Great vendor management: Tips for condo corporations

Date Published : Jun-28-2022

Written By : Kim Brown

Keeping a condominium clean, functional and safe is a team effort. Boards and managers rely on vendors to deliver essential services and goods. Sometimes, condo managers who have been in the industry for a long time have strong relationships with trusted vendors, and can obtain goods or services without having to pay full price.

Regardless of whether you are looking for a new vendor, or want to maintain the good relationships you’ve already established, condominiums need a reliable system to manage vendors properly. Dealing with multiple vendors requires the corporation or association to be organized. Between managing various contracts, juggling payments, figuring out timelines, and answering questions, vendor management can get confusing if condos don’t have a way to streamline processes. A user-friendly online platform can make a huge difference for your condo. Below, we’ll talk more about vendor management portals, as well as how to build and maintain great relationships with your vendors. 

  

Vendor management is one key part of a bigger process

Vendor management entails collecting and verifying credentials, registering and archiving vendor information, and keeping your contact list up to date. This key pillar is the first of four in a condo’s accounts payable process. While the pillars can be organized in many different ways, and all of these steps may collectively be referred to as vendor management, virtually every condominium works through the steps featured below. 

Condo Control’s account payable feature functions as an end-to-end solution for seamless AP automation. Condos can issue bids, hire and collaborate with vendors, approve purchase orders, and make payments, all from one connected platform. Boards and managers love that all of the tools and information they need is organized and available whenever they need it.

  

Tips for 5-star vendor management

This is some of the best information we can offer to condominiums looking to streamline or improve the way vendors are selected, managed and paid.

  

1. Be clear about expectations and requirements

Good communication is always important when working with someone. Quick and clear communication prevents management and vendors from having to exchange unnecessary emails or make multiple phone calls.

When requesting bids or quotes, try to have a clear idea of what the project entails, when it needs to be completed by, what materials are needed, and how much the job pays. This way, vendors know exactly what type of work they are bidding for.

Condo Control’s vendor management portal lets admins communicate with vendors who have submitted proposals before the condo hires someone. This way, everyone can easily keep track of conversations and get the information they need before any important decisions are made.
 

2. Implement a bidding process that is easy for everyone to use

Quotes are necessary for many projects or purchases, but can take up valuable time for both boards and vendors. Instead of writing and emailing quote/bid requests, boards can use Condo Control’s vendor management portal to streamline and clean up the bidding process. All admins with authorization can see the bids that have been issued, as well as the quotes submitted by vendors.

Admins get to select who receives the quote request, and can edit or cancel quotes as needed. Since everything is done through the platform, it’s easier to submit and keep track of bids. Condos can even send letters to vendors who were not selected for a job. This way, there is closure and they aren’t left wondering if their bid was successful or not.

  

3. Choose the right vendor for the job

Once bids have been submitted, the board or management can start looking for the best vendor. Compare what each company or person has to offer, and how those offerings fit with your requirements.

  

Costs

Board members have a fiduciary responsibility to do what’s best for the condominium as a whole, and that includes smart money management. Setting reasonable budgets is an important part of operating a condo. There is only so much money available. At the same time, it’s not always wise to go with the cheapest option. If the price seems too good to be true, it probably is.   

Try to find a service or materials provider that will offer the best value. If an item costs a bit more, but will last for significantly longer, it’s definitely worth the investment.

Good vendor management permits for negotiations as well, but they are to be done in good faith. If possible, engage in negotiations that will result in a win for both parties.

  

Credentials
Vendors must have up-to-date credentials. Condos that hire contractors without insurance, or with expired compliance documents, put themselves at risk and may have to cover costs if accidents, injuries, or property damage occurs. Condo Control’s vendor management feature allows managers to mitigate reputation risk by requiring contractors to complete detailed profiles and include insurance details and tax ID numbers. Admins and vendors also receive reminders when compliance documents are about to expire.

Maintaining an online system makes it easy to vet and document vendor credentials. It gives condos more confidence that the people they hire are qualified to do the work that needs to be completed.

  

Commitment vs. competition

Great vendor management prioritizes long-term relationships over short-term gains. While an association or corporation should always look for a competitive price, building loyal relationships with good vendors is equally valuable. Not only do you know what you’re getting when you rehire a vendor, but, if you’ve been working with them for a long time, they’re often more inclined to give the condo preferential treatment.

Condos should get multiple bids for expensive items or projects. But if it’s a small job and you are confident that a trusted vendor will get the job done right the first time, go with the person you know.

    

4. Use purchase orders to document important information

Purchase orders are legally binding documents created by a buyer, in this case, the corporation or association, and provided to a seller, also known as the vendor. This document lays out the order details, including the quantity and types of products that the buyer needs, as well as payment terms and delivery details.

Purchase orders are filled before an invoice is issued so that both parties have proof of the items or work that was agreed to. Admins can create purchase orders through Condo Control. The digital PO is customizable, and management can include the deadline, costs, whether the PO needs approval, who the approvers are, notes to the vendor, and more. It’s also possible to link the PO to a service request or job, eliminating extra admin work for you or your team. 

Not only do purchase orders help condos keep track of costs and make invoicing simpler, but they give both parties reassurance that the deal they made will be fulfilled.

  

5. Ensure vendors are paid on time

The best way to keep good vendors happy is to pay them on time. They hold up their end of the deal, and your condo must also do the same. If you make a habit of paying vendors late, the more qualified contractors aren’t going to compete to take on work for the corporation or association.

Condo Control also has an invoice and payments functionality so that you can take care of payments without having to open another program or retrieve a pen and piece of paper. Simply click on our accounts payable feature, upload a PDF, JPEG or PNG of the invoice obtained from the vendor, and add all applicable information. Invoices can be paid in batches so that money leaves the condo’s bank account on specific days instead of at random. Invoices can also be added to POs. 

Paying vendors on time is part of your contract, and doing so shows that you respect the vendor’s time and work.

  

Conclusion

  

Efficient, automated workflows can elevate vendor management from good to great. Vendor management is a part of a larger accounts payable process, and it works best when all of the elements work together.

Good communication is another essential part of great vendor management. Be clear, specific, and keep all concerned parties in the loop. Things are always accomplished in less time when everyone is on the same page.

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