Helpful Hints for the Board of Directors
One of the toughest challenges a board of directors can face is the decision and process of bidding out the association’s management contract. Boards often feel they have a fiduciary obligation to bid out the management contract when, in actuality, the board may simply not realize it is already exercising appropriate fiduciary obligation by working to preserve and extend the relationship with the current management company.
The first thing the board should do in considering bidding out the management contract is to ask itself why it should go out to bid. Is there a service issue with the current managing agent? Or is it really about price? Perhaps there is just a clash of personalities with the current staff assigned to the community on behalf of the managing agent? Any of those issues should be promptly discussed with the current managing agent. From day one of establishing a relationship with your management company, the board of directors needs to be prompt and upfront with the company regarding any issues or obstacles. Just as the board expects management to be proactive and candid, the management company has the same expectation of the board. After all, you are in a partnership with your management company – the fewer the surprises the better the relationship between the two entities. So, whether price, service, or personnel are the issues, let your current managing agent know. When possible, all efforts should be made to overcome any concerns of the current managing agent and contract.
Homeowner associations often hire contractors to perform large jobs or ongoing contracts like landscaping, janitorial and pool maintenance. Contractors solicit work in a process known as “competitive bidding”. The basic idea of competitive bidding is that it allows qualified contractors to fairly compare “apples to apples”. This is good for the HOA and fair to the contractors. A clear, competitive process results in the best price while still addressing quality and performance concerns.