Vendor Relations Cultivating Rewarding Partnerships

Dealing with service vendors is a daily necessity for any condo development or HOA community; there are always things that need to be repaired, replaced, replenished, serviced, cleaned or renovated. Among the laundry list of vendors that Chicago condos should expect to work with are landscapers, painters, roofers, pavers, snow removers, elevator repairmen, boiler cleaners and many, many more. That’s why it’s vital for boards and management companies to establish strong relationships with its vendors.

Expectations and Connections

“Of chief importance is having a clear expectation of the desired outcome—either service or product or materials they are delivering—and communicating correctly is really critical,” says Donald W. Kekstadt, chief executive officer for Associa Chicagoland. “Vendors like to understand exactly what the client ultimately wants. If you continually provide that to them, they will succeed.”

Kim Merrigan, president of McGill Management, Inc. in Arlington Heights, says that meeting vendors in person is vital to establishing a good relationship from the get-go.    

“I am always in favor of face-to-face meetings, allowing them access to my entire staff and allowing them to have access and a relationship with the boards of the communities that hire them,” she says. “It’s more personal and makes the relationship stronger.”

A vendor who is treated fairly can be one of a condo’s biggest assets. In fact, an association who maintains good working relationships with their vendors could see the benefit at the time when the association is in most need of help. Lauren Hundman, president of Owl Management LLC in Chicago, has worked with hundreds of vendors over the years, and says it’s not too hard to keep things on a solid ground.

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