Business of Condo Business

September 2023

You may excel in your field be it accounting, law, real estate, cooking or renovations.  Being good at your craft differs from successfully running a business.  Most who excel at their craft are content to be employed by someone who successfully guides the business.  Those who excel at their craft and choose to operate a business quickly learn that specialized expertise is inadequate.

Highly competent individuals serve as volunteer condominium directors while lacking the skills to provide effective oversight over millions of dollars in annual revenues.  They lack the financial, personnel or business judgement necessary to be effective at a management level.  The requirement that they take an online course to serve as a condo director fails to compensate for inadequate skills and experience.  It is probably safe to assume that a majority of condo directors have never read the Condo Act or their corporation’s governing documents which should be a minimum requirement.

The reserve fund provides owners with “assurances” their home is financially stable.  When those who oversee budgeting lack even the most basic of financial skills, and may never have scrutinized their reserve fund study, it comes as no surprise when special assessments are necessary to make up for years of poor financial planning.

Business management is a skill learned through academics and experience.  The best business managers easily transition between industries and succeed in their diverse endeavours.  They know what they don’t know, and how to obtain the necessary knowledge or expertise.  Think of Richard Branson or Elon Musk as successful business leaders in multiple unrelated industries.  Any of the dragons on Dragon’s Den and Shark Tank are part of this elite group.

Many disagree when comparing condominium management to business.  Yet that is exactly what it is.

Condo boards employ condominium managers to help fill their knowledge and expertise gap yet this is not enough.  A great many condominium managers come from areas where they have never been in a managerial role.  They have learned important skills to become a condominium manager yet lack the experience to truly excel.  Condo boards, in an effort to minimize condo fees, employ those willing to work for less rather than those with experience.

Consultants utilized by condo boards are specialists in their craft.  While their advice is useful, it is up to the condo board to decide when advice should be followed, modified or ignored.  There are a great many considerations in condo building and community management that are ignored by  specialists who don’t have to answer to condo owners and residents.

Should your corporation have one or more experienced business professionals willing to give of their time to help manage your corporation, it is in a fortunate and enviable position.