Honesty, Integrity, and Trust in Repairs
July 27, 2018
11to foster excellent business relationships with our rental homeowner clients, with their tenants, and with our vendors. It’s our belief that honesty is always the best policy, but unfortunately, not everyone in the rental management industry agrees with us.
Our last blog post detailed an encounter with a maintenance and repair vendor that raised the issue of ambiguous disclosures and hidden costs in contracts. Specifically, in contracts between property management companies, vendors, and rental homeowners. In short, here’s what happened: while discussing the ins and outs of our working relationship, a new vendor offered us a 10% discount on every job we gave them. That sounds nice, except that the rental homeowner was to be billed for the full amount, while they passed on to us the 10% they were offering. This amounts to a kickback, and we told them we wouldn’t participate in this kind of illegal practice.
Is this Ethical?
Our business is built on the principles of transparency and compliance with the law. Even if contracts can be ambiguously worded so that interpretations of the contract are twisted to the advantage of one party over the other—does that make it right? In the issue of vendors billing our rental homeowners a full invoice price, while passing a 10% discount to us, our questions are: Can we with good conscience take a profit from this? Are we truly providing the best service to our clients? Are we complying with our code of ethics? For us, the answer to each of these questions is a resounding “No.”
Doing the Right Thing
We informed our new vendor that at Austin Fleck Property Management, all their invoices to our home rental owners should reflect the actual cost of the job, with no 10% added in. We don’t believe in profiting from our owners’ maintenance upkeep or repairs. For us, it’s a win/win situation. The property owner gets quality work for a fair, honest price; the tenant gets prompt, professional service; the vendor gets paid promptly for work performed and gets more business from the property management companies they serve; and as the property management company, we can keep honest books that balance to the penny. This pleases our owners, their tenants, and the vendors. And it pleases us. Needless to say, our new vendor was shocked by our high standards, since this was the first time they had seen such unswerving dedication to honesty, integrity, and trust in the rental management field. They were thrilled!
Images used under creative commons license – Commercial Use (7/23/18)