When a tenant takes possession of a rental house or unit, they are trusting the property management team has taken the necessary precautions to ensure their safety. The service vendors you let in your company door are people tenants are required to let in their front door. Whether it’s a plumber, electrician, general maintenance man, landscaper, or another kind of service provider, your tenants are trusting these individuals are safe and reputable.
Vendor screening is becoming more and more common. The fact is vendors can have keys, codes, and other forms of direct access to tenants, their families, and their belongings. This can be a scary thought! It really makes you wonder what all is included in screening a vendor to make sure they are an appropriate fit. Do they have judgments? A past criminal history? Negative reviews online? Just exactly who ARE you hiring? Your company policies should also be a huge factor in determining which vendors can be approved to work with your company.
In today’s world, the lowest vendor bid is usually not the best fit. A reputable service company that takes pride in knowing their liabilities and due diligence might cost a little bit more, but knowing your rental homes and tenants are safe allows you to have peace of mind.
How do I know where to start?
A simple criminal check on the owner of the service business does not begin to cover all the areas that should be taken into consideration. Below are some helpful tips and things to look for when considering a vendor:
- How long has the company been in business?
It helps to know how long a company has been in business. That doesn’t necessarily mean a startup company will be a deal breaker, but when searching for contractors and maintenance vendors it helps to check referrals and see that a company has a good track record over a certain period of time.
- Do they have negative reviews online?
In today’s world the first place you should look before choosing a vendor is their online reviews. Check the Better Business Bureau, look for testimonials on their website, and reviews on Google and other search engines. This will give you a snapshot of the experience others have had with that particular company. Something to note is consumers usually voice their opinion when things go bad, and we all know you can’t please all the people all the time. If a company has 3 bad reviews they might have 500 satisfied customers that didn’t voice their good experience. Keep that in mind when looking over bad reviews and always ask for references.
- Is the company located in your area?
Knowing where your vendors are located will help determine if they can offer the level of support you require. Some vendors have no problem working remotely while others services may require a location within a reasonable driving distance.
- Is the company insured?
We all know accidents can happen; when they do, you need to know your liabilities are covered by using a vendor that has the proper insurance for the type of work they perform.
- Do they have the licenses required to perform certain task?
Many vendors such as electricians, plumbers, contractors, etc. require a license to perform the type of work they do. These licenses can be searched and confirmed and will tell you when the license was issued, date of expiration, and other pertinent information regarding the type of work they are qualified to perform.
- Does the company perform background checks on employees?
Always keep in mind that some vendors have as much access to a dwelling as a tenant. The first priority of any property management company should be protecting their tenants and staff. The easiest way to do this is by requiring vendors to perform background checks on their employees.
The cost of vendor screening is minimal when compared to the amount of damage that can be done by an unqualified company. There are many things to take into consideration; the cost of the service should only be considered after qualified vendors have been selected. To better protect your business, the company policy should reflect your procedures for screening new vendors. By taking the proper measures you can ensure that each vendor is a good fit for the task they perform and is trustworthy to enter your tenants’ homes.
If you have questions about vendor screening, ACUTRAQ would love to help!
Jason Waggoner /
ACUTRAQ Background Screening
Disclaimer: LandlordSource does not represent the article content in this website as legal advice. It is shared information only and up to the reader to use this information responsibly, seeking legal advice as necessary to their business.