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View Full Version : HOA - holy freaking cow!


TPnTX
03-19-2009, 01:28 AM
We're doing our first HOA this year. A 30 year old neighborhood full of old people, weirdos and back stabbing ********.

I have come to the conclusion that only disturbed people would even want to live in a zero lot community. Its like living in an ant hill.

I'm thick skinned and Im holding on to what I told myself in the beginning, "if you expect it, the only thing that counts is your reaction"

Well I'm venting here because this is the biggest pain in the butt you could EVER imagine. People actually wait for the sound of a mower to come out and point at something or tell you something or some just stare.

The the following day the emails...its really a no win situation.

topsites
03-19-2009, 01:47 AM
Yeah, yeah HAHAhaha!!!

I also had to, 2-3 years ago, find out for myself if commercial contracts were for me.
I was just GLAD I waited until my 5th year, just thinking about how much fun this would
have been in a first year, the experience helped me along some.

Yup, yup, the good news is I eventually did see the light, and I can laugh about it now.

FourTrees
03-19-2009, 03:03 AM
Serious pain, I keep considering getting out of commercials.Major bad day here today dealing with them.

Tinkerer
03-19-2009, 03:47 AM
When I was still in high school and mowing lawns in the surrounding neighborhoods I mowed for this retired farmer. He mowed it when he had time or energy and then would call me when he wanted me to do it. He wanted me to come over and do it NOW, as in right this minute. Plus, he had to watch me. That did it,,,, annoyed me beyond belief and I only mowed his lawn 1 or 2 more times. In the 90s when I went full time I mowed for this older lady who was retired and also used to farm. She had to watch me from inside the house. She seemed to remember how I did everything including how I nicked the metal siding on the pole barn with the trimmer when it had a plastic cutter head on. ANNOYED WITH BEING WATCHED I started mowing in circles going around and around the house. The comments subsided. Over all the years there must be a bunch of other annoying customers I couldn't stand. I got quite creative at coming up with reasons to drop a customer after 1-2 cuts, or even mid season. Usually I gave them notice.

lawnman_scott
03-19-2009, 07:43 AM
The majority of the people in a HOA are old ladies who are mad because their husband died and they had to sell the house they owned forever. So they take it out on anyone, and the mower is loud.

tyler_mott85
03-19-2009, 08:40 AM
haha. aww yes. HOA's.

When I first got out of highschool I worked for a lawncare company here in town. When I became crewleader I was given the title of "HOA Crewleader". You can imagine what the next two seasons of my life entailed.

Villas - 30 patios homes
Peninsula - 35 Homes
Coves - 40 Homes
Cloisters - 85 Homes
Thickets - 60 Homes

That is all I can remember now and that was about my weekly responsibility of mowing.
The Thickets was worse. It was the oldest community (homes and residents) and man they were pretty rough lol. We mowed one community for about two months. It had just been built a few years back but we were the first lawn company to be used through the newly commissioned HOA board. Imagine having to deal with HOA members but without them knowing what to expect.

AHHHH... I don't mow HOAs anymore.

yardatwork
03-19-2009, 08:41 AM
I do a 50 condo development with a board who votes on everything, etc. They hold random meetings about current issues. The board sends out emails and letters to notify the residents when we will be around and what we will be doing. The board also states that the homeowner is to leave us alone and to direct all questions to the board. However, we do get those random aholes who what something this way or that way and try to go against the mowing contract and policies. We do one of two things...1. We tell them to direct it to the board...or...2.We stop and tell them that what they want isn't part of the contract and if they want a certain thing done, we will charge them for it. Out of 50 condos, I'd say that 3 or 4 of them area a real PITA. The pay outweighs those who are a PITA!!!

MOW ED
03-19-2009, 09:01 AM
This is where Lawnsite shines. I never bid on a high class trailer park just because of the experiences of people just like you. So as painful as your experience is, suffice it to say you have taught me to stay away.

White Gardens
03-19-2009, 10:34 AM
This is where Lawnsite shines. I never bid on a high class trailer park just because of the experiences of people just like you. So as painful as your experience is, suffice it to say you have taught me to stay away.


Ha! is that an oxymoron. I know there are some better quality trailer parks, but it's still a trailer park. The units are still worth nothing after you buy it.

I hate HOA's. I dealt with more than a few when working for an LCO 6 years ago.

ALC-GregH
03-19-2009, 10:44 AM
what does HOA stand for? I thought it was Helping Out ********* after reading this thread. LOL :D

Sammy
03-19-2009, 01:21 PM
what does HOA stand for?

