One of the most common points made from property management companies is that they “think like owners, not like managers”. Then why is it that they rarely, if ever, negotiate a price down with a supplier? Owners do it!
It is true that to build a streamlined property management operation, you need to work with level-headed vendors and trust that they will do a good job for a fair price; you need consistency. This means that you can’t always work prices down; if you do, vendors will no longer want to work with you, and you will spend twice as much time finding and getting acquainted with new people to work with. However, the opposite is more often the case, where property managers and administrators never hold a vendor’s “feet to the fire” and over time, left unchecked, their prices tend to inflate.
Why don’t we confront suppliers about their pricing? Largely it is because it feels stressful and time consuming; the key word being feels. In reality, all it takes is a single question or statement, such as, “I’m a little surprised by the price here, is there any way we can keep it below $500?”.
Vendor’s should know that working with you means that they are working with a reasonable manager, with reasonable expectations, and that they will be paid within a reasonable amount of time; they should not salivate whenever they see your name appear in their caller ID, knowing they will get away with charging a tasty “30% Property Manager Tax”.
It is always incumbent on a property manager to ensure that we are maximizing the value we are getting for money spent, independent of whether it is the landlord or tenant who is ultimately going to pay for it.