Selecting and managing vendors represents a significant time commitment. Choose the wrong vendors and you can negatively impact tenants’ experiences, which can impact your property management firm’s overall brand reputation. That said, finding and selecting excellent vendors is a long and involved process that involves sourcing, screening, and selecting as well as referrals or extensive research, an RFP process, and contract negotiations.
Once the right vendors have been selected, the work has only just begun. After finding great vendors, it’s in your best interests to hang onto them, but with a limited team this can be challenging. There may not be enough people to ensure the contractor has what they need, has timely responses to questions, or even gets paid on time. The latter is a major issue. Late payments due to limited staff leads to strained vendor relationships.
How can technology help property managers manage their vendor relationships?
Vendor contract review and storage
An estimated 92 percent of organizations say they don’t have a contract management strategy. A contract management strategy helps companies manage the complexity around contracts and assign different levels of prioritization and process to each one. Technology provides a unified workspace for executing on a contract management strategy, especially for property managers dealing with a high volume of routine contracts for leases and maintenance work. A streamlined platform can allow teams to work from templates that have already been vetted by legal and then create, negotiate, and sign contracts in the same place. An integrated contract management system allows property managers to capture data throughout a contract period so they can remember it when it’s time to negotiate a renewal.
Vendor communications and project management
Integrating vendor communications into a single platform provides context for different property management employees. If one staff member interacts with a vendor, they can enter the details of the conversation into the system, allowing their colleagues to pick up where they left off. Not only does this save time, it also smooths out your relationship with your contractor, avoids frustration over miscommunications, and simplifies project management and scheduling.
Invoice processing and payment
The easiest way to maintain a positive relationship with a good vendor is to pay them in full and on time, but this can be difficult even for the most well-intentioned property managers due to limited time. Property management staff need to capture the information in the general ledger, get approval on the invoice from their superior, submit the invoice into the financial system, process it by writing a check or sending an electronic money transfer, and then archive that data for future use. A property management platform with integrated invoice management simplifies each step in this process by providing a single source of truth and automatically capturing relevant information.
Vendor onboarding and offboarding
Depending on the work, a vendor may need access to physical or virtual property such as a specific building or project management application. Experienced property managers manage this third-party risk by developing effective onboarding and offboarding processes. At the same time, it can be hard to remember what your vendors need access to or have access to. Technology can provide a centralized place to grant and revoke access to different systems as well as onboarding and offboarding checklists generated based on specific contracts.
Maintaining vendor relationships is just one way technology is improving property management. Learn more in “The Profitable Property Manager” whitepaper.