Problem with new property manager at large account?

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by Lawnmedics, Jun 19, 2004.

  1. Lawnmedics

    Lawnmedics LawnSite Member
    Posts: 95

    We have a contract with a homeowners association for lawn care. It covers all 91 units and the common areas. The homeowners have been very happy with us. They have given over the responsibility of the bill paying to this property manager. The new property manager said to can us and go with their people for lawn service. The homeowners said no. Then the drama began. They have bogged us down in paper work. For insants they have lied to us and the homeowners about how long they have to pay. Spent three weeks hearing from them that the check is in the mail. Like a shmuck spent three weeks looking in the mail for the payment. Then they called and said we needed to send our insurance info. before they would issue a check. This was sent to them twice by us and the homeowners association. They said it was misplaced and the computer would not let them process our bills. We talked to the homeowners and they were able to get a check FedEx'd to us. The property manager has now told us that they will take as much time as they allowed to process and issue our checks. We have another 2 thousand in planned side jobs at this property over the next two weeks. We feel like they are trying to run us out and bring in thier own people. The homeowners are behind us 100% but have a contract with the property manager. Should we continue the side work and contract. Does anyone have experience with this kind of thing?
     
  2. impactlandscaping

    impactlandscaping LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,332

    I'm not sure, but check to see if your existing contract was still "valid"( in the terms of the new PM, not yours) after transferring to the property manager from the HOA. Next, of course the PM wants to can you so he can use his own group of guys for some kickback from them.The whole BS with payment is to try and force you to cancel the contract and move on. Let the residents know what is going on with the service and payment arrangements, and also let the PM know you will be adding late payments and interest to his account until paid in full. If they are paying in-house, it should not take more than 2 weeks or so to get paid from the invoice date.... Hang in there..BTW, how long have you had this particular contract?
     
  3. Lawnmedics

    Lawnmedics LawnSite Member
    Posts: 95

    Over one year. The HOA is behind us nut feels caught in the middle.
     
  4. Envy Lawn Service

    Envy Lawn Service LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 11,062

    Lousy, stinking, rotten situation for sure! I'm with Impact on this one though. I think the new manager is trying to "hassle" you out of the job. As for what I would do... god I don't really know. Never been faced with that one before. YUCK!

    I would probably compose a letter and mail 91 copies of it. One letter direct to each memeber. It would be short, sweet and to to not bog down the reader. Jump right to the point about what this PM is doing and better yet WHY.Then ask for a private session/meeting for the purpose of asking the HOA how this should be handled as a closing remark. Encourage there input for a group solution that benefits all.

    Good or not, that's the best idea I can come up with, never having had the problem.

    The HOA should stick together and clear this up for you with the new property manager. Once you get the right message across and they become proactive, they won't feel 'caught in the middle' anymore.

    Once 91 households start pissing and moaning with the new property manager he should be quick to straighten up his act.
     
  5. lawnjockey51

    lawnjockey51 LawnSite Member
    Posts: 132

    Plenty of good fish'n in Florida ... Take the plick PM fish'n ... don't forget to bring that 2nd anchor ....
     
  6. cincymower

    cincymower LawnSite Member
    Posts: 19

    As a former property manager, here's my advice when dealing with HOA's and Condo Associations.

    (1) Develop and maintain a good relationship with the board president, and to a lesser degree the other members of the board. The president usually calls the shots. There is no point or benefit in sending a letter to all of the HO's, and a lot of board presidents will be annoyed that you didn't just deal with them, they were elected to represent the HO's. Probably the best thing you can do is make it a point to speak to the board president weekly, if only to keep in touch and let them know you care.

    (2) Expect to be paid on a 30 day cycle. Anything paid earlier than that is gravy. There are a lot of reasons why a payment can be delayed, from red tape to an unexpected bill to late payment of assessments by the ho's. HOA's don't usually have a lot of extra cash lying around, it's tied up in CD's if they manage it well. There is no extra money if they don't manage it well. If you want to charge a reasonable late payment fee it better be specified by you in the contract. Most contracts I dealt with were written by us and never said a word about when the contractor would get paid, much less anything about late fees.

    (3) Be prepared for complaints. I only do residentials now and almost never get a complaint. When I managed properties, I'd get complaints constantly. Some is due to quality of work, but much really isn't. People are pissed off at the HOA because they think their fees are too high, or they had to take down a bird feeder or whatever. They take it out on you. Also, lots of condo associations have retirees who seem to have nothing better to do than nitpick your work.

    That being said, when you do get complaints, you need to be all over them. I was amazed when I first started out with how often the landscaper wouldn't even return my calls much less address the problem. Return the call promptly. If it's a valid complaint fix it NOW. If you don't think it's valid, discuss it with the PM or board pres.

    (4) Don't make pita residents your problem. Deal with the board president. Usually the board is well aware of who the pita's are. Remember, the board is going to award the contracts, not the property manager and not the pita.

    When it comes right down to it, the property manager is nothing but a glorified gopher. If you are in good with the board, they will stick up for you and protect you. The number one thing that most HOA's need to deal with is landscaping, and if you do a good job you make their job that much easier.

    Lawnmedics, you are on the right track because you have a good relationship with the important people, namely the owners. Be patient and don't do anything stupid to get fired. Keep mentioning to the president in a professional way that you are still having problems getting paid in a timely fashion. He will then keep bringing it up with the PM. If they like you more than they like the PM, the PM will probably be the one looking at a contract termination. Good luck!
     
  7. LwnmwrMan22

    LwnmwrMan22 LawnSite Platinum Member
    Posts: 4,372

    Just another reason I quit dealing with townhomes or any other type of association. You'd get people complaining to the board or prop manager, then he/she would call you, say "I know this isn't really a problem, but I have to call you" and you'd go right on doing the same work.

    Usually too many people sitting around looking out their windows wondering why you didn't mow 5-10+ acres with a push mower.
     

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