Striving to be the Best How Management Companies Stay Competetive

 As the economy continues its slow recovery from the struggles of the recession,  companies are faced with the all-important task of reexamining services and  respective best practices. One reason for this exercise is the fierce  competition existing among management companies, as boards are quick to jump  ship if a more suitable, cost-effective option is presented.  

 In New England, the community association management industry has experienced  marked increases in professionalism over the last few years, partly because of  the economy and technology. “While there are few or no barriers to entry in most states, we have seen fewer  clients and prospective clients being wooed by the low-cost, low-experience  alternatives,” says Robert McBride, CEO of The Dartmouth Group, a residential management firm  based in Boston.  

 McBride, who founded the firm in 1987, says he has seen marked changes within  the industry. “Boards are demanding increased sophistication and higher levels of service from  their management companies and there has been a change in the profile of the  typical community manager—from property management and administrative backgrounds, to an increasing  population of professionals and mid-level managers from other industries,” he says, adding that this new reality is due, in part, to the growth of the  industry and the lack of formal training programs at the university level.  

 As is the case with all industries, different firms have different experiences.  And while there seems to be a universal acknowledgement that the industry is  morphing as related to board expectations, Stephen DiNocco, CMCA, AMS, principal of the Boston-based Affinity Realty and Property Management, has a  slightly different take. “Although not a scientific study, my impression is that the industry has been  somewhat static for the last couple of years, although I may be insulated from  the general rumor mill,” he continues. “I think that expectations have risen regarding the delivery of services  especially in regards to technology but believe that the rise is on both sides  of the equation.”  

 Proof is in the Pudding

 While market indicators will always change, a firm’s business philosophy should remain consistent. To this end, Amazon’s CEO Jeff Bezos perhaps said it best: “If you do build a great experience, customers tell each other about that. Word  of mouth is very powerful.”  

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