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Questions to Ask Before Hiring the Manager

By Lisa Iannucc

From time to time, a co-op, condo or HOA community may have to hire a new management company. It may be that the current firm just isn’t working out or the community may have decided to transition from self-management to an outside firm. Before inking a new contract however, there are a few key questions a board or hiring committee should ask of a prospective manager or management company.

Do You Have a Team?

Start the interview by getting to know the team or individual that’s being interviewed.

“Ask about their corporate structure,” says John Thiboutot, CMCA, vice president of The Niles Co., in Canton, Massachusetts. “Ask such questions as, “How many people will work with your property? Is there 24-hour emergency accessibility?”

The size of the property management team will determine how much they can take on. “This has a dramatic impact on how much a manager can take on for a portfolio,” says Nicholas Boit, president of Barrington Management in Arlington, Massachusetts. “Managers without additional internal support staff may only be able to handle four or five properties. Those that have a full support team behind them can manage a great deal more because they don’t have to deal with each issue that crosses their desk and many issues can be delegated to an assistant manager or one of the accounting team, or even the maintenance group of the firm (if they have one).”

If they do come with a staff, it’s vital to know how they are treated. “What does the firm do for its employees beyond the typical benefits package?” asks Boit. “A firm that does communal things to promote internal harmony makes for a happier firm and set of employees who will be servicing your needs. This might be as simple as summer barbeques for staff members or internal contests to promote comradery. These sort of events are equally important to the communication achieved through regular staff meetings.”

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