Tenants and Toilets are the two key complaints that most landlords talk about. I believe that having a dependable, thorough, and honest handyman that has good workmanship is an absolute must whether you own 2 or 20 investment properties.
- Your handyman should be able to fix most items in your properties. Maybe just as important, he should admit when a project is not his specialty and should be outsourced. Build trust where you can rely on his judgement on what needs to be fixed and how it should get done.
- Find a handyman that lives near your properties. You will be very thankful for this when your tenant calls at 7:00 at night about a plugged toilet or a furnace not running or any other number of issues that require immediate response. It is great to be able to simply call your handyman and ask him to swing over and take care of the problem.
- Give him enough work that he sees you as his primary customer. This should keep him wanting to please you by taking those 7:00 pm calls to unplug a toilet! Conversely, unless you can sustain him 100% indefinitely, make sure that he does not rely on your work alone as when you slow down, he will be concerned about putting food on the table.
- If your volume warrants it, negotiate a reduced per hour rate. Discuss eliminating trip and overtime charges.
- When you go on vacation, consider paying your handyman to be your vacation buddy. You should decide if you will give the handyman the keys to the properties. When I go on vacation, I like to keep all the keys in my garage. In an event that he absolutely needs keys, I will then tell him where they are and give him the combo to my garage door.
- Don’t make your decision on your handyman based soley upon him being cheap. I have made this mistake more than a couple times. The guy may be great for a while or for specific projects, by I have found that guys that don’t value their worth will eventually let you down. My last guy simply went MIA and I was unable to contact him for about 45 days.
- Find your handyman through referrals with your real estate agent, check the hardware store bulletin boards, and scan Craig’s (or Angie’s) List.
Having a consistent handyman can be a crucial addition to your investment property team. He should free you up from having to do all your maintenance and potentially save you money instead of having to call a trade person (ie: plumber, carpenter) to fix something small.