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Old 10-16-2012, 11:59 AM
Yarden Of Eden's Avatar
Yarden Of Eden Yarden Of Eden is offline
LawnSite Member
Join Date: Mar 2010
Location: Minneapolis, MN
Posts: 173
Trouble with management companies

I mostly just writing to vent, but I am also looking for some tips, maybe some information to make things less frustrating.

I have been in business for myself for four years, I have built a nice customer base of commercial and residential, along with some small townhome associations.

I am getting very frustrated in the bidding process with management companies that I have not worked with before. The ones that I work with now, I happened to get in with by a mix of luck, good timing, and chance.

I have had more than a handful of situations this season that I happen to know people on the board for various homeowner associations that are unhappy with their current service. They always want me to put in bids, but the management companies always fight it, they do not even want to entertain a bid from me.

In all cases but one, the customer demanded that my bid be considered, and the management company begrudgingly has allowed me to bid, but makes things very difficult. They rarely return my calls or emails, and I almost have to beg to get a spec sheet.

When it is all said and done, I hear from the person that I know on the board that I was the concensus choice among the board, but the management company pushed and pushed for someone else, or in some cases, flat out told the association who they were getting and that's it. I have even been told a few times that the company that the association was unhappy with in the first place was forced back upon them.

I have been the same price as the company who gets it, I have been a little cheaper, and in the most recent case, I was $7000 per year cheaper, and it is always the same result.

I don't like leaving money on the table, and I hate lowballers as much as the rest of you do, but I feel like unless I give away my services for a year to gain the trust (of my quality work and customer service) of a management company, I will continue to be swept aside for more expensive, lower quality companies.

Is there some secret that I do not know to being part of this exclusive group of contractors? Is it common practice to give kickback money to the management company if they keep giving you work?

I am running out of ideas and patience, and I am in total disbelief that a management company can just force any contractor at any price on an association.
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Old 10-16-2012, 12:49 PM
kawakx125 kawakx125 is offline
LawnSite Bronze Member
Join Date: Apr 2012
Location: lees summit, mo
Posts: 1,086
whats the point of even having a HOA if a management company just overrules everything? seems senseless to me, i'd be frustrated as hell if i were you.
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Old 10-16-2012, 02:57 PM
32vld 32vld is offline
LawnSite Gold Member
Join Date: Feb 2011
Location: Long Island, NY
Posts: 3,855
Early this spring a guy I know works for a HOA doing maintenance PT. He is allowed to do side work and encouraged to do so for the home owners. We work PT evenings at another place.

He started cleaning out beds and mulching at the HOA. He was the lowest of the low ballers. He knew that I did landscaping and he would talk to me about the work.

I would point out all the reasons why he needed to do the work at the going rate.

Well the LCO that was working there went and told him to knock off the low balling. This guy told the LCO to get lost. The LCO's father in law was the head of the board, or on the board.

All of a sudden this guy was getting threaten with losing his job. The screws were being turned on him so he stopped doing side landscape work.

Point is people on boards always have family/friends that they want to steer business to. That is the way of life.
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