New Board members may question the selection of vendors used for various projects in the community, looking for ways to cut costs. Such inquiries can create friction with the more seasoned Board members, who feel their own judgment is being called into question. Its best to tackle this topic in the very first Board meeting: Initially address any mistrust that otherwise could linger and poison otherwise productive meetings throughout the year.
questions to discuss with your new Board members, helping them consider different
aspects of vendor selection.
Why not use a handyman
to do basic electrical work around the property? If damage should occur, days or months after
the work is done, the Board can be held responsible for using an unlicensed and under-insured worker. Also, it only takes
a phone call from an upset resident to bring in a county inspector. If the work is not to code, fines and
penalties will rack up along with the demand to redo the work. Also, if someone is injured in a dark area
(because of improper electrical work) the Association may be the one funding a
claim settlement, without the benefit of insurance.
Why not just force the
handyman to obtain the property insurance and do work that doesn’t require a
license? Proper insurance coverage
can be expensive, one of the reasons why handyman can do the work so
cheaply. All too often, false proof of
insurance documents are provided, or the contractor cancels coverage
immediately after being awarded a job, before any claims arise.
Why not have our
manager, who is locked in at a fixed rate, go around and do basic maintenance
(such as replacing light bulbs)? This takes the manager away from overseeing
critical issues, and also upsets homeowners unable to reach the manager quickly
in certain situations. Don’t under
utilize your manager.
Why not have my
fully-qualified friends or relatives do the work? Besides a perceived conflict of interest for
personal gain, you expose yourself to homeowner criticism if problems crop
up. It also creates opportunities for
things to become ‘personal’, clouding your judgment and undue issues with your
Why not have volunteers
handle some of the duties? The
proper liability and workers compensation insurance needs to be in place, as
waivers are not worth the paper they are written on. Parts purchased down the street may not be
commercial-grade, resulting in early wear-and-tear. The volunteer may unknowingly be skipping
crucial maintenance steps or fail to fully consider possible system failures.
Retaining the right person includes more than
just price. You are hiring for
specialized knowledge, for proper safety, for efficiency, and for insulation
against claims. You get more than you
paid for by not cutting contract corners.