When it comes to maintenance and repairs, choosing the right contractors is vital. It’s not just a matter of contractors representing your brand; it’s also a matter of compliance because if things go wrong on-site, you could be liable. So, besides the obvious things like checking references and doing your research, what is the best way to choose a contractor?
Don’t just ask for references; ask for accreditation too
There are plenty of resources available to help agents who are unsure of which certifications their contractors may require – in addition to specific sites like the Gas Safe website, agents can check whether contractors are accredited by the Safety Schemes in Procurement (SSiP) umbrella body, which assesses the competency and qualifications of contractors across a range of skills. Repairs and maintenance management software systems like Fixflo also allow contractors to upload qualifications and certifications straight onto the system, allowing agents to check not just on new contractors, but also to ensure existing contractors’ qualifications remain valid and in-date.
Request details of how they will stay safe on-site
Contractors should always provide information on how they intend to work safely on-site, including evidence of staff training and contingency planning. They should also share details of their insurance – any contractors unwilling to do so should be given a wide berth.
Know what to expect
The best way to choose a good contractor is know exactly what you’re looking for. As a basic guide, agents should expect the following from any contractor that they’re working with:
- Good time-keeping – aside from the fact that time is money, punctuality is a common courtesy especially when you’re working in someone else’s space. Your tenants have the right to a contractor who turns up when he says he will and your landlords have the right to someone who completes their work within the agreed timeframe.
- Clearing up after themselves – as with time-keeping, contractors are working in a space where other people live. As such, they should be expected to clear up after themselves. If they’re clearing extensive waste from a site, as an agent, you should be asking for their waste carrier information to make sure the job is being done professionally.
- Good customer interactions – although they may not be part of your agency, your contractors are still representatives of your brand so it’s important to select contractors who present themselves well and are happy to interact with tenants, giving them any information they require, as well as keeping you informed on their progress.
Pay it forward
Contractors rely on word of mouth just as much as anybody else in the industry so, if you have a good experience, provide feedback. Equally important, at the other end of the spectrum, is if you have a contractor who wasn’t up to the job, share your experience to make sure other agents don’t employ him. Pooling expertise and information is the best way to drive up standards in the industry and improve the reputations of agents everywhere.
For more tips and information about managing contractors, why not download our eBook that discusses the subject in more detail? It's called The Property Manager’s Guide to Managing Contractors and is available here.