THE QUESTION ALWAYS IS: WHAT IS THE COST? But is it the RIGHT question ????…………………….the answer is NO – Article by Carl Brown, RCI, RRO
Regrettably most HOA boards seem fixated on the bidder’s price as the most important item for selection of a service provider. While soliciting competitive bids for major services is commendable, the process is often poorly organized, resulting is less than complete satisfaction for one or both parties to a contract.
Too often the process starts with an RFP (Request for Proposal). When a service provider receives that form they translate it into “what and/or how do you propose (process, systems, materials, etc) to do this work”. The RFP results in “bids” that vary from apples to lemons and everything in between. How can the HOA board compare these proposals with limited or no knowledge of the trade or technologies involved? That leaves them with only one way to compare and select vendors and that is by price. Boards commonly believe that all roofs are equal and all roof contractors are equal; they are absolutely Not.
THE REAL QUESTION HOA’s SHOULD ASK IS: HOW LONG WILL IT LAST?
The proven, best process for obtaining true “bids” is by using an RFB (Request for Bid). All vendors are provided with full specifications describing what the HOA wants to purchase including what work is to be done and when. That requires the board to select the services and products they determine best for the property in advance. That process can be done in a calm business-like atmosphere, well in advance of a major project like roofing, siding, decking, painting, etc with input from the community. HOA boards are usually quite surprised to find they can obtain a low-slope roof system with twice the life for less than 50% more investment, resulting in lower reserve contributions over the long term. Directors must do their diligence and spend the time to understand the basics of common HOA maintenance systems.
Therefore, using a valid process (RFB) the board and the community owners can benefit from competitive bids for the Same Work and Process. They can benefit from modern technology uncovered in the investigation process thru independent consultants and suppliers. Beware of those who may have a hidden agenda such as a commission at stake.
When HOA boards have wasted their valuable time (and the manager’s time) soliciting and reviewing “bids” that are not equal, many finally turn to independent consultants to help them thru the major decisions they are responsible for making. Why would anyone assume the potential personal liability for major roofing or decking projects without professional assistance? The bottom line is most HOA boards don’t know what they don’t know. Finding an experienced professional is just a phone call away; via CAI & CACM.
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