The vendors you use for your rental property should have more than availability at the time you call in a panic. You want a vendor who will be a representative of your company when dealing with your tenants. A bad vendor will ruin your reputation as a landlord and business owner. It could also place your tenants at risk, which is a liability for you as the owner. Anyone who deals with tenants and properties should have a detailed, approved list of qualified vendor before they’re needed. It can be tough for landlords who are doing everything themselves to screen and interview all the vendors they might possibly need.
At any time, you might need a plumber, roofer, electrician, general contractor, HVAC company or other specialist. In each category, you’ll need to screen two or three to ensure you have some variety in case your first two choices are busy when you need them. It can be incredibly overwhelming for landlords who are doing it all themselves.
Screening Process for Vendors
Location Related to the Property
One of the first things you’ll need to do is find a vendor close to the rental property. You don’t want to have to pay a trip fee or transportation cost on top of the service charge, parts and labor. When you choose a vendor nearby, you will have someone close in case of emergency too.
Insured with the Proper Coverage
All vendors on your property should be covered by their own insurance. Some vendors like contractors might rely on the homeowner’s insurance on the property, or they may be a small company without the resources to have the best coverage. You don’t want a vendor to rely on your coverage, which would leave you liable for problems including damage the vendor does to the property.
Licensed to Work in Your Location
Never hire a vendor who doesn’t have the proper licensing. You’ll end up regretting it. Any vendor who has let their license lapse or never obtained one is not a vendor you want to hire.
Experience in Their Field
The vendor should have years of experience with rental properties and have references and testimonials from satisfied customers. You should be able to assess the quality of their work or contact previous clients and customers.
The sub-contractors or employees they have working for them should be screened. A dangerous or irresponsible person could end up hurting one of your tenants or being a danger around your property.
If a vendor is hesitant to provide any of this information, that should be a red flag that has you moving on to someone else on your potential vendor list.
Vendor Compliance on Property
Rules When Dealing with Tenants
Everyone who enters your property as a representative should be operating under set rules and policies. It should detail your expectations as well as how they can interact with tenants. This should be in writing, signed by the vendor and kept on file.
They Represent Your Company
When you hire a vendor, it doesn’t matter if they are working for a different company. They are representing yours as they deal with your tenants. You’ve hired them, and it’s your responsibility to ensure they are acting appropriately.
Management Company List
Qualified Vendor List
When you hire a property management company in Austin, they will find qualified vendors for your property. They are familiar with the options and likely have a qualified vendor list already screened and vetted for suitability. Property managers are constantly dealing with vendors. They won’t make the mistake of hiring a bad one because they have a network of companies they trust.
Along with bad behavior, vendors can create problems on your property by not fixing an issue. For example, a plumber is hired to fix a leak in a second-floor apartment. Instead of fixing the issue with the leak, he causes a pipe to break. The leak seeps into the ceiling of the downstairs tenant and eventually causes a problem structurally with the apartment. While this might seem to be a worst-case scenario, it’s possible for vendors to make situations worse, which will cost you thousands of dollars. Property managers can keep this from happening in your property.
When you are dealing with vendors on your property, it’s vital that you ensure that they are qualified, responsible, trustworthy and experienced. Otherwise, you could end up with serious legal issues or problems with the property that are worse than the ones the vendor came to fix. A landlord who doesn’t have experience will spend a long time trying to compile a vendor list of qualified candidates while a property management company in Austin will have a current list of qualified candidates.