Hiring contractors of any type can be risky business if you don’t do your due diligence. I spoke with some of the folks at Asset Management Alliance (AMA) in Wilmington, Delaware who shared that they have certain protocols in place when it comes to choosing the right contractor for the job.
Let’s face it, there are those of us who don’t deal with property maintenance on a daily basis. That makes the process of hiring an electrician, HVAC contractor, landscaping company, or general contractor a bit foreign. Knowing what to ask and how to go about hiring someone for your buildings repairs and maintenance can mean the difference in getting the job done properly or having sub-par work that may not meet the necessary requirements.
Dave Kasey, Director of Operations for AMA, says that the company typically uses contractors that are referred to them from several esteemed networking groups and Chambers of Commerce throughout the state. They use contractors that they have an extended relationship with, so they are well informed as to their background and reputation.
He also shared that licenses, bonding and insurance are all verified with certificate of insurance and license checks that can be done online with each city, county and state offices. In addition, they check Better Business Bureau reviews, as well as other online contractor review sites. These online checks do not require special authorization, but having a property management company, such as AMA, handle the vetting process can save property owners time and money.
I asked Kasey what are some of the qualities he looks for when hiring a contractor. He said that, “Price, quality of work and honesty” were at the top of the list. “One aspect of honesty is a contractor being honest about their availability. Some will bid a job without mentioning that they are booked out for weeks. We make sure our contractors have committed dates with us so no work is prolonged. Many of our tenants have strict time schedules due to business hours, etc. so we do the legwork of making sure no contracting work conflicts with business.”
AMA does not have an open bid process. They invite vetted or preferred contractors for each specific trade to bid on individual projects. The company has a full roster of contractors for all industries; plumbing, HVAC, electric, snow removal, landscaping, janitorial, carpentry, remodeling (general contractors), painting, parking lot maintenance, elevator maintenance, safety monitoring (fire, smoke, sprinkler alarms).
Kasey says the signs of a good contractor are “responsiveness, communication, websites, advanced technology and procedures used, flexibility, specialized qualifications for sensitive environments (some of our buildings we maintain have high confidentiality/security).”
Conversely, the signs of a bad contractor are “having to continuously call contractors to schedule, remind of schedules, complete tasks, clean up job sites, etc.) Even having to initiate the calls or scheduling is a bad sign.”
While some of the obvious benefits of using a property management company such as AMA are having an experienced team of specialists in charge of selecting, hiring and supervising property maintenance jobs, there is the added benefit of knowing that you’re following municipality codes and regulations, which can often be complicated and convoluted. Different counties, cities, townships have different license requirements.
The experience that a property management company, such as AMA, has with the process makes any contracting job run smoothly with little chance for confusion on what to expect. All of the leg work that these property management specialists do, such as research, background checks, collect bids, select bids, and see through the task completion is extremely time consuming. Kasey states, “We follow up if there are any issues or our customers are not pleased with the work.”
While it is conceivable that a property owner or manager can co-ordinate regular maintenance or repair projects, the value that a commercial property management company, such as AMA, can bring to the table is apparent and almost a ‘no-brainer’ when a complicated project arises.
Asset Management Alliance has deep roots in the Delaware community helping all types of commercial property owners protect and enhance the value of their investment through employing a diligent and fully vetted management, maintenance and engineering team that is available 24/7 every day of the year.