We get a lot of questions about how we handle maintenance calls to properties we manage. Specifically- when do we call the owner to get permission before proceeding with a repair item?
Most property management companies have a ceiling that they’ll go up to before they contact the owner for permission. For example- anything below $250.00 will be handled automatically by the property management company, anything above and the owner will be contacted first.
Our cost ceiling is $500.00. Anything below $500, our property management company (CB Properties) will just fix it, pay the invoice and float your cost until the following month, to which we will deduct the cost you incurred from the rent collection plus a 10% carrying and maintenance cost. Anything above $500 and we will contact the owner first before proceeding. We do get a comment every so often that $500 is high compared to other Property Management companies, but with this higher threshold, it allows us to manage your property efficiently and provide better services to the individuals who are paying your rent. We have found on several occasions a critical item in need of immediate repair cost over $250, but under $500. Tracking down the investor to get permission to fix a critical item could mean a delay in our technician getting to the supply house and returning back to the property to fix the issue in the same day. The end result is a frustrated tenant, especially if it means the maintenance guy was at the house to make the repair, but had to leave. While we like to think all tenants are patient and understanding people, that is not always the case, especially if the critical item leaves the tenant in the dark, without heat, without A/C or taking a cold shower! Not making the repair could also be a code violation that would cost the property owner additional money if the tenant so chooses to report the issue to code or housing authority.
With all that being said, we still understand investors not feeling comfortable with an open checkbook to their Property Management Company. To put our investors at ease with our $500 threshold, we send out an email to the property owner on EVERY maintenance call immediately as it comes into our office. This email is simply a notification to let the property owner know a maintenance request has come into our office and that we are sending a technician out to investigate the problem. This email gives the property owner the opportunity to call into our office or respond back to our office manager with any questions or concerns.
The next question we get a lot is, “Do you bid out your maintenance repairs?” Unless the maintenance cost is something like a new roof or some other high cost repair, the answer is “No.” We can assure you that our contractor pricing is as low as possible and the best you will receive as a property owner. We have worked tirelessly over the years to build relationships with contractors and companies to get PRE-NEGOTIATED prices WELL BELOW MARKET VALUE. As an example: if an AC unit needs to be replaced, our typical labor cost for the entire job will be ~$150.00. To minimize the material cost to our investors, we have a contractor program at Home Depot that gives us preferred pricing on several items and discounts when we purchase over $1,000 in material. Since we routinely renovate properties, often times we can add on simple maintenance items while making large material purchases. Our main goal as an Investor focused Property Management Company is to keep our property owners cost as low as possible. As property owners ourselves, we understand what excessive maintenance cost can do to cash flow and our goal is to keep your cost as low as possible and cash flow high as possible.
So, work with us on the management and maintenance of your homes so that the process can run as smoothly as possible! Also, remember that tenant retention is everything when you’re investing in property. Keeping tenants happy by providing good services and addressing their needs when things break in a timely manner is the path to success in this business. We’re here to serve you!
Please feel free to CONTACT US if you have further questions or comments on this issue.