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ACMO Blog


Measuring Value in a Condominium Setting

(Originally published in ACMO's Quarterly Report, Spring 2019)

Value in a business environment is  a  concept that  has many  different  interpretations. In our  personal lives  we  all know  what  we  value  most  – our  families, our homes, our friends,  our happiness. In business, the focus  is different.  Or is it? At its most  basic,  business value  is defined in terms  of dollars  and  cents  or economic value, for example, monetary savings. Our condominium boards  strive to get the best value for money spent  and  for work  performed. It’s not  always about  the lowest price.  It’s about  what meets  the board’s  and residents’ needs and makes  everyone feel satisfied.

How  else   do  we   measure  value in a condominium community? Perhaps, these  are the more intangible definitions of value. A person’s value –  the   skills   and   qualities  does an individual manager, concierge, administrator or superintendent bring that   makes   that   person   valuable. Skills like decision-making, attitude, planning, critical  thinking.

In this article,  Steven Christodoulou, RCM, president of ICC Property  Management and past recipient of ACMO’s Leader of  the Year award, discusses value in a condominium situation. 

Q: How does a condominium corporation board of directors define value?

Steven: Value  has very many  definitions and is entirely dependent on how  one perceives it. Generally, a condominium corporation board  of directors  defines value  in terms of dollars  saved  for a rendered service. A board  of directors  will  perceive this as a win  for the owners by paying a lesser  dollar  amount  for a good  or service which  in turn will  reflect  lower  maintenance fees through  these savings. This, of course, is a generalization as not all directors  view  or define  value  the same  way.
We have  found that in the past few years  there  has been  a major  shift in boards  of directors’  knowledge and  education and  the  need  for more  than  the  minimum one  can  provide as a condo  manager. Not all  boards  of directors  are  created equal and  as  condo  managers it is imperative that  the  right questions are  asked of our clients  in order  to ensure we  are able  to deliver on their expectations.
 
Q: How should a condominium corporation define value?

Steven: In my view, a condominium corporation should  define  value  as receiving the best  possible service  at the  best  price  available for that  service  – comparing apples to apples. As an example, one may  define  value  by asking:

  • How much  more would I be willing to pay  for a true land- scaper  over a grass  cutter?
  • Would  I be  willing to pay  an  extra $100.00/month in maintenance fees to have  valet  parking in my building?
  • Would  I pay  more  in  management fees to have  a more qualified and experienced property manager managing my single  biggest investment?

As a condominium manager, I know that I’ve delivered true value  to my clients  when  they  enthusiastically renew our management agreements.

Q: How do you, as an executive and leader, strive to bring value to your condominium communities, clients, employees and other stake- holders?

Steven: We make an effort to educate our clients to perceive value in terms of the cost of managing their single  biggest investment, and consistently manage with a view to increasing property values along  with attracting  the  best  talent  to execute on this vision.  But how does  this  happen? Bottom  line,  the  key  factor  in providing value  to our clients  is PEOPLE. Installing front-line  staff that will  execute on  the  board’s  vision  and  being  supported by a senior  team  that  will  hold them accountable for ensuring this outcome, is crucial  to the success of any  community.

It’s an  unfortunate reality  that there  are  more  condominiums in Ontario than qualified condominium managers. As such,  it is imperative that value  not only  be brought  to our clients,  but to our employees as well.  Providing an environment whereby all staff feels a sense  of belonging, are consistently being educated, trained and  very  well  supported by senior  staff, is essential to ensuring our clients  are being  taken  care  of AND managers are remunerated at a level  which  is commensurate with  their  skills  and  efforts.  This will  attract  more  qualified people to our industry with  the  skills  that  our  clients  are desperately looking for in effectively managing their communities.

In addition, as managers, it is so important  to partner  with quality and trusted  trades  and professionals to ensure that any product  purchased or service  rendered is delivered at a level that would satisfy the most discerning client. Whether it’s front-line staff such as concierge, housekeeping, landscaping or  consultants,  most   of our clients would be  willing to pay  a  little  more to  ensure that  the  property is  secure with great customer service, that the property is  always clean, the  grounds are immaculate and  work  is carried  out efficiently and effectively. Working with quality partners  truly  makes  the  job  of the condominium manager much easier. 

 

Steven Christodoulou, RCM, is Chief Visionary Officer of ICC Property Management Ltd. and a proud 21-year RCM veteran.