Opening | Maintenance & Repair Plan (Chartered Operators)
As you begin operations in your home, it is important that you build your maintenance team to ensure that regular maintenance tasks are completed properly, as well as having someone available to handle repairs when needed, especially on an emergency basis.
Keep track of your preferred vendors in Buildium, including their contact information, notes, invoices, certificates of insurance, etc.
Within 3 months of opening their home, all Chartered Operators are required to designate maintenance and repair personnel for their home. We require a minimum of the following vendors:
- Plumbing & heating technician
- Appliance repair
- Electrician (recommended, but optional)
- Pest control (recommended, but optional)
These vendors must be selected, vetted, and recorded in Buildium as per the following instructions. The required vendors must be added to Buildium within 3 months of the date of opening.
The first vendor you must have in place within 3 months of opening your home is a basic handyman (or woman, of course). This is an individual or company, or even yourself (if you have the skills for it), available to do small fixes in the home. Frequently needed tasks include fixing leaky faucets, cabinet doors, a broken window, patching and painting walls, cleaning a heating system, fixing a loose light, or other similar tasks. A handyman does not typically need a license to properly do most small fixes around the home, but they do need to know what they are doing. Insist on checking references prior to hiring anyone to do work.
This handyman should also complete spring maintenance and autumn maintenance on a scheduled basis to make sure your home is running properly.
Plumbing & Heating Technician
In addition to the handyman services listed above, we require all Chartered Operators engage a plumbing and heating contractor within 3 months of opening your home. This contractor should be available for annual heating system maintenance and for plumbing emergencies which cannot be accomplished by your handyman, including drain cleaning, fixing a burst pipe, or other plumbing emergency. Please bear in mind that a plumbing and heating company will be far more expensive than a handyman; if your handyman can do it (and do it properly), go with them before calling in an expensive expert.
Plumbing and heating contractors require licenses in almost every situation (except perhaps drain cleaning). Check their license prior to hiring them to do any work. In addition to checking their license, ensure that they have adequate worker’s compensation insurance.
Appliance repair. Appliance repair needs come up from time to time. Often, the repairs can be simply completed by your handyman. Sometimes it is cheaper to replace the appliance. For expensive appliances such as coin-operated laundry machines, it does make sense to hire a local appliance repair technician. Often, there are no required licenses for appliance repair, but you should verify the contractor’s insurance and check references. Always ask for a price up front.
Electrical service. Electrical repairs are not frequent events. Modern electrical systems do not need much regular maintenance, and a loose plug or light can often be repaired by a handyman. With this said, any major electrical work should be evaluated and repaired by a licensed electrician with appropriate insurance.
HIRING MAINTENANCE VENDORS
Before hiring anyone to do work at your home, you should go through this brief checklist.
1. Does the work require a professional?
Some work can be done easily yourself. Sometimes, residents may offer to lend a hand, too. See if it is an easy job
2. What kind of professional is required?
If you have determined that you need to hire someone, determine the exact scope of work, and who is needed to do it. Unclogging a drain probably doesn’t require a plumbing company – a simple handyman can probably accomplish this.
3. When do you need it done?
If it’s not an emergency, see if it can be scheduled with a professional instead of it being billed as an “emergency” job, with higher rates.
If you decide to hire someone to do work, we strongly encourage you follow a simple set of recommendations:
1. Check references
If you have never used this vendor, we strongly recommend that you call references prior to hiring them. See what their reputation is like in the community before paying them to do work, especially paying them up front.
2. Verify insurance
Ask them to provide proof of insurance. There are typically two types of insurance carried by contractors, liability insurance and worker’s compensation insurance. These insurances can be verified through an “insurance binder” which they can send you. This will show you their coverage type, limits, and confirm if the coverage is currently in place. Feel free to call their insurance agent if you have any questions–the agent will be listed on the provided insurance binder.
3. Use a written contract
Good contracts create good business relationships. Make sure you have your understanding with the vendor in writing before starting the job. A contract doesn’t have to be a dozen pages, but it should be clear and address the important aspects of the work being done. If you sign a contract to hire someone to do work for you, or if a contractor asks for what name to put on your invoice, we strongly recommend that you use your company name to do so.
4. Add them as a vendor in Buildium
Whenever you hire anyone, they must be added as a vendor in Buildium. Be sure to include as much information as possible, as well as uploading their insurance information. When making a payment, record the check or bill and upload a copy of your written contract with the vendor.
Did they do a good job?
If the contractor did a good job, feel free to recommend them to other Vanderburgh House Operators or others in your community. Leave them a good review, and make sure they know you appreciate their work. You may need them in the future, and people who work in the trades are usually busy.
Add them as a vendor in Buildium
If you haven’t already, add the vendor in Buildium. You will need to do this when paying them, anyway. Make sure their contact information is correct. Add notes about how your experience was with them. Add them as a “preferred vendor” if desired, as well. More about Buildium can be read here.