One of the common issues that boards deal with is whether a contractor is providing adequate service. Before passing judgment on the service being provided by a contractor, the board should be aware of the exact specifications the contract requires. For example, if the board is unhappy that their landscaper is not weeding flower beds, they need to be sure that the contract requires weeding, and not just lawn mowing. Therefore, when entering into a contract, the board must closely review the specifications.
Once a contract is entered into, each board member should have a copy the contract, and routinely review the work being provided to ensure that the specifications are being met. Throughout the term of a contract, if the board feels that the specifications are not being met, the board should immediately notify the contractor in writing about the non-performance. From time to time a board may discover that an important specification was overlooked or is inadequate. For example, if the contact only provides for one shrub pruning once a year but the shrubs are growing faster than anticipated, the board should work with the landscaper to include a second shrub pruning, which while costing more, will solve the issue.
It is also important that the board, either itself or through its community association manager, keep regular lines of communication open with its contractors. In person meetings monthly, or quarterly, are the most constructive way to review service expectations. These types of meetings allow the board and the contractor to share feedback, and correct any deficiencies if necessary. A formal review at the end of each year also provides a forum for evaluation and ensures that both the contractor and the board are on the same page regarding the services being provided.
The best relationships are those that are two-sided with open dialogue. Successful boards will ask service providers to rate their experience with the association, and provide feedback to the contractor to help improve future dealings.