Using Trusted Vendors and Contractors
Anyone who owns more than one rental property and any good property manager knows the importance of reliable trusted vendors. Vendors are any service provider. Basically if you or your property manager is writing a check to them, they are a vendor.
Some vendors you don’t get to choose, like municipality inspectors or utility companies. While we may wish we could change these vendors or do away with them altogether, we can’t so there is no use in wasting too much energy on them. You put good systems in place to meet their requirements and you move on. These systems will be the topics of many blog posts in the future.
The focus of this entry is really to discuss the day to day trusted vendors and contractors a rental owner or property manager needs to survive. Let’s talk about some of the common contractors you will need to develop relationships with. Depending on the how many rentals you own or how many properties you manage, you may need to have more than one of each type trusted vendor or contractor. If you are dealing with more than 50 units, it is wise to have at least two HVAC contractors on your call list in the summer months, when Air Conditioning calls are common. HOT tenants are the most irritable tenants, and the sooner you cool them off the sooner they will stop blowing up your phone. All HVAC (at least the good ones) get very busy as soon as the thermostat hits 80 degrees, so it is wise to have two or more you can call.
This advice holds for other contractors as well. If you have lots of properties it is not uncommon to have more than one emergency plumbing, electrical or maintenance issues at the same time.
It is good to have your go to contractor, that you know and trust. You know they will go out do good work, give you an accurate accounting of what the situation is and do the work at a fair price. After you get this comfort level with a contractor it becomes easy to just turn a work order over to them. Usually it is just a phone call, the problem is fixed and you are invoiced, and you cut them a check, problem solved. The tenant is happy because you attended to their needs so efficiently and you are a great landlord.
What about the backup guys? These may be contractors that you have only used a few times, but have proved to do good work, but maybe their reporting and invoicing isn’t as timely etc. They are good in a pinch but may not be your go to person.
Also as you grow your rental business you will find many contractors who want your business. It doesn’t hurt to give a new guy a job every once in a while and let your main contractor know about it. Competition keeps the pricing in check and the quality up. Just be judicious about it, you defiantly do not want to burn a bridge with a trusted vendor.
Good times to try a new guy out are when your primary contractor is stretched thin anyways.
Anyone who manages properties for a living can tell you finding reliable and trusted services providers is not easy and typically you have to use several to find a good one or two.
If you are in the St. Louis Market, we have provided you our Trusted Vendors list on this website. The vendors on this list must have done at least 5 jobs for AMOSO, all completed with quality. They must carry all licenses necessary for their trade and carry the appropriate insurance (bonded). We also feel the price these vendors charge is fair and not out of line for what a rental property owner should pay for services.