When you don’t use your trusted tradesmen…..

Earlier this year I appeared on the radio show ‘The Conversation’ which is on
Channel Radio and is hosted by the lovely Sarah Ann Lucas aka Bird on a Bike.
During the interview Bird asked me who were the key people in my business to
which I replied, ‘my tradesmen’. The reason for this is that I can do many
things but I’m no tradesman and for me to be able to deliver the level of
service to my tenants that I want it became very clear to me several years ago
that to provide this level of service I needed the right guys.

Fortunately, I have a team of highly experienced professional tradesmen that I
can rely on to provide an efficient service to my tenants often at short notice
because let’s face it no one books in a leak!

Last week my decision to work with the same team of guys who provide a very
high level of expertise and professionalism was proven to be the right one.
This is what happened when we used someone unknown to us……a tenant gets
locked out at one of the apartments at Foordside, I’m on holiday so I send him
the number of my trusted locksmith who unfortunately was also on holiday.
So, the tenant not wishing to disturb me anymore called out a locksmith who’s
details he found on the internet.

Guy comes out gains access, installs a new lock, the tenant has no idea what
these things should cost so pays what he asks and the locksmith leaves.
When I get back to the office a few days later I looked at the door and lock and
I wasn’t happy, the door frame was damaged, and the door wasn’t closing
properly, then the tenant gave me the bill as I needed to reimburse him as the
lock had broken so it was my liability I was even more unhappy – the cost was
ridiculous.

So, I contacted the locksmith, questioned his price which he attempted to
convince me was perfectly acceptable but as he’d been paid he wasn’t overly
concerned. But, then I asked him to come out and look at the work as I felt it
wasn’t of sufficient standard. He agreed to come under the proviso that if it
wasn’t a faulty lock or lock installation then I would pay his call out charge.
I agreed as I was certain that the lock wasn’t working properly as he had
damaged the door frame whilst installing it.

He comes to site, he’s not happy about being there and then proceeds to tell
me that the door shows all the signs of a break-in, that in his opinion after he
had repaired the lock without damaging the frame my tenant had locked
himself out and had rammed the door and broken the door frame and was
now trying to blame him.

Now, here is where knowing your tenants is useful. There is no way this tenant
would have done anything like that, but what if I didn’t know my tenants, what
if I took this guys word and held my tenant responsible for this damage. That
could have ended the tenancy, it certainly wouldn’t have made for a good
landlord/tenant relationship.

As I know my tenant I totally disagreed with him and the situation became
quite tense.

He packed his tools up and then asked if we could go into the office, so I could
pay him as he’d come out, but it wasn’t his fault.

I told him I wasn’t paying him and there ensued a very heated discussion with
me continually refusing to pay him and him eventually storming out after
ranting for some time.

This would NEVER have happened with one of my regular tradesmen. They
wouldn’t do a rubbish job, they wouldn’t charge extortionate fees, they
wouldn’t charge me to come back if I had a problem with what they’d done,
they wouldn’t then try to blame my tenants for their shoddy workmanship and
they certainly wouldn’t stand and shout and argue with me.

I may be the face of my business but there are many parts that make it
successful and it’s important as business owners that we recognise and respect
all of those parts.

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