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How do you keep your good contractors?

June 28, 2014

A trade that is good, cheap, and dependable is worth his weight in gold. Finding one of these will relieve stress and make maintenance calls so much easier. It’s tough enough to find good trades. Once you have found one make every effort to keep them. Below are some things I do to help keep my best contractors:

Don’t over negotiate his price. If you are constantly complaining about paying too much, then they won’t be as eager to do your next job. I don’t have any issue paying a fair price for good work – stiff negotiating can get you a good deal every once in a while, but if you overdo it – You will always be hunting for new labor. This tactic is not worth it in the long run – Find someone dependable and pay them a fair price for their work.


Pay them right away. Try and pay them right there on the spot in cash after they do the work. If they do mail you an invoice – get it in the mail the same day. Then next time he has several jobs to choose from he will choose yours as he knows he is getting paid right away.

Be flexible. Have backups and go with your #2 guy, if your favorite trade is just not able to do the work. Don’t keep calling and begging for his help. Also have multiple options for him to come out and make the repair. “The tenants will be home on Tuesday or Wednesday after 5.”

Stack your jobs. I also like to stack jobs when possible. This means if I have a small drip in a sink faucet that is not urgent, I will save this repair until something else comes up. Then when I call him out, he has multiple jobs. If this is preventive maintenance such as an HVAC checkup, then have him do several of these on multiple properties in the same area.

Make sure someone is home. Make sure your tenants are home when he comes by for the repairs. I like to be there myself if I can, but many times this is not possible for me. Verify with your tenants when they will be home, and make sure to send them a reminder text on the day he is to come by. Be very careful here, this is a great way to lose a good trade.

Help them out. My best handyman also does auto work. I give him many of my auto repair jobs that come up as well. Find ways that you can help them, but don’t give their number out too freely. This is a bit selfish, but longtime landlords will understand this – You want your trade to be available when you call, so you don’t want him off working other jobs.

A good trade is so critical to us and the way we manage our properties. Doing the things mentioned above and of course be nice, show respect, compliment their work, etc. Mine is certainly my MVP and Val and I are thinking he would be ideal to someday turn him into our property manager.

From → Landlord

One Comment
  1. Great plan!. I do most of my own maintenance, but a handyman does come in handy (pun intended..) once in a while.

    I always hope the handyman knows more about stuff than I do.

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