Dealing with Condo Politics

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by cbr9joe, Apr 22, 2008.

  1. cbr9joe

    cbr9joe LawnSite Member
    Posts: 17

    I have a condo account that has 36 units with residents averaging about 65 to 80 years of age. This is my second year servicing the account. My problem is this......NO ONE CAN GET ALONG!!!!!! They are constantly fighting over control. The condo is run by an association of four residents who are nice to work for, they tell me what they need, let me do it and then quickly pay. Now comes the headaches. This associations has bylaw's which state if a resident fences in an area of property they are then responsible for taking care of it. I did not know this last year so one of the fenced in areas I cut and trimmed. This year the association advised me to discontinue with mowing the fenced in area, so I have not mowed. Now the owner of the unit is screaming at me to mow his area and that I work for him. Now I am a nice person and this subject is elderly so I very kindly inform him of what the association had advised me. The next week I get flagged down by a granny caring a walker. She advises me to cut all the taxis bushes in her court yard down to 25" high. I inform her that the association wants bush trimming in June and I will trim the bushes but that if I cut them down to 25", removing 2/3rds the bush, they will most likely die. This is were her head starts spinning and green projectile vomiting comes out of her mouth. She then informs me I work for her and will do what she tells me to do. I politely excuse myself and leave her with I will consult the association on her request. Now I am getting people coming out of the wood work telling me one thing and others telling me to do the exact opposite.

    I know this trivial and I will continue to do what the association orders, they sign the check! But man the people sure know how to ruin a peaceful day mowing.*trucewhiteflag*
     
  2. BillyRgn

    BillyRgn LawnSite Member
    Posts: 248

    i was in the same situation, the prop manager told me that i only work for the association, and to disregard what others said. i would usually just try to please the people when i was approached, my usual line was "i will talk to George (prop Man) and work something out so we can take care of that for you
    *Note* Usually the people that complain to the contractor instead of the proper channels which would be the association or the manager because they want something done and they are not current in there condo fees
     
  3. Frontstreetlawns

    Frontstreetlawns LawnSite Member
    Posts: 168

    tell them that they are right that you work for them but just like the pres works for you. you have to work in the best interest of the association and need to follow your contact person
     
  4. djagusch

    djagusch LawnSite Platinum Member
    from MN
    Posts: 4,232

    I have this with a townhouse association. I tell the customer that all changes need to be approved by the associations BOD and ask if they know how to contact them. For the ones that say no I made a sheet of buisness cards with the BOD contact info and property managers to hand out.

    The BOD and property manager are the ones you need to keep happy. The residents there is always one that needs to be a pain. Just be polite so it doesn't blow up at ya.
     
  5. 04TurfT

    04TurfT LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 255

    gah I bet that is hard, If i was you I would do what the association PRESIDENT tells you and I wouldnt even acknoledge the old peopleobviously dont be rude to them, but just be polite and tell them to take it up with the HOA
     
  6. ncls

    ncls LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 441

    The HOA problem never stops. You can't be rude to them, they may be the next HOA president. I have been cutting for 14 years, and I will never take another HOA customer. 40 unit complex, 40 people tell you what length to cut the grass. I did'nt get enough mulch, re-do it. Don't put chemicals in my beds, I'm planting tomatoes.

    It has been my experience, that the specs for the property are vague, they try and get free work from you, and they will quit you for the first low-baller that makes an offer.

    Finish the season, line up other work, and move on.
     
  7. JohnnyRoyale

    JohnnyRoyale LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 616

    I agree. We will never step foot on another condo corp, or multi unit again. We did a few big ones in the past. And every time we showed up, a follow up visit would be required to pacify the residents. Just stupid little things. This game has enough challenges before the BS phone calls from "condo fee paying owners". In my honest opinion, Screw them-theres enough other "headache free" work out there.
     
  8. JimLewis

    JimLewis LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 6,842

    Sucks to be you, LOL.

    What you're experiencing is EXACTLY why I stopped doing all commercial maintenance of any kind about 6-8 years ago. Total B.S. most of the time. Too many different people to please, too little loyalty. I don't work for appartments, condos, builders, real estate brokers, property management firms, HOAs, etc. I strictly work residential yards and only for the actual homeowner himself. Anything else, fuggetaboutit!

    The thing I like about residentials is even though some of them are picky, you only have to please one or two people - max. Once you learn their idiosyncrasies, you're golden! Then they'll stay with you for years on end and hardly ever create any problems! I love it. I wouldn't have it any other way.

    Besides, the residential market is a LOT more profitable. Smaller total dollar amounts, but larger profit margins.
     
  9. JohnnyRoyale

    JohnnyRoyale LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 616

    The thing I like about residentials is even though some of them are picky, you only have to please one or two people - max. Once you learn their idiosyncrasies, you're golden! Then they'll stay with you for years on end and hardly ever create any problems! I love it. I wouldn't have it any other way.

    Besides, the residential market is a LOT more profitable. Smaller total dollar amounts, but larger profit margins.[/QUOTE]

    I totally agree with you. 15 years ago we started with resi only and in 3 years were up to approx 125 accounts. I had them trained to send me post dated cheques with their yearly renewal, charged them extra for everything, they paid on time most of the time, and life was great. Then I landed a commercial account, realized I needed to do 10 resi's for that money and made the transition (or progression i was thinking at that time) to commercial only. We now strictly servicing commercial, industrial, and government properties and have dabbled in townhomes and condos, and I will agree it is a different monster. Both have unique challenges, which is better-I dont know. But I do know what sucks, and thats townhomes and condos-no thank you. Just my 2 cents.
     
  10. MJB

    MJB LawnSite Silver Member
    from Wa
    Posts: 2,869

    I have one just like that and when they started in on me i talked to the President and he aggreed to send out a letter to each individual stating they are not allowed to bother me when I'm onsite. That I new my job and was doing what the contract states and if they stopped me for any reason their dues would go up, to cover my price increase for the hassles. It worked no more problems worth mentioning. But I know where your coming from. By the way I've had this one for 15 yrs, they still fight but only with each other.
    I smile and everyone seems happy with me now.
     

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