Apartment management already requires a high degree of due diligence when your properties are functional and not in need of big repairs. That attention to detail multiplies when apartments do need those repairs, especially if you are hiring contractors to perform major work. Not only must the job be done right, but you are also dealing with the residents of your apartments. Unlike a commercial property for which employees can work remotely or get a brief vacation, you can’t displace dozens of residents while a key repair is made. This reality raises the diligence level and reinforces why hiring the best contractors is imperative.
Whether you are finding a roofing contractor to work on an existing building or tapping one to put a roof on new construction, best practices must be followed in order to ensure the job is completed efficiently and expertly.
Here are four such best practices to consider for your property’s next roofing project:
1. Do your homework
Before hiring a roofing contractor, take time to investigate a business’s history, credentials, and references. Any quality contractor will not hesitate in referring you to properties and apartment managers that it has worked with before (and apartment managers will likely be more candid with their opinions when speaking to you—after all, you both understand the challenges in hiring contractors and keeping properties in tip-top shape). Also, don’t automatically go with the first low bid you get, and be especially wary if you get that low bid too quickly from a contractor. This bargain could be a sign a roofing contractor is desperate and/or won’t hesitate to cut corners. Be sure that the roofer you choose spells out which materials it’s using, what the expected timeline will be, how it’s handling cleanup, and what its credentials are before you sign a contract.
2. Rely on experts’ expertise
After all your homework, you hopefully selected a roofing contractor that you feel you can trust. With that in mind, pay attention to the recommendations and advice the company offers. It might see things on the roof you may have missed; it also may have more experience with apartment roofs in the area (particularly if you, as an apartment manager, have been fortunate enough to not have any problems with the roofs atop your properties). Granted, there sometimes is a fine line between advice and upselling, but again, a good roofing contractor will show you exactly what it is advising and why, as well as give you options in case its first recommendation doesn’t fit your budget or plans.
3. Ensure all parties are communicating
Roofing contractors may need to get onto or into apartments or be outside residents’ windows during the daytime. Residents need to know this beforehand so, at least, they aren’t surprised by the knock on the door or the footsteps they hear above their bedrooms. Communication is important not only between you and the contractor, but also with your residents. It is also essential with new construction, in which various contractors must work together to complete the property. If your roofer comes on a prescheduled day, but the structure isn’t ready for a roof, that’s a problem…
4. Embrace the relationship
A relationship between an apartment manager and the contractors hired to work on properties shouldn’t end once the work is done. This is especially true for roofing contractors. Whatever type of roof is on your property, it usually takes up significantly more square footage than a normal roof on a single-family residential dwelling. Consequently, the larger roof will require more regular maintenance, and who better to help you with that maintenance than the original contractor? Moreover, if you manage multiple properties, establishing a good relationship with a roofer ensures the same high quality of service across all your buildings. The more you value a contractor, the more it will value you as a customer (and vice versa), which is ultimately beneficial to both parties.
What best practices do you follow when working with roofing contractors?