Contracting Work Thru a Service Providing Company

Ultimately you always want to work directly with the source of work, but working for a servicing company is not a bad way to receive a steady stream of work. In general business requires marketing, sales, management of work, and accounting. These are all very time consuming and can take an entire team of people.  Whether you are looking for work in Northeast Ohio or Western PA, Ask the questions below to determine if it is worth contracting with a particular property preservation company or property maintenance company.

Does the property preservation company or maintenance company make themselves known? So many times I see ads on craigslist and other sites that are very long winded and elaborate about all of the work that they have, but they do not give a company name much less a point of contact. A website can go a long way to put a face with the name and the availability of the recruiting/training dept. The personal touch has been replaced with text conversations. I am all for technology as a way to enhance efficiency and production, but the face to face initial meet up can go a LONG way to establish trust. The goal is to build a long term working relationship.

What type of workload is the Property preservation/maintenance company promising you? A few weeks ago on a Thursday night after 8pm my wife received a call from a man who was a vendor recruiter for a company we will not mention. He told her that he had thousands of orders and that “she was gonna be bankin!”. Several red flags were obviously raised there. Most reputable companies carry normal business hours, and don’t promise a work load. This industry is based on performance, we tell our crews if they want more work to turn in the work they have and we will give them more. This company may have had the work, however they are in a rush to get it covered which suggests they are here today gone tomorrow. What happens when they can’t keep up with the work and their client stops sending them work?

Does the property preservation/maintenance company offer training? Codes and regulations are constantly changing and moving without notice it seems. Even on a lesser level, methods and procedures can vary from client to client in the preservation and maintenance of property. Staying on the cutting edge of this information can be the difference between maximizing your profit potential or fighting lawsuits.

Does the property preservation company or property maintenance company utilize a streamlined system? Technology is a great thing that can not only make our lives easier but can also prevent a lot of headaches. For example in the foreclosure industry there is a need for data to be transferred such as photos and reports, bids and invoicing. I cannot even begin to count how many times I have been able to research a work order or service request and had all of the information in one place. This information should be made available to the contractor thru their unique log in. Without a workflow management system, there is nothing tracked and even if it is not intentional, a preservation or maintenance contractor can get shortchanged from sloppy bookkeeping.

Does the property preservation company or maintenance company have a good track record? Just like the above mentioned faceless craigslist ads, there are plenty of online forums where disgruntled employees can sound off without providing any real information. If you want to really find out about a company use reputable sources such as the Better Business Bureau, Dun & Bradstreet, or research public records to see if there are any issues/pending lawsuits that company has with clients or employees.

 

If you feel like as a property preservation contractor, general tradesman, licensed contractor, landscaper that you are motivated and highly specialized and can handle a large volume of work, but do not want to dedicate the time and staff to do the other steps of business (mentioned above), you may consider these questions to help you eliminate the bad preservation companies and find the good.

What to Look for in a Service Provider

When it comes to the selection of service providers, looking for  a few key qualities can go a long way in the process in developing a successful working relationship.

Understanding the client’s needs- When interviewing a property maintenance company or a property preservation company, make sure that the candidates are listening and taking notes on your unique situation. You may have a large portfolio of foreclosed properties in Northeast Ohio that cannot be maintained the same way as an apartment complex in the greater Pittsburgh area. Often times maintenance and preservation companies have limited capabilities and try to use a one size fits all sales approach to close a deal. Be sure that they are asking specific questions that show they are able to adjust and think out the side the box to deliver the service you need.

Knowledge of the demands of the industry- Don’t be afraid to ask questions that will challenge the property maintenance or property preservation companies you are interviewing. Requesting information and proof of how a difficult situation will be dealt with, such as dealing with complaining tenants, or examples of how they were able to resolve issues with municipalities in an effort to correct violations are key elements to representing your company.

Competence and Credibility- Ask for references from your potential property maintenance or preservation contractor. Verifiable work experience showcases the consistency and quality of the service provider. What is their staffing procedure to handle your workload?

Responsiveness- How bad does the company want your business? Are they actively following up with you? If not that is a good indicator they will be hard to find when you are trying to get them to your properties but magically reappear when they want money. Find out what there communication policy is and how long you should expect to hear back on emails and phone calls and hold them to that.

Assertiveness- Issues will definitely arise; It is unreasonable to expect things to go perfectly at all times. When an issue does arise, does your property maintenance or preservation contractor take ownership and look for a solution right away? Or do they have excuses or reasons that things went wrong? Quickly dealing with an issue to gain resolution can prevent financial loss and further embarrassment with your clients.

Teaming with the proper maintenance/preservation company can help take the stress off of managing your day to day business. In a bottom line driven industry, costs are something very important to think about, but should not be the only deciding factor. When you are dealing with a large volume, the service of your portfolio or assets under your management should be something that is happening in the back ground while you are focused on your business.