Skip to content

Contractors are for Flipping – Handymen are for Rentals

July 14, 2012

I do some of the basic maintenance myself, but many repairs and rehab tasks are just better left to the experts. Tiling a kitchen floor is something I could do, but it would take me much longer and probably not look that great. Therefore, I hire out work that is beyond just basic maintenance. They key here is to be sure you call the right people.

When we started in rental properties and we had a plumbing issue, we were just calling people in the phone book or ones from those Val-Pak coupon envelopes that you get in the mail. These are retail licensed plumbers. You just don’t need a fully licensed plumber to snake a toilet. It’s using a sledge hammer to drive a nail. Over the years, we have developed a pool of good, reliable, and reasonable trades. The good ones are certainly worth their weight in gold.

An ideal handyman would have the following characteristics in order of desirability:     

  1. Dependable
  2. Good
  3. Cheap

I don’t care if he is licensed, an illegal alien, on parole, whatever – If he has the 3 qualities above – I like him. You seldom have all 3 qualities in the same contractor/handyman, so the best strategy is to have several.  It’s then job dependent on which one I choose. If I need someone really quick, I will take the most dependable guy even if he is not the cheapest. If I need something done this week and there is no immediate urgency, then I take the cheap guy that shows up a day late. 

If I have one or two easy jobs I will sometimes call a new guy just to try someone else out. This gives me a chance to establish a relationship with someone and broaden my trade list. I really want to have 2 or 3 reliable people in each field (plumbing, electrical, AC, etc). This gives me a backup in case my old standby can not come out for some reason.  

From → Landlord

  1. Mel permalink

    I was wondering if you every use Home Warranty companies? For each of my rentals the sellers has paid for this services for the 1st year and it has been amazing. They charge a $60.00 fee to come out and fix the program and it is great. On my newest purchase the AC went out, to replace everything was an estimated $3800 with the home warranty I paid $665 to have a new 2.5 ton unit installed. I do have a handyman for repairs and he is cheap and excellent.

  2. Mel,

    We have a home warranty on our primary and we are paying the same $60 fee. We have had some luck, but had a couple of things that were not included in the coverage.

    I have played with the idea of carrying this on our rentals, but this cost will really add up with 7 rentals. I looked back and for the last 3 years we have had one AC unit and one hot water heater go. These are the only big ticket expenses we have had that were not already covered by insurance (roofs).

    I did just have one of my AC units looked at last week and my AC guy said, “this might be the last year for that AC unit”. Maybe now would be a good time to cover that one house anyways…..I will look into this. Thanks for your comment.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: