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Elevate Your Vendor Relationships: The Art of Accountability and Constructive Feedback

In today’s competitive landscape, the quality of services vendors provide can make or break an organization. The relationship between an association and its vendors is not just transactional; it’s a partnership that requires nurturing. This partnership can only thrive in a culture of accountability and continuous improvement.

The Cornerstone of Accountability: Objective Evaluation Criteria

Before diving into performance assessments, it’s crucial to establish a solid foundation. This begins with setting clear and objective evaluation criteria that align with both the vendor’s responsibilities and the community’s expectations. 

Criteria such as responsiveness, timeliness, quality of work, adherence to contractual obligations, customer satisfaction, and communication effectiveness serve as the yardsticks by which we measure performance.

By defining these specific performance indicators, associations can eliminate subjectivity and bias, ensuring that evaluations are based on measurable outcomes. This objectivity is the cornerstone of accountability, allowing for fair and meaningful evaluations that contribute to a culture of excellence.

The Anatomy of a Comprehensive Performance Assessment

Once the evaluation criteria are in place, the next step is to conduct regular performance assessments. The frequency of these assessments depends on the scope and duration of the vendor’s services. Communicating the evaluation schedule to vendors well in advance is crucial, setting the stage for a transparent and collaborative process.

During the assessment, your association management team will gather data and feedback from a variety of sources, including community members, residents, and internal stakeholders. This multi-faceted approach ensures a comprehensive evaluation, capturing the full spectrum of the vendor’s performance. 

Associations should document specific positive and negative instances to support the evaluation process. Accurate records of any issues or concerns raised during the evaluation period serve as a basis for objective feedback and facilitate productive discussions with vendors.

The Power of Constructive Feedback

Feedback is the lifeblood of improvement. However, it’s not just about pointing out flaws; it’s about providing constructive criticism that vendors can act upon. Timely and specific feedback that highlights strengths and development areas is essential. This feedback should be presented respectfully and supportive, emphasizing the importance of open dialogue.

Associations should encourage vendors to share their perspectives on the feedback received. This two-way conversation fosters better understanding and ensures vendors feel heard and valued. 

Moreover, associations should offer actionable steps or recommendations for improvement, serving as a guiding light for vendors striving for excellence.

Navigating Performance Hurdles: The Role of Improvement Plans

When vendors are falling short of expectations, vendor management improvement plans come into play. These plans outline specific objectives, performance targets, and timelines for vendors to address identified areas of improvement. Schedule regular follow-up meetings to track progress and provide ongoing support. These plans serve as a roadmap, maintaining a collaborative approach between the association and the vendor.

Celebrating Excellence: Recognition and Incentives

While addressing areas for improvement is essential, recognizing and rewarding exceptional performance is equally important. Acknowledging vendors who consistently deliver outstanding services can take various forms, such as certificates of appreciation, testimonials, or public recognition at association events. Incentives like extended contract opportunities or performance-based bonuses can also motivate vendors to strive for excellence.

Goodwin and Company: Where Accountability Meets Excellence

Vendor accountability and performance evaluations are not mere checkboxes to tick off; they are strategic tools for building a culture of excellence and continuous improvement. By implementing objective evaluation criteria, conducting comprehensive assessments, providing constructive feedback, and recognizing exceptional performance, associations can elevate their vendor relationships to new heights.

Are you ready to take your vendor relationships to the next level? Goodwin and Company offers expert consultancy services to help you implement effective vendor performance evaluations and foster a culture of accountability and excellence. Contact us today to learn how we can help you achieve your organizational goals.

benefits of an HOA

The Challenges & Benefits of HOA Communities

More than half of the owned households in America belong to a Homeowners’ Association (HOA), communities that have long been a topic of both admiration and curiosity. While they offer undeniable benefits such as enhanced property values and access to amenities, they also come with potential challenges, as any living situation does.
Let’s delve into the nature of HOA communities, exploring their advantages and discussing the challenges they can present.

HOA Benefit: Enhanced Property Values and Maintained Aesthetic

Picture a neighborhood with lush green lawns, perfectly trimmed hedges, and beautifully maintained exteriors. This cohesive upkeep creates a sense of pride and fosters a desirable living environment.
One of the most prominent benefits of living in an HOA community is the consistently well-maintained aesthetics. HOAs typically enforce guidelines on home exteriors, landscaping, and common areas to maintain a visually appealing environment. This attention to detail means increased property values. Communities with regular maintenance schedules tend to attract more buyers and go for higher prices.

