One important responsibility as a property manager is to keep your property in exceptional shape, and you can’t do that without trustworthy vendors.
Unless you’ve already built a list of property vendors you’ve vetted and worked with in the past — or you’re familiar with vendors in your area — finding great quality property vendors can be difficult. When you hire an unknown vendor or contractor to work on your property, it’s a hit or miss whether or not they’re good at what they do.
Having great property vendors in your pocket can make or break your community’s success and profitability; hiring a poor vendor may require work to be redone by someone else, therefore costing more money overall, and that can quickly turn a resident’s experience sour. Here’s the best way to find and manage your vendor list for property management, make sure they’re reliable, ensure they’re the best fit for your property and business, and keep them organized in your property management maintenance software.
Replace Any Existing Vendors that No Longer Fit Your Needs
If you already have a vendor list in place, go through each of those vendors and contractors and determine whether they are still useful to your business. A few of the reasons you might want to move on from a vendor may be that they are:
- Too far away from your property
- Too expensive
- Not reliable or have provided poor service in the past
- Difficult to deal with
- Poor at communicating with your property staff
- Consistently causing complaints from residents
- Not a good fit because the services they provide are irrelevant
All of these reasons are valid ones for no longer working with a vendor or contractors.
Lean On Your Network to Find New Vendor Partners
If website searches or asking neighboring properties do not prove to be fruitful and you’re struggling with how to get service providers for your property, ask individuals you know personally or have worked with before. Sometimes the best sources for referrals are the ones you’re most familiar with, like business partners, sister properties, and so on. Add these referrals to your vendor list. From there, reach out to each one and see if they’re available for new work and interested in partnering with you.
If there are property vendors you’d like to partner with who are unavailable when you reach out, consider checking back in with them in a few months; keep their information in software for building maintenance, if appropriate.
Put Each Vendor Through a Detailed Screening Process
Once you’ve reached out to a new group of contacts on your vendors list, you need to create a detailed screening process. As a property manager, your priority should be to gather all important and necessary information from each potential vendor. This way, you can make educated decisions on the right property vendors to choose for your property.
Questions you should ask during the screening process include:
- How long have you been in business?
- Do you have active insurance coverage (specifically ask if they can work in a condo or community association, if applicable)?
- What kind of projects have you worked on in the past, potentially in this area?
- Can you provide a copy of your current, active license?
- If you’re a business, how do you vet and hire your employees?
- If you’re a contractor, will you consent to a background check?
During the screening process, ensure you get answers to all of the above questions in addition to getting a sense of how you will work together. Don’t forget to check public reviews of the vendor, if possible, to learn more about how residents and other properties feel about working with them.
You should also have a thorough vendor contract and policy drafted and ready for each potential vendor or contractor to sign with detailed expectations, consequences for broken policies, and so on. Then make sure you keep that information and all signed contracts in your property management maintenance software.
Assign a Small Task to Each New Vendor as a Trial Task
After the contract is signed and you have the information you need, assign a minor task for the vendor or contractor to complete — like landscaping only one of the property’s buildings, painting one of the property’s units or rooms, or wiring electricity for one room. Use this task to monitor their process and overall performance.
This information can also help the contractor understand how you like to work as a property manager and what they can expect from you with the partnership. Be sure to log the task and how the vendor performed in your software for building maintenance, or detail the task in your work order software for property management and building maintenance.
Organize All Vendor Information Into One Place
If the new vendor or contractor exceeds expectations during the trial task and proves to fit your business, establish a strong partnership and initiate a formal agreement. A continued partnership can flourish into a trustworthy relationship that both you and your residents will appreciate.
When you receive the information you need from each vendor — like insurance information, contact information, and licenses — be sure to input all of it into your property management maintenance software. This way, you create a backup of all of that important information and have a centralized place to find anything you might need in the future.
The New Way to Manage Your Properties: BuildingLink
A property management maintenance software solution like BuildingLink provides a way to keep your property vendors organized and ease communication between you and said vendors for the best overall customer experience. Learn more about BuildingLink’s vast solutions today.