Making the Decision

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 community.

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 vertical?
  • What is the firm's commitment to Customer Service?
  • What is the business environment at the firm? Visit the office and take a tour.
  • 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 associations?
  • How long have the principals been in the industry. What licenses, credentials, and designations do they hold? What is their direct management expertise?
  • What is the experience level of the management and homeowner services staff?

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.

3. Interviews

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
  • Customer Service

Following the interviews check their references, which should include current association Board members and vendors that are working with the management firm.

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.