“We’re a relatively small group with a big heart,” HOA board member and website admin Courtney Weathers-Needham says of her community, The Oaks of Ashford Grove. This cluster of 50 custom homes nestles next to an old-growth forest, and boasts an outdoor pool, tennis courts, and a small dog park. When the community set out to create a new website, Weathers-Needham listed dues and amenities as her top priorities.
The Oaks of Ashford Grove
with Jane McCormick
Customized Dues and Amenity Management:
Weathers-Needham is a tax accountant who fits administrative duties around her busy life with husband Bill Needham, a pediatric dentist, and fraternal twin middle schoolers. Like most HOA leaders, she’s a volunteer who’s always looking for ways to make her HOA duties more effective. “I used to spend seemingly countless hours each month sending out dues invoices and tracking payments,” she says, “not to mention the workflow involved in amenity reservations.”
Handle the details
Before connecting with HOA Start, The Oaks hadn’t found the right online solution to manage their dues and their amenities. “The providers I researched got one or the other right, but not both,” Weathers-Needham says. “We have multiple dues levels based on which phase of our development you live in. That alone was more than most of the HOA software providers could handle. And each of our amenities has a different availability schedule.”
See what works
When Weathers-Needham first contacted HOA Start, we walked her through a customized demo that focused on her dues structure and her desire to automate amenity reservations as much as possible—without simply approving every request that came through. First, we demonstrated ways to classify her residents so they automatically received the right invoice based on where they lived. We showed her how she could set up her amenities to make outdoor features off limits during the winter, limit the size of pool parties, and provide a document that listed the tennis court rules each time someone made a reservation.
“Honestly, everyone with HOA Start has been terrific,” Weathers-Needham says. “The sales person who did my demo knew the software inside and out, answered all my questions, and didn’t pressure us to make a decision till I’d finished researching the providers I had on my list.” She gives the onboarding and support staff high marks as well. “HOA Start has built a step-by-step process to help you learn their software,” she says, “and they respond to support tickets so quickly, it’s as if they’re reading your mind.”
The right solution
After a year as an HOA Start customer, Weathers-Needham is impressed with the pace of innovation she sees. “They’re constantly adding new features,” she points out, “and they’ve expanded the existing ones as well.” Her favorite recent addition? “We’ve always wanted to be able to create special-purpose billing for sponsor contributions to our Summer Faire and for intermittent expenses, like for mailbox replacements and pool keys. The One-Time Charges are so versatile that we can take care of all these things with one feature.”