If you are a self-managing rental property owner, it’s only a matter of time before you receive the dreaded phone call from your tenant alerting you to a maintenance issue. This could be a faulty appliance, HVAC, or any number of other common home repairs. Often the solution is to hire a competent third-party service provider to handle the repair. However, it’s important to remember that whoever you choose to complete the job is a direct representation of you as the property owner, meaning any unlawful behavior on their end could leave you on the hook with your tenant.
Before allowing a servicer access to your investment property, we recommend you complete a thorough screening of them. Doing your diligence upfront can alleviate a costly situation down the line if you find yourself in a worst-case scenario with a repairman. Below are our top three ways to identify a trustworthy vendor.
1. Check online Google reviews
Google reviews are a great tool for consumers because businesses can’t control what their previous customers publish online. If the vendor hasn’t done a great job in the past or customers feel they were overcharged or the service was delayed, you will probably read about it on Google reviews. This forum is great for attaining a general pros and cons list of any particular vendor.
2. Ask them this question, “Do you have business liability AND workman’s comp insurance?”
A two-part question, first you want to know if the vendor has business liability insurance. If something goes wrong, is the vendor insured or are they going to turn around and sue you as the owner? Second, do they have workman’s comp insurance? This insurance covers both the technicians being sent to do the work on your property as well as you the owner. While rare, if a technician is hurt on the job and his or her employer doesn’t have workman’s comp set in place, they can not only sue the employer but also you as the property owner in which they were working when they became injured. Reputable vendors should have both of these things and should be able to quickly provide you with the documentation.
3. Lastly, asking the seemingly obvious question of how much do they charge?
Find out their rates. Will they charge you just to give a bid? What about if down the line they discover your property needs additional work? You will want to have a deep understanding of their specific costs. Ideally, you’ll also want to get lower than market pricing, proven quality, and timeliness. When work needs to be done promptly, you need vendors who work quickly and effectively.
Repairs and general maintenance are some of the top reasons landlords choose to offload the burden of property management to a reputable third-party manager. Here at Grace Property Management, we have a vetted list of preferred vendors. To get on our list, servicers must have a proven track record of quality, timeliness and in most cases, we get a discounted rate on the job simply because we bring them a high volume of business. However, if you are still self-managing, safeguard yourself by doing your diligence before hiring a vendor to perform any work on your property. This will protect you, your tenants, and your property.
As always, the Grace Property Management team is here to serve as a resource. If you have additional questions about how best to own rental property or any other questions about operating an income property, give us a call. 303-255-1990