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View Full Version : Keeping Townhouse Developments


jtrice11
10-04-2005, 11:27 AM
For those of you that mow townhome developments and associations, on average how long do you retain them? I've heard folks say around here that townhomes are like a revolving door with their maintenance companies because they are always looking for better service. Either its dissatisfaction from snow removal, weeds, whatever. Just curious if you are able to hang on to them for several years in a row.

PMLAWN
10-04-2005, 03:28 PM
No snow down here but if they are dissatisfied with the work, yes, they will go elsewhere. And should.
Produce good work and they are like any other customer.
3 HOA's and going on year 3 for 2, and year 2 for one. All have re upped.
First the number of LOC's that can handle them is much smaller than the # that are fighting for houses. 2nd the time to get new bids is a lot. I am the president of my HOA and it takes over 2 hours to walk the grounds to show what needs to be done. Why spend all that time and effort just to save all the neighbors a dollar a month on dues.

NNJLandman
10-04-2005, 04:47 PM
The same way up here. They rarely have the same company working on their property more then 1 or 2 full seasons. A lot of these places hold high standards i suppose, especially in the winter, they can be a real burden, there is rarely anywhere to put the snow you have tons and tons of walks and steps to shovel, then the management expects you to replace any damaged shrubary then your out the door. The have better luck with a new guy due to the fact they are so excitied to have the job at first they'll bust @** for em them as time goes on guy just gets sick of it. They usually hire the large companies since they're know for having more man power and experience in commercial properties.

Jeff

Fantasy Lawns
10-04-2005, 05:39 PM
<p>We must have it different down here ... I see the HOA board change members sooo much .... a new guy gets the lead ..... was never in on the original contract, pricing &amp; expectations .... he comes in expects Disney on a Walmart budget n boom .... out go the lights<br>
The best way to keep em .... even with HOA turnover ....&nbsp
<ul>
<li>Provide the service within the scope of the original contract ... up
grades or extras must be pointed out &amp; explained, they can be added to a
&quot;new&quot; contract if the new board see's these extras as part of the
normal scope of work ... than make the adjustment in scope &amp; price&nbsp;</li>
<li>Communication ....&nbsp; keep e-mail updates with everyone old &amp; new board ....
have one on ones with members of the HOA not just those on the board</li>
<li>Be active in the meetings ....</li>
<li>Be available on site ..... have monthly or quarterly walk thru's </li>
<li>Follow Up on the job to inspect your own employees work</li>
</ul>

</body>

PMLAWN
10-04-2005, 05:43 PM
<p>We must have it different down here ... I see the HOA board change members sooo much .... a new guy gets the lead ..... was never in on the original contract, pricing & expectations .... he comes in expects Disney on a Walmart budget n boom .... out go the lights<br>
The best way to keep em .... even with HOA turnover ....*
<ul>
<li>Provide the service within the scope of the original contract ... up
grades or extras must be pointed out & explained, they can be added to a
"new" contract if the new board see's these extras as part of the
normal scope of work ... than make the adjustment in scope & price*</li>
<li>Communication ....* keep e-mail updates with everyone old & new board ....
have one on ones with members of the HOA not just those on the board</li>
<li>Be active in the meetings ....</li>
<li>Be available on site ..... have monthly or quarterly walk thru's </li>
<li>Follow Up on the job to inspect your own employees work</li>
</>

</body>
And of these the greatest is COMMUNICATION!!!

ed2hess
10-04-2005, 05:50 PM
Constant communications with the HOA board. There is always some problem to be handled each week. The handling of irrigation is very critical as well as staying ahead of lawn diseases and pest. We only got one but we have had it 5 years. The property manager wanted the HOA to go with a lower bid this year but the association stayed with us. Obvious, we ain't getting any raise this year. I would like to have 20 of these units but low bid wins so you got to wait until the property errodes to get a bid.

