How many associations is the portfolio manager you assign to our association responsible for?
At Ability Management, our experienced managers with a full portfolio average about 9 associations. If that person has any more associations, it would be because there are multiple associations in one community. I have interviewed many managers who have had 17 or more associations, one manager with 25 associations, and most that I have met from other management companies seem to have 13-15 associations. That is too many associations to properly manage.
How often will my manager be at my association?
All of our managers are required to perform a formal “Property Check”, at a frequency called out in the contract. Based on the association’s size and amenities, some associations only want a monthly property check. Others want twice a month, and other want someone on site full-time. However, and I cannot stress this enough, your manager would be there as often as is needed to deal with any issues.
What are the cancellations terms in your management contract?
Ability’s management agreement requires only 1 days notice for the association to cancel, for any reason or for no reason. Ability must give the association 30 days notice to cancel. If the association wants to lock in the management fee for a certain number of months, of course we would work with you on that. Under no circumstances should you give any management company you hire more than 6 months to prove themselves to you, and your agreement with them should let you out of the agreement with no penalty after 6 months from the start date if you are unhappy for any or no reason. You absolutely should do this. Don’t get stuck with a management company that is not performing to your expectations.
Is your management fee based on the number of homes?
No. Our management fee is based on our experienced estimate of how much time your association should take our office team to provide the services and support that the Board expects. For example, an HOA with no or few amenities would take less time than an HOA with many amenities. If an association’s Board only meets a few times each year, that management fee would be lower than an HOA that has a Board meeting every month. An association that has a higher percentage of renters, who tend to cause more violation letters to be prepared and mailed, may have a higher management fee.
Is your management fee a “loss leader”, with the expectation that you will make your profits off of additional charges to the association each month.
We absolutely do not. We very, very rarely charge an association anything extra for the manager’s time, or for our office’s time. Exceptions would be a major project. A major area for abuse from other management companies is the extra “office expense” charges each month for copies, faxes, cell phone calls, long distance charges, postage, envelopes, on and on and on. That is why we have a fixed office expense each month. If your association does not have an onsite office.
How does your management company track calls from owners?
Ability uses an Issue Log, where we enter every phone call that comes in for a manager who is out of the office at the time of the call. The Issue Log contains the owners name, phone number, and address, and a description of the issue. If it is an emergency, the manager is called by our team. In all cases the issue is emailed to the manager who can read it on his/her phone. The Issue Log provides a method for me to monitor what calls are coming in, and how quickly they are getting resolved. Since I designed and programmed that system when I started the company, we have logged (and closed) over 23,000 Issues.
How often does your company produce vendor checks?
We print vendor payables checks every Tuesday, to make it easier for the small vendors and subcontractors who run tight on cash flow. I review every check and invoice, and sign most checks. A check will not be cut if it is not approved by either the manager or a Board member. Approximately one third of the checks are co-signed by a Board member, whom we mail the checks, invoices and stamped envelopes to. That is an association decision, as to whether I sign checks or not.
If an emergency check has to be cut outside of our normal weekly cycle, we always do that, at no charge, and normally the same day the check is requested.
Is the owner of your company a working Association Manager?
Yes, I manage 4 HOAs. I have been a full time resident of Naples since 2003. I am in the office every day, all day.