Today’s post was inspired by a reader’s email seeking advice on how to identify good vendors and technical representation. This is a great question, particularly on the technical representation side. Technical representation is a key resource that your Condo Association needs to have to be successful. Your Condo likely has numerous major systems – roofs, facade, concrete, elevators, maybe even solar panels and electric car chargers. Your Board is likely not made up of experts in these things – and even if it is, you generally want a third party doing the assessment for liability and conflict of interest reasons. That’s the job of technical experts – to serve as your community’s representative and ensure work is done properly. Finding good technical representation can be a challenge, particularly for self-managed communities. Here are four ways to help you identify Condo Association consultants.
Ask Your Management for Referrals
The first and easiest way to identify Condo Association consultants is to ask your Management for referrals. If your Management company is well-connected in their industry – and hopefully they are – they will have done business with any number of engineers, consultants, and other technical experts that a community might need. Your Management can be a good starting point and a good reference. However, you should still interview potential vendors and always bid out to multiple companies – never rely on a single reference alone.
The Community Association Institute maintains a list of various experts in various fields. Note that CAI does charge to be listed, so the list is not a “be all, end all.” Still, if you’re stumped for leads, it could be a good starting place. As always, do your own interviewing.
Ask Neighboring Associations
This option can be challenging because you need to get your neighbors to respond, but it can also result in extremely good referrals. You likely have many other Condo Associations and HOAs near you. They may have the same maintenance challenges and need for technical experts, and thus can provide referrals and references. Give them a call and see if they can help you identify Condo Association consultants for your projects.
Good Old-Fashioned Googling
Sometimes none of the above strategies pan out, and you’re on your own. Thankfully, in this day and age the internet can be helpful. Start punching in search terms and see what engineering companies pop up, then give them a call and see if they can help you out. When using this method, absolutely do deep diligence. You’re trusting strangers on the internet to come into your building, so make sure you thoroughly vet and interview them before initiating a project.
Get the Right Resources for Your Condo Association
Condo buildings – particularly large ones – are complicated beasts. When you’re doing a major project, you want the work to be done right. Fortunately there is an ecosystem of support out there. Like everything in life, there are good vendors, average vendors, and shady vendors. Do your homework and make sure you find a good one, and you’ll be leading a better Condo life.