Thoroughly vetting contractors and other vendors won’t prevent accidents, but it can go a long way toward protecting owners and residents and providing property managers peace of mind when paint buckets fall, sprinkler heads fly, and truck brakes fail.
One of the most terrifying tasks every property manager faces is risk management. Let’s face it, when you are responsible for maintaining and improving real estate, a million things can go wrong, particularly since you must rely so heavily on outside contractors and vendors to get projects completed.
Fortunately, property managers don’t have to spend much time imagining all the things that can go wrong. They just have to open the local newspaper or watch the evening news. Consider the following incidents gleaned from local media reports:
- A cement truck experienced brake failure and rolled past a job site and through the exterior wall of a building, damaging two residential units. Only one was occupied, but property management had to relocate and house that family at its own expense until the damage could be repaired and a new certificate of occupancy obtained.
- A painter working on a second-floor balcony accidentally knocked over a five-gallon bucket of semi-gloss that he had placed on a railing. The can fell into the front seat of a resident’s Mercedes-Benz convertible, ruining the upholstery.
- A lawnmower operated by a landscaper sent a sprinkler head flying through the closed window of a resident’s vehicle.
- An HVAC contractor opened an email laced with malware that stole credentials he used to login to the computer network of discount retailer Target. Hackers then used his login to steal the records of 70 million Target’s credit card customers. After years of litigation, Target paid out approximately $67 million to make its customers, credit companies and other stakeholders whole.
While you can’t expect an HVAC contractor to carry that much liability insurance, it certainly is reasonable to expect the cement company, painting contractor and landscaper carried enough to pay for the damages they caused. Yet none of them did.
Don’t Sweat it. Let Us Vet It.
As the examples above demonstrate, competent risk management requires vetting contractors and other vendors just as thoroughly as you would an employee. After all, contractors and some vendors must have access to your property to do their jobs. And as the Internet of Things grows, you may be able to save money by granting them remote access to security, irrigation, HVAC, pool filtration and other building systems. In many instances, they may have more access to your property – and be able to do more damage – than employees.
This is why we spend so much time at Vendorsmart talking about what it takes to thoroughly vet vendors, whether that’s documenting their Insurance coverage and policy endorsements, conducting background checks on the business and its owners and verifying that all licenses and certificates are legitimate and up to date.
While making these checks and many others is a core part of the value Vendorsmart offers, we want property managers to succeed whether they choose to use us or go on their own. We consider vetting vendors a critical risk management practice; a proactive investment of time and effort that can keep those unforeseen incidents and accidents from turning into catastrophic lawsuits.
If you lack the time or expertise needed for proper vetting, we urge you to consider hiring contractors and other vendors through Vendorsmart. Our database is comprised of a list of prequalified vendors that have been fully investigated by experienced professionals. We do the digging, so property managers can find and hire vendors quickly and with confidence.
Sometimes doing a job well involves an honest understanding of what you don’t know. Property managers have a lot of different roles and manage many moving parts. Using professionally vetted vendors can not only increase your chances of bringing projects in on time and on the budget but protect owners and residents. In doing so, it can also provide property managers with much-needed stress relief. Interested in accessing a list of prequalified and thoroughly vetted vendors for property management tasks? Check out Vendorsmart’s vendor management platform and sign your next contract with confidence.