Property Manager's Handyman Overcharge?

3 Replies

I'm active duty military. I live in NV but rent out my property in GA. My property manager doesn't notify me of charges for repairs less than $100.

My tenants keep the house very clean and have always paid on time, so I like to reward that behavior with being very responsive to their maintenance requests, which are ALOT.  Every little thing in the house they have nit picked and requested maintenance action.  

The latest was they requested that one of the bathroom cabinet hinges be fixed because it was "loose", not broken, not falling off but "loose". 

Since this is a small repair the property manager approves the work without asking me, which has been fine to this point.

However, this time, their handy man charged me $75!  $75 to replace a $5 hinge?  I could replace a hinge in 15 min probably.  I assume a full time handy man could do so even faster.  Lets assume 10 min, therefore he charged me $70 for 10 min of work?  That's $420 / hour???  Even if you factor in his 2 min drive to the Lowes around the corner the charges seem very high as it is.

How should I react to this?  Should I take up the issue with my property manager?  Wait till this happens again?  Or discuss with my property manager that small items like this should be handled by my tenant?

Ian I would ask the PM for an itemized bill of the latest repair so you can see how they arrived at that number.  That will give you a starting point to contest it if need be!

A minimum charge for trip fee/service call, whatever they want to call it is very typical. I have some with a minimum of $85 but I use them a lot and there are rare occasions when they charge me nothing. So I don't see a problem with a handyman charging $75 to go out and replace a hinge.

However, you might want to talk to your PM about implementing a new clause in the lease that states that the tenant is responsible for minor repairs under $75. My lease says $85 minimum is the tenants responsibility.

I think $75 is a bit steep, yes, but not by much. Typically a "handyman" service call starts at $50 during regular biz hours. If there's parts or materials, it's on top of the $50. So maybe $60 in this case. What you described doesn't sound like more than an hour task, unless the property is very far away from the handyman. 

Really when you hire someone, you're not paying for the job so to speak. In reality, what you're paying for is: 

Insurance

Profit

Taxes
Labor
Experience

Materials

If you figure uncle sam took about 30% of whatever he charged you ($23 there) and subtract materials cost ($10), labor / travel time to lowe's, fuel, vehicle, insurance, tools, etc. you can quickly see how there isn't a whole lot of profit there. In actual expenses just tied to your job he's over $30, which means he's got $45 to cover the rest. Just 1 hr of labor is more than $45, let alone the aforementioned expenses. 

I agree that this issue should have been addressed by your tenant, but that's what leases are for...don't blame the handyman on this one, his price isn't that crazy. If you think it is, have your PM find someone cheaper. It's unlikely it's someone professional, as professionals value their time at a higher rate.