Hi. Todd Ortscheid here with GTL Real Estate. This week, I wanted to talk about selecting repair vendors for your property. One thing we do not do that a lot of property management companies require of their clients is that we do not require you to use our vendors. We don’t have our own in-house maintenance company either. Some property management companies either have their own repair company inside their management company or they have a sister company that the management company also owns that does work for them, and sometimes they don’t even disclose that, which is an issue ethically in my view, but some people would disagree on that. But a lot of companies do one of those two where basically they’re handling the maintenance for your property. We do not do that. For a couple of different reasons.
Number one, that’s not our specialty. We are not general contractors, so we don’t think that we can get you the best prices and the best quality of repairs that someone who’s been doing that kind of work for 30, 40 years, an established, good general contractor can get for you. So our specialty is property management and real estate sales. That’s what we do. That’s what we know. We’re not a general contractor or a plumber, an electrician. So we don’t think that it makes a lot of sense for a property management company to try to do that all themselves. It’s one of those things where, jack of all trades, master of none. We don’t want to be that. We want to be the expert in property management and real estate. So that’s what we focus on.
So we don’t have that in-house company that we own or a sister company that we own that does the repairs. We outsource all of that to third-party vendors, and we make them competitively bid on our business so we can get you the best price possible. But the important thing is we don’t even require that you use those vendors. Even if you don’t like the vendors that we have, we’ll let you use a vendor that you like, provided that they’re fully licensed and insured for whatever the kind of work they’re doing is. So what that means is if it’s work related to, let’s say, a plumbing issue where plumbing fixtures have to be installed, that would require a plumbing license. So we would require them to be an actual licensed plumber. Or similarly, for electrical work, if it’s something that requires an electrician’s license, we require that. That sort of thing. They have to be appropriately licensed.
But more importantly, and what we don’t see from a lot of the really low-ball, really inexpensive vendors is they aren’t properly insured. So state law requires that every employer have workers’ compensation insurance. A whole lot of small handyman operations, especially, are not following that state law. And it’s not just an issue of state law; it’s also a matter of protecting both us as the management company and you as the landlord in case one of those employees from that vendor were to injure themselves on the property or to do something on the property that injured a tenant or anything like that. We want to make sure that every vendor has workers’ comp insurance and general liability insurance. We have minimum limits for that we want to see from those vendors, and we require them to provide us a copy of their insurance certificates that we keep on file. We require that for our records, but our insurance companies, the companies that insure us, require that we keep those also in case they ask for them.
So we make sure we have those certificates on file, and when they expire our software will automatically let us know, “Hey, this vendor’s insurance expires next month. You need to get an updated insurance certificate.” So we stay on top of that. So those are the requirements, basically. If you have a vendor that you like, and they’re fully insured, they have the license that they need to do whatever kind of work that you’re looking for, then we’re happy to use that vendor. All we have to do is get that information from them. As long as we don’t have any problems with that vendor. We have had a couple of vendors in the past that have disqualified themselves from working with us because they either did really bad work, or we actually had one vendor who was accused of sexual harassment of a tenant.
So if something like that happens, we won’t use that vendor. But other than that, if they’re properly insured and licensed, we’re happy to use any vendor. If you have someone that you’ve worked with for a long time that you really like to work on your HVAC system, for example, all we need to have is their information. We’ll get their insurance certificate, a copy of their tax form, their W-9. We’ll load them into our system. We can put a note right on your property that says, for this kind of work, for plumbing or electrical, HVAC, whatever it is, use this vendor so when a service call comes in from a tenant for that issue, it’ll pop up right on the screen and say, “Use this vendor.”
So that’s very easy for us to do. We’re happy to do that. We’re not trying to lock you into our vendors at all. All we require is that we use reputable, good vendors who are going to get the work done properly and are properly covered by insurance and license requirements so both we and you as the landlord are protected. And for that matter it protects the tenant also. So that’s what our requirements basically are for vendors. We think that best serves you, gets you the best prices, the best quality work on your property, and doesn’t lock you into using us like some management companies do or using our sister company or anything like that. We don’t try to do that to you. So if you have any questions on any of this, just send us an email, firstname.lastname@example.org, or give us a call.