Homeowner associations rely on vendors for maintenance, supplies and a variety of other community services. A selection committee usually reviews cost, requirements, quality and reliability before recommending a vendor to the HOA Board. Because selection committees consist of different people, selecting the superior vendor may be challenging at best. Developing a vendor selection process can simplify choosing a vendor and help your HOA committees choose superior products and services.
Assess HOA Objectives and Needs – Determine your requirements and outline all the tasks. For example, tasks for general lawn maintenance are different from landscaping and lawn maintenance. Your request for proposals (RFP) needs to include all the duties that the vendor needs to complete. Consistent details help you compare “apples to apples” when you receive the quotes.
Identify Potential Vendors and Request Bids – When you have all the information for your request for proposal, identify all the vendors that could meet your needs. Conduct a high-level overview of this list to determine if there are obvious reasons to eliminate some of the vendors. Then, send your RFP to the remaining vendors.
Evaluate Proposals – A scorecard can be helpful in mapping vendor capabilities to your requirements. It’s rare that all vendors can meet every requirement. Using a weighting factor to calculate how well a vendor meets a requirement can be helpful in comparing the proposals.
Request Interviews – Schedule individual interviews after you narrow the selection list to the vendors that best meet your needs. These meetings are helpful in understanding the vendor’s personality, commitment level and work ethics.
Select Vendor and Negotiate Contract – Select the top-ranked vendor(s) to negotiate the final details and contract elements. It’s easy for an item to be omitted from a contract, so verify that all the association needs are included in the contract.
As with many other tasks that your HOA Board does, check your state laws and governing documents before you start the bidding process. They may contain provisions on the HOA bidding process, so be sure to include any specified requirements in your vendor selection process.
A Vendor Selection Process helps ensure a fair and complete evaluation for all products and services. It also creates consistency among your HOA selection committees when choosing the products and services that the association needs. Mapping out a selection process helps keep your community on the road to success.