The newsLINK Group - Hiring New Contractors

Editorial Library Category: Multi-Family & Property Management Topics: Hiring Contractors Title: Hiring New Contractors Author: newsLINK Staff Synopsis: As the manager of one or more apartment buildings, you have an obligation toward your tenants to maintain their apartments. At times, that probably means you will need to hire one or more subcontractors in order to resolve specific needs related to that maintenance. Editorial: Hiring New Contractors 4064 South Highland Drive, Millcreek, Utah 84124 │ thenewslinkgroup.com │ (v) 801.676.9722 │ (tf) 855.747.4003 │ (f) 801.742.5803 Editorial Library | © The newsLINK Group LLC 1 As the manager of one or more apartment buildings, you have an obligation toward your tenants to maintain their apartments. At times, that probably means you will need to hire one or more subcontractors in order to resolve specific needs related to that maintenance. You will need to consider the following: The contractor’s skills and qualifications. The cost of the repairs to be done. The timeliness of the repairs. All three of these factors are obviously important. However, it could be argued that the most important item on the list is the first one. Finding good, reliable contractors is one of the most important tasks you face as a manager. If you hire someone to do the work, and that person makes a hash of the repairs, it really doesn’t matter whether you chose the contractor on the basis of cost or timeliness. You will probably get a headache if you hire someone because you thought you could save a little money, and then the person you selected does a poor job. You will obviously be concerned about cost and timeliness — and you should be. Just don’t let either of those factors completely determine who does the work. Once you do find someone who is good, you will want to add the contractor to your network. You want a list of people who are responsive, charge a reasonable amount, and that you can trust to do a professional job on anything you ask them to do. The advantages to having such a network are clear: Taking the time to bid out work is time when tenants are being forced to live with a problem. The longer the problem goes on, the bigger the risk that it will escalate. By having a list of people you think will do a good job, you can circumvent that entire bidding process. Contractors, like anyone else, appreciate a good working relationship that gives them a steady stream of paying work. It is to their advantage to keep you happy and to do their best work. Good work done today pretty much guarantees them the opportunity of more work to be done down the road. Having some go-to contractors means the contractors on your list will become familiar with your apartments and will have a good idea about the scope of work to be done. This results in increased efficiency. They already know the apartments. They have been here before, and they know approximately what to expect. Why not hire just one contractor and give that individual all the maintenance work you have? You probably don’t have enough work to keep one person busy all the time; if the contractor is any good, the contractor will be in demand elsewhere. Good contractors can be slow to get back to you; they might also have full schedules for the next two to four months. Be patient. The contractors who are available right now are not the ones you want to hire anyway. Why is that? You don’t want to hire the guy who either has no work or is willing to dump his current work and pick up your job. The contractor might either bump you for someone else or rush through the work, taking all available shortcuts along the way, before moving on to the next job. You want the contractor who will do quality work and treat all customers with respect. Once you have a business relationship, things get a little easier. You are both more familiar with each other and should have developed a good working relationship. At the same time, having several different options on people to call increases your ability to find someone whose schedule coincides with yours. You can also have a conversation about what each contractor’s schedule is like at any given time. That makes it easier to know who to call when you need them. Most important of all, you will probably be more comfortable with whatever the contractor is charging. Many good contractors are expensive because they have the skill to back

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