Property Owners: When To Fire A Vendor
The Proper Way To Address Missteps By A Hired Third Party
Regardless of the business you’re in, your reputation means everything. Companies put millions into their own branding (and advertising), but all that is wasted if you’re not able to deliver consistently in establishing your reputation. As a property owner, you want your tenants to appreciate that you’re dedicated to adding value and ensuring their comfort (in exchange for them helping you pay your mortgage...and more), but if you rely on third parties to handle issues, most commonly maintenance, then your reputation is often only as good as that of your hired help. So what are your rules/standards should a vendor fail to deliver or meet your expectations? Do you have a set of guidelines to make your decision easier when conflicts arise?
[ Learn More: 4 Types of Real Estate Investors: Which One Are You? ]
A GUIDING STRUCTURE:
Based on our professional experiences from a decade in the business, Nexus Property Management® works off of an easy to digest THREE STRIKES model. This is simply a structure to build off of as there can obviously be more egregious errors, where firing the vendor shouldn’t even be up for debate.
STRIKE ONE: OVERSIGHT
Conflicts and unplanned issues, especially when you’ve hired someone else, are often stressful and annoying. Most commonly, the first issue that will arise will be OVERSIGHT of some kind. The vendor misses something or forgot to do something. The job wasn’t completed, or communication broke down and something was overlooked. We recently hired a mold remediation company that had a two day job but for whatever reason only came for day one. Was this stressful? 100%. Should it have happened? Absolutely not. But we know it’s difficult to hire a maintenance vendor (due to COVID and its effects on the job market) so we can’t let emotion get the best of us. We can’t take it personally. We can’t lead with anger. We asked them to double check that their team made it out to the property that day and put the ball back in their court. Things were then resolved once they were aware of the oversight.
We’re all human and from time to time we forget or miss something. Usually the company will catch it themselves. If not, contacting the vendor and sharing with them that you feel “they may have made an oversight” is a great way to turn the cards so they feel they owe you thanks to your gracious attitude. You’ve successfully pointed them toward the mishap so it can be remedied and you’ve potentially strengthened the relationship, rather than severing it due to your displeasure. For strike one, we recommend giving the vendor the benefit of the doubt.
STRIKE TWO: MISTAKE
The issue might be bigger than just oversight or it may have happened for the second time. In this case, the company has made a MISTAKE. Maybe they’re ignoring you (i.e. if the mold remediation company didn’t get back to us). It feels like you’re at the bottom of the priority list and the company is not taking your needs seriously as they’ve now erred twice. One issue can warrant the benefit of the doubt, but two is a clear mistake and you need to take action to reverse the course. Remember, we’re talking about your reputation with your tenants.
Depending on the situation, this action step could be a visit to the office, a call to a manager, or depending on the job, discussing or threatening some financial or legal recourse. Mistakes are not OK and they shouldn’t be tolerated. That being said, you still have a job that needs to get done...so firing the vendor at this time is not recommended.
STRIKE THREE: A TREND
If the issue still isn’t fixed after you’ve taken action due to a mistake then it is apparent this response is who this company is. This has become a TREND...It’s how they operate and they’re not worthy of your business. They’ve shown they’re not trustworthy and unreliable. You and your tenants deserve better. It’s time to cut the cord: time to say bye bye… “your services are no longer needed (and here’s why)”.
Just like the advice we give when it comes to evictions [ Don’t Pay For Stories ], you cannot afford to accept excuses at this point. The evidence is in and you can’t allow yourself to become subservient to poor service. Looking at it through a larger lens, you’d become a beacon of their inefficiencies and excuses. That’s not healthy for you, for them, or for the market. You firing a vendor can be uncomfortable but it’s the feedback that company needs so they can be fully aware that their poor workmanship is not going to cut it.
[ Learn More: The Best Landlords Are Firm But Fair: Learn Why ]
CONTACT OUR TEAM:
Learning more about the property managers in your area is a great first step so you don’t have to go it alone when something like this arises. At Nexus, we have our own in-house maintenance teams, so more often than not we do not need to contract out to more expensive third party vendors. If you’re not interested in property management but still have some questions or seek advice, please reach out to our team 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. Our vision revolves around breaking down barriers for all property owners so we look forward to helping you out in any way we can.
Mick Lefort is the Vice President of Operations for Nexus Property Management®. A National Property Management Franchise that manages all types of rental property from single family homes or condos to large apartment buildings and complexes.
Your Property, MANAGED®
The Real Estate Investing Authority®
Connecting You To Better Living®
You Could Own A Nexus Property Management® Office For Less Than You Think!