Choosing the right vendors for your HOA or condo association is no easy task. You’ve got landscapers, trash collection, pool management—the list goes on! With so many vendors to keep track of, and so many things to get done, it’s easy to get overwhelmed. In this article, we’ve reduced the vendor vetting process to just 8 easy steps.


1. Begin with your governing documents


The governing documents of your association serve as the foundation for any new vendor relationship. It is crucial to understand the board’s responsibilities and the authority you possess in terms of vendor selection and payment. Since every community has unique rules, carefully review your governing documents before initiating the process. If you have any questions, consult your CAM or association attorney for guidance.


2. Decide between an employee and a general contractor

Depending on your documents, you may need to choose between hiring an association employee or engaging an independent contractor to fulfill your requirements. Each option has its pros and cons. Carefully consider your choices, consult with the board, and seek advice from your HOA management team on best practices for each scenario.


3. Establish and adhere to your budget


As a member of your HOA board, you have a fiduciary responsibility to act in the best interests of the entire community, including sound financial management. Whenever external assistance is required, you must allocate funds accordingly. Set a budget and make every effort to stick to it. Collaborate with fellow board members and ensure that all necessary approvals are obtained before finalizing your budget.


4. Conduct interviews and obtain quotes from multiple vendors

Once you have completed the initial planning phase, it’s time to explore your options. Avoid accepting the first bid you receive and exercise caution when interviewing individuals with personal relationships with board members, ensuring their influence doesn’t affect your decision-making. Interview multiple candidates and collect several quotes to have comprehensive information for the board’s evaluation and comparison of multiple bids.


5. Verify the vendor’s references


While many vendors and service providers may make enticing promises, it is essential to conduct due diligence before entering into a relationship. Request two to three references and take the time to contact past and current clients to verify the vendor’s claims align with their track record. Additionally, consider checking online ratings, such as their Google business listing or company Facebook pages, to access honest reviews regarding their quality of service and work.


6. Validate credentials, licenses, and insurance

In most states, vendors are required to possess a valid license for their work. Without a state-issued license, vendors cannot obtain insurance coverage. Lack of proper documentation could make your association liable for accidents, injuries, and property damage that may occur. Minimize risk by working with pre-approved vendors vetted by your association manager or verifying current credentials with your state licensing board.


7. Look beyond price alone

While choosing a vendor solely based on the lowest bid may be tempting, it can lead to long-term costs. Licenses, permits, insurance, and other business-related fees come at a significant expense. If a vendor’s price seems too good to be true, consider all the factors mentioned above, including their work history and customer service, to make an informed decision.


8. Thoroughly review your contracts


Typically, the final step involves signing a contract or agreement with the selected vendor. Safeguard your HOA’s interests by carefully reviewing the contract before signing. If necessary, involve your board, CAM, and legal counsel to ensure no unexpected surprises arise along the way.

Ardent Residential has been helping pair communities with high-quality vendors for decades. We know that every community is unique, with different needs to help you thrive. That’s why we use industry-leading software to help you get the best possible bids at the best possible prices.

Selecting the right vendors for your HOA or condo association requires careful consideration and a systematic approach. By following the eight easy steps outlined in this article, you can streamline the vendor vetting process and make informed decisions that benefit your community.





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