Why I Don't Get Multiple Bids for Work on My Clients' Properties

Property Manager with Gibson Management Group, Ltd.

I have a property owner client who has known for 4 months her residents of 3 years were leaving the end of June.  

I did a PRE-move-out inspection the end of March to assess what needed to be done in the “make ready” process for new residents.  I made the inspection with the Class B contractor I have used for over 15 years.  He gave up a workday to drive to 6 properties with me while we performed this process because he 1) knows how I want for my properties; and 2) he appreciates that I am his BEST customer....if not his LARGEST.


When I advised my client in April what needed to be done...1)repaint the upper 2 bedrooms, trim, full bath, ceilings AND 2-story stairwell to the main floor as well as possibly the master bedroom and full bath with walk-in closet AND remove the plastic waterproof coating on the 3 walls of the unfinished basement, I gave her the approximate cost and advised her I would be holding April, May and June rent to pay for these repairs.


Once the residents leave, we will also assess the need to spray and SEAL the deck which gets full sun and is a great attraction of the townhouse.


The departing residents will clean the house and have the carpets professionally cleaned per my move-out instructions and my painting/repair contractor does not leave me a mess when he finishes. The property will be move-in ready.


I have calendared the work to start the day after the current residents depart - third week in June - so that the townhouse will be available for new residents July 1.


NOW...the owner has advised me to get bids.....her thinking is that since I did not get multiple bids, the work will cost too much.


I have not had to do this for a few years, so I gently advised her that MY PROCESS does not require multiple bids to get the BEST JOB (price & timing).


FIRST * homeowners rarely get the service, expertise and knowledge that I get from my service contractors.  I KNOW the type of paint, colors and the scope of work that needs to be done to MAINTAIN the property for rental residents AND I have arranged to have that work done in time for new residents.  


SECOND * I already know the cost of this work....I have 3 properties JUST LIKE HERS that I have managed for over a decade....I know how long the paint should LAST and I know the quality, grade and WASHABILITY that is needed.


THIRD * I get BETTER THAN GOOD prices from my service vendors because...I give them BEAUCOUP work YEAR ROUND.  Unlike an individual homeowner who may only want certain color on their walls for a specific price....I get GOOD QUALITY and FAST service.  My service vendors know that if they keep me HAPPY! and  give me good prices and treat my residents with respect and consideration, they will get my work WITHOUT a costly Yellow Page ad AND the need to take credit cards and pay a merchant’s fee.


Homeowners who want to get multiple bids go through this process to get EDUCATED by the service providers during their bid process....I already have this knowledge and expertise and I have great service providers READY to do the work.......in time for NEW TENANTS!

Posted by

Wallace S. Gibson is a Certified Property Manager with over 50 years of property management experience and expertise.  She maintains a specialized property management business in Central Virginia serving Albemarle, Greene, Fluvanna and Louisa counties  


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"...to be a Virginian, either by Birth, Marriage, Adoption, or even on one's Mother's side, is an Introduction to any State in the Union, a Passport to any Foreign Country, and a Benediction from the Almighty God...." Anonymous



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  1. Tom Romero 06/03/2014 02:20 AM
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Mike Wong
Keller Williams Realty Southwest - Sugar Land, TX
Realtor: Commercial, Residential, Leasing, Invest

I have to agree with you Wallace. I like to use my preferred contractors because they know what I expect from them. 

However in Texas we are required to reccomend 3 vendors for everything from title company, home warranty, mortgage, inspection, and yes repairs. 

Sometimes it is a waste of time collecting bids. A few times it showed one of my preferred contractors was way out of line on a project and got used to being fed by me. So it was not all a waste. 

Jun 01, 2014 08:00 AM #4
Wallace S. Gibson, CPM
Gibson Management Group, Ltd. - Charlottesville, VA

Mike - TX property managers need to LOBBY for this to change if it applies to them under their property management agreement...most states recognize the DIFFERENCE between an EVENT employment contract like a listing and a LONG TERM employment contract like a property management agreement where the owner can DESIGNATE duties to be performed by their property manager...

Jun 01, 2014 08:03 AM #5
Evelyn Johnston
Friends & Neighbors Real Estate - Elkhart, IN
The People You Know, Like and Trust!

The home owners never should have contracted with you if they don't know and trust your judgment.  You know what you are doing and whom to contact to get it done right the first time.  This is called EXPERIENCE!

Jun 01, 2014 08:47 AM #6
Jimmy Chickey
Keller Williams Realty Southwest - Las Vegas, NV
Realtor, Nationally Recognized Author, Teacher

I love it.  Sometimes we have to educate our clients.  :)

Jun 01, 2014 11:18 AM #7
Joe Pryor
The Virtual Real Estate Team - Oklahoma City, OK
REALTOR® - Oklahoma Investment Properties

Like with inspectors, mnortgage companies, or whatever I recommend to a client I believe in multiples. I just did this on a home that one of my investors purchased and to properly represent him and also to do my proper due diligence I got multiple bids and they result was favorable for him.