GreenUtah
10-04-2005, 05:59 PM
I would agree that the most difficultly is found with revolving leadership. Remember that in most of these situations, the president and board are unpaid property managers charged with getting everything for nothing. Generally, just about the time you have a president broken in, with a realistic goal for their budget, the door revolves and you get a new one with, as Fantasy put it, Disney dreams on a Wal-Mart budget. The more inexperienced they are with management, the greater that chasm will be. Expect six months of that person looking for a way out of your agreement as they try to establish their superior management style to the person prior. An unfortunate "throw the baby out with the bathwater" type of thinking that is all too common in the volunteer novice style. Sign long term agreements when the going is smooth in your first year so that you can weather and break in these individuals as they come along. Eventually, if you are practicing your craft correctly, they'll come to understand that you are helping, not working against them. Communicating with every ally and foe that is willing to talk to you or your people and keeping tight notes about those conversations is critical for long term success on HOAs. How and where you do that is up to your particular style, but make sure that you have that open line outside of the president or you'll find yourself fighting off battles you never saw coming.

PMLAWN
10-04-2005, 06:18 PM
Remember that HOA stands for home owners asso.
These are homeowners that have a vested intrest in the vaule of their home and the way the hood looks has a lot to do with the vaule of the home. Explain that every dollar that they save will have a tenfold effect on the vaule of their property, only to the bad.

Jay9437
10-04-2005, 07:30 PM
Remember that HOA stands for home owners asso.
These are homeowners that have a vested intrest in the vaule of their home and the way the hood looks has a lot to do with the vaule of the home. Explain that every dollar that they save will have a tenfold effect on the vaule of their property, only to the bad.


Well said! HOA are very hard to work with.......want something for nothing and expect it. They think it's a priviledge to work for the neighborhood.

mmacsek
10-04-2005, 07:41 PM
We work for a condo association for the 3rd year. The officers were residents of the assoc. They just hired a property management firm to "run things." The property management firm also bought a property maint. company and will now provide this service. The management firm has not contacted me about where to send billing, who the contact person is , etc. So communication is very important whether it's a HOA or not. But communication is also a 2 way street. We shall see what happens. Matt

nelbuts
10-04-2005, 10:43 PM
Down here they are condos and I have some right now going on their 6th year. I lost one a few months ago on a back room deal and I had it for four years. First commercial I had lost in six years. Lost one 7 years ago and had that one for three years.

I make sure I take care of my commercials first because they are so much money. Right now my mix is about 60% commercial and 40% residential.

AlpineNaturescapes
10-22-2005, 11:22 AM
We have 3 HOAs plus some apartments. Seems to me that we keep the places looking sterling or much better than they used to, but with the HOAs seems like there is always someone who doesn't like something or thinks it should be done cheaper, and they are the ones who seem to rise to power because no one else wants to deal with it. Then comes the change! Had one for 2.3 years but the new president was making waves even before she became pres, and they seemed to want extra services for free this year, so I finally let um go. My remaining one across the street looked better all summer, but they have Mr Perfect coming into power - I don't know if I can survive him. They have an automatic rotating presidency every year. Even though I have heard him say I am excellent, I know he is looking elsewhere - very frustrating. My new one this year said they have never seen it look so good in August, but they have been real quiet as of late - maybe scared I will raise prices - we'll have to see. Apartments always want the cheapest. I do it cheaper than the previous guy because I have better equipment, but since they don't worry as much about looks, they don't want to bind themselves into a full scale contract with weed control etc. So then I'm on a weedy property, which I don't like. Ideas?

rodfather
10-22-2005, 12:15 PM
We don't even reply to invitations to bids on them anymore. Too much in-house bickering and back-door stabbing. Absolutely no loyalty. Complaints up the wazoo. Last one we had I felt like I had 442 bosses at any given moment (that doesn't include the officers btw).

I'll take commercial or single residential anytime over HOA's, townhomes, condos, etc., you name it.

cborden
10-22-2005, 01:09 PM
Just submit a fair priced bid and don't worry about it. Most H.O.A. boards around here change every January and politics play a big part. Every new board member has a friend or knows someone in the business, it's not right, but that's just how it is. I use what connections I have, and why not? business is business. :)

LwnmwrMan22
10-22-2005, 01:23 PM
We don't even reply to invitations to bids on them anymore. Too much in-house bickering and back-door stabbing. Absolutely no loyalty. Complaints up the wazoo. Last one we had I felt like I had 442 bosses at any given moment (that doesn't include the officers btw).

I'll take commercial or single residential anytime over HOA's, townhomes, condos, etc., you name it.



This is my attitude too. I bailed on all of mine about 4 years ago, just told them I was doing strictly commercial accounts.