The success of your co-op or condo community largely depends on the vendors and service providers you choose - especially those you hire to execute larger, more involved projects that have the potential to be disruptive to the residents who call the building home. That’s why it’s so important for boards and managers to thoroughly review vendors before deciding which ones to engage, and to understand the short-term and long-term implications of those decisions. Big projects can entail a lot of frustration and wasted time if they’re not done correctly from the start - and that means hiring competent professionals with credible references and a solid track record of success.
With that in mind, here's what to keep an eye out for as your board-management team is considering a vendor partnership:
Reviews & Testimonials
- Positive reviews and testimonials are a strong indicator of reliability and quality; prioritize vendors with a deep bench of satisfied customers.
- The marketplace has long relied on word-of-mouth, but today, more advanced tools can help narrow the field and pair buildings with vendors more precisely, saving time, effort, and - most importantly - money.
Experience & Expertise
- Assess the vendor’s track record and expertise - particularly in areas crucial to your building's requirements. Your general contractor may have done an amazing job on your lobby remodel, but they may not be the best choice for an HVAC upgrade.
- Keep in mind that experience in similar projects or buildings can be a significant advantage.
Reliability & Responsiveness
- Reliability is a key factor in a long-term partnership - so it’s important to evaluate a vendor’s history of completing projects on time, as well as their responsiveness to urgent needs or challenges. This is where reviews, references, and referrals from other boards and management pros come in very handy.
Quality of Work
- High-quality work can lead to long-term savings - so investigate the quality of a prospective vendor’s past projects to ensure that it meets your standards.
- The cheapest option may be popular, but it isn’t always the best choice in the long run - so balance upfront cost against the quality and long-term value the vendor provides.
Communication & Transparency
- A vendor should be a partner in communication, keeping you informed every step of the way.
- Demand clear and transparent communication about processes, timelines, and costs. It is a two-way street - so be sure to establish clear communication expectations.
Alignment With Your Goals
- A vendor’s ability to align with your long-term objectives is crucial to achieving a positive outcome - both for specific projects, and for the relationship itself.
- Choose a vendor who understands your specific goals, whether it's sustainability, efficiency, or other priorities.
Amit Shah is CEO of Green Potential, an all-inclusive digital solution for expediting sustainable and cost-effective building improvements through vendor sourcing and financial assistance. Contact her team at email@example.com for more insights and support in your vendor selection process.