How to Find and Keep Good OKC Maintenance People and Handymen

Oklahoma City rental property maintenance

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Finding and keeping good maintenance personnel is a big challenge, even for OKC property management companies. In this article, I present five tips for finding and keeping good maintenance people.

Let’s face it, you need good help. If you don’t have someone you can count on to show up and take care of maintenance when you have a problem, you are going to be in big trouble.

Here is a perfect example. From time to time, OKC property management companies have multiple tenants who have called with items that need to fix. This is an everyday occurrence at my office. Tenants expect us to take care of the problem quickly and professionally.

But what if your handyman is suddenly missing in action (MIA)? It happens to us all the time. They get sick. Injured. They find a job somewhere else. It happens.

Take it from me, OKC property management companies need to have a plan B, plan C and plan D. And a backup to backup plan D. If we don’t, won’t be able to provide the level of customer service our tenants expect of us.

We have multiple go-to guys on our maintenance team. That doesn’t mean just handymen. That also includes plumbers, heat and air guys, electricians, roofers, lawn care guys, etc.

Just like on a basketball team like the Oklahoma City Thunder, sometimes one of those guys gets injured. At some point, the go-to guys pull up lame (at least for a stretch of time). It might just be a temporary thing, or it might not.

Just like a good basketball team, we need to keep recruiting new talent. Here are five tips for finding good maintenance people:

#1 Advertise on Craigslist

Over the years, I’ve found plenty of good people on Craigslist. The key is to post an advertisement. You’ll have to be able to do a hiring process that will weed out the bad from the good. Remember to require references and do background checks.

#2 Ask for Referrals

Ask other landlords about the contractors whom they use. Look for other landlords at places like real estate investing clubs such as Millionaire Possibilities in Oklahoma City.

You can also ask contractors for referrals. For example, if you are looking for an electrician, you might ask your plumber whom they would recommend.

#3 Don’t Be a Cheapskate

It’s tempting to think you should be able to pay minimum wage to get your property fixed. That’s not how it works in the real world.

In the real world, well-qualified workers are going to expect to be compensated fairly. If you can offer steady work, you’ll be able to get better pricing.

And you have to decide how to compensate. For some jobs like make readies, it might make more sense for you just to get a bid to complete the work. For something else like completing a work order, it might be better to pay them hourly since you might not know how long it’s going to take to complete the job.

You can read this guide about how to reduce the maintenance cost 

#4 Make your Expectations Crystal Clear

Create a scope of work that is clear and detailed. Be clear on who is going to buy the materials for the job.

Is the contractor going to pay for them and include them in the bid?

Make sure they know you will require a written invoice in order to get paid.

Is there going to be a down payment? What determines when the final payment will be made?

#5 Don’t Be a Pain in the Neck

Make it easy for them to say yes to work for you. Make yourself available to field questions when they come up.

Don’t make the contractor wait an inordinate amount of time to get paid.

#6 Bonus Tip: Don’t Hesitate to Drop someone for not doing the job you hired them to do.

As OKC property management companies will tell you, sometimes you have to put them out to pasture. There is a line that once they cross it, there is no coming back. Maybe that is brushed with the law. Or a drug or alcohol incident that gets out of control. The trick is to be able to replace them on almost a moment’s notice.

We had one maintenance guy who was very talented. He could fix just about anything. But he had personal issues. He would disappear for a day here and a day there. You can’t run a business with a team member like that you can’t count on. I had to put that one out to pasture.

On the other hand, I’ve had some team members for ten years or more.

This makes a big difference for my property management clients because they get to leverage all the systems, lessons, and relationships I’ve built up.

scott nachatilo


Scott Nachatilo is an investor, property manager and owner of OKC Home Realty Services – one of the best property management companies in Oklahoma City. His mission is to help landlords and real estate investors to manage their property in Oklahoma.