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Four Things to Keep in Mind when Hiring a Handyman

When you’re looking for a handyman, whether for a one-off fix or long-term maintenance, you have to make sure you’re looking in the right places. One of the best ways is to network around and ask other landlords, as their personal testimony will be more reliable and detailed than what you’ll find on a website. But even if you’ve found a handyman through someone you trust, it’s still important to take some steps to ensure that he or she is a good fit for what you need.


Always interview a handyman before giving them a job. Even if you’re contacting a handyman for a stand-alone gig unclogging a toilet, you always want to know who you’re working with. Ask them about how long they’ve been doing this line of work and what experience they have within it. Of course, if you’re hiring them as an on-call handyman that you’ll be working with for the foreseeable future, a more rigorous interviewing process is warranted. Ask for references from previous clients they’ve had. Talking with others who have worked with them in the past is the best way to get a good read on who they are as a maintenance worker.


Find out what their “bedside manner” is like. Having the best plumber in the city who can clear out a shower drain with a flick of the wrist won’t matter if he or she acts terribly towards your tenants. No tenant will ever be excited about having a stranger in the house, and they probably won’t be in the best of moods when a repairman is needed anyway. Make sure that you find a handyman who won’t turn your tenants’ moods from bad to worse whenever they respond to a call. Even little courtesies can make a big difference.Growing up, our maintenance man always had the habit of whistling tune after tune whenever he was in the house. We found out later that it was his way of letting everyone know where he was in the house and where he was going as a courtesy. It was a considerate, friendly touch, and we kept him for many years after.


Availability matters. It cannot be overstated how important it is to have a handyman who is on-call throughout the entirety of the day. Many handymen stop their daily services around 5pm; the fact that they’re available for the majority of the day might not seem so bad, but you must consider when emergency maintenance calls are going to be made. If your tenants all have jobs, they won’t be at their house in the middle of the day to realize their sink is leaking, and by the time they do realize the problem, the handyman won’t be coming to fix it until the next day. If the issue is serious, waiting that long for a fix simply isn’t possible.


Put everything on paper. Remember, just as you would with a tenant, put everything agreed upon into a written contract as a safety net for all parties involved. This will give you legal footing if anything goes wrong or a dispute emerges with the contractor. Making a contract establishes a clear rate of pay, as well as clearly outlining what services the handyman will be providing. There are numerous templates for these contracts, ranging from small to large projects, available around the internet, and they can serve as good places to start when writing something up. It would also be wise to ask other landlords what contracts and language they generally use when contracting out maintenance work, and remember, before putting any legal document into effect, consult a local lawyer.


*Bonus Fifth Reason*


Implement a system that makes management simpler


Finding and hiring a maintenance person comes with its own challenges, and it’s important to prepare for those with adequate research. But an additional complication will quickly emerge: how to connect and communicate with your tenants, maintenance person, and property needs. An excellent option is property management software. With software, tenants can easily raise requests, add pictures and video, and share comments and notes with both you the landlord and your maintenance employee. You’ve spent a great deal of time and effort hiring the perfect maintenance person – it’s important to apply that same exactness to your management.

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