If you are a board member in a condominium corporation, you know that it takes a team effort to have your community running like a well-oiled machine. Whether it's making sure operations are under control, the property is aesthetically pleasing, or residents live happily, it is not a one-person job. For most board members, the team is made up of trusted vendors and service providers who help get everything done right. However, dealing with multiple vendors requires dealing with various contracts and the juggling of payments, timelines, contacts, and many other important details. These ordeals can cause anyone quite a headache, so below, we recommend some tips to manage your property's vendors the right way. 

Choose the right vendors.

To start strong, the best way to ensure excellent results from vendors is by choosing the best one for your needs. There can be a checklist you go through, such as how many years of experience you want the vendor to have, or testimonials from their other clients. Any vendor worth your time will happily provide this information without trouble. When working with a professional management company, you can feel at ease, knowing that they have built strong relationships with trusted providers. 
After exploring different options and coming up with your vendor list, you can compare what each one offers you regarding the types of services they offer, costs, turnover time, and how responsive they are with communication. You can also compare their references and vendor ratings. You will want a vendor you can rely on and vice versa, so starting a relationship off on the right foot creates a good start. 

Be reasonable.

After making the tough decision of choosing a vendor, you should outline reasonable expectations regarding how and when they can get the job done. A helpful tip is to immerse yourself just a bit into what each vendor's business looks like from the inside to understand how the chain of command works. This also helps you see the challenges they might face, so that you can keep that in mind for your expectations in the future and the value they can provide to your community. For example, if there is a significant snowstorm overnight, and one of your vendors is a snow removal company, you should not expect that the company will be able to remove all of the snow within a few hours or even by the morning. There are obstacles they can face, so knowing this is important as it creates a better working relationship. 

Communicate openly and often. 

Good communication is key to building and maintaining a positive relationship with your vendors. If there is any time you need clarification on something, you know you can reach out to your vendor at any time to get an answer. Further, excellent communication involves a clear outline of what your expectations are right from the start. Don't forget; you play a part in this since you should also be responding quickly to their questions and requests at any time. If there are strict timelines for a project, vocalize this at the beginning of the project, not mid-way through. It is crucial to provide even the little details, especially if they change along the way. 
If your community is professionally managed, your property management company will take on this role, maintaining clear and ongoing communication with vendors to ensure no surprises – and consequently, the results you expect. 

Pay Vendors on Time.

Your service providers and vendors need to be paid on time and in full. Remember, they are there to help you run your condominium corporation as they fulfill their commitments. After all, how can you expect that they will continue wanting to work with you if you are always paying late? More importantly, paying vendors on time is part of your contract, and although it is a professional business relationship, it shows respect and reflects your community values. 
The tough process of hiring and managing quality vendors goes a long way to helping you achieve your corporation's responsibilities and helps you deliver on your value proposition and service promise to your community. To understand the legal issues when considering vendors, read this article. For more information on hiring and managing vendors, visit FirstService Residential.
Monday August 31, 2020