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The Right Ones for the Job: How to Find the Right Maintenance Experts for Your Rental

The Right Ones for the Job: How to Find the Right Maintenance Experts for Your Rental

You might be a DIY jack of all trades who can tune up a property in a jiffy. You might not have the first clue on how to fix household blunders and call a professional first every time. Whatever your proclivity as a handyman, no one can take care of a rental property all on their own.

Whether you are a first time landlord or a seasoned investor looking to improve upon their household maintenance, every landlord needs experts to do quality work on their property. But passing off such a crucial task is not always easy. How can you know that an outside party is going to care for your property the same way you do?

The proper process looks a lot like hiring an employee with a few extra considerations. This is where you start.

Assessing Your Maintenance Needs

The first step towards finding the right maintenance experts is determining the problems that need to be tackled. For example, the common issues nearly every rental owner will face include:

  • HVAC maintenance
  • Plumbing including drains, faucets, toilets, showers, water heaters, and garbage disposals.
  • Electrical work
  • Minor structural repairs such as drywall
  • Door maintenance such as lock services

Alongside these common issues, you always have to address the needs that are specific to your property. If you allow pets into your rental, a bigger yard requiring extra landscaping, or require renovations to the building, you will need dedicated experts.

Qualities to Look for in Maintenance Experts

Picture the ideal employee. Many of the qualities you’re envisioning are the same that you should look for when hiring for maintenance. Professionalism is at the top of that list. How they conduct themselves in business meetings carries over into how they will represent you with your tenants. Gauge their dress when meeting you, their professional language, and how prepared they are to work with you.

Reliability and Responsiveness

Who you hire in your network of contractors will have a direct correlation on how you will perform maintenance coordination. You and your tenants will both want someone who can respond to service requests quickly and efficiently. You can get a real gauge on their response times through references and online reviews.

Versatility and Skills

You might want a dedicated person to work on your HVAC system and plumbing, which is fine. But beyond that, you will want a dedicated professional who is versatile in what they can do for your property; someone you can rely on for standard procedures. Even better if they’re able to handle multiple units for you.

Local Knowledge

Compliance and safety are both vital to the well being of your rental. That’s why any personnel you hire to work on your property need to have a wide breadth of experience working locally. They should demonstrate a healthy understanding of local building codes regulations so you know these will be adhered to when duty calls. 

Finding Maintenance Experts

So you know what a great maintenance worker looks like. But how do you find them? It starts with doing your research. We live in a digital age that makes it easier than ever to learn your best options for professionals. Utilize websites, online forums, and social media platforms to learn who other property owners are using. Reviews are always great tools as well.

You can also use the tried and true method of word of mouth outside of the internet. Ask for referrals from within your local landlord community. You can also network through local trade associations and property managers to learn more about local contractors. This can be a great way to gain valuable information while expanding your own personal network.

Interviewing for Your Rental Property

Once you’ve narrowed down your search to some ideal candidates, you’re next going to have to meet with them to discuss their qualifications. Make sure you don’t limit yourself to one candidate; have a list of potential experts so you can confirm who’s right for the job. 

  • Have questions prepared regarding their experience, availability, and approach to maintenance.
  • Discuss their specific experience in their career that will be beneficial to your property’s needs
  • Assess their communication skills during the meeting to gauge how they’ll communicate with you and your tenants on the job.
  • Request estimates for their contract with you and compare with what duties they can perform.

Don’t always just go with the cheapest option either. It might be more cost effective for your budget to go with a maintenance worker who charges more but can perform more tasks for your rental. Once you’ve compared cost vs. value, availability, and skills, you’re ready to hire for your rental.

Maintaining a Positive Relationship

Now that you have a network of trusted maintenance professionals, the job isn’t done on your end. The best landlords have a reputation of taking utmost care of their properties, and that involves consistently ensuring the quality of your maintenance. Give regular feedback and communication to your maintenance workers so you can work together to improve your procedures.

Establish expectations for your property’s upkeep. Timelines for work and what kind of work you want completed can be written into an initial contract. You also want to have protocols in place with all of your contacts for when an emergency happens. This is where having a reliable, responsive maintenance network comes into play so safety is always at the forefront.

If you’re having trouble finding a network of maintenance professionals or can’t get a handle on the maintenance workers you do have, you don’t have to do it alone. Many landlords like yourself employ a property manager to lead the protection of their rental property.

Feel free to learn more about Kerr Properties and how we help our property owners across Oregon with our maintenance strategies.