Re: Development budget (broad strokes)
From: Sharon Villines (
Date: Fri, 6 Feb 2015 06:45:31 -0800 (PST)
> On Feb 5, 2015, at 1:16 PM, Chris ScottHanson <cscotthanson [at]> 
> wrote:
> I rarely disagree with Sharon but I do here.
> I have found that banks are not a good source of referrals to local 
> development professionals.  It's very hard to find the right person at the 
> bank. No one wants to refer you up the food chain because they all want 
> credit for a new client.  They are inclined to sell you their loan product 
> and in doing so they are only inclined to tell you what they think you want 
> to hear. In other words they often don't tell you the whole truth as you 
> might see the truth.
> When I parachute into a new location doing land search work, which I have 
> done all over North America, I start with a local lumberyard.  Why a 
> lumberyard?  Objectivity.   I ask to speak to the accounts receivable person. 
> Then I ask the A-R person if they can recommend a couple of really good 
> contractors, their best clients, contractors who buy a lot and pay on time. 
> Contractors who survived the recession.  They are very happy to share these 
> referrals to their best customers because it helps their business long-term.  
> I do this with at least two lumberyards.

Obviously, an excellent recommendation. In recommending banks, I forgot my own 
Janitor Rule that I posted a few months ago:

> When I was in college I learned that the head of maintenance knew more than 
> anyone on campus. He had overheard conversations for years because the board 
> members and heads of volunteer groups paid no attention to him. And he 
> emptied the trash. And he had been there longer than any of the 
> administrators. As head of the student council I often planned events. He was 
> the one who knew which constituency was likely to object and why. Many of the 
> administrators had not a clue. He could also tell me things without being 
> restricted by college regulations or status issues.

One community I worked with found a very good contractor by going to the bank, 
however. But the guy who did the research also had contacts at the bank. He had 
a lot of money and owned property so as Chris said, that probably influenced 
his ability and Gilda's as rep of the Cohousing Company to gain access. 

Good correction, Chris.

Sharon Villines
Takoma Village Cohousing, Washington DC

Results generated by Tiger Technologies Web hosting using MHonArc.