The worst time to find a plumber is exactly when you need one most — in a calamitous state of plumbing emergency. Prepare your property management business and office personnel ahead of time with the contact information of three or four approved, licensed and insured master plumbers. You can start your search for the perfect plumber on Google.com or visit a referral site like www.phccweb.org (The Plumbing Heating Cooling Contractors Association). Ask your colleagues and neighboring businesses for referrals and research the Better Business Bureau to make sure there aren’t any unresolved matters.
There are two categories of plumbers: those that handle emergency situations and those that specialize in building and remodeling projects. Make sure you are well-prepared to get a hold of the former. And if you don’t mind tackling the minor jobs yourself — like dripping faucets and leaking toilets — you can visit sites like www.thisoldhouse.com for some great how-to guides. Don’t get too overzealous though. Plumbing can be difficult and it requires a lot of knowledge of code requirements, parts and the experience of working with those parts.
When interviewing plumbers ask about their minimum and hourly fees and if they offer 24-hour emergency service and what the additional minimal and hourly cost will be for that. Ask to see their license. A true professional will give you a phone number to call to confirm that their license is up-to-date. Last, but not least, a plumber should have a current workers’ compensation policy and a minimum of $500,000 liability insurance.
Have a clogged drain that does not require the help of a plumber? Try using a scoop of baking soda mixed with 1/2 a cup of vinegar followed by boiling water. It is a much safer option on your pipes and the environment than toxic chemical based solutions.
When you’re inviting clients to an open house a few things always come to mind: quality conversation that leads to new business, easy consumption of food and wine and fast disposal. But in today’s eco-conscious culture what you provide in the form of invitations, dishes, napkins and utensils can say a lot about what you value in life. While it’s always greener and more impressive to your guests to use standard wash and reuse dishware, it doesn’t lead to fast clean up. Fortunately there are some inexpensive and greener options to paper goods and plastic ware that you can find at many local grocery stores. For example, today you can purchase Bagasse dishes, which are made out of 100% sugar cane. You can also find products made out of tree-free paper, wheat, corn, lime stone and starch mixtures. Your conscious decision can be a great conversation opener, it says a lot about your attention to detail and it can lead to your ultimate goal of building new business.
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Conducting Online Searches of Property Rental Addresses Helps to Uncover Pirated Ad Scams
If we lived in a completely honest world we wouldn’t need locks, keys or passwords nor would we be besieged with all sorts of Internet scams. One of the more common scams involves people copying an ad off of an Internet Listing Service (ILS) and placing it on free listing sites such as Craigslist.com for a price 20% to 40% below the actual rent. The scammer uses a bogus e-mail address, often using the real contact person’s name like Jane.Doe@gmail.com. They then try to obtain personal information and/or funds from the unknowing target, the renter.
If possible, property managers should encourage potential renters to use paid listing sites. Paid listing sites are safer for consumers to search for rentals since people who scam are very unlikely to pay money to post a property they don’t officially own.
A property manager can also check to see if someone has pirated his or her ad by regularly conducting online searches on the property address. If the ad appears somewhere else with different rent amounts or contact information then a scammer has pirated the ad. If this occurs, the listing site where the fake information has been posted should be notified immediately.
Rob Massey Jr., is a Certified Property Manager (CPM) and past President of the Louisville Chapter of the National Association of Residential Property Managers (NARPM).
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