By Marcy Kravit, CMCA, AMS, PCAM, CFCAM / Published January 2022
As a community association manager, there is no shortage of influential decisions you’re expected to make on behalf of your residents. Among the most important are ensuring that residents have the resources and amenities they expect for a comfortable life and that their HOA or condominium association fees are being well spent. Over the past few years, one of the most important factors CAMs have had to consider is internet service, which has emerged as a fourth utility. Homeowners, tenants, and prospective buyers and renters now consider fast, reliable internet to be so crucial that according to a Verizon study, 90 percent of homebuyers prioritize it when searching for a home!
This shouldn’t come as a surprise to those who have been paying attention the past few years, considering how important internet and Wi-Fi are to nearly every aspect of our lives. Remote work has increased substantially, with Global Workplace Analytics estimating that 25–30 percent of the workforce will work from home for several days a week in 2021. A separate study from Upwork predicts that 22 percent of the American workforce will be entirely remote by 2022. According to the same study, 36.2 million Americans will be working remotely by 2025, an 87 percent increase in remote work from pre-pandemic levels. Based on this, it’s likely a good portion of your residents account for that remote work statistic, meaning it’s absolutely vital that you ensure they have the internet connectivity they need.
Add to this a myriad of other considerations such as online schooling, streaming entertainment, keeping in touch with family and friends, staying up to date with the news, and controlling Wi-Fi enabled household appliances, and it becomes clear that internet services should be a top concern of any community association manager.
A good internet service provider (ISP) will offer a suite of services including gigabit-speed internet, HD and 4K capable IPTV, voice, and home security & automation to a growing portfolio of high-end residential communities, businesses, local governments, schools, and healthcare customers across the United States. More than that, a company shouldn’t just offer these services but should be an expert on what residents’ needs are and how they’ve changed over the last two years.
We’ve established that it’s important to pick the right partner, but there’s something equally important to consider: what kind of service agreement should your community sign into? One of the most popular options is a bulk service agreement, which bundles numerous services together into one all-encompassing contract. However, it’s important to consider that the contracts for bulk service agreements must last for a minimum of two years but often last far longer than that. How long? Hotwire Communications signs contracts providing bundled, wholesale commercial services with long-term contracts of 10 years or more, meaning that when signing with any bulk services provider, it is absolutely vital that communities are sure they’re making the right choice.
Fortunately for us, Hotwire’s communities are overwhelmingly pleased with the services they receive, and 96 percent of our customers choose to renew their contracts for an extended period of seven or more years. But what happens if a community signs a long-term contract with a service provider that fails to meet their needs? The only options are either to break the contract, usually at great financial cost, or to simply wait several years until the contract expires and a new service provider can be signed.
If you want to make sure your community is partnered with the right service partner, that your residents are receiving the services they need, and that you’re signed into a contract that’s right for your property, here are five things you should keep in mind:
Marcy Kravit, CMCA, AMS, PCAM, CFCAM
Director of Community Association Relations
Marcy Kravit has 20-plus years’ experience managing community associations in south Florida. She has established a reputation as being passionate about service, driven by challenges, and undeterred by obstacles. Marcy is committed to providing five-star service and educating others in raising the level of professionalism in the industry. She works for Hotwire as director of community association relations. Marcy has earned every higher education credential offered by CAI and is recognized by Florida Community Association Professionals (FCAP) as a CFCAM. Marcy is a contributing writer to the Florida Community Association Journal (FLCAJ) and serves FCAP as their Education Program Director.