Volunteer Board Members self-managing their Community know that it is an all-consuming task. Daily operations are time consuming and unrealistic. A key issue is a legal compliance. There are volumes of statutes and regulations regarding community management. Board Members learn by trial and error, which can be costly. With local, state and federal laws, statutes and regulations, it is difficult for volunteer Board Members to keep their Community compliant. Understandably the Board can become overwhelmed by the knowledge it must possess.
Professional Managers bring a wealth of knowledge, experience and the ability to prevent problems. They bring a steady presence, which is key to progress. Board Members serve their term and leave, but Managers are the common thread that links one Board to the next. Bringing continuity to regular operations and community relationships. Having a dependable point person is priceless. A Manager that works for a Management Company brings that Continuity.
Why a management company?
Management Companies are Florida State licensed, professional firms. Carrying out policies set by the Board of Directors and managing the association’s daily operations. Their purpose is to achieve the Board’s goals. Your management company provides the buffer that frees the Board to focus on decision making. Thus, leaving the daily details of management to the professionals. This provides a vital structure to community management.
Management companies vary in the services they provide. What does your Board and your Community need? Technology advancements, a certain size management company, or someone that focuses on a particular segment of the market? How much time does your community need from their Manager? Do you need a full time, on-site Manager? Is your Community smaller? Can a Portfolio Manager handle the operations of your Community? Do you have special projects that need attention? Your needs will determine whether you need an on-site Manager, or if Portfolio Management is better for you.
The Benefits of Having a Licensed Property Manager
The benefit of an assigned On-site Manager is they will exclusively work for the association, full time. Their focus will be on the association’s operations and priorities. They will be working to meet the objectives of the Board. With full backing and support of the Management Company, they have the additional training and resources that the Management Company provides. It will mean that the association will pay for the salary of a Licensed Professional including employment-related costs.
Hiring a Portfolio Manager means having a roving Manager for an unspecified amount of labor hours on an as-needed basis. The association is buying and sharing into a small portion of the manager’s regular work week and the management company’s system resources. With Portfolio Management the association is contributing to fewer labor hours in the community. But they are still getting the benefits of a Manager and a Management Company working for them.
In addition to the basic licensing requirement, the Management Company may also provide regular internal Management Training. Advanced certifications exist. Not all employees are expected to have them. The leaders of the Management Company directing policy, executing operations and setting cultural norms have an advanced understanding of the profession.
The Board should look for advanced certifications and standards promoted by the Community Associations Institute (CAI). A national organization dedicated to fostering vibrant, competent, harmonious community associations. Continuing education with CAI allows professionals to obtain designations, which are the mark of a commitment to a code of ethics, an enhanced professional standard and a career in this industry. These certifications include the Certified Manager of Community Associations (CMCA), Association Management Specialist (AMS), and the highest achievement, Professional Community Association Manager (PCAM).
Management Companies that are encouraging their Managers to continue their education and obtain their certifications are striving for excellence.
Management Companies provide a myriad of services. All administrative including meeting attendance and minutes. Site work including inspections, violations, and bidding. Financial including collections, monthly financial statements, and budgets. This is not an exhaustive list. When considering a Management Company, they can provide a list of services for you.
After the Management Company is Hired
Once hired, the Management Company will assess the association’s needs. It is important that the company you hire has support teams and a leadership, supervisory structure to help with a smooth transition of your community. A Manager’s Supervisor gives the Board another resource, helping the manager perform their duties to everyone’s expectations. Customer service will be critical, as there will be many resident questions during the transition. The more time an individual manager is giving to these transition issues, the less time they have for accomplishing the Board’s priorities.
Invariably communities have goals or challenges to overcome. These goals represent a significant time investment from the Board or Manager. Individual Managers are busy handling the regular daily operations of the community. When unexpected resident and vendor issues arise, Managers have little extra time to devote to these major goals or challenges and the daily operations are impacted.
The Management Company should have a Senior team member available to assist with these issues and lay out plans to accomplish significant goals for the Community. This may include special financial analysis, funding solicitations, planning projects, operational restructuring, or simply taking time to explain major issues, giving everyone an assurance that the goal can be accomplished. This is about offering real, tangible solutions to address major issues impacting the community.
In conclusion, the Board and Management Company must communicate clearly to set proper expectations. Thereby creating a good working relationship and, obtaining dedicated professional Management Services from the Company they hire.
This article is brought to you by Affinity Management Services. If you need more information or consultation for your association, please email us at Info@ManagedbyAffinity.com.