Challenge: Rules and Regulations

HOA communities are known for their extensive regulations designed to maintain uniformity and uphold community standards. Say a homeowner wants to paint their house a unique color, but the guidelines permit only a limited palette of approved colors: this could cause friction.
Some prospective residents might find the rules overly restrictive, impeding their personal freedoms and creativity. It’s important that residents thoroughly review and understand the rules before committing to an HOA community, to be sure lifestyle preferences like these align. A misalignment here means trouble down the line, so it’s important for both the board and the prospective resident to be as transparent as they can about the fit.

HOA Benefit: Access to Amenities and Services

Consider a family living in an HOA community boasting a sparkling swimming pool, a fully equipped gym, and a clubhouse available for hosting events. These amenities offer not just convenience and entertainment but a way to build connections within the neighborhood.
HOA communities can offer a range of these services to enhance residents’ quality of life. They could include swimming pools, fitness centers, playgrounds, tennis courts, clubhouse facilities and even maintenance services. They provide convenience, recreation and social opportunities, meaning residents can enjoy a well-rounded lifestyle without ever leaving the community.

Challenge: Financial Obligations

Living in an HOA community entails financial responsibilities in the form of monthly or annual assessments. These fees contribute to the maintenance, repairs and improvement of common areas and amenities.
While these contributions ensure the community’s upkeep, some homeowners may feel a financial burden, especially if there are unexpected assessments or increases. A homeowner might face a sudden special assessment for major repairs to the community’s infrastructure, straining their budget and disrupting their financial plans.
The board can always extend a bit of grace to a struggling homeowner, giving them a payment plan or making some other arrangement that protects both parties. In the end, it’s important to live up to our commitments, but just as important is to show kindness and understanding to our neighbors.

HOA Benefit: Community Engagement and Social Cohesion

Imagine a neighborhood where the residents come together for annual block parties, community garage sales and seasonal celebrations. These events would forge a bond among neighbors, fostering a tight-knit community spirit that enriches the lives of all involved.
HOA communities foster community and encourage neighborly interactions with regular social events, community gatherings and committees creating continuous opportunities to get involved, build relationships and collaborate on shared interests. This engagement can lead to lifelong friendships and a strong support system right at home.

Challenge: Potential Conflicts and/or Power Dynamics

Imagine a dispute between a homeowner and the HOA board over a proposed change to a community rule. The homeowner believes the rule is outdated and restrictive, while the board still maintains that it serves the best interests of the community. This conflict can escalate if not handled effectively, straining relationships and eroding trust among residents.
Power dynamics can sometimes create tension and divisions within the community, particularly if there is a perceived lack of transparency or responsiveness from the board. Resolving conflicts in a fair and constructive manner means open communication and willingness to find common ground.

Goodwin & Co. Can Help With Any HOA Challenge

Navigating the complexities of HOA communities requires sound guidance, and the team at Goodwin and Company is here to assist you. Our experienced team specializes in HOAs and their administration, providing comprehensive support for any HOA challenge. Contact us today to schedule a call to see how we can support your community!


Preparing Your HOA Community Pool for the Season

The clock is ticking, and pool season is almost here! To help your HOA board with these final critical days, we’ve prepared a quick, last-minute checklist to ensure your community pool is ready to welcome swimmers this Memorial Day.

Safety Checks

Pool Fencing and Gates: Double-check that the fencing and gates are secure and functioning properly.

Life-saving Equipment: Confirm once more that life rings, reach poles, and other safety equipment are in good condition and easily accessible.

Safety Signage: Walk the pool area and ensure that all safety and rule signage is clear and visible.

Pool Chemicals: Have the pool service run a final check on the water’s chemical balance to ensure it’s safe for swimmers.

Maintenance and Cleaning

Final Pool Cleaning: Schedule a final pool cleaning just before opening to ensure it’s as clean as possible.

Pool Equipment Inspection: Perform a final check of all pool equipment to ensure everything is in working order.

Staffing and Training

Lifeguard Schedules: Confirm the lifeguard schedules and make sure they have their current certifications.

Staff Readiness: Check with your pool staff to ensure they’re ready and fully trained on pool rules and emergency procedures.

Communication with Residents

Opening Announcement: Send out a final reminder about the pool opening date.

Pool Rules: Redistribute the pool rules to all residents. Ensure they’re clearly posted at the pool as well.

Safety Measures Reminder: Remind residents of the importance of following safety measures and supervising children while at the pool.

