The Best Landlords Cultivate The Strongest Relationships:
WHY PLANT SEEDS?
It’s easy to be a pain in the neck, especially when your mind is laser-focused on maximizing profit. So many landlords cultivate lousy relationships with vendors because they’re intent on always getting their way and focusing on their needs only. As we’ve discussed before, the most successful people are always fair, firm, and patient and always thinking about the long term.
Here’s the short of it: good help is hard to find, especially these days. That means it’s more important than ever to build relationships with the vendors who service your property. Demand will continue to be high and suppliers (vendors) will need to prioritize the order of work they address. By making sure the people who work on and help maintain your property feel appreciated, you help yourself by moving closer to the top of that priority list. When your name comes across their desk you want them to look forward to working with you again. On the flipside, if you’re a pain the first time around, don’t be surprised if it takes a little longer than expected for the vendor to take care of your needs, if they get to you at all.
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It’s important to first recognize how many people it takes to maintain and improve your property. Your circle needs to be tight because you’ll deal with some of these people on a daily basis. You need to think about the importance of these strong bonds in terms of selling yourself in a competitive market. It’s also important to remember that these professionals often know each other well. On the positive side, that can help you get a strong recommendation if you need to find a new vendor...but treating the people in your inner circle poorly or without tact can lead to huge barriers when it comes to finding much needed assistance. Your reputation according to everyone from your property manager, to your insurance agent, realtor, plumber, cleaner, electrician, garbage collector, and so many more, are essential to ensuring you get the best and most responsive service possible.
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BIG 3 KEYS:
Here are three simple ways to establish a favorable reputation with your vendors:
1. DON’T PRICE HAGGLE:
Don’t lose sight of the long game...a couple bucks saved today could very likely lead to issues finding help down the road. In today’s market, most people are very transparent and price haggling in this arena is a huge turnoff. It says I don’t appreciate the job I need you for and I don’t trust that you’re not trying to take advantage of me by charging me more than is necessary. If you don’t trust them...don’t hire them! It is often insulting and companies might respect your wishes in the moment, because they want your business...but you’re now at the back of the line next time a need arises. You’ve failed to establish a relationship, which is so key when it comes to prompt service and showing your tenants the value they’re paying you for.
Instead, simply look for someone else. If you’ve got strong relationships with some of your other vendors, starting there for a recommendation makes a lot of sense. After you talk to someone else, you might get a better offer and you’ll definitely learn more about what the market looks like. You’ll have a better feel for what your expectations regarding cost should be so you can better calibrate and assess offers going forward. In general, it never hurts to gather more information, you just want to do so in a professional manner so as not to damage your good name. Telling that original vendor that you appreciate their time and need to explore your options before committing is much more appropriate than price haggling or failing to get back to them at all.
[ Learn More: The Value of Transparent Pricing ]
2. DON’T GET EMOTIONAL...BE A LEADER
Adversity is a normal part of leadership and in owning property you are naturally in a leadership position. Your tenants rely on you to advocate for their needs and you need to communicate effectively to keep things running smoothly. There is naturally grey area and murky waters built into this responsibility and the reality is that things are not always going to go your way. You need to be a confident leader and avoid becoming a complainer. Keep things in perspective and stay solution focused. Emotion is important in some instances, but when it comes to making a calculated decision that is best for all involved, emotion is more often the enemy. If we accept that murky waters exist then your emotion is a thick fog that makes it that much more difficult to lead. Don’t let emotional decisions cloud your judgment, harm your investment, and ruin your reputation with local vendors.
[ Learn More: Why Emotional Intelligence is Important in Leadership ]
3. GIVE TO YOUR NETWORK
Life lesson...not just relevant in property management...GIVE BACK IF YOU CAN. By being up front and direct, avoiding price haggling, and controlling your emotions, you’re in a good place to establish positive relationships. But adding value for those who add value for you puts you in a whole different class. Simple steps such as a formalized thank you and/or positive Google Review go a long way, especially when thinking in terms of effort to value. Even more impactful, recommend your real estate professional to others: in conversation, via Social Media, in any way that will be effective (and not insincere or forced) in sharing the news of their quality work so they can benefit. Another idea that could go a long way is to take your vendor out for a meal, or heck, even send them food while they are on site doing a job for you!
Thinking In terms of feedback loops can be really effective. Just as it is important to call out a vendor who does not do the work they’ve promised so they can hopefully learn from it and improve, your sharing of the positive helps the overall market improve by pushing others in need toward those who are playing the game the right way. By being active you not only help build your own reputation among your local vendors, you also help improve the entire real estate environment by further incentivizing top-notch work.
Nexus Property Management® is a property management franchise and the real estate investment authority on all things property management. We manage over 1000 residential and commercial units throughout Southern New England. We also offer investment realty services to investors looking to begin or add to their portfolios. Learn more by reading up on our Nvest® program.
If interested in learning more about additional benefits that come with hiring Nexus Property Management®, contact our team at any of our franchise locations. We look forward to hearing from you!
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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.
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