My interest in the topic of vendor screening began last year at a business networking event, when an apartment manager questioned a prospective vendor’s references, and wanted to know if there was a source for real facts. I told him I would certainly look in to it.
That started my research: I spoke with dozens to professionals about their hiring concerns and what they, their HOA, or board of directors want to know about a vendor. The response was overwhelming, and the tips in this post were at the top of their lists.
How to Find & Screen High-Quality Property Management Vendors
So, how do you find and screen vendors? Here are 8 factors to consider:
#1: Location & Hours
You should start the process of elimination by the distance from your property, hours or operation (having the ability to reach someone 24/7 if you need to), and other aspects of the ad you like or don’t.
#2: Business & Professional Licenses
Has either license been suspended or revoked? Unlicensed vendors should be avoided. You want to know the status of the state, county, or city license if required by local statutes.
#3: Insurance & Bonding
It is important to know if the vendor has insurance to cover any damages if necessary and who is the bonding agency and how much is the bond.
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#4: Experience & Dependability
How long the vendor has been in business and at the current location? You might want to go to the business, meet the owner, get feel of how the operation is run (is it clean, organized, etc.), and sign the necessary documents. I am suspicious of a business that only gives a post office box as a physical address.
#5: Civil & Criminal History of the Vendor
To get a full picture, it is necessary to search the records of the county and circuit clerk of court. Clearly a business that has been sued for breach of contract or has a criminal record for fraud, for example, is to be avoided.
#6: Background Check & Drug Screening
Does the vendor require pre-employment background checks and conduct random drug testing? As the person hiring a vendor, you have a legal responsibility to show due diligence in the selection process to protect not only the property but the tenants.
#7: Inspection Records
If this is a business that is required by law to pass regular inspection, when was the last inspection, and what were the results? Having unsafe or unreliable equipment is the last thing you want on your property!
#8: Professional Network
A vendor who is a member of the Better Business Bureau or the local Chamber of Commerce tends to be more reliable and dependable—and have an established reputation.Read more on Team