This last-minute checklist will help ensure that no important tasks have been overlooked in your preparation for pool season. It’s always better to be over-prepared, especially when it comes to the safety and enjoyment of your residents. Here’s to a successful and fun-filled pool season!

summer maintenance checklist

Your Summer Prep Checklist: Why Summer Maintenance Matters

Summer is a wonderful time for any neighborhood, as we get to know each other and engage in all kinds of family fun. Soon, your common areas will see more traffic, your pool will soon be full of swimmers and your grounds will be filled with laughter and play.

As we spring into summer, it’s once again time for checking off a few items on your maintenance list. Here are some general suggestions for summer maintenance tasks that may be useful for your HOA to consider:


Summer is a good time to maintain landscaping to ensure it looks great throughout the season. Consider trimming trees and shrubs, mowing lawns, watering plants and flowers regularly and removing any weeds. Caring for the grass, trees, shrubs and flowers that beautify your neighborhood is such an elegant way to show your appreciation and care for the community. 

Pool Maintenance

If your HOA has a pool, make sure it is properly maintained for the coming season. Clean the pool and surrounding areas, check the pH level, power wash any decks or pool houses and ensure all your safety equipment is up-to-date and functional. The community pool is a great central spot for socializing, excitement and fun, and it should see a lot of summer activity.

Outdoor Light

Ensure all outdoor lighting is in good working order, particularly in areas that see increased foot traffic during summer evenings. A well-lit community is a safe and happy community, and these comparably easy little touches show how much you value your residents and their safety.

Check HVAC Systems

Make sure all air conditioning is in good working order before the summer heat arrives. Regular maintenance can help ensure that units run efficiently and last longer. Remember to change air filters, preferably once a month, to keep the AC going strong in our hot Texas summer. An overworked unit may fail in any number of ways, so it’s important to keep the mechanicals clean throughout the season so that it runs safely and easily.

Deep Exterior Cleaning

Power wash common areas and any common buildings or amenities to remove built-up dust, dirt and grime. Shared space sends powerful signals to your residents about the level of respect and care your community deserves. They will take these signals home with them, so it’s important to maintain a sharp look and keep things in tip-top shape. Take pride in your neighborhood and your residents will carry that pride with them all year long.

Inspect Roofs

Sometimes parts of our properties that we can’t see from the street are neglected, so it’s important to remember to look on top, behind and below every structure. Check roofs for any damage, particularly after severe weather, to prevent leaks and ensure they are in good condition. This should be done after every season, of course, but for a long hot summer you want to make sure your structures are well-insulated, and that means no leaks. 

Check Fire Safety

Dryness and heat combine to make every summer the season for wildfires of all sizes, and the start of the summer is a great time to remember to check your fire safety measures.

Inspect and test all fire safety systems, including smoke detectors, alarms and sprinklers, to ensure they are in good working order.

Repaint/Refinish Outdoor Surfaces

There’s nothing better for a quick refresh of the look of a community than a nice coat of paint or varnish. Summer is a good time to repaint or refinish outdoor surfaces that may have been damaged or worn down over time: decks, patios and fences all apply, as well as any other structures that see a lot of use. If your condo has a central mailbox repository, garbage and recycling area or fitness center, see what you can do to make those areas seem brand new again. Chances are it won’t take much to make a real difference, and the more attractive those amenities are, the more use they will get.

Check the Playground

If your HOA has a playground, inspect all equipment to make sure that it’s in good condition and safe for children to use. This necessity is possibly the most important item on the checklist, since it affects the most vulnerable members of the community.

Review Your Budget

Review the HOA’s budget quarterly. In the summer it’s important to ensure there’s adequate funding for summer maintenance and any necessary repairs or upgrades. Develop a long-term plan for replacing 

Count on Goodwin and Company

Regular inspections and cleaning will prevent issues from escalating and becoming more costly to fix in the future. Scheduling routine maintenance tasks, such as pool cleaning, landscaping, and outdoor equipment repairs, can help your HOA stay on top of things and ensure your residents have a safe and enjoyable summer experience.

It is also important to communicate with residents about the HOA’s summer maintenance plans and any updates or changes that may impact their use of community facilities. Keeping residents informed and involved can help foster a sense of community and encourage everyone to work together to maintain a clean and safe environment.

Summer maintenance for your HOA requires careful planning, proactive measures and open communication with your residents. With these items checked off, your HOA will create a comfortable and welcoming environment for all residents to enjoy throughout the summer season. Reach out today and let Goodwin and Company help you manage your community all year round.

