What Size Management Company? Is Bigger Always Better?

We live in a world of add-ons. Ever since the term supersize was coined by the fast food industry back in 1994, the idea and its implications have spread to many aspects of the American lifestyle. We've become accustomed to ‘value added elements,’ buy-one-get-one offers, and other perks when we make purchases. Because bigger is better, right?  

Well, maybe...or maybe not! Whether we are talking hamburgers, sneakers, or property management, is it really the size or sheer quantity you’re after, or is it the value and the quality of the goods or service that matters? When it comes to property management, what types of services does your board of trustees or HOA really require? How much is enough—and how much is overkill (or over budget)?

Don’t Assume - Do Your Homework

When a board is shopping for a new management company, there’s often a tendency to seek out a larger firm with the expectation that bigger will mean better. But before making that assumption, the trustees should first identify and define the services which its individual property actually requires, and be sure it is clear as to what is wanted and needed. Once the board has drafted a list of goals and objectives for a prospective management company, it will be much easier to judge whether a particular firm can deliver the desired outcomes. 

Bart Steele, senior regional property manager with Premier Property Solutions in Boston, notes that the size of a management firm need not necessarily be proportional with the size of an association. “It’s a complete case-by-case basis,” he says. “The specific skills of a manager, and how they relate to an individual community, is the most important factor at hand.”

Dan Wurtzel is president of FirstService Residential, whose main offices are in New York City. (FirstService is the largest property management company in North America). Size should not be an issue, he says. Despite the size and scope of FirstService, says Wurtzel, “The key to successful management is not size, but providing exceptional service.”

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