Critical Relationships!

I once had an electrician out to a rental property to do some work. He finished the work and I dropped a check in the mail. I had not previously worked with him but my realtor made the recommendation and he seemed competent. He was an older, soft spoken man who seemed to go about his business in a matter-of-fact manner.

Some time passed, I’m not sure how much but at least a month, and I had another need for an electrician and called him up. He seemed a little hesitant when speaking with me and I couldn’t imagine what was wrong until he finally said “Dave, you haven’t paid me for the other job!”. Well, I was shocked, and immediately checked my records and then told him I had mailed a check long ago. We determined it must be lost in the mail and I made him whole. He came out for the other job and all ended well.

Later when I reflected on the situation I realized that he wasn’t going to call me for the payment that was lost. He was going to just go without pay instead of picking up the phone to resolve the issue. Now, as a former collections manager, this was unimaginable! The thought that anyone would hesitate to pick up a phone and make a call for money owed was foreign to me to say the least!

I always pay my vendors ASAP, usually immediately upon receiving an invoice. A plumber just wants to take care of plumbing issues, an electrician just wants to do electrical work and a carpenter just wants to cut and join lumber. These guys don’t want to have a second job of collecting past due debts. They don’t want to do their accounting or taxes. They have physically demanding jobs and they want to get their work done and relax when they are finished and I don’t blame them. They are also critical to my success. When I need work done on a property I need it done quickly and correctly at a reasonable price. The tradesmen that I use on a regular basis come when I call because they know it's repeat business and I will pay them when they finish. They take care of me and I take care of them, that’s a win-win for both parties. That’s the relationship you want to have when you are in the middle of a plumbing emergency or the HVAC goes out on your tenants.

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