Managing Repairmen

I’ve got an on-site repairman who is eager for work and does good quality work for me. The ‘problem’ I’m having with him is that he often does work that is not authorized (but probably does need doing).

For example, last month I asked him to change the locks on a trailer. He did that, but also hauled-off some trash and mowed the yard (and told my regular lawn-mower that he was taking over all lawn mowing - which is categorically not true).

Today I asked him to paint the front bedroom in a different trailer and repair a hole in a wall. He did that, but also fogged the home for roaches and repaired the ceiling fan in the kitchen and replaced the outside utility door.

His rates are reasonable for the extra work, but I’m concerned about setting a precedent where he gets to set the agenda (and budget) for repairs. The extra work he’s billed for is just $40 here, and $55 there, so it’s not a lot of money, but I’m concerned about the principle of the matter - that a repairman is doing work not specifically authorized by management.

How hard should I ‘come down’ on this guy to stay in-line with what we authorize him to do? Or should I be grateful for a pro-active repairman and not worry about the extra work and bills?



I think you should set up some perameters (however you spell that) and tell him that from now on, he needs to stay within those guidelines. Make sure that you convey to him that you are grateful for the extra work, but that if he does anything outside of the guidelines you set, he must get permission first, or you can not pay him for it. Blame the economy and a higher authority, but he has to stay within your numbers.

For example: Let’s say you offered him 200 bucks to paint the front bedroom. Tell him that if he sees anything else that needs to be done, go right ahead and grab it for you, but do not go over fifty bucks more without getting permission. We are on a tight budget and have to watch what we are spending.

I think a repairman that goes out of his way to do something like fog for roaches is a problem solver and I think you should think about creating an opportunity around him. Good hard working people who solve problems and have initiative are more and more hard to find.

I have a similar situation but I put it to my advantage. I had this guy call me up and tell me that he used to be a park manager down in Georgia, and he just moved up here to Ohio, and was looking for some work, Did I have any homes he could work on. I sent him out to a couple of places and he went above and beyond what I asked him to do and did not charge me much more to do it.

He then told me that he would like to do this full time and get work at other parks and other homes, but that in order to do that he needs to get bonded, insured, etc. I got to thinking and this is what I came up with.

I offered to pay for some equipment, all of his advertising, and his insurance. I then set up an LLC that owns this new business. I have 60% and he has 40%. (I took this idea from studying Andrew Carnegie.)

I created a small income stream, but that 's not the best part. Now when I need work done on a home, I’m essentially hiring and paying myself. So far it has worked out great for everyone involved.


Jefferson, I recall you are managing this property from afar so,I would start out by setting a time for him to call in daily, and talk about the days work priorities. After a few weeks you can probably reduce the call-ins to once a week. I am a believer in the old adage “if you don’t inspect it, don’t expect it” so,I would also suggest another party to inspect his work have photos emailed to you. It may keep an honest man honest and will help you better understand the extent of the repair and what may have been left undone.