Hold Onto'yer Azz ! :laugh:

tyler_mott85
03-19-2009, 01:25 PM
Don't get me wrong. HOAs are some of the best money out there for maintenance crews! You mow dozens of properties at once with no drive time! It just takes a strong back bone to withstand some of the requests and comments that people make.

I don't mind doing HOAs as long as they're not the ONLY type of property i do. I wouldn't mind one a week. It would really help with sales but that would be all I would want to deal with by myself.

Tinkerer
03-19-2009, 01:41 PM
Home Owners Association. I'm sure a lot of other words could be used in place of those that would start with H O A.

cabotland
03-19-2009, 02:05 PM
Yardatwork has it right. I am about 95% commercial and about half of that is H.O.A.'s and condo associations. The potential for major PITA is certainly there but it can be easily mitigated with proper communication from the start. From the very beginning of the bid process it is clear that any comment, complaint or request for services that does not involve an immediate safety issue be directed to the property management company who will communicate with me. We make every effort to let the communities know what to expect and when to expect it and we are always open to suggestions and interested in hearing concerns if they are presented thoughtfully and through the proper channels. I attend at least one board meeting per year at each community we work for, to answer (and ask) questions. It is nearly impossible to make 100% of the residents happy but 9 times out of 10 if we have done our job correctly, the complainer is a chronic bitcher that the management company knows about. They usually say "just ignore them" and that's what we do.

In this economy the last thing I would consider is getting out of commercial work. These companies/ communities are required to keep their properties up to a certain standard and they collect money from tenants/ residents expressly for these services. They are required to spend this money! Sure, they may not install a new bed at the entrance sign this year but they aren't going to stop cutting or do it themselves or let vegetation grow in the mulch beds. They are going to hire someone to do this work and around here, I work to make sure that someone is me! Good luck to all this year!

Grass Happens
03-19-2009, 02:21 PM
My "day job" is working for a property management company that does 3 large condo associations. Yea, there are the PITAs, but mostly everybody knows about them, so everything they say is taken with a grain of salt. We're mostly ignored during our duties, which is a god send, but we do have some "watchers". If I were in a position to pick up a HOA, I totally would, Cabotland is right on the money! In fact, that is why I still have my "day job" It's a steady paycheck that's not going anywhere anytime soon!

ed2hess
03-19-2009, 10:37 PM
My "day job" is working for a property management company that does 3 large condo associations. Yea, there are the PITAs, but mostly everybody knows about them, so everything they say is taken with a grain of salt. We're mostly ignored during our duties, which is a god send, but we do have some "watchers". If I were in a position to pick up a HOA, I totally would, Cabotland is right on the money! In fact, that is why I still have my "day job" It's a steady paycheck that's not going anywhere anytime soon!

So the property manager runs a side business servicing the properties that he manages:confused: So how does the bidding work...,...

lifetree
03-19-2009, 10:55 PM
So the property manager runs a side business servicing the properties that he manages :confused: So how does the bidding work ...

It doesn't ... who said HOA's have to accept bids for their work ??

kaferhaus
03-20-2009, 12:00 AM
We do a bunch of them. Our contract (we have one specifically for HOA's and Condo's) states that residents are not to have contact with any contractor's personnel unless it's a imminent safety concern.

Complaints shall be forwarded either to the HOA board or property manager only. It further states that any "special requests" are at the resident's expense.

We learned long ago when one "asks for something" just to say "give me your number and we'll get back to you with a quote" They almost always just walk away.

If one is trying to register a complaint... "We're not the guys to talk too, talk to the property manager"

Here they're no more profitable than anything else and "some" of the property managers expect a "kickback" which we don't do period. One said she'd give us the contract but we needed to include her home in our service (property manager and she lived 10 miles away) No to that one too.... my luck she'd get caught doing someting esle, get investigated and I'd be in jail with her.

We've had them pull the same thing with landscaping.... gotta do their house too and no you can't bill the assoc. for it.

One got "busted" awhile back... she ended up with probation and the LCO ended up with a 6 month suspended sentence and had his license revoked.... in this state revoked is forever.

Whitey4
03-20-2009, 12:24 AM
My sister lives in TX. It's a nice middle class community of suburban homes, each with their own footprint, maybe 100X100 at most including the homes.

