One of the critical duties of a community association’s board of directors is choosing an effective, professional community management specialist (CMS). This person or business would work closely with the board of directors, community members, and outside contractors and vendors to ensure the community is well cared for. The goal of a CMS should be to protect the community’s shared assets, increase property values, and nurture an overall positive experience for those living in the community.
With that in mind, selecting the best community management specialist is crucial. When interviewing a prospective management specialist or community management company, the community’s board should know the prospect’s experience, range of services, staff, and approach to business.
Here are some essential questions to ask when interviewing a community management specialist candidate.
First and foremost, you should know how long they have been in the business of community management.
Whether it be an HOA or condo, your community association deserves someone with a wealth of experience in the industry and a good reputation. Ideally, you want a CMS with references that can be easily checked. But, more, you want a CMS with an established record of success.
These would be the values the prospective CMS organization lives by when conducting business. You should be looking for one dedicated to its clients and aims to provide above-average service. Suppose every community management service organization member adheres to these same values. In that case, the board of directors and community-as-a-whole should expect to receive the same level of service across the board.
A CMS’s processes can help define how effectively their business and your community will mesh.
When considering a community management specialist, find out what types of processes they have in place and how those will integrate into your community. Is it a process that makes sense to you and seems to work in the best interest of your community? Have they used these same processes successfully in other communities?
If your prospective CMS has a good track record with its processes, it could be a good choice for you.
Specific business organizations, such as the Community Associations Institute, assign designations to community managers that help define their particular training, breadth of knowledge, and experience. A good CMS should have staff that can list titles such as AMS (Association Management Specialist), CMCA (Certified Manager of Community Associations), or PCAM (Professional Community Association Manager).
The CMS business itself should be designated an AAMC (Accredited Association Management Company), which indicates they are considered an outstanding business in the community management industry.
What structure does your CMS offer? For example, do community managers have assistants? Is the accounting department devoted to just accounting duties, or are their responsibilities more spread out? Is there a community support team available during the day to assist community members and provide after-hours services?
You want to be confident there is a CMS staff in place that is both capable and available.
Up-to-date technology is crucial to running both businesses and communities these days. You’ll want a CMS that takes advantage of communication and business technology to ensure everything runs smoothly and offers simple member payment options, easy access to information, and effective communication between community members and management.
Does the management company have an online portal for all members? Can community members review their statements and file maintenance requests through these portals?
These should all be standard options these days.
Different CMS businesses offer varying services so boards can select the ones that best fit their community’s needs. For example, some communities will want a full-service CMS experience. Others may need only accounting or operation services.
Find out what your prospective CMS offers and if there is a range of options available. Then determine how those fit with your community’s particular needs.
Last but by no means least, how does your prospective CMS handle the care and maintenance of your community?
Your community’s governing documents outline what needs to be maintained. Can the CMS meet those expectations? Do they have a roster of trusted vendors and contractors they use? Are these vendors and contractors adequately licensed and insured?
If the CMS has the information readily available at the start, you can have greater confidence in their ability to handle your community’s needs.
If your community is looking for a community management specialist who understands your needs and has a history of proven success, Henderson Association Management is your company.
To learn more about how we can support your community, give us a call or submit a contact form!