I'm new to the real estate scene and recently purchased a duplex! I found my realtor through BP and he has guided me through the purchase process and it has been great so far.
With purchasing the property, I knew there were some minor maintenance tasks that needed to be done such as: tuck pointing the stone outside, fixing a wooden window trim on the attic, fixing the front porch light, placing doorbells, fixing a laundry room door, and removing a broker lock from the front door. My realtor advised me that he has a maintenance tech who can do everything, and I trusted him with these tasks.
I sent my realtor a list of items, and he passed them along to the maintenance tech. With the first job, 2/6 of the items were not complete and he charged me 12 hours for labor + parts (split into 4 days). I asked him about these unfinished tasks and he said he will go back. Since he was going back anyways, I asked him to take a look at the lights in the back yard. He went back and completed all the tasks, but also ended up doing some additional things I didn't ask for (like fixing the smoke detectors, fixing cabinets and doors in other rooms) and said that the tenants had asked him to do those (and charged additional 8 hrs).
Being new to this, I'm trying to understand the cost of doing business. It doesn't seem right that he did additional work without talking to me about it - but maybe this is the cost of doing business.
What do you think?
Every investor has made these mistakes before (including me). First off I would tell him to stop working and pay him for any hours he has worked that you have not paid him for. Next, I would start reaching out to local investors in your area and start finding handymen that they might suggest. Pay them by the job and make sure you pay after the work is done. Usually you will need to pay upfront or provide materials to them; this you will need to discuss with them prior to starting to work. Furthermore, you will give them a set list of items that need to be completed and only complete them. They are working for you, not your tenants.
When I self-managed small MF properties, I would keep a list of pending repairs that were not urgent for each property. Once you have a few hours of repairs, you call the handyman (unless you have an emergency) and you can do it all at once.