At Austin Landmark Property Services, we manage around 500 properties, which results in a lot of property maintenance services. That means we develop and maintain relationships with good vendors to make sure all repairs are made correctly and affordably. Today, we’re talking about those relationships and how to partner with vendors to succeed with your rental property.
You need to know how your vendors are screening. Do they use subcontractors, which are not employees, or do they have employees? Ask how that screening is done; whether they’re conducting drug tests, running a criminal background check or checking the sex offender list. These people are going into our managed properties, and there’s significant liability there. There needs to be rules and policies about who is doing the screening and what they are screening for so you can be confident about who you’re sending into your tenant’s home. Some of these vendors might get keys or be there when tenants aren’t, so you have some liability, which must be controlled with proper screening.
A lot of self-managing landlords and even professional property managers won’t ask for the proper insurance requirements from the vendors they use. There are two main pieces of insurance that you absolutely should have before anyone does work. The first is a general liability policy. Anyone owning a property management company should be added as an additional insured on that policy for various reasons. Make sure your vendor has general liability to protect you in case someone is hurt at the property while work being performed. Workers comp insurance is also necessary. If they don’t have it, ask why. You have a lot of liability if your vendor doesn’t have workers comp coverage and an employee gets hurt on your property. We require a general liability policy of at least one million dollars, with us added as an additional insured. We also require proof of a workers comp policy.
You need to nurture the vendor relationships you create. Let them know how much business they can expect to get from you. There are positive results from that. Vendors want to do a good job for us because they know they’ll get a good volume of work. That means they won’t have to advertise as much. They provide consistently good work and they know our expectations. The pricing is always fair and if there’s an issue or a problem, we can sit down and work it out, ensuring your interests are best represented. That’s why your property manager should be partnering and networking with vendors, and showing you how that’s helpful you.