Projects - a word that can bring such doom and gloom when you’re a board member. Feel like your property manager is dropping the ball? That you’re losing control and losing money? Want to just throw your hands up?
The good news - it doesn’t have to be this way. Whether it’s a capital project or a quick repair, follow these 10 steps to minimize the stress, avoid costly delays, and make your life as a board member a little bit easier.
Step 1: Scope it out
First things first, get a clear understanding of the scope of the upcoming project. Is an elevator out? Is the boiler leaking? Are you gearing up for a Local Law 11 project?
Your property manager should have a comprehensive compliance calendar and preventative maintenance plan in place for your building. This will help them be proactive in identifying an issue, gathering any additional information that is needed, and best preparing you on scope and next steps.
Step 2: Bid it out
With the issue identified, it’s time to bid it out. Your property manager should gather about 2-4 bids, depending on the size of the project, to have some variety when it comes time to compare.
When it comes to vendors, watch out for kickback traps and shady deals. Your property manager should only engage fully vetted vendors that have proven time and again they are the best in their business - we’re talking top reviews, great referrals, and consistent professionalism.
Step 3: Compare and contrast
A good property manager will create a simple, yet informative comparison chart that highlights project scope, price, and ratings to make this process as smooth as possible for you.
Have a major project on your hands? It’s a good idea to get a legal eye to look over the bids as well.
Step 4: Make a decision
Once you’ve all reviewed the material, put it up for a board vote. May the best vendor win!
Step 5: Negotiate the price
The votes are in, and you’ve chosen your vendor. It’s always worth your property manager going back to the vendor to see if they can lock in a better price and finalize the project timeline right in the contract.
Step 6: Sign on the dotted line
Time to make it official. With the contract finalized, your property manager should continue to act as your mediator with the vendor, city, onsite staff, and others throughout the project. They are there to handle all correspondence, logistics, paper work, and board communications - keeping you free of stress.
Step 7: Permits, permits, permits
In other words, are permits needed? You’ll need to be sure all your papers are in order and everything is squared away with the city before any work starts. If you’re not an expert (and you shouldn’t have to be), this part can get pretty tricky pretty quickly. Having a team of trusted advisors on your side to take care of it all will give you one less thing to worry about.
Step 8: Keep everyone in the know
Will the elevator be out Friday? Will the hot water be off Tuesday morning? Whether it's a quick fix or a big project, a property manager that communicates well and informs all board members, owners, residents, and on-site teams of any disruptions is key to keeping building peace.
Step 9: Check the final result
The job’s done, now it’s time to check the work. Your property manager should sync with your on-site team to meet the vendor, make sure everything looks good, and give it that final stamp of approval.
Step 10: Close it out
It’s important your property manager stays on top of invoices, keeping vendors happy and your books in order. You never want an unpaid invoices to surprise you months down the road.
Projects can take up a good amount of your time as a board member. And while they’re not necessarily a fun part of the job, they don’t need to be a nightmare. Follow the steps above and always remember:
- Communication is key. There can be a lot going on, with vendor management, city coordination, disruptions, and more. A property manager that keeps everyone in the know, from the board to residents to onsite staff, will make all the difference.
- Be proactive. By working with a property manager that keeps you a few steps ahead, you can take back control - saving time, money, and headaches.
- Lean on your property management company. A good property manager will oversee every detail of your projects from start to finish, taking a lot of the work off your plate. At Daisy, the tech-driven, full service property management company, our team works together to make sure your projects run smoothly - from compliance calendars and timelines to vendor correspondence, paper work, permitting, resident notifications, and more. And the best part? You’ll get all the credit.