Decoding HOA Governing Documents: The Articles of Incorporation

The articles of incorporation, also known as the certificate of incorporation, charter, or corporate charter, is a legal document that establishes the formation of a corporation. It is a formal document that outlines the basic information about the corporation, its structure, and its purpose. In the case of a homeowners association (HOA), the articles of incorporation are the foundational document that creates the legal structure of the organization. They are typically created by the HOA’s developer or initial board of directors, and they are filed with the Secretary of State to obtain legal recognition as a corporation.

The articles of incorporation typically include the following information:

Name of the corporation: The articles of incorporation must include the legal name of the corporation, which typically includes the words “Homeowners Association” or “HOA” to indicate the type of organization.

Purpose of the corporation: The articles of incorporation must state the purpose of the HOA, which typically includes the management and maintenance of common areas, the enforcement of rules and regulations, and other activities related to the management of the community.

Location and duration of the corporation: The articles of incorporation must state the physical address of the HOA’s principal office and the state where it is incorporated. They must also specify the duration of the corporation, which can be perpetual or for a specified period of time.

Membership: The articles of incorporation must outline the qualifications for membership in the HOA, the rights and responsibilities of members, and the manner in which membership may be terminated.

Board of Directors: The articles of incorporation must specify the number of directors who will serve on the HOA’s board of directors, their qualifications, and the manner in which they will be elected or appointed.

Powers of the corporation: The articles of incorporation must outline the powers and authority granted to the HOA by the state where it is incorporated, which may include the ability to levy assessments, enforce rules and regulations, and enter into contracts.

Dissolution of the corporation: The articles of incorporation must specify the conditions under which the HOA may be dissolved or terminated, such as by a vote of the members or by court order.

The articles of incorporation are a legal document that establishes the formation of a corporation, and in the case of an HOA, they are a foundational document that creates the legal structure of the organization. They provide important information about the HOA’s purpose, structure, and legal powers, and they are a crucial document that governs the operation of the HOA.


Tips for Obtaining a Quorum at your Annual Meeting

A homeowner’s association (HOA) annual meeting is an important gathering for making decisions that affect the community. A quorum must be present to ensure that the meeting is valid and that decisions can be made. A quorum is the minimum number of homeowners required to be present at the meeting to make it official, as dictated by the association’s governing documents.

Here are some ways an HOA can ensure a quorum at an annual meeting:

Encourage Attendance: The HOA can encourage homeowners to attend the annual meeting by sending reminders via your website, email, mail, or text message. Simple signage in your community’s entrances and common areas can also help. They can also provide incentives for attending, such as offering door prizes or free refreshments.

Adequate Notice: Providing adequate notice of the meeting date, time, and location is essential. The HOA should follow its own bylaws, as well as state and local laws, for the notice required for the annual meeting.

Proxy Voting: Allowing proxy voting, where a homeowner can assign their voting rights to another homeowner, is an effective way to ensure a quorum. This allows homeowners unable to attend the meeting to still have their voices heard.

Early Start Time: Scheduling the annual meeting at an early time can help increase attendance. Homeowners who have work or other commitments later in the day are more likely to attend if the meeting is held earlier.

Online Meetings: With the advent of technology, it’s now possible to hold virtual annual meetings online. This allows homeowners who are unable to attend in person to participate remotely.

Online Voting: If your documents and state statutes allow members to vote via online methods, platforms such as the TownSq Digital Voting Feature can boost participation, cut down on costs, and provide faster results of member votes.

Ensuring quorum at an HOA annual meeting is essential for the community to make important decisions. By following these tips, HOAs can help ensure that the necessary number of homeowners attend the meeting and that decisions can be made effectively.

5 Steps Towards Goodwinlent Community Pool Management During the Off-Season

Even though it’s definitely not pool season in Dallas, your community pool should always be a priority of the Board. Take advantage of the cooler weather and handle some of the interior needs of your pool so that by the time spring rolls around, your pool will be properly prepared for guests.

By following these five steps from local HOA management professionals, your Board will be able to rest easy, knowing that one of the biggest amenities in the community is well-maintained.

  1. Double Check Insurance Policies
  2. Research Professional Management
  3. Audit Pool Equipment
  4. Ensure Pool Maintenance Fits In Next Year’s Budget
  5. Review Pool Rules For Simplicity

1. Double Check Your Insurance Policies

Pools naturally come with a lot of risks involved for those that end up managing them. Before your pool opens up for the season, make sure that you have properly assessed any potential risk and covered your investment. Not only does injury insurance come into play here, but so does general insurance to cover any damages that could occur throughout the year. Your community pool has the power to really impact your bottom line, so make sure you are protected before bathing suit season.

