Being a property manager means taking on a lot of responsibilities. You are responsible for marketing a property, screening potential tenants, collecting rent, answering late night phone calls and complaints, maintaining the premises, documenting incidents, keeping the landlord informed, and understanding housing laws.
With all of these things riding on your team, the one thing you don’t want to worry about is whether your vendors and contractors are well screened. When you hire a vendor or contract worker you’re not just risking your reputation but the lives and possessions of the people who are living in your properties.
Understanding what to look for when screening these contractors can help keep your tenants and your landlord’s property safe. It also may help you decide to work with a third party like CNet Technologies who can pre-screen and continue to audit your vendors.
Per propertyware.com a background check on any contractor or vendor is paramount because you’re allowing them into the homes of your renters. To emphasize again, “This is about protecting yourself, your owner's investment, your tenants, and your employees.”
To conduct a background check on any potential employee, you’ll need their written consent. Treat this like any other company would with permission to verify their identity, the social security number to pull public records, and permission to pull criminal history. You may even want to conduct a credit check as many contractors are small businesses themselves. Knowing their financial habits could be beneficial.
All of these reports should be analyzed with a keen but fair eye. For instance, a criminal record shouldn’t necessarily be a deal-breaker. According to shrm.org, “research shows a majority of HR professionals find little difference in the quality of hire between applicants with and without a criminal record.” This is just one aspect to consider when deciding whom to hire to maintain your properties.
References Versus Reviews
A contractor or vendor is going to have a presence online in the form of social media, a website, or both. This will allow you to ask for references as you would in any typical hiring situation and also gain knowledge of their work through reviews.
With references, a contractor or vendor can put the best people in front of you who will vouch for their ideal work methods. There are hindrances to references depending on what state you work in. For example, a previous employer may not be able to do more than verify that the vendor or contractor worked for them and for what dates.
However, there’s information to be gleaned outside of what a reference or previous employer can tell you. If a contractor lists a long-time client or fellow employee that has worked with them for a long time you can infer that the worker is stable and consistent. If the references only date back a year or two, though, it may indicate a green worker or that they’ve burned bridges with previous employers.
Reviews must also be met with scrutiny as not all reviewers are created equal. Conducting this kind of research on a vendor or small business contractor makes sense, but the reviews should be considered as an average rather than in detail. If the contractor or vendor generally has favorable reviews, this bodes well. However, it’s not a bad idea to take note of a bad review to ask questions in an interview.
By allowing the contractor to give their side of the story, you can gain more insight into how they conduct themselves professionally depending on how they answer those questions. If a vendor is dismissive or cranky about this bad review, it may prove the contractor not to be the best fit for your team.
Contractors and vendors understand and are used to going about their career job-to-job, so instituting a trial period is in essence a short-term contract. As a property manager, you supply consistent work across multiple properties, so take advantage of this power dynamic and make sure that you’re hiring the best for your budget.
This trial period allows you to get a feel for the worker’s reliability and how they handle interacting with renters. This trial period also allows you to hire someone you’re on the fence about but can still help with maintaining the property while you give yourself time to find a better match.
Third Party Screening and Continued Auditing
CNet Technologies’ sole focus is screening employees, just as your company’s focus is property management. We know the laws relating to screening and can take the screening responsibilities off your plate so you can focus on managing properties.
At CNet Technologies, we consider ourselves your risk management partner, meaning we believe looking out for your best interest is in our best interest too. CNet Technologies also provides additional protection with continuous vendor auditing. With our CTrack Contractor Management System, you can get up-to-date information on the performance of your contractors across all of your sites. Any issues that arise can also be handled quickly and efficiently.
Screening your vendors and contract workers is crucial to the safety of your landlord and renters. While background screening can be done in house, having a dedicated screening partner like CNet Technologies might be your best solution. Contact CNet Technologies today for a consultation!