Frequently Asked Questions
We're Always Listening
No matter how much information we share, there are always more questions. And when we get asked questions we haven't heard before, we post them here.
We're not contractors, but we do help property managers, REIT's, and investors manage their property maintenance using our proprietary, cloud-based software. POWERtoolsTM and a 24/7/365 call center.
We handle much more than just the tenant requests.
Tenant maintenance request represent about 20% of all maintenance activity. Less than 3% of those requests are considered are considered urgent and require immediate action and remediation.
The remaining 80% of maintenance activity is generated internally by property managers, maintenance managers, and leasing agents. For example, every move-out inspection will usually generate a series of inter-related requests for work orders such as carpet cleaning, painting, appliance repair/replacement, plumbing, light fixtures, cleaners, landscaping, irrigation, etc. Another example might be a leasing agent that notices a landscape light is not working or a sprinkler is broken.
Maintenance activity must be run on one system. Handyman On Demand provides a single pathway for ALL maintenance activity, from request to work order, from contractor invoice to your accounts payable.
Lower Cost per Door - When you consider the fully burdened cost of maintenance management, we perform better at a lower cost per door.
Scalability - Adding clients and additional rental units is often hindered by the inability to scale maintenance operations. We give you the freedom to grow your business without having to radically expand your office infrastructure.
Preferred Contractors - Handyman On Demand is a maintenance management and coordination company and not a licensed contractor. We are on the front line of every work order. So we must eliminate any conflict of interest and the perception that we are in some way profiting from the contractors we dispatch. We dispatch YOUR preferred contractors. No contractor ever sets foot on your property unless they have been vetted by us and approved by you.
Aggressive Contractor Vetting - While you can't prevent every accident or eliminate every possible liability exposure, we can mitigate that risk with professional-level contractor credential management. This means contractor licenses, workers comp insurance, liability insurance, and contractors' licenses are tracked and verified before a contractor is authorized to receive work orders.
While our service agreements are simple and straightforward, we keep everything on a month-to-month basis. If your client situation changes or a property is scheduled to change ownership, we prefer not to become an obstacle to your business. Just give us 30 days notice.
Yes. In the unlikely event we're not meeting your needs you can cancel at any time. However, the most likely case will be that you or your client have sold a property or changed management. In either case, we'll help you wind up your account and make the transition. Just give us 30 days notice.
Yes. We accept MasterCard, Visa, Discover, and American Express. Your credit card will be billed automatically on the 25th of each month for the next month's service. If you earn points when you use your credit card, this is a great way to rack up those benefits.
Many HOA property management firms also manage individual rental properties in a community held by absentee owners. When a property includes a residential tenant or resident, this is where we do our best work.
HOA property management, like commercial property management, present a challenge for us at this time. The reason is the scope of maintenance activity is typically isolated to exterior surfaces and common areas, and the individual units are the responsibility of the tenant or the owner. While we certainly have the ability to support this type of property, we believe it requires a different pricing model for our service to make sense. Feel free to contact us to discuss this.
We are a maintenance management and coordination company and not a licensed contractor. We are on the front line of every work order, so it's critical that we eliminate any conflict of interest or the perception that we are in some way profiting from the contractors we dispatch. For this reason, we only dispatch contractors you have approved in advance. We call them your 'Preferred Contractors."
As a property owner or investor, management is about information and control. Do you have the correct and best information available about a maintenance issue, and how much control do you delegate before you lose control. You've probably developed relationships with contractors over the years. These are people you've come to trust. So we use a system called Preferred Contractor. These are the people or companies you have designated to handle certain types of maintenance issues. When we receive a maintenance request from a tenant, we follow a set of instructions based on your policy and procedures that you decided in advance. We then dispatch YOUR preferred contractor.
Sometimes a work order may be authorized with a not-to-exceed (NTE) value. Sometimes it may be a request-for-quote (RFQ) where we need authorization before proceeding with the work. And lastly, maintenance requests with a large scope of work may require multiple bids. In any of those examples, we can only dispatch or assign a contractor you approve and prefer...a Preferred Contractor.
POWERtoolsTM is our proprietary software that controls the flow of all maintenance activity. For our clients, we've simplified maintenance involvement down to what we call Approver roles.
The first Approver could be a property manager or maintenance engineer. This person authorizes or rejects contractor work orders. They receive a notification, click a link, scan a work order, and click a button to either approve or reject the work order.
