Have you ever hired an outside vendor to complete a project only to have more work in the end because of something that went awry? Or maybe, you had something you couldn’t fix, and you didn’t want to admit the need to hire an outside vendor in the first place. Has a vendor ever quit on you? Have you ever been in a maintenance pinch and didn’t have anyone reliable you could call? If you are a property or maintenance manager who has been in the multifamily industry for a little while, chances are, one of these situations may have happened to you at some point. That is why it is imperative to create and maintain good relationships with the right vendors. Positive vendor relationships are less expensive and provide more value for your property in the long run.
Good vendors have more value than the single job you call them out to do.
Price is not always the number one determination of a good vendor. As property managers, watching the bottom line is important, but good vendors can provide more value than the cost of the single job you have them do. They can educate you and your staff on preventative maintenance, the overall function of what they are fixing, and how to identify problems early. A good vendor can be worth far more than the $250 maintenance call to fix the AC compressor. Furthermore, a good vendor can be a learning experience for your regular maintenance staff. Instead of just calling them out to fix a problem, if you have a vendor that is willing to explain to you what is wrong and how they fixed it, this really gets you your money’s worth.
You get what you give.
In order to keep your staff content, you may offer several perks that keep them performing at their best. For example, maybe you treat them to lunch or a coffee every now and then. In an effort to establish and maintain good relationships with your vendors, you should treat them as an extension of your staff. Oftentimes, property managers view vendors as working for them, when in reality, a business relationship is a two-way street. If you want to attract quality vendors and keep them coming back, providing them with respect and appreciation will go a long way. It will also keep your reputation in good standing in the community.
Everyone makes mistakes.
It is inevitable that even the best vendors will eventually make a mistake, however, how you handle the error can mean the difference between building a stronger relationship with the vendor or losing them all together. If you are not satisfied with a job, respectfully discuss your reasons with them so you can both learn what was expected and why it fell short. If, despite your best efforts to communicate, mistakes continue, you may start looking for an alternative.
Whether you manage a large property or small, you will most likely use an outside vendor for your maintenance emergencies at some point. These are small business owners who will want to build a mutually successful relationship with you. Having poor relationships with vendors can end up costing you more money and damage your reputation. So, foster and grow those relationships so you can know the true value of a vendor.