Property management is a 360 job. Maintaining rental properties requires a constant flow of responsibilities including managing outside vendors for a number of purposes: maintenance, repairs, remodels, etc. Choosing a vendor doesn’t just mean hiring a local handyman. Any company you work with will be a representative of your business and the quality of their service will affect your owners and residents directly. For this reason, screening vendors is a vital part of your job, one that requires more than just a search through the yellowpages.
Evaluate Your Needs
The last thing you want to be doing is searching for a quality vendor during an emergency. Instead, assess your immediate needs, things that will soon need tending to, and possible scenarios that could arise at any time. By beginning with the basics, you will cover yourself during times of chaos and eliminate the possibility of paying an overpriced, underqualified vendor at the last minute. Additionally, the best vendors often have contacts in other fields and may be able to refer you to other great companies within the area.
Do the Leg Work
It is easy enough to do a simple Google search for a plumber in your neighborhood, but finding someone who is qualified, licensed, insured, and reliable may be another ball game. Though it may take some time, start by asking trusted locals and businesses for solid referrals on their vendors. This may seem like an outdated approach, but the best service speaks for itself. Accessibility should be a priority when choosing a vendor. Proximity to your property is important, particularly during an emergency. For this reason, be sure to find out if your preferred vendor offers 24/7 coverage. The last thing you want is to be waiting around for someone to arrive from out of town during a crisis.
Nothing compares to an experienced vendor. Find out how long the company has been in business and how well their quality of work matches up against the competition. Online reviews are helpful, but don’t forget to do a little digging to make sure you are hiring a company that knows what they’re doing. The company itself may be seasoned, but don’t forget to ask the same questions about the employees who will be working on your property. A guarantee is only as good as the company who provides it, but work is only as good as the employee completing it.
Verify Licenses and Insurance
Be sure you understand the regulations in your state or city and what licenses are required for each service. Even if a company has a business license, each professional they send to you also needs to have an up-to-date certification as well. Before allowing any work to be done, it is extremely important to understand who is liable for what and how much the vendor’s insurance covers for damages, injuries, or any other unforeseen circumstances.
Of course after all of this, you want to be able to trust the vendors you’ve hired, but it is still important to be present during services or repairs. Some vendors may be new to your property and will need some guidance during their initial work. Be available. Once you build a solid relationship with a trusted vendor, you will be able to rely on them even when you cannot be there to oversee everything.