When getting proposals for property management, it can be very appealing to see a property management company offering to manage your building for half the cost of another. However, as with any other business transaction, on the other side of cost is what you’re getting for your money. After years in the business, we make every attempt to keep our pricing competitive, but we also stress this during RFPs: potential clients should look at more than just cost when selecting their property management company.
If you want a lower level of service for your building, and you want to pay for it, that’s ok—you just have to make sure that you know exactly what the difference in service levels is between the budget condo management company and its more expensive counterparts. There’s no such thing as a free lunch, so the cuts in cost will be reflected somewhere — whether that’s building maintenance, the level of service, or overall professionalism.
Big things to watch out for are:
1. Will the building have its own dedicated property manager?
While it’s standard practice for HOA managers to oversee multiple clients, it’s important for each building to have one experienced and licensed property manager as a main point of contact, along with various support teams dedicated to your building. Guaranteed response times should be in place (i.e. one business day as a rule of thumb) and there should be a 24/7/365 level of service for emergencies.
2. What is the property management company’s overall infrastructure?
Does it have a convenient portal for owners to pay their monthly assessments and get documents online? Is there an organized way to file service tickets that is better than just leaving a voicemail to the property manager? Especially in today’s electronic age, having an online system to make payments, access documents and submit resident requests is key.
3. Does the company have experience with the more sophisticated aspects of property management, like accounting and legal experience?
No one usually thinks about these aspects of property management until there is a problem. Be realistic about what you can actually manage for your building yourself, and what you’ll expect from your property management company.
4. Does the property management company have vendor relationships that will ultimately benefit your building, in quality of service and in negotiated costs?
You can ask them about recently completed building projects for examples of their competence with doing work, or with more specific projects that may be relevant to your own building, for example, landscaping. Does your property management company have solid vendor relationships and preferred pricing that is passed on to your building? It’s worth asking the question.
As you can see from the above, property management costs are not as simple as they may initially seem. A “budget” property manager can actually easily end up costing you more money through ignored maintenance projects, slow emergency repairs, expensive and/or unprofessional contractors, and dissatisfied residents.
With more than two decades of success in the Chicagoland property management industry, we know what makes a good proposal. Contact us today to learn more!