Another type of relationship is with your vendors. Making sure your vendor is top of the line is the first step in your blossoming relationship that cannot be overlooked. In these rapports, mystery loses its allure. According to a Buildings magazine article, Vet Your Vendors: Screening Steps to Ensure Your Vendor Is Top Notch, “more than 80 percent of companies conduct formal background checks on their full-time employees, but less than 20 percent do any type of screening of their vendors, supplies, and contractors.”
You’re in the middle of a building tour with a prospective tenant when suddenly your largest tenant submits a work order for a leaking sink in the men’s room. Do you risk turning off the prospect by stopping the tour to call your plumber, or do you hope the leak is small and call as soon as the tour wraps up? How convenient would it be if your plumber could be notified of the leak and have access to the details in real time? While this may sound like a simple concept, in reality, very few management teams have their vendors integrated with their operations platform.
Most Property Management teams view their property management platform as their single source into what is happening at any given time within their portfolio. Every work order, preventative maintenance task, inspection, and incident passes through the system, yet for some reason vendors are rarely incorporated into it. Often, excuses such as my vendor is not tech savvy, they won’t use it, or I’m worried they’ll have access to our information, are thrown out. While some of these excuses may be valid for a small percentage of your vendors, it certainly shouldn’t speak to all of them.
“Which vendors make the best candidates?”
Let’s be honest, you will never integrate every vendor into your workflow, nor does it even make sense to. Instead, your focus should be on your core set of vendors. These are the vendors you know on a first name basis and who spend a considerable amount of time in your building. These are the vendors that your tenants often confuse with your own employees.
“What’s the value proposition to my vendor?”
When a new work order comes in from a tenant it must pass through a few hands before it lands on the vendor employee’s desk. During that process valuable information can be delayed, forgotten, or lost altogether. This in turn can leave the vendor unprepared for the work being done, and cause additional delays when time is of the essence.
On the other hand, if your vendor is integrated into your workflow they will have immediate access to the work order and any additional comments that may have been made. Not only that, they will be able to quickly and efficiently follow up with both the Property Manager and tenant to let them know when the work has been completed.
“How do I get started?”
- Choose a vendor you see regularly and have a good working relationship with.
- Set them up with an account and configure your operations platform to include them in the workflow.
- Review the functionality with your vendor. (Most providers can assist you with this).
- Create a few dummy work orders and discuss the process together.
- Go live and plan a couple follow up sessions with your vendor to discuss the process as a whole.
- Once you feel confident with the process repeat it with additional vendors.