How to Successfully Work With Your Property Management Company
Atlanta, Georgia—Property Management companies generally come in two varieties. The really bad property management companies end up giving you little or no useful information, are not truthful about the work they perform for you (such as property inspections), “rubber stamp” any invoice that is submitted to them and fail to look out for your community’s best interests. The really good property management companies bend over backwards to help your community but are easily taken advantage of by overbearing Board members and are more likely to be run off. The bad companies create Board apathy by their failure to provide any customer service and, strangely enough, oftentimes end up staying with a community for years and years because no one knows better. So how can you make sure you are getting the service you contracted for without running off a good property management company? Here are a five insider’s tips to avoid running off a good property management company.
1. Don’t Make Demands Outside the Contract Terms. If your property management contract provides for monthly financials, don’t call the property manager twice a week asking for updated account receivable reports, gate access reports and updates on payments to vendors. This takes time and time is money. The more demands you make on your property manager that are outside the terms of the contract, the more likely your contract rate is likely to be increased when it comes time to renew. If the Board’s demands are truly excessive and overboard, the property management company will likely discourage you from re-upping for another year by raising your rates 50% or more. Huge price increases are a sure sign that you were getting a whole lot more in services than you were paying for and that your property management company no longer wants to represent you.
2. Don’t Micromanage Your Property Manager. Okay this one is a no-brainer. The quickest way to run off a good property manager is to micromanage them. If you have a really good property management company that provides timely useful information, is completely honest about the services it performs and is always looking out for your best interests, it’s not uncommon for Board members to become overly enthusiastic about their community and all of the wonderful possibilities for its future. But wait a minute. Rome wasn’t built in a day and your community isn’t going to be magically transformed in an instant no matter how good your property manager is. So step back and remember that you are working with a property management professional who doesn’t need to be micro managed and will resent it if you do micromanage them just as you would resent it if you were being micro managed.
3. Avoid Making Unreasonable Demands on Your Property Manager. It is not uncommon to want to rebid your landscape, pool, gate company, termite, insurance and law firm contracts. It is unusual and unreasonable to ask your property manager to solicit new contract bids for 5 or 6 different contract services a single month. Work out a schedule to space out your demands on your property manager to something more appropriate. Unless you are paying for a full-time on site property manager, it is not realistic to expect to be treated like you are the only client. If you want to be the only client, be prepared to pay a whole lot more than you are currently paying.
4. Respond to Your Property Manager’s Emails. If you insist on being intimately involved in everything your property manager does for your community and want to review and approve every invoice, violation letter and legal action against an owner, respond to the emails that are sent to you for input and approval. Don’t expect your property manager to send you repeated reminders of email requests they previously sent you. Make sure you fulfill your responsibilities to communicate on a timely basis with your property manager. You are only going to frustrate your property manager and lose their support if you force them to send you twenty emails before you make a decision on a course of action. Be decisive, provide clear directions and be timely in your communications with your property manager.
5. Always Treat Your Property Manager With Respect. Everyone is entitled to be treated with respect. Property managers are not a lower life form. You expect to be treated with respect and your property manager deserves to be treated with respect. Don’t get caught up in a power trip and start treating your property manager like you own them. They are your agent; not your servant or your secretary. If you want to get the most out of your property manager and not be moved to the bottom of their “To Do” List, treat your property manager with the same respect and dignity that you expect. Make sure that you don’t confuse an honest, and oftentimes innocuous, mistake with a mortal sin. And resist the temptation to call your property manager everyday just to talk. You may be on a friendly basis with them but this is their job, not a form of amusement for them. They are busy professionals and don’t need you calling them just to fill in a gap in your day. Make sure you have a purpose for calling them and try to consolidate your requests in a single phone call or email to be more productive.
Keep in mind these few rules and you will build a productive and long lasting relationship with your property management company.
Riverside Property Management is a Homeowners and Condominium Association management company management company proudly serving Roswell, Alpharetta, Buckhead, Marietta and all of North Georgia. Riverside is also an expert Georgia association management company and high rise Atlanta association management company. To find out more about Riverside Property Management and why it is one of Georgia’s fastest growing property management companies, go to www.riversidepropertymgt.com. You’ll be glad you did.