The process of selecting management for your community association is one of
the most important decisions facing the Board of Directors. The goal of this
process should be to establish a long term partnership with a firm that can
help guide you through important decisions, establish solid operations
policies, plan for future financial needs, and develop a positive sense of
The following four steps will provide you with an easy way to select the right
management for your community.
1. Research Management Groups
The first step in the selection process should be to determine the companies
that you will request to submit proposals. This is where you should gather
information about the professionalism, company philosophy, and experience of
the firms and the individuals within the firm. This should be done first by
speaking with a principal of each firm and then requesting written information
about the services they provide.
Evaluate the professionalism and commitment of the firms by asking them about
the qualifications and experience of the principal and staff. Do they belong
to organizations such as The Community Associations Institute and the
California Association of Community Managers? These organizations offer
certification and designation programs that test the basic knowledge as well
as the advanced management skills of Community Association Managers. For more
information on these programs see our
Professional Designations page.
The basic philosophy of the firm should be evaluated to determine if it
matches that of your community. Questions should include:
Does the management firm manage your association, or do they assist the
Board and carry out their directives? In other words does the Board set
policy, or does the management firm dictate to you?
What is the organizational structure of the company? Is it horizontal or
What is the firm's commitment to Customer Service?
What is the business environment at the firm? Visit the office and take a
What education does the firm provide for their staff and Board members?
What accounting systems are used? Is this the same system used for
enforcement letters or does the company offer a customizable database?
How many Associations does the Manager that would be assigned to your
association handle? What are their sizes? Are they condominiums or
planned unit developments?
To evaluate experience, request information about the firm and the members of
the management team.
How long has the company been in the business of managing community
How long have the principals been in the industry. What licenses,
credentials, and designations do they hold? What is their direct
What is the experience level of the management and homeowner services
2. Send Out Bid Packages
After determining the firms that meet the criteria for your community, you
should provide each with a request for proposal (RFP) that specifies the
services desired by your community. The RFP should also include copies of the
Association's governing documents (Bylaws, CC&R's, Rules & Regulations,
Architectural Standards, Delinquency Policy) and a current financial statement
to assist the firms in the preparation of their proposal.
Once the proposals are received you should schedule interviews with each firm
that submits a bid containing all the elements in your request for proposal.
Focus on services you requested, the firms' operating procedures, review of
sample documents and reports, and any questions you have about proposed fees
and charges. Following these interviews, the Board has to determine who is the
best fit for their community. Don't be afraid to ask anything you have a
question about at this time.
Here are a few suggested topics for the final interview:
Financial Procedures and Internal Controls
Planning and Budgeting
Agenda/Management Reports, and the Meeting Process
Communication issued to homeowners including newsletters
Facilities Maintenance and Emergency Services
Following the interviews check their references, which should include current
association Board members and vendors that are working with the management
4. Final Selection
Finally, after evaluating the firms you have interviewed it's time to make a
decision. You should carefully evaluate everything you have learned through
the literature you have received, interviews you have conducted, and the
references you have checked.
All the steps listed above should be discussed during a properly noticed
executive session meeting of the Board of Directors.