Repairs - Starting a Process

10 Replies

I'm working with a national handyman service on tenant calls for repairs. They will provide a guaranteed personal response 24/7 for urgent matters (water leaks, electrical, etc) and 24 hours personal response for normal repairs. They are proposing a $150.00 service charge and $95.00 per hour.

For you experienced landlords, does this sound fair?

Bjorn - thank you for your reply.  Since I'm the landlord paying these rates, I was looking more so at rates that other landlords are paying for these types of services for their rentals.

Yeah that sounds incredibly expensive.  To clarify is that $150 just to field the call and a minimum of $95 regardless of wherever it takes 1 hr or 15 minutes?   If the tenant calls in to have an apartment light on a 15 ft vaulted ceiling would they charge you $245 to change the bulb?  I would also have to assume your paying for all materials.

We have an onsite handyman staff that charges either $45/hr for normal maintenance and $72/hr for specialized services plus materials.  I'm sure you could find a list of local vendors you can keep at the ready for a few hours of work.  Keep in mind you will turn this list every few months.

If you're main focus is fielding the requests to minimize your involvement there are services that can handle that for far less.  I have a virtual assistant in the Philippines that speaks flawless English, can field tenant requests, and has processes in place with dollar restrictions and preferred vendors to handle requests.

In my area those rates would be for plumbers, or hvac, electricians would be a little less. A general handy man would be thrilled at $45 an hour. Of course to come for 10 minutes to change a light bulb you would have to pay travel time.

That’s a high rate but you are theoretically paying it for someone professional to respond all hours of the day/night. This would be worth it for a water leak at 2am if the property was an hour away, but not worth it if a tenant needed a light bulb replaced. 

That sounds sky-high and you would be a lot better off having someone local who was personally accountable to you and who had done work for other investors you know. The reason why handymen work for these services is that they have trouble generating income leads themselves. Their work doesn't pass muster to the point where they can build a private client base. They don't have the credit, skills, connections, even the confidence in their abilities to buy distressed rentals and work on them on their own. So they constantly need fresh leads generated by the service, which is the only reason they're willing to pay the service to generate them.

I know that the second you register as a home improvement contractor with a general liability insurance policy in Pennsylvania, the services start calling you to try to get you to work for them. Completely out of the blue. There's no test, no interview other than five minutes over the phone, no references -- any warm body will do. And no handyman sticks with this sort of thing any longer than it takes to find something better.

Find a local guy, build a relationship. If you do go the service route just to try it or because you can't find a guy otherwise, and the guy who shows up does end up doing decent work for you, forget the service and contact him directly from that point on.