Jun 01, 2014 12:20 PM #8
Laura Cerrano
Feng Shui Manhattan Long Island - Locust Valley, NY
Certified Feng Shui Expert, Speaker & Researcher
This is all the simple presentation of quality over quantity. Success will come with the patients of knowing your craft. I think so anyway.
Jun 01, 2014 01:36 PM #9
Debbie Gartner
The Flooring Girl - White Plains, NY
The Flooring Girl & Blog Stylist -Dynamo Marketers

This is a major benefit for using a property manager. They have reliable people that can get the word done well in a timely fashion and reasonable budget.

Jun 01, 2014 07:20 PM #10
Chris Griffith
Downing-Frye Realty, Bonita Springs, FL - Bonita Springs, FL
Bonita Springs Listing Agent

The owners rarely realize that we actually hire these professionals week after week, year after year.  They are professionals who actually show up, perform the best work and charge favorable prices because we are repeat clients.  Those same vendors also extend up special priviledeges for urgent or emergency services if they pop up.  They're usually also tried and true, insured and have a history of not damaging or stealing.  

You get what you pay for.  There may be someone pennies cheaper but there will be some hidden cost, lateness, subpar work, something.

Jun 01, 2014 08:01 PM #11
Conrad Allen
Re/Max Professional Associates - Webster, MA
Webster, Ma, Realtor

Good for you Wallace. You know the market better than her.

Jun 01, 2014 08:50 PM #12
Michael Setunsky
Woodbridge, VA
Your Commercial Real Estate Link to Northern VA

Wallace, the owners have to understand that you work with these contractors and can rely on their trust to do a good job at a reasonable cost. Hiring contractors just because their cost is the lowest usually means, you are doing the job again in the near future.

Jun 01, 2014 11:02 PM #13
Wallace S. Gibson, CPM
Gibson Management Group, Ltd. - Charlottesville, VA

Getting bids and then getting the work done could cost her THOUSAND$ in lost rent from an unknown service firm....

Jun 01, 2014 11:07 PM #14
Tammy Lankford,
Lane Realty Eatonton, GA Lake Sinclair, Milledgeville, 706-485-9668 - Eatonton, GA
Broker GA Lake Sinclair/Eatonton/Milledgeville

Saving a couple of hundred dollars on a paint job and missing a month of rental income doesn't make any sense at all.

Jun 01, 2014 11:37 PM #15
Raul Rodriguez
Covenant Partners Realty - San Antonio, TX
Looking out for the client's interest and not my p

If it's not broke don't fix it is my philosophy...your attention to detail ain't broke.

Jun 01, 2014 11:39 PM #16
John Jonas
ReplaceMyself - Virtual Assistants - Highland, UT
John Jonas

Great job Wallace! But I must say that this is really normal for owners. They just want to make sure that they will get the cheapest price without thinking so much about it. You did a good job explaining it to them how your system works. All the best!

Jun 01, 2014 11:47 PM #17
Phil Ormsby
Cabana Real Estate LLC - Parrish, FL
Cabana Real Estate - Live where you play!

What the homeowners often don't understand is that we as property managers have already been through the 'other' contractors out there and as, professionals, we choose to work with the vendors that give us the best service, best scheduling and often, but not always, the best price.

In other words, the bidding process was done long ago.

Jun 02, 2014 12:23 AM #18
Laurie Lamoureux
Seamless Moves - Bellevue, WA

Speaking as a vendor to Realtors, Property Managers and Remodeling Contractors, I'll confirm that we go the extra mile for these referral partners in appreciation for their trust and professionalism. And what a joy to go into a project with a clear outline of what needs to be done!

Jun 02, 2014 03:16 AM #19
Bruce Kunz
C21 Solid Gold Realty, Brick, NJ, 732-920-2100 - Howell, NJ
REALTOR®, Brick & Howell NJ Homes for Sale

Hi Wallace. While getting an education from multiple bidders may be good for the one time purchase, it does not always get the best results.

The owner has smartly hired you to manage her property. Now you both have the need to succeed. I absolutely agree that working with familiar set of contractors brings better understanding, response, and overall cost savings.

Your client certainly has a great manager looking out for her! Hopefully she's letting you do your job again.
Thanks for sharing,


Jun 02, 2014 04:29 AM #20
Pete Xavier
Investments to Luxury - Pacific Palisades, CA
Outstanding Agent Referrals-Nationwide

Hopefully she will agree with your process to make this a smooth situation.

She's got to trust your many years of experience.

Jun 03, 2014 02:40 AM #24
Roy Kelley
Realty Group Referrals - Gaithersburg, MD

This is good information for property owners. One of the benefits of professional management is to have someone that knows what to do.

Jun 03, 2014 10:23 PM #25
Patricia Kennedy
RLAH Real Estate - Washington, DC
Home in the Capital

Wallace, I admire you property management agents.  There are so many details to keep track of - and most of the residential sales people I know are such slobs we couldn't do it.

Jun 04, 2014 12:46 PM #26
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Wallace S. Gibson, CPM

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