Have you ever had a vendor “fire” you? Were you shocked, or did you expect it? Was the vendor easy to replace, or did you struggle to find someone new that you could trust?
While it may not happen often, having a supplier bail on a property manager is not all that unusual. Even though most of them will compete mightily for your business, if you abuse or disrespect them, or make outrageous demands, you may find yourself being let go as a source of business for them. While a property manager may be relieved in some ways in a situation like this, at times, it is better to work with “the devil you know”.
We’ve written before about the importance of building business relationships. Property managers and their vendors often have disagreements that seem impossible to overcome. So yes, there are plenty of examples when the vendor is NOT at fault, and the property manager is. As with any long-term relationship, both parties must benefit for it to continue, and both must respect the others’ needs, wants, and goals.
Poor vendor relationships are costly
If you’ve ever been fired by a vendor or wish to avoid such a humiliating experience, here are three things to consider:
1. Respect is a two-way street. You work hard to manage your property, right? Never assume that your vendors do not work just as hard. Many of them have truly thankless jobs helping you maintain your property, so pay them the respect they are due – especially if you expect to receive the same type of respect from them.
2. Share the wealth. Finding a supplier of products or services that meet all of your needs, and does so cheerfully and within your budget, is something to be treasured. To further the relationship, telling others within your network of property managers will help you build loyalty and appreciation. Another positive is that those others will likely do the same for you, which may come in very handy when you need help the most.
3. Forgive without forgetting. Every business owner will experience problems satisfying clients from time to time. Staffing and/or equipment problems can crop up now and again, interfering with performance. When this happens occasionally, that is understandable. However, if such instances begin to happen regularly, it is time to have a talk with your vendor and, if satisfaction is not forthcoming, you should start looking for a replacement.
Regardless of the size of the property you manage, you will often be dealing with small business owners who provide the services you need to keep the property attractive and appealing. For these vendors, you may be the literal difference between success and going out of business. Their investment in your success is as much emotional as it is financial and, taking advantage of that emotional investment is not only unprofessional, it can also do damage to your reputation and your property.
Again, we all experience problems from time to time. If you see an issue developing, have a conversation about it and work with your vendor to resolve it. Remember why you hired them in the first place and, be open to handling a short-term problem on an as-needed basis. The long-term benefits of a healthy business relationship are too valuable to toss aside casually.
Have you ever been dropped by a vendor? What have you done to ensure that will not happen again?