"Homeowners' Association". These are two words which are sufficient to strike fear into the heart of many a lawn care professional. HOAs can be tricky. They're made up of people who care a lot about the community they live in: the way it looks, the way it operates, what is and is not allowed. As an outsider coming in, it's easy to run afoul of the local HOA by doing the wrong thing. But homeowners' associations aren't necessarily going to come right out and explain how they want you to operate. In my experience, it's best to be proactive. Call ahead and see what's up, whether there are any neighborhood situations or rules you should be aware of. At Wright, we want to make life easier for landscape professionals, in the equipment we produce and the business practices we promote. In this effort, here's how to get along with the natives when you're working in a community with a HOA:
Communities are made of people. And people have unique, individual needs. If you are trying to care for the grass of one family, their neighbors are going to be directly affected - by the noise, by the smell, and by the place you park your truck. So when you get a client in a HOA's jurisdiction, don't just show up and start mowing grass. Call the HOA ahead of time. They can alert you to issues requiring sensitivity and save you a lot of headache.
At the end of the day, the community you are working in is not your own. You are a visitor. So if they have seemingly weird ideas about when to mow grass or any other requirements, it's best to respect them. Not only will this make your day go a lot more smoothly, it's likely to drum up more business. HOAs know the neighborhoods they represent. They know who needs work done and they have the respect of most of their residents. If a HOA finds you respectful and competent, they are likely to recommend you to their neighbors. Calling ahead to find out about neighborhood rules is more than a courtesy; it's a great way to build your business.
If you make an agreement with a HOA or a client, stick to the plan. Simply by showing up on time and working within the parameters you've agreed to, you're likely to have little to no problems with the locals. If you do run into a problem, be polite and professional. It's all about attitude, and a positive attitude will clear up problems before they can flare into a day-ruiner.
Most of the time, if you treat a neighborhood HOA with respect, they will extend the same courtesy to you. They're made up of hardworking people who want the best for their neighborhood, so treat your client's HOA well. They can make a job easy and even swell your business.