The second Approver could be a controller, finance manager, or corporate officer. This person authorizes or rejects contractor invoice package. If rejected, the package is returned to us. If approved, the invoice package is transmitted to your designated A/P bookkeeper in a format suitable to upload into your accounting program.
There will be maintenance issues where your current Preferred Contractor list falls short. In cases such as this we will work to source a local contractor. We have sourced thousands of qualified pros and can also tap into our network. For example, we may have previously vetted a contractor for another client in your area that we might recommend. In other cases, we will research contractors that are likely a suitable match. Again, rest assured, no contractor ever sets foot on your property unless they have been vetted by us and approved by you.
The type of maintenance reports that you might show a client is isolated to your Accounts Payable Transaction Register. For example, let's say your client is reviewing their monthly financial report. The Transaction Register report lists every maintenance item by it's general ledger account. Each maintenance posting has a tokenized URL in its reference detail. This URL will take the reader to the original tenant maintenance request, the subsequent work order that was created, all the notes and dialog with the tenant, your designated maintenance engineer, and contractor. Every piece of evidence to justify the expense to your client is documented and available to review.
Yes. The first reason is for training purposes. It's important to us that call center agents are handling calls according to our policies and procedures. It also helps us to understand their challenges and when our procedures or software need to improve.
The second reason is a rare use case, but we think is important to protect our clients. Occasionally, there are situations where someone is making false claims about something that was said. When a call center agent is speaking to a tenant, contractor, or anyone else related to your account, we can retrieve a recording of that call and determine if any action needs to be taken. Most of the time a good recording, like a video, can make most bad situations disappear when the truth is exposed.
There are two methods a tenant or resident can use to submit a maintenance request. The first method is to utilize an online form. The second method is to phone the request into the call center.
Many owners and property managers incorrectly believe that if you make submitting maintenance requests too easy, you create frivolous, time-wasting, expensive maintenance issues. Our experience provides us with a counter-intuitive view. We would rather have thousands of eyes watching your assets and reporting on anything of concern and then deciding which maintenance items are actionable. Just because we take a maintenance request doesn’t automatically trigger a work order. But sometimes, we get lucky and can identify a cluster of seemingly unrelated items to avert a much bigger and more expensive problem.
In a typical call center, we use Erlang calculators to improve call center performance by determining the staffing requirement of a call center for different times of day and days of the week. In the case of maintenance management, the emphasis is placed on capturing the request and immediately classifying its urgency, not answering every call with a live call center agent. Online form submittals and maintenance related voicemails permanently capture what was written or spoken by the tenant when submitted. Lengthy phone calls are an inefficient means of communication so we do our best to communicate in other ways. However, If a maintenance request requires clarification or the request is urgent, we immediately text and call the tenant to better understand the problem being reported. All phone calls are recorded, so there is a record of how the tenant reported the maintenance issue. Having a complete record at this early stage of a maintenance request helps clients and investors better understand why certain maintenance and financial decisions were made.
When a maintenance request displays in our call center, our system is looking for keywords and phrases that indicate a habitability issue. We use classification terms like critical essential, essential, and non-essential habitability. For example, certain words like smoke, fire, leak, electrical, and collapse are frequently words used in critical essential requests. When we read or hear those words, those maintenance requests get our highest priority and immediate action is taken. Once we have determined a request is not a critical essential request, we look to the next category and determine if it is an essential habitability request. An example of an essential request is an inoperable water heater, a door or window that fails to close and lock, and a circuit breaker that continues to trip. These types of maintenance requests are essential to the habitability of the property, but they usually don’t need to be repaired at 2 o'clock in the morning. The last type of maintenance request is the non-essential request. This maintenance request is important to fulfilling the terms of your lease, but they do not affect the property's habitability. An example of this is an inoperable dishwasher.
We believe tenant chargebacks play a role in modifying tenant behavior. Clogged toilets, broken garbage disposers, and lock-outs are frequently classified as a tenant chargeback. Ultimately, the decision to charge back a tenant rests solely with your policy, but we do our best to highlight work orders where a possible chargeback should be considered.
Document Control and Compliance is the process of collecting and validating the licenses and insurance documents on your contractors.
Your preferred contractors are included at no charge with your initial onboarding fee.
We charge $19 if you need us to source a new contractor and perform document control and compliance necessary for you to approve them as a new, preferred contractor.
We charge $39 to expedite the sourcing and document collection on a new contractor in cases of an emergency.
