Meeting Repairmen While Working Full Time

12 Replies

I am managing 20 rental units while working a full-time corporate accounting job.  I'm able to do most of my management duties during my lunch breaks and in the evenings, with the exception of occasional phone calls and emails throughout the day.

My biggest challenge is meeting our handyman/contractors at the property for maintenance calls since the majority of them want do it during the 8-5 working day.  Is there any advice of what you have done so you don't have to go to the property with the contractor every time maintenance work needs done?  Do you require the tenant to miss work to be there?  Do you pay someone that you trust to be there the whole time?

I rarely do go to the property with my handymen, however I've developed a very close relationship with them. I never, ever require a tenant to be there unless there's animals present, I would prefer they not be there as they can usually do a good job of hindering the repairs going on.

Most repair guys will do work after hours if you pay them more, which is a very real possibility with you working a full time job and needing to develop a relationship with them to do the repairs right. 

When a tenant complains of an assue. I ask them if it's ok for (insert name) from (insert company) calls you to schedule an appointment to fix this?  

Only had a few people not immediately agree. 

Rarely do I get a call from the contractor saying they couldn't get it scheduled with tenant. 

Tenant is normally the set of keys/supervision. 

This requires some trust and training of your handyman/contractor. 

I use a keybox and give out the code to authorized maintenance people. The unit is typically empty when I do this.

Thank you all for your insights.  I agree that I need to develop a good relationship with a handyman so that I and our tenants can feel confident that he can go into the units unattended and get the job done.  We've been doing the maintenance work in house in the past, so we are still trying to develop those relationships so we can get out of that aspect of it.

Do you have the type of tenants who would be willing to meet with the handyman during daytime hours for a rent credit?  Just a thought.

Try offering them a $25 (or whatever amount you think would work) credit off next month's rent if they coordinate the visit with the handyman.

Or, start looking for a handyman who will work with your schedule.

And keep in mind that tenants normally don't want to have maintenance done after dinner time.  They will be more open to weekends during the day, in my experience, if it can't be done M-F, 8-5.

The owner I worked for did all his own maintenance.  Tenants knew he'd be in the building from around 11am - 2pm on Saturdays.  Unless it was an emergency, everything waited until then.  And I never had a tenant complain about those hours (except some would want the last appointment so they could sleep in).

@Coleman Nelson I was in the same boat as you for a couple years.  I put the responsibility between the tenant and repair person to coordinate the repair.  I also requested photos of the repairs from the repair man.   To be honest the struggle I had while working a day job was managing the move in and move out of tenants.


Vacant - lockbox and I text them the code

If a tenant is there I tell them the repair person will contact them for scheduling.  Once, they could not meet the contractor because I was getting bids.  My realtor let the contractors in for me with tenant approval. 

Perhaps you have a close connection with an agent who would be willing to step in for you in instances when you can't make it to meet the vendor?

I work full time as well and am fairly well stuck in my cubicle prison all day.  Several of my tenants have a stay at home mom that can let in repair men as needed.  Others are either able to adjust schedule as needed to let repairman in or are ok with me putting lock box out to let repair man in at his own schedule.  For this to happen though, I only allow licensed, bonded people or companies due the work.  I am less stringent about some of my trades people when the house is vacant and under rehab.

When I do the key box, I temporarily rekey the lock to a generic key that will only work on one door.  About half of my units have those Kwikset smart key systems.  I recently switched to landlord locks where I can switch out cylinders.  This allows me to control who has a key to what and for how long.  I put the lock box with the temporary key on in the morning on way to work and on way home, pick up the lock box and rekey the lock to match the others so the tenants keys work again.  I don't want someone to have access to make copies of tenant keys or my master keys.

For more urgent or serious matters, I have occasionally left work to see damage and repair.  I try as much as possible to do this around lunch but have had instances where it was not possible.  That said, my units are pretty well maintained and I don't have many urgent repairs that can't be scheduled around convenience.

Can you ask for flex time at your job, to make up time missed during normal hours?

@Al Williamson  I also use a key box ($30 at home depot).  I have developed a relationship with a handyman, electrician, and HVAC guy so I trust these guys.  It took several years, but it has worked out well.

I leave the key box on even when tenants are living there and it has saved me from having to leave my regular job to let them in during a 4 hour window!

Thank you all for your advice.  Sounds like a combination of passing it on to the tenants, developing good relationships with contractors, and potentially using a lockbox is the consensus.

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