What is the first thing most community boards do when they manage some project? They manage the cost! The create Requests For Proposals (RFPs) which state the specifications of the work to be done and send it to at least three, preferably five, service providers. When they get the bids back, they carefully scrutinize the bids, concentrating on the two lowest, and select the vendor which they are the most comfortable with to do the job they want.
Is there anything wrong with that? No. That’s what they should be doing. But, a strange thing starts to happen as the project process continues. It’s almost imperceptible, but if you pay attention you will see it. People naturally want to make sure that there aren’t any untoward surprises, which is another way of saying cost overruns. They often get obsessed with the costs of the project. Mitch Frumpkin the President of CAI and founder of Kipcon has an informative blog on this Kipcon Webinar
It’s a good thing to focus on the money being spent, but not at the expense of the work being done. The first thing any board, or any manager, needs to concentrate on is not the cost but the quality of the work being done. The crucial point of any project that matters is whether or not it is done right, not did it come in on budget. The community members want their new roof, or landscaping, or Clubhouse redesign to be an upgrade to their lives. They don’t focus on the price tag. They don’t want to spend any more money than they have to, but the price tag is not what they see when the project is complete. IREM (Institute of Real Estate Management) has many resources on their website to help the bidding process IREM . CAI also has many tools (checklists, RFP’s, product referals) CAI as well that help take the guess work out of quality project management.
Always make sure that you are getting the best work you can afford when you do a project. It isn’t your only priority, but quality should be your first priority.
Someone once asked Aldo Gucci, scion of the Italian luxury brand, why his products were so expensive. “Very simple.” he said, “Quality is remembered long after price is forgotten.”