A STORY FROM THE BEGINNING –
Things were going well. Our company rental units were all occupied and nothing major was due in regards to renovations or fixing. Small things were popping up as they always do but nothing that hurt the cash flow.
Finding professional contractors is a process but finding professional contractors who are willing to do tiny odds and ends handyman tasks (fix a leak, change a door) is another process of its own. Since we give our current contractors lots of work they are willing to take on these smaller tasks when we ask for them.
There is another issue that arises. These contractors have systems in place and are running a legitimate business which means “fixing a minor leak” could cost $120 just for the 60-minute visit.
Obviously having a great “tenant issues” back end system is very important to categorize emergencies from non- emergencies but costs were high and something had to be done. I needed a contractor who could give me a reasonable rate for minor tasks BUT who was also a professional. I was on the search for a rental unit handyman.
Numerous interviews later, I found the “handyman” that I was going to try out on a few of these “test” repairs that needed attention, let’s call him “Bob”. Bob was referred to me by a contact in the real estate space and Bob was a great talker. Bob “knew” everything about everything and had been doing this sort of thing for 20+ years.
Sounds pretty good right?! All of his answers checked out; liability insurance, certificates, was going to send references, professional invoicing, had a bookkeeper and he even “had” his mold and asbestos removal certificate. To put the cherry on top, Bob even understood our business model and charged $20 an hour with NO SET UP FEE!
Wow, Bob sounded like the man!
Now unfortunately we needed a roof repaired at one of our rentals and it was forecasted to pour 15mm the next night. This leak was a bad one and I didn’t want anything to happen to the interior of the unit. Bob was able to start the next morning so desperation kicked in and I failed to wait for him to send me all of the qualifications I had asked for .
I told Bob he had the job and to start in the morning. Now not to drag this story out but after receiving 10 plus phone calls and 10 plus excuses (seemed like it anyway) why unexpected things were popping up, I started to get agitated, and quickly.
Luckily this wasn’t my first rodeo and I was able to catch this before it got out of hand but for a 10 X 12 section of roof to rip and re-shingle and tree trimming around the yard, it cost our company $2000.
Bob was an amateur and a thief, the worst kind. If the roof had major rot I could have swallowed this but the rot was very minor (1 board). This is not a large amount of money but it is enough to feel a sting.
I disputed the final invoice and told him I wasn’t paying the final amount. Badgering my phone every hour and excuses to why things took so long, to the work he needed to hire out (which was never talked about in the beginning) and the stories that kept switching with how many guys he hired, I knew I wasn’t getting rid of this guy.
I also knew that this guy had no integrity and no vision for a relationship. Not once did he offer to lower his costs to show good faith and not once did he apologize for the lack of communication when I tried to get ahold of him. These are signs that the relationship should come to an end.
Rule of thumb:
If your contractor has no quality reason for why prices went up or is not willing to wiggle the price down due to poor communication on their part and needs the cash right away, they are an amateur. Save yourself time and extensive headaches.
This dilemma was bothering me so I called up one of my mentors and the time to find clarity on the subject. I expressed the situation and my frustrations and he gave me a simple exit to the whole thing.
“Pay the man in full and never talk to him again”
How could I pay the guy for doing a shitty job and over charging me? I hired him specifically to save money. Bob was a time killer and an attention stealer.
While I was looking to save costs, I completely forgot about how convenient and headache free my current relationships were. This was a wake up call. If I did not pay Bob in full, I would be dealing with these headaches for a long time after in some shape or form.
I paid Bob in full and haven’t thought about him since. My attention is more important than a few thousand dollars and if I have my focus on making more money, expenses have less of an effect. Of course if the amount was significantly greater bigger steps would have needed to take place but this was not the case and we did not let it get to that point.
Amateur – An amateur is most likely someone who is extra eager for work because they have no jobs lined up. An amateur cannot play at the big league level and they end up wasting your time and that can resort to you spending a lot of “learning” dollars.
Thief – A thief is someone who can talk a big league game but will not live up to their word, they change the stories and everything is about the money. Money is what drives these people and money is what will drive these people into the ground. Unfortunately Bob was both and I got bit in the ass. A quick exit was made and it wasn’t detrimental.
What is a professional?
A professional is someone who respects your time, their employees time and most importantly their time. They provide professional quotes and give realistic timelines with realistic issues that could arise. Professionals care about their personal and company brand. They understand word of mouth travels very fast and that success is over the long term, not on one deal.
Find this person when building your power team and you will be happy with the quality you receive. This doesn’t mean that you cannot argue prices and express what your budget is, of course not. Make sure you get multiple quotes and keep everyone honest but once you do this enough, the prices will become evident and you will be able to spot the inflated prices.
We have found our professional handyman and things are moving along smoothly. When in doubt, get a trusted professional in to do the job and you won’t be sorry. It will cost more but don’t live through my mistakes and learn why it costs more. It costs more because you will not hear from that problem for a long time to come or hopefully never again.
If you are a professional or claim to be, than you must work with professionals to demand the expectations and quality you desire.
Keep hustling go getter!
- Never start work before qualifications are sent over and approved.
- When in doubt always go with a trusted professional (This will cost more upfront but will save lots on the back end and most importantly it will save your time.)
- To demand professional service you must provide professional service A guy who is a “expert at everything” should be looked over with CAUTION
- Learn from others mistakes and analyze your own setbacks. Learn from these and implement massive action to improve your daily systems.