As anybody who’s ever been to an “all you can eat” sushi buffet can tell you, bigger isn’t always better, and if “more” is mediocre, sometimes you’d rather have less. The same applies when it comes to property management companies. Management firms come in all shapes and sizes, and offer different items on their service menus. When negotiating (or renegotiating) your building’s management contract, determining the type of company that is the best fit for your particular community is an important decision, and one that deserves a great deal of careful consideration and critical thinking.
Big or Small?
There are certain universal needs that all buildings and homeowner associations have, but individual communities are different, and want different things from their management companies—so there’s really no right or wrong answer when discussing what kind of company is best for your building.
There are pluses and minuses for both large and boutique management firms. A large firm may offer more services, but be slower to give client communities much hands-on, face-to-face attention from individual agents. A small management company might have the personal touch, but get stretched too thin if it takes on more clients than it can handle. Although most management companies would like to think they can offer their clients the best of both, it’s still up to boards to figure out what size company works best for them and then explore the best management company for their needs.
“The most important thing for a board of directors is to decide what they want and what they need. While both large and small firms offer the same and some unique services, most important are who the firm’s principal players are,” says Robin Habacht, president of Monticello Management, Inc., which operates in both New York and New Jersey. “Much like any potential employee to be hired, a company should be reviewed like a resume for the skill-sets it offers in terms of its personnel—not just the amount of personnel it has.”
As president of Wentworth Management Group, which handles over 250,000 units in 12 states (including New York and New Jersey), Michael Mendillo is in a position to explain the pros of using one of the big guys to manage your building or association.