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3 Questions to Ask Before You Let a Repairman into Your Rental Home.

If you own a rental property, it’s only a matter of time before you’re going to have to send in a repair person, a vendor, or a third-party service vendor to your property. Maybe it’s to fix an appliance, to do work on the HVAC or the furnace. But at some point, it’s going to happen and it is important to remember that the vendor going into your property represents you as the owner. And if they do something wrong fair housing wise, illegal wise, or anything questionable, it falls back on you. So, you have to do a good job of prescreening your vendors before you let them into a property.

Here are the main three things to check before you ever let a vendor into your property:

  1. Check their online Google reviews.

Google is just fabulous for this because a company can’t control its Google reviews. So, if the vendor has not done a good job, if the last couple of individuals that they have done work for feel they’ve been overcharged, or they’ve been delayed in getting out to them, you’ll read about it on Google. So go to Google before you pick up the phone and call them. Research those companies. Read the reviews that individuals are saying because that will give you a great indicator of whether or not that is a company you can trust as you begin to work with them.

2. Ensure your vendor has business liability insurance in place.

Business liability insurance means that if something goes wrong on the property, if they do a bad job, they have liability for themselves, if they mess up, they are going to be covered. They’re not going to turn around and sue you.

Now, you should ask the company you are contacting if they have these documents and they’re probably going to say yes. Every reputable vendor is going to have these docs available to send to you at any moment’s notice. Before you send them out to your property, ask them to provide those to you. They should be able to send that to you immediately.

3. The obvious third question is how much do you charge?

Findout what their rates are. Are they going to charge you to give you a bid? If they go out and they find that more work is needed, do they have discounted rates for more work and service? Find out specifically what their costs are, not just a big overarching dollars per hour kind of a thing. We, for example, want to qualify all of our vendors on number one, price. We want to get lower than market pricing, and we can do that. Because we give them a lot of work. But ideally, you want lower than market pricing. Number two, we qualify them for the quality of work. They’ve got to do a great job. And number three is, a very important aspect as well, is timeliness. How quickly can they get to the job? If they’re a week out and the work needs to be done today, it doesn’t matter how cheap they are. You need them out promptly and properly. So, you’ve got to get vendors who are speedy and who are quick that can get out to your property.

Vendors are a big deal. We’ve got a preferred vendor list. For a vendor to get on our preferred vendor list we do some research on them and test them for work promptness and quality. We make sure that we have their insurance in place. You need to do the same because you’re taking a huge liability and a huge risk if you have a vendor on your property. These are the kind of things that don’t happen often, but if they do, they’re very, very dangerous. So just be cautious with the vendor you use. It will protect you. It will protect your tenants. And it will protect your property.

If you want to talk more about this, call our Philadelphia property management office, we’ll be happy to look at your specific situation and help you.