Seven steps to effective and efficient property repairs every time
As national investment property managers, buy-to-let investors often ask how we obtain the services of highly skilled and competitive local tradespeople. Even DIY landlords who own properties in their local area are often disappointed by substandard work. They hire tradespeople who they think are trustworthy and then get let down.
A national database of the best local contractors
Our maintenance department holds a national database of the best local contractors. We review these regularly, ensuring that the work done is up to scratch and that charges are market competitive. We ensure that the contractors we hire are efficient, timely, and trustworthy.
It means our investment property management maintenance services are comprehensive and flexible. Your tenants get the best maintenance turnaround times. It is helped by our online repair reporting system and our fast response helpdesk. Easy to use, a tenant adds written details and photographic evidence onto the system. It helps our maintenance team decide the severity of the repair needed and respond accordingly.
In addition, we can organise:
- All compliance, ensuring that the property is in line with current and updated legislation
- Annual gas safety checks
- Energy performance certificates
- PAT testing and periodic electrical tests
- Quarterly and interim property inspections as required
How do we find the best local contractors?
DIY buy-to-let landlords never find a good maintenance man they want. The wish list is a long one. You’ll want 24-hour availability, fast and efficient work, a heap of free advice and the lowest prices. And that’s just for starters. With such a roll call of wants, it’s not surprising that nine out of ten buy-to-let landlords are let down by quality, or their maintenance man going out of business.
We have a distinct advantage when it comes to negotiating price and hiring top-quality tradespeople: size. This means we tend to have more work for maintenance and tradespeople. More consistent work is important to tradespeople. Still, we have a process when searching out the very best tradespeople for the properties under our management.
Seven steps to hiring the best local contractors nationally
We follow this process diligently with every contractor we hire. We use the same method when reviewing our contractors and tradespeople. We’re constant and consistent in our approach. It’s a search strategy that has proved effective. It’s what has enabled us to build what might be the best national database of tradespeople held by an investment property manager in the UK.
1. We check with local trade associations
We’ll search existing online databases, and speak to local trade associations. We search trade directories, too, and review online reviews using strategies which ensure we know which reviews can be trusted. We understand that tradespeople who have been in business for a long time are bound to have some negative reviews, so we look for patterns of negative (and positive) reviews.
2. We ask for recommendations and testimonials
We ask for recommendations from landlords, letting agents, and other property managers.
Once we have a shortlist, we’ll start the process of contacting those identified as potential partners. During these initial conversations, we will ask for testimonials from current and previous clients. If possible, we will also visit and inspect previous work carried out by the tradesperson or company that we’re assessing.
3. We check qualifications and licenses
As we’re moving on through our process of discovery, we ask to see licences and confirmation of qualifications. We check these with trade associations to ensure that what we’ve been told is valid. If it’s not, that tradesperson or company is immediately off our list. We don’t accept excuses for any company using non-qualified tradespeople.
4. We anticipate problems
We understand that there may be problems that are beyond the control of our tradespeople and us. It often involves inadequate staffing levels, poor access to materials, injuries, and problems caused by scheduling due to the high peak holiday season, for example, or emergency maintenance in the middle of the night or at weekends. So when we ask for quotes, we make sure that we take all of these issues into account.
5. We put the business out to bid
Having whittled the potentials down to a handful of the best available in a single area, we’ll ask for quotes from all those left in the running.
6. We never automatically take the lowest bid
It is where so many DIY landlords go wrong. Desperate to save a few pounds, they accept the lowest bid. Our experience is that the lowest bid often means substandard materials, rushed jobs, and often unaccompanied by the standard of work we expect from all out tradespeople. We consider all parameters of a bid when we make a decision about contractors, and don’t automatically look at the bottom line first.
7. We make certain that our tradespeople has insurance
Things go wrong. Mistakes happen. That’s what insurance covers. We insist on all our tradespeople having the right type and amount of insurance in place for the work they are undertaking. And we ask to see those insurance policies. If they don’t have the right insurance, we will not hire them. Period.
Contact Ezytrac today on +44 1522 503 717and discover how investment property management will help you protect your buy-to-let against untrustworthy tradespeople.
Yours in effortless property management,
Brett Alegre-Wood MARLA MNAEA