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Article - Sum of the Parts

by Michael W. Vandor of InstaPage HOA Websites

It's been some time since I co-owned and operated a homeowners association management company, however, certain memories from that experience remain indelible. One of those is that management fees alone don't 'float the boat', or in other words keep your company in the black. In those days, it took income from a variety of additional sources to establish profitability: copy charges, resale fees, handyman services, etc.

In speaking with management company heads today, the picture painted is even more challenging. Those copy fees are down as more and more information is disseminated digitally, resale fees are languishing due to the slumping real estate market, and management fees themselves are being undercut by aggressive bidding from the two national monoliths that have been gobbling up management company after management company. Remaining independent - and profitable - is more difficult than ever.

The explosion of the Internet has created an additional demand on the budgets for managers as the need to invest in quality website development, hosting, promotion, and site maintenance for the company now eats further into profitability.

However, the Internet does also bring some profit opportunities that few management companies have noticed or embraced: the ability to provide community association websites to their client communities at a markup.

Admittedly, some of the name providers of HOA website services don't exactly offer reseller programs or price their products at a level that facilitates a healthy resale opportunity. However, our company (and I'm sure some others as well) do offer attractive reseller programs. In our case, wholesale pricing for a homeowners association website starts as low as $9.95/month - with volume discounts available for in excess of 10 HOA websites. A number of our clients have marked these up by $100/month by packaging content management services and having their managers maintain the sites. Depending on the size of your account base, that can add up to a healthy new profit center at a time most managers could desperately use one. And the time commitment from your managers to maintain the content can average as little as 15 minutes a month per website.

At the end of the day in this industry, profitability is truly a question of the sum of the parts. And one more part can be a valuable addition.

Michael W. Vandor is the founder and CEO of The Lazarus Group, developers of the InstaPage Community Website System (http://instapage.net), one of America’s leading community website providers with over 1,000 communities served nationwide.