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Consumers are able to compare and value products like never before using the internet; heck, I was able to decide on my recent vehicle purchase from the comfort of my desk. I did finally have to go to the dealer to haggle over the price and pick it up; but what if selecting community management services was as easy as picking a product from a catalog!  Not to oversimplify the process but all a Board has to do is ask themselves a few questions, utilize the support of Community Associations Institute; know what to ask of the candidate, and then decide.

Step 1  Decide what level of education the Board wants from their support professionals.

  • Does the accountant/tax preparer need to be a CPA?
  • Should the attorney specialize in
  • Association law?
  • What skills and knowledge should the Management Company provide?

Step 2 – Measure the Management Company

One of the key ways to evaluate a management company is through their affiliation with Community Associations Institute (CAI).   CAI offers a variety of accreditations, designations and certifications some of which are listed below.

  • Certified Community Manager of  Associations (CMCA)
  • Association Management Specialists (AMS)
  • Professional Community Managers (PCAM)
  • Accredited Association Management Companies (AAMC)

With every layer of CAI education a manager/management company achieves the Board can have more confidence that the opinions and services they receive are based on applicable laws, insurance requirements, best maintenance practices and an overall understanding and implementation of effective association management.

Step 3 – Select the Candidates

Ask your list of candidates; obtained through referrals, internet searches etc., to respond to some general questions.  Based on these responses a Board can determine the level of expertise and whether they have processes in place to complete tasks and the value the prospective management company puts on timely responses to its current and future clients.  You may go to www.cpmgateway.com to request an example questionnaire.

Step 4 – Interviewing

InterviewUsing the above process will enable you to determine which candidate to interview.  The ground work will also allow the Board to learn the most about your candidates in a 90-minute interview because you will be beyond the time-consuming discussion of basic services.  Your candidates will be able to discuss what sets them apart from other companies and to respond to situational questions that the Board can pose.

As in all industries there are management companies that are slow to advance and others that look for opportunities to improve themselves and their clients.  Using these steps I hope you will find the management company that meets your community’s objectives.