Request For Proposals (RFPs) are something every homeowner association should use, whether or not they believe so. A request for proposal is used when an association is planning a project and they are shopping around for the best price. While this may seem like a very simple concept, there is more to it than you think.
Extensive research and preparation should take place before and RFPs are sent out. The reason for this extensive research is so you know exactly what you are looking for, and the proposing companies will know exactly what the deliverable will be. This process of research and preparation may also make your association aware of unforeseen obstacles. Through research, your association may become aware that the project they are pursuing is much more expensive than they originally thought. This research may cause them to alter their deliverables, or even reconsider the entire project. Early preparation will also force the association to begin planning the financial side of the project also.
Many associations use RFPs when looking for new management companies. This is one of the most beneficial times for an association to use RFPs. Associations can vary on 100 different factors, and all of these factors can affect the price of management costs. Requesting a management proposal without having a highly specified deliverable could result in proposals across the board. These proposals would also include a variety of services that an association may or may not need. Many association specify which services they will require, and the proposing management companies will break down their prices per service. They will also provide a total cost for their services.
Once you have developed the scope of your project and what deliverables you are requesting, you can begin researching companies to send your RFPs to. It is important to confirm that the vendors you select are; financially stable, have insurance and have all the current licenses relevant to your project. You should also check to see if your selected vendors are listed with the Better Business Bureau. All vendors should be given the same RFP in order for their proposals to be evenly compared. Before signing any contracts, make sure you have a professional review your contracts. Having a legal professional could save you time and headaches down the road. While RFPs can sometimes be complicated, they will provide you with the best opportunity for selecting the perfect vendor for your homeowner’s association. (11-24-2011)
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For any procurement that requires a competitive bid(s), this is the process that an area HOA uses:
1. Item(s) is first submitted to the responsible committee for review. (such as the ARC)
2. The committee submits recommendations to the Board for review.
3. The Board authorizes the staff to issue an RFP.
4. The bids received are reviewed by staff with the committee.
5. The preferred contractor bid is presented to the Finance Committee.
6. The Board then acts on the recommendations.