They have about 3 or 4 "approved" LCO's", but only one arborist. My sis does her own maintenance, but she has these fast growing hedges... forget the name... they don't so well as far north as I live, but I would liken them in growth habit to eunomous hedges.

This guy wanted 2 grand to do about 25 linear feet of these ... cutting them from about 15' to 6' along with some minor tree pruning. He said they were too thick for hedge trimmers, he'd have to use chain saws. I looked at them. The biggest branches might have been an 1 1/2". There were few that thick. But, it was either eat this guy's price, or... get the HOA to lodge a complaint.

I'd knock those things out in my market for $1000 at most and go home happy. I guess HOA's aren't so good for LCO's, but this guy is making a killing.

ED'S LAWNCARE
03-20-2009, 08:13 AM
Ha! is that an oxymoron. I know there are some better quality trailer parks, but it's still a trailer park. The units are still worth nothing after you buy it.

I hate HOA's. I dealt with more than a few when working for an LCO 6 years ago.

Not so fast there are a few that go for 500k to 1 mil... I believe they are in Fla.

Morningside
03-20-2009, 09:10 AM
TPnTx,
That H.O.A. wouldnt be in Coppell Tx would it? I maintained the exterior wall and entryways for an H.O.A. for three years. If the always changing association presidents managed to pay me on time then the annoyed residents whined about when and how i mowed. Three times in the last 12 months of service i received three checks. Finally i was paid in full, late. I dropped them when i could make up the revenue somewhere else.

AI Inc
03-20-2009, 09:14 AM
I dropped them when i could make up the revenue somewhere else.

Great advice for anyone reading this thread !

TPnTX
03-20-2009, 09:32 AM
no thats not it. This is just over 400 zero lot town homes. I shouldn't be complaining. I make good money, they pay on time through a prop. managment company. I am insulated to a large degree from the home owners. The email I get are forwarded to me. While I am amazed if you look at it from the numbers side only a handful complain.

I was just venting the is a huge neighborhood and I think we are doing a good job.

txgrassguy
03-20-2009, 05:37 PM
HOA's and POA's are my best contracts - pay on time, work is clearly delineated in our contract, most are close to the maintenance building and best of all is once the crews know what is expected I rarely have to be on site.
I have had a few "doozies" in my time on these sites. People needlessly complaining, wanting things done differently, wanting to just b.s. with me. Had an older person approach me once speaking quite loudly about wanting extra work. Before I could even say anything it was clear they didn't want to pay for the extra work - so I just shrugged and said "no speak the Englisee". Bear in mind I am very tan, have a thick fu manchu moustache and often am mistaken for being Hispanic. So the hubby walks away to his wife and says "that guy is just a beaner - he doesn't speak English". Just then my secretary pages me on my direct connect, in ear shot of the hubby and I proceed to explain, in English, what she was supposed to do. I look over and the guy is giving me a dirty stare. So I flicked a booger at him and drove the stand on away. Never heard from him again - and we just renewed a three year contract at that same POA.

fields of green
03-20-2009, 10:34 PM
what i have been facing here on long island with my residential this spring, i thank my lucky stars for my 2 big HOA's. I am in the midst of multi year contracts and i can tell you.... i want more of them!!!
YES, like stated earlier by others, i too have had a few run-ins with some residents in the past but the board has been on my side. as long as those people are on your side things don't get too bad. most of the residents are just miserable people.... i feel bad for you guys who bash the HOA's. i would die without mine. keep them happy and they will keep you happy. i guess its harder for some companies. my 2 places went through several companies in a very short amount of time before finding me. if you do what the contract says, your golden. good luck to all of us this year guys!

ed2hess
03-21-2009, 07:17 PM
what i have been facing here on long island with my residential this spring, i thank my lucky stars for my 2 big HOA's. I am in the midst of multi year contracts and i can tell you.... i want more of them!!!
YES, like stated earlier by others, i too have had a few run-ins with some residents in the past but the board has been on my side. as long as those people are on your side things don't get too bad. most of the residents are just miserable people.... i feel bad for you guys who bash the HOA's. i would die without mine. keep them happy and they will keep you happy. i guess its harder for some companies. my 2 places went through several companies in a very short amount of time before finding me. if you do what the contract says, your golden. good luck to all of us this year guys!

Well there is no question you have to bring the A game when dealing with HOAs. Fortunately the big companies simply can't respond quick enough and the lack of explanation for irrigation charges is usually the biggest problem. The board always rules but they can all get voted out. I can tell you there are some nationalities that just as soon see the grass not be cut.