an on-site community manager happily standing outside of his property working on an ipad.

On-site Community Manager Goals and Duties

As a property manager, we’re sure you’ve experienced it all — managing, customer service, community emergencies, community events, HOA budgets, and much more. As we all know, HOAs come in many different types, sizes, and needs. Property management companies that struggle to find the best manager for their HOAs will often have high turnovers and dissatisfied communities. Let’s break down the differences between an on-site and off-site manager to explain them better. 

What is the difference between on-site vs. off-site management? 

On-site community management 

On-site managers often manage communities that offer extensive amenities and higher service levels. This includes communities that are large and often deal with complex operations. An on-site management structure usually contains two positions — the general manager (or executive director) and an administrative assistant. You will often find on-site managers in communities such as large apartment communities, townhomes, high-rise buildings, or condos.  

Benefits

Just like off-site managers, on-site community managers come with many perks. 

  • Readily available to handle tenant needs and requests promptly, such as 24-hour recreational facilities, pools, and valet services. 
  • They can help properties that contain highly attentive needs, such as recreational programs, community sports teams, or event planning. 
  • Typically live on the property 
  • Are available full-time
  • They can devote more time and focus to one community vs. multiple communities.
  • Are always in the know with the community and often build strong professional relationships

Responsibilities

The responsibilities of an on-site community manager are much like those of an off-site manager, except that their workload is more strenuous and contains a large scale of planning. 

  • On-site community managers work a lot like project managers. They schedule board meetings and carry out any actions created by the board of directors.
  • Assist in complex projects so that all parties involved do their part and meet all deadlines.  
  • Contracts service workers for the community.

On-site community management teams

An alternative option to utilizing an on-site community manager comes with the opportunity to have an on-site management team. This option is geared toward large communities and has multiple responsibilities that two or more people must manage.  

  • Focuses on long-term strategic planning, recreation planning, and finding ways to elevate the communities value and brand.  

Off-site HOA Management

Also known as a portfolio manager, off-site managers usually oversee multiple communities (accounts) vs. just one community. These communities are often unrelated and are smaller in size. Managers that oversee a portfolio community are often not present in the community and do not engage physically with community members.

Benefits

Off-site managers come with many perks but are limited in the amount of time they spend with the HOA.

  • Contributes ideas and ways to add value to the community.
  • Work as the front-line for board members.
  • Works anywhere from 8-10 hours per week per community.
  • Focuses on more urgent and priority matters.
  • Can handle multiple properties simultaneously – one single portfolio manager can manage 6-8 HOAs. 
  • Responsible for multiple tasks and projects in a short period.
  • Can oversee operations for an entire HOA.

Responsibilities

  • Prepares for community and board meetings.
  • Attends community board meetings, committee meetings, and open community meetings for all members.
  • Provides monthly management reports to the board of directors.
  • Conducts inspections and checks.
  • Overseeing projects such as accounting, HOA dues, and delinquent payments.  
  • Makes service calls.
  • Oversees operations.
  • Contracts professional technicians or maintenance.
  • Can assist with tenant background checks. 

What is the best choice for your community?

The type of property management solution that works best for your community depends on the kind of community you have. 

On-site community management

works as a solution for communities with many amenities and projects — they also require a high service level of attention. 

  • They are on-site full-time, which allows them to take short notice of any community problems. 
  • They’re able to provide a high level of service.
  • Available 40 hours a week. 
  • Can manage high-stress situations and problematic tasks.
  • Oversee tedious, more detailed projects that require an extensive amount of strategic planning. 
  • Can assist with event planning.
  • Engages with the community.
  • Builds strong professional relationships with all community members. 
  • Desires to help create value and a strong presence in the community.  

Off-site community management

caters toward smaller communities that do not have enough day-to-day responsibilities for a full-time manager. 

  • Can juggle multiple responsibilities at once.
  • Can handle duties promptly.
  • More timely projects can be put on the back-burner and you can manage it if proper communication is executed.
  • Reduces the cost of professional management – cost-efficient.
  • Can provide an extensive network of connections and service providers that offer general maintenance requests at a lower price. 

How much should the HOA spend on management services? 

HOA communities are often limited to only using the annual or monthly fees provided by the individual properties. Communities with a lower HOA fee may not have room to have an on-site manager in their budget. In addition to the manager’s cost, the HOA board must also consider the cost of services needed to maintain the community. 

On-site community managers

On-site management services often come with a higher price tag because they oversee communities that are large and provide more personalized services. This also includes managing projects that require strategic planning with an extensive amount of dedication. Since the community is more prominent in size, the fees of an on-site manager are often divided between a more significant number of units. 

Off-site community managers

Off-site managers work as an alternative option for smaller communities with a limited budget. They are more cost-effective and are known to offer lower prices for maintenance tasks because of their relationship with service providers. 

  • A manager that works 40-50 hours per week should be providing each community with at least 8-10 hours of property management service.  

Common misconceptions

Off-site managers: Although an off-site manager may have many of the same general responsibilities as an on-site community manager, HOAs tend to forget that their duties are scaled down to a lesser maintenance level. They are generally focused on specific areas that impact the HOA most, such as accounting and payment support. Not to say that they cannot focus on other projects — it would be beneficial to the HOA to utilize the off-site manager for more priority and more urgent matters. This is strict because they are only available to work for a limited amount of time per week.

It is important that an HOA analyze their budget and needs before determining what type of community manager or management company they hire for their community.

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