Have you ever hired a contractor that didn't know what they were doing? In this episode Todd Dexheimer and John Stiles discuss the hazards of using contractors that aren't professionals.
When you are rushed to find someone to do a repair, you might hire someone that isn't qualified or trustworthy. That's why it's important to start building your vendor list long before you need them.
Referrals are a great place to start. What can be really encouraging is if you have multiple people referring you to the same vendor. That is usually a really good sign.
Then you'll want to implement your hiring process. Just because you were referred to the vendor doesn't mean they are perfect.
You'll want to:
Ask for references from previous customers
Confirm what their competency, expertise and experience is. You typically don't want them practicing or learning their skills on your watch.
Check online reviews
Check if they have an online presence
Check if they have online reviews
Confirm that their business is registered to do business in your state
Verify that they have proper and adequate insurance
Once you have confirmed who is on your team of contractors, it is a good idea to set expectations.
You want your contractors to have a high level of customer service when they are interacting with your tenants. They should be sure to knock before entering a unit. They should verify with the tenant what concern is being addressed. They should keep their eyes open and report back regarding any new concerns. In fact if there is an easy fix it would probably be best for the contractor to address it during that trip rather than scheduling another.
You'll also want to leave a note with the resident an explanation of what was done during the visit and a request for feedback. At the risk of increase the volume of communication between tenants and managers (which is some people's fear), this will actually help communicate to the tenants that you care about their experience in your rental and allow you to get their feedback about how your vendors are doing. That's a win win in my book.
Another important policy to have when working with contractors is to have payments follow completed work. Many contractors will request payment up front but this is often a sign of trouble. While there are some exceptions, most contractors should have enough operating capital and lines of credit that they can get their work done first and then receive payment for a satisfactory job. If you pay them up front, you may never see them again.
The last piece of advice about working with contractors is to not be 100% reliant on one provider. Sure you may have your preferred list but you don't want to be stuck in a situation where they are suddenly too busy to respond to your repairs. Additionally, if you are trying out different options it will help you keep your pulse on market pricing and quality.
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Mark your calendar for the Northstar Real Estate Conference, September 20-21, 2019. Enter discount code “STILES” to get $100 off your ticket: www.nreconference.com
Thanks to Todd Dexheimer for being a special guest on today's show. You can learn more about Todd by checking out his podcast: Pillars Of Wealth Creation. Find the show on iTunes or YouTube.
Are you wondering what your property is worth in today's real estate market? Download my free e-book that will help you calculate your property's value!http://www.realestatestiles.com/value/
John Stiles is a licensed MN real estate agent with Bridge Realty.