Inducting tradespeople (‘vendors’ in the USA) is as essential as inducting a tenant – Have you got everything covered?
Outlining your requirements and expectations upfront with tradespeople avoids conflict and misunderstandings that can cause stress and problems later down the track.
Tax invoices (Australia)
Always explain how you would like your tax invoices constructed. Tradespeople (especially one-person operators) are notorious for lacking detail, so be sure to impress the importance of structured tax invoices. Ask that they record the following:
a) Landlord name – c/- of your office address (they are billing the landlord and not your office). This information is taken from the work order.
b) Date – when the work was done/completed
c) Work order reference number – for the easy match-up.
d) Rental Property Address – included for every invoice (also request that they must complete one tax invoice per property/work order, and not have multiple jobs represented.)
e) What work was done – particularly if a cleaner has done work they need to be detailed about what was done. It could be ‘Kitchen-clean oven, cupboards inside and out, walls and door, windows’, not just ‘Cleaned Kitchen’
f) Labour content – total/part hours to complete the work.
g) Material costs – listed with individual costs.
h) Total cost – with GST identified.
These details of course matter a lot more if the tax invoice is involved in a dispute at tribunal/court, and to avoid a tribunal member unnecessarily reducing a tax invoice amount due to vagueness.
Work with a limit
Explain to your tradesperson that every work order has a standard limit (for example a maximum of $300) and that if any work goes over this limit they must first contact you for permission to proceed.
License and insurance details
Always collect their license details to ensure that they are qualified for the work they perform and a copy of their public liability insurance to ensure that they are adequately covered. These days it is not uncommon to ensure that tradespeople are covered for up to $10 million.
How things have changed from even ten years ago! It used to not be essential for a tradesperson to come up with a police clearance certificate; however, this now should be a requirement. The last thing needed is for your tradesperson to have an unknown criminal record when they have access to your client’s largest asset.
Open communication lines
Have a minimum standard for communication. For example, they must have a mobile phone, fax number, and an email address they check regularly so you can communicate in the most convenient way possible for you.
Accessing a property
Explain how to access a property whether by contacting the tenant directly or by using a supplied key (should the tenant approve). If they need to contact the tenant directly, perhaps explain that after 3 unsuccessful attempts to contact the tenant they should then inform you, and if they do get access to a key, on what conditions they can do this. You also need to outline your key procedures with signing in and out property keys.
Completion time expectations
It is always good to outline your expectations regarding job turn-around times. For example, the turn-around time for an emergency could be the same day (also define emergency examples with the tradesperson) and for general non-urgent work make this seven days. Always make these time expectations clear!