Choosing the right vendor is critical to the success or failure of any of your initiatives and underestimating expertise can be terminal. If in doubt, ask for references. If not in doubt and the ball is dropped, don’t hesitate to change course.
NEW CONSTRUCTION AND THE BENEFITS OF THE RIGHT VENDOR
With new apartment development at an all-time high in nearly every market nationwide, existing apartment communities can struggle when competing against the shiny new property in their neighborhood, unless you make it easier for your competition. Lease-ups on new construction is a challenge because there are a lot more parties involved, more people to keep up to date on progress and that communication loop can get fractured from time to time.
For one, your community will have annoyances that come from construction noise and dirt, maybe amenities are falling behind schedule, elevators are not functioning or advertised bells and whistles are not working. Keeping everyone in the loop of progress and set-backs can be difficult, especially if the information isn’t available or reliable.
“Keeping Residents connected and distracted can ease the pains of dust in the air”
Your leasing and marketing members must basically sell a “work in progress” to prospective residents while keeping those who have already moved in happy and content. TV, Internet and Wireless can go a long way in keeping your new Tenants happy and can be a blessing thing. So having a vendor by your side that can map out a plan to provide and keep running key technology services is so important.
“Peel the onion” and figure out what is truly important.
For instance, the value of a solid and consistent internet or Wi-Fi connection for a new campus housing location is a main driving factor for new prospects and current Tenants. But what if the technology is not happening as expected and you’re not a technology expert to understand why? Sure, hooking up with an IT Vendor is all cigars and handshakes at first, promises are made, future looks bright and then things can start to go south pretty quick if they don’t have the expertise.
DIFFERENCE BETWEEN UNDERSTANDING AND KNOWING
Most Vendors will understand what you need but not all of them will know how to deliver it.
Every vendor should be viewed as a supplier of specialist services that hold a wealth of knowledge relating to their products or services. That knowledge in turn helps you, as a client, achieve your objectives but when your trusted source of information and advice falls short, don’t rush to grab the sword and get medieval, have a back-up plan and don’t make a move until a suitable alternative is ready to go.
A few point to look for in your Vendor:
Flexibility – You need someone who can adapt to your environment not someone who is set in their own ways.
Helpfulness – Is your Vendor willing to go a little farther just to make sure you have exactly what you need or are they always trying to peddle more extras?
Knowledge – Being first on the list is great but not enough. Experienced Vendors should bring a wealth of expertise to the table. Been there, resolved that.
A healthy Client/Vendor relationship sound like common sense when it is spelled out, but you want to avoid taking the view that once the vendor is engaged they should know what to do or can do it all. Selecting the right Vendor is crucial because incidents such as providing wrong or misleading information to you can make you look bad especially if that information is relayed to your Tenants. A mutual understanding of expectations is paramount. Assumption of understanding and possessing the required expertise needed is dangerous.