As a rental property owner, you have many responsibilities. Among those responsibilities is ensuring that your properties are properly maintained. Many property owners handle maintenance and repair issues on their own, but this is not the ideal solution for everyone. In some instances, you may not have the time to handle the task on your own. In other cases, the task at hand may be beyond your skill set. Whatever the reason may be, if you have decided to hire a professional contractor, it is important to make sure that you hire the right person.
Never make the mistake of hiring the first contractor you come across. As a general rule, it is always a good idea to interview at least three prospective contractors before you make a final decision. In interviewing contractors, consider the experience and professional associations of the person or company you are interviewing. For instance, are they a member of a local remodeling or building association? Such memberships can be a great source for referrals and information. Additionally, members of such associations are typically experienced professionals.
Find out whether the contractor is insured and licensed. Contractors are usually required to have proper licensure as well as to hold liability insurance. Prior to hiring a contractor, take the time to find out whether the company or contractor is fully licensed and has proper insurance coverage. Make a point of asking to see documentation for your own peace of mind. You do not want to find out after the fact that the contractor you hired does not actually have the right license or sufficient insurance.
It is also important to clarify how deposits and billings will be handled. It is always risky to pay a large deposit or even the full estimate before work has even commenced. Many landlords have been swindled with this practice, so make sure you do not become a victim. If a contractor asks for payment in full or even a large deposit, consider looking elsewhere.
As is the case when hiring any professional, you should also ask for references. Far too often, many people fail to check references. That is a mistake that can cost you in the long run. Avoid problems by asking prospective contractors to provide you with references and then take the extra step of actually calling to check on those references. Be wary of any references that are too glowing. Some unethical contractors will simply hand out the names of friends and family members when prospective clients ask for references.
Finally, make sure you know whether the contractor has a criminal record. The safety of your tenants is your responsibility. In order to protect your tenants, you need to ensure that you do not inadvertently hire an ex-con, sex offender, or thief to have access to your properties and tenants. If you are uncertain, you might consider running a background check prior to signing a contract just to be sure.