Management companies are hired by boards to oversee operations because there are simply too many moving parts for volunteers to handle. To this end, it’s the board’s responsibility to do its due diligence and select the best fit and enter into contract; however, this is just the first step to ensuring successful operations. Without continued oversight and assessment, problems arise.
“In any business it’s important to provide employees with feedback, both positive and constructive,” says Andrew Raynor, president of Shawmut Property Management in North Andover, Massachusetts. “The company has an ultimate goal and reaching that goal is difficult without everyone pulling in the same direction.”
According to the Community Associations Institute (CAI), in 2010, there were 309,600 association communities, 24.8 million housing units and 62 million residents nationwide. Condominiums represent 38 to 42 percent of these statistics. Additionally, CAI estimates the number of community association managers to be approximately 60,000 and the number of community association management companies to be roughly 10,000. Thus, the competition is fierce, which places boards in the driver’s seat. Not only should the best company be selected but the manager assigned to the building graded on performance.
“From a property management perspective, an employee’s evaluation is done to determine how he or she is performing in relation to the overall scope of responsibility,” says Tim Arel, property manager for North Point Property Management, with offices in Amherst, New Hampshire and Andover, Massachusetts. “We are expected, at a minimum, to reach a baseline of performance for an association but the real benefit we bring is knowledge, experience and the ability to think outside of the box and bring new approaches.”
Assessment Best Practices
While there are differences in approach, almost all management companies have internal criteria for managers to follow. These in-house rules are then applied to each respective building. Often, a specific building or board will require amendments to standing regulations. Like any relationship, there are variables that make it unique, requiring a tailored approach.