Posted by Mitchell Vinnitsky

5 Vendor Screening Tips for Landlords and Property Managers

When something goes wrong at one of your properties, do you know exactly who to call? One thing every landlord or property manager should have at the ready is a list of approved vendors, whether it’s for routine maintenance or an emergency repair. That being said, choosing which vendors to put on that list involves more than just verifying their skillsets. These individuals or companies will essentially represent your business. Here’s how to protect your reputation and ensure the safety of your tenants and properties.

Verify Licensure

First and foremost, you’ll want to make sure the vendors you hire to help maintain your properties possess the proper licenses for their chosen crafts. This demonstrates commitment to quality work and compliance with local and federal contracting laws and regulations. You should also routinely request verification that the licenses of your approved vendors remain up-to-date and valid.

Confirm Insurance

In addition to being properly licensed, it’s also imperative that any and all vendors with whom you do business are adequately insured. This will protect you and your properties should anything go wrong while a vendor is performing work. For instance, let’s say a plumber you hire accidently causes water damage. Provided they are properly insured, the cost of repairing that damage should be covered.

Consider Accessibility

Where are your vendors located in terms of proximity to your properties? You don’t want to add further delay due to travel time in the event of an urgent repair situation. Additionally, how easy are they to get ahold of? Do they offer 24/7 service or dedicated emergency availability? Things don’t always go wrong during the week or during normal business hours.

Evaluate Experience

The amount of time a vendor has been in business is a good indicator of expertise, trustworthiness and reliability. Working with someone brand new to the business might be tempting in terms of cost, but it could end up coming back to bite you in the long run. It’s also important to check their reviews and testimonials from other customers. This will help determine both skillset as well as service level.

Don’t Forget Employees

Last, but not least, it’s wise to find out in advance whether a vendor properly screens their own employees. Larger companies often farm out the work to various team members and sometimes even independent contractors, so you’ll want to make sure these individuals are kosher before allowing them to work on your properties.

It’s important to note that quality vendors should have no problem providing and/or verifying any of the information listed above. If someone seems hesitant or outright refuses, it’s probably a red flag.

If you own or manage rental properties, vendor screening should be a top priority. While this process will undoubtedly take time and effort, being able to compile a list of folks you can trust will ultimately save you time and money and help keep your properties maintained and your tenants safe and happy.

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