Homeowners' associations, or HOAs, are a relatively new invention. The first homeowners' associations sprouted around the 1950s. But it wasn't until the 1960s and the '70s that the number of HOAs around the country skyrocketed.
At the time of writing, more than 300,000 HOAs are representing various communities around the country, and their number is steadily growing.
HOAs have gotten a bad rap lately with all the poor management, pettiness, and other horror stories. But there's no denying that they are still the 'gatekeepers' of the community, and they are its key decision-makers when it comes to maintaining common areas.
For that reason, they are the ones to approach if you want to land a lucrative asphalt maintenance deal.
So how do you land these HOA contracts and ensure that the transaction goes smoothly each time? We recently talked to Chris Filippelli, founder and owner of Surface Solutions, and asked him for some tips. Check them out below.
How to Make Money with HOAs with Chris Filippelli
1. Have all the community's stakeholders present during the initial site meeting
Did an HOA president or secretary contact you to inquire about your sealcoating and crack filling services? Did they book an appointment and set up a meeting with you?
Before you head into the community, inform the HOA point person that you need all the stakeholders and key decision-makers present during the initial meeting.
Why? Because you're going to miss important inputs when some members of the community are not present during this meeting, and it's going to be a hassle when it's time to put together your initial proposal. You may have to redo terms which is going to set the project back a little.
Related: Starting a Sealcoating Business: 15 Tips For Success
2. Conduct a thorough walkthrough of the area with your customers and document everything
A simple site visit where HOA officers tell you where the damage is, is not going to be enough for you to make an accurate assessment of the state of the asphalt.
Make sure that you spot all alligatored sections, cracked joints, and unsealed areas by conducting a thorough walkthrough of the area with key HOA members.
Bring a map, or even better, use your iPad to mark stuff on your mapping software. Take pictures of everything related to the job (even when you think they're not important) and label them.
3. Put a comprehensive proposal together and have it printed
Once you have collected all the information about the project and once all stakeholders have come to an agreement of the project scope, you can now put together a comprehensive proposal. Chris Filippelli recommends putting the site map together, having multiple copies printed, and putting them in binders for the HOA's reference.
But why print the documents instead of sending a simple email?
Many people still have misconceptions about sealcoating services and what contractors are trying to do. To break these misconceptions and minimize miscommunication while making the process easier, it's best to schedule a meeting with the HOA board a second time to present your printed proposal with all the stakeholders present (yes, again).
Presenting your proposal in person is a great way to prevent sticker shock. During the meeting, you can explain the importance of your services, the value it will add to their properties, and justify the price you're going to charge.
This second meeting is also your chance to answer additional questions and address concerns other members of the community might have.
Related: 5 Benefits of Using Asphalt Crack-Filling Equipment
4. Determine an HOA point person who will make sure to keep everyone informed on the project
Once you and the HOA have signed the proposal, you can now talk to your customer about job scheduling. You can either drop by the neighborhood and talk to your point person personally about this, or you can give them a call to inquire about setting dates for getting started with crack filling and sealcoating.
They can cascade the information to the rest of the neighborhood via text, email, or messaging apps so they can come to an agreement on the date.
Tip: It can be tempting to communicate to each member of the community directly, but let your HOA point person take care of it. This is to prevent miscommunication between you and the customers. Plus, it's simply impossible to communicate effectively with a lot of people who have different ideas of what they want done.
5. Get your site map and plan approved by the HOA
Your site map will contain all the details on how you're going to conduct crack filling and sealcoating:
- it will contain the date (or dates) of when you're going to do it and
- it will include a section on what type of asphalt maintenance service each area needs.
6. Send out your site map and plan the job one week in advance
Sending your site plan more than two weeks prior to the job will ensure it gets lost in their inboxes. They might even forget about it if you send the document too early.
So when's the best time to send it out?
One week to five days is good enough for advance notice.
Some asphalt maintenance projects last for weeks, so make sure to remind your customers multiple times throughout the process to help them prepare.
Related: 8 In-Demand Home Service Business Ideas To Try This Year
7. Hand your customers a cheat sheet to help them prepare their properties for asphalt maintenance
Here are some examples of the things you need to remind your customers of before crack filling and sealcoating:
- Make sure that their cars and boats are parked somewhere else so you won't accidentally spray them with asphalt sealer
- Make sure the sprinkler system is turned off to prevent freshly applied sealer from washing off
- Trash cans, portable basketball hoops, and other items in the driveway should be moved out of the way
Ready to meet with HOAs and offer your asphalt maintenance services? Then follow the tips above to land a lucrative sealcoating and crack filling deal.
Looking for the best asphalt sealcoating and crack filling supplies, tools, and equipment? Simply check out the Asphalt Kingdom store to shop for a wide range of asphalt maintenance supplies or contact our asphalt specialists.