Annual renewals for contractor document control is $19 per contractor.
There are companies (i.e., Compliance Depot) that charge contractors and vendors to collect their license and insurance information and "certify" a contractor as legitimate. The fees they charge contractors can be upwards of $99 a year. Our experience is this type of service creates more work and cost more money for the property manager. For example...
If you control a large book of properties and send a lot of business to a contractor, the contractor will likely absorb and recover the $99 annual fee because your past and future work orders support the decision to pay the fee. But this all changes when you need a $75 rooter service with a new contractor, but the contractor has to first pay a third party a $99 certification fee. Unless you have a highly prestigious company that every contractor wants to do business with, most contractors will pass on the job. Now you have to spend more time trying to find another contractor.
Let's take it one step further and say that you need a bid to repair a section of copper gutter. Not every gutter company works with copper, so your choices are limited. But before you'll let the contractor on your property the contractor has to pay a third-party certification fee with no guarantee that the contractor will win the bid. Again, 80% of contractors will pass on the opportunity and refuse to bid the job.
Handyman On Demand does not charge for contractor document control for the preferred contractors you submit to us during initial onboarding. We charge $19 to source and collect documents on a new contractor and $39 for expedited service in cases of an emergency. Annual renewals for contractor document control is $19 per contractor.
It's much easier to inform a contractor that a deduction of $19 will occur on their first invoice to cover their document control costs than to attempt a $99 upfront charge without a guarantee of any future business. The deduction amount can be adjusted to match your company policy and to neutralize the cost impact of document control on your company.
Property managers may either absorb the cost of document control and compliance or create internal policies that allow the collection of this fee from contractors.
Depending on how your accounts are structured, we suggest either invoicing the contractor for for this fee directly, or deducting the fee from a contractor's first invoice as ways to recover this expense.
Keep in mind that this fee is typically regarded as an expense of the property management company and usually covered by the property management fee. So if you decide to deduct the fee from a contractor's invoice, the credit then typically benefits the client/property account. You will need to generate a separate client invoice to recover the fee.
Typically your property managers, leasing agents, and maintenance engineers are walking the properties and checking work status. But we take some extra steps.
Once a work order has been issued we are in constant communication with the contractor. We check status, provide guidance, and relay information back to management. We also check back with the tenant or resident to learn if the reported issue has been resolved. We also request that the contractor send us photos of their work, if appropriate, and include them with their invoice package.
Yes. Handyman On Demand is not just for tenant and resident maintenance requests.
We provide an online portal for your key managers to create work orders from their desktop or mobile device. This is as simple as creating a maintenance request from your phone during a simple on-site inspections to a full vacancy move-out and return-to-service inspection.
A maintenance request is any time a form is submitted by a tenant or manager identifying a maintenance issue. In some cases, a problem may be reported multiple times by different parties. Each maintenance request must be analyzed to understand the variables, but may ultimately be consolidated into a single work order. In most cases a single maintenance request results in a single work order.
Commercial properties are classified as either TI, CAM, or TI/CAM. TI is an industry term referring to tenant improvement. This is when the tenant or occupant of a commercial property is responsible for all maintenance and improvements within the interior boundaries of their space. CAM is the industry term referring to common area maintenance. CAM usually refers to home owner associations (HOA), shopping centers, and commercial office parks. CAM properties are concerned with the exterior common areas such as trash, irrigation, parking lots, roofing, etc. TI/CAM refers to commercial properties such as warehouse and distribution facilities. TI/CAM properties focus on both common area maintenance and tenant improvement issues.
Deciding whether a maintenance issue should be submitted to an insurance company is a decision that should be made by your management. The reason is a single claim can impact coverage and rates for all your properties. For this reason, the person in the Approver 1 role would need to identify work orders with the potential for any insurance claim.
Property Insurance Damage Claims: Whether you are a property manager acting as an agent for your client, or you are the property owner, your first duty is to mitigate risk. This means certain repairs can be made without prior approval from your insurance carrier and still be covered under your policy. The reason is because the inevitable delays of filing a claim could cause additional damage or habitability issues. Regardless, the documentation that we provide for every work order is generally sufficient to support most claims and satisfy even the strictest of insurance companies.
Home Warranty Claims: These claims can be strictly controlled by the insurer, and the property manager has limited control on contractor selection. We can help identify maintenance issues that may be covered under a home warranty policy, but these should be handles individually by your management.