2. Look into Professional Management

Boards are made up of volunteer community members. Unless they have specialized in pool or professional community management, they may only be able to manage this amenity at the surface level. With the help of their current association management team, a Board can take the right steps towards hiring professional pool management for 2019. This is important because not only are they going to be the most knowledgeable person for the job, but they will also assume most of the responsibility for the pool’s safety and maintenance.

3. Take Time to Audit Your Pool Equipment

During the off-season, check up on your pool equipment. Are all of your cleaning supplies in good condition? Is your diving board or water slide up to code? Checking with your management company or pool service provider can help you identify what aspects of your pool need to be inspected in order to guarantee a safe opening in the spring.

4. Make Sure That 2019 Pool Maintenance Fits in Your Budget

Every year your Board should review their community budget. One of the areas that need to be specifically reviewed is your pool maintenance costs. Find out how much plumbing, heaters, pumps, and technical equipment will cost from your current vendors in 2019. If the board is unsatisfied with the rates that are given, fortunately, there is time to rectify the situation by interviewing new vendors as recommended by a community management expert.

5. Review Your Pool Rules for Simplicity

Safety is the number one priority at a community pool. While the pool is unused, sit down and review the pool rules. Ask yourself these questions:

  • What rules were broken the most in the last year?
  • Did we have any unexpected accidents?
  • Could things be spelled out better?

Sometimes changes to the rules need to be made and waiting until the final hour isn’t an option. Make sure your rules are clear and concise before people start getting ready for poolside fun.

Go Above and Beyond for Your Community with Professional Management from Goodwin & Company

In 2019, make sure that your Board has the assistance it needs to ensure that your community operates efficiently. Goodwin & Company is a Dallas-based company that specializes in assisting Boards with financial planning, bylaw enforcement, vendor contracting, and more.

If you are ready for your community to take some positive steps towards organization, reach out to us today. We are ready to help your Board enjoy their positions in the New Year.

Here are some easy ways to keep your community pool summer-ready.



5 Tips for Getting Your Association Winter-Ready

An association board member’s job is a year-round commitment. While this responsibility is an honor, board members are volunteers who also have lives to live outside of community decisions. This issue especially comes up as the winter season approaches a community.

With the help of an association management team, your board can comfortably get your community winter-ready and ensure that no issues arise during a frigid Dallas winter.

Make Sure your Furnaces Are Prepped for Winter

Winter can get pretty cold out here in Texas, so taking the time to check your community furnaces is a great preparation practice. We suggest you reach out to a local HVAC company to come out and inspect your properties. Keeping your furnaces clean and maintained is important to them operating more efficiently and lowering heating bills as they are used more often. As an extra step, see if your management team can get your community on board with an energy savings program so that your community can always be prepared to beat high energy bills.

Schedule a Roof Inspection

Roof inspections are something your Association should be keeping up with and early winter is a great time to carry them out. Schedule a roof inspector to visit your community and check your roof for leaks, cracks, or insufficient insulation.

While this is being inspected, check up on the cleanliness of the gutters. These are also parts of your community that you want to keep clear during the winter. Frozen debris and build-up can cause substantial damage and flooding to your properties.

Maintain Leaf Removal

Schedule a routine leaf removal. Leaves pile up fast in the winter, and removing them from your community prevents the growth of harmful fungi and damage to your living plants. No homeowner wants a dead lawn once spring rolls around.

Empty Out Your Gas Tanks

All HOA communities rely on equipment to get their duties done. Before winter is in full-effect, run your gas-powered lawn equipment until the tank is on empty. You won’t be using this equipment much in the winter and gas left in your tank loses its volatility. Removing your gas will also prevent issues in the spring when you go to start your mower again.

Check That Your Irrigation System is Winterized

Winterize your irrigation system before it gets too cold. Pipe and sprinkler blowouts can be costly accidents. Some simple insulation tips can help prevent water from freezing in your pipes. If you aren’t sure of the winterizing steps you need to take for your community, ask your association management team about a reputable plumber who can perform these vital checks before it gets too cold.

Goodwin & Company Helps Your Association Find the Right Vendors for the Job

Hiring vendors that are reliable can be a tough choice to make as a board member. However, with the help of an association management team on your side managing seasonal maintenance, your board can make these important decisions with confidence.

At Goodwin & Company, we are a team of managers that have many trusted vendors in close contact. Reach out to us for any help with vendor services or general Community Association management.