a lot on their plate. They must have solid organizational skills that allow them to efficiently complete tasks, easily access documents, and keep the association running smoothly.
5. Calm & Professional
There may be times when conflicts arise or residents get angry during an exchange with the CAM. Regardless of the situation, a good CAM should remain calm and professional and utilize sound resolution skills when navigating conflict in the community.
CAMs should comprehend the structure and operations of an HOA, your specific governing documents, and any applicable local, state, or federal laws. If they don't have the answer to a question, they should be able to point you in the direction of a professional partner or service provider who does.
An HOA is a non-profit corporation designed to run as a business. CAMs have a duty to act in the best interest of the membership—not themselves. They must treat everyone fairly and make consistent decisions based on standard practices rather than personal opinions and preferences.
8. Financially Savvy
CAMs are responsible for many financial aspects of the association. They must have a clear, line-by-line understanding of the operating budget and reserve study and always be transparent about where the community stands financially.
Learn More About CAMs
Building and maintaining a strong relationship with your CAM can determine the success of your community. In our ebook, “The Secret Life of Community Association Managers,” we take a deep-dive into everything you need to know about CAMs. After reading, you’ll have a better understanding of what a CAM is, what they do, and how you can make the most of your relationship.