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Article: Three Questions to Ask Before Hiring a Vendor

If you need work completed in your Central Florida rental home, it’s important to choose the right vendor for the job. Many owners, especially those that self-manage, tend to go for the cheapest vendor. But is that always the best option? In our opinion as a property management company, it’s better to take the time and get more information on your potential vendor before letting them into your rental home – or even your personal home! We’ve worked with hundreds of vendors over our 14+ years as an Orlando Property Manager, and we consistently vet each vendor we use very carefully, and have therefore eliminated many problems that otherwise could have cost ourselves and our owners a great deal of money. Here are three questions we recommend asking a vendor: 

1. Are you licensed and insured? 

You should ONLY consider hiring a contractor/vendor that is fully insured with both general liability and worker’s compensation insurance, and licensed in their field (i.e don’t use a fly by night handyman for important plumbing or electrical work!). A fully insured contractor with the proper licensing will usually never be the cheapest, but you will always get the best value for your money, not to mention you have the peace of mind knowing the individuals working on your rental property are protected. Most importantly, you can rest assured knowing if there is any accidental damage, it will be covered by their liability insurance! For instance, we know of an owner who refused to get homeowner’s insurance for her rental property (side note – make sure you have homeowner’s insurance!). She needed some simple drywall work done in the garage ceiling, so she hired an unlicensed and uninsured handyman for the job because he was the cheapest, despite our recommendations otherwise. This handyman accidentally cut into a pipe and flooded the garage, costing her tens of thousands of dollars in damages and repair work, none of which was covered because none of the parties had insurance. It was a very costly mistake that we’re sure she’ll never make again!

2. What is your pricing?

Knowing what a vendor charges up front is always the route to go. What is their hourly rate? Do they charge for estimates? Knowing these things upfront will save yourself from headaches, misunderstandings, and even legal disputes. This will also allow you to compare pricing across similar vendors and make sure you’re not overpaying. You never want work done without a clear and written understanding of exactly what work will be performed and what that work will cost. When pricing and or payment become an issue after the job is complete, things can go south quickly. As mentioned before, the proper vendors are not always the cheapest but you should not have to spend more money than necessary. 

3. Do you have referrals and/or positive reviews and ratings? 

None of the things mentioned previously matter if the vendor can not provide good quality work. Do not be shy to ask a potential vendor for references and sample work they have done before to make sure you have the best person on the job for you! 

There are many reasons to carefully vet the vendors you let into both your personal home and your rental properties. Asking these three simple questions will take a little time up front, but can prevent many headaches and costly situations down the road and ultimately, help preserve the life of your property!