The True Cost of Managment

By Karen Savereux, CMCA

So, what is the true cost of self-management? One of the most common comments we address when we talk to potential clients is, “We can’t afford professional management”. Is this really true? Let’s take a closer look.

If we delve a little deeper into what it takes to run an association, we find that in some cases it requires a large amount of time and energy. Dealing with compliance issues, delinquencies, and managing vendors are no simple tasks. Who will do all of this? The board? A committee? In our experience these tasks usually fall on the one or two people willing to shoulder the responsibility. My next question is, “How is this equitable?” If your neighbor is sitting back and not contributing his/her time, and doesn’t want to increase the assessments to cover the cost of management, the few willing folks are basically paying for the entire administration of the community. Fair? Not in my world! The willing volunteer needs to ask them self how much my time is worth and is it reasonable for me to bear the entire cost of running the association. The cost of doing business in an association is intended to be shared equally by all members.

The board of directors is charged with maintaining the property values of their community and basically running a multi-million real estate corporation. I personally don’t know anyone who would jump in and try to run a business they know nothing about. Though volunteers generally have the best of intentions, in many instances they just don’t have the level of expertise and knowledge it takes to run the association. We see a lot of board members simply burn out by trying to do it all themselves.

A professional management company can provide experience to an association so that the board does not have to continually re-invent the wheel. Professional management can also keep the association’s risk of unknowingly violate the state or federal laws.  These change from time to time and if you don’t know where to look or how to find them, it’s easily lag behind the times.

Bottom line is should the cost of managing an association fall on just one or two or should it be spread out among the whole? I know what I would prefer, how about you?