This article was written with expert insight from two of AQUILA’s property managers, Abby Marshall and Amy Ashford.
One of the key decisions that commercial property owners and managers must make is whether to use local or national vendors for their property’s services and maintenance. Each option has its own advantages and disadvantages, and the choice will depend on several factors specific to your property.
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In this article, to help you better understand your options, we explain:
- The common types of vendors you might need for your property
- Advantages and disadvantages of using local vendors
- Advantages and disadvantages of using national vendors
- Local vs. national vendors in Austin, Texas
What Types of Vendors Do You Need for Your Property?
Commercial property management firms may need to hire a variety of vendors to support the management and maintenance of their properties. Some common types of vendors include:
- Maintenance vendors: These vendors provide routine maintenance services, such as cleaning, landscaping, and HVAC maintenance. They may also handle repairs and emergency maintenance requests.
- Construction and renovation vendors: These vendors handle larger projects, such as building renovations or tenant finish-outs. They may provide design and construction services, as well as project management and oversight.
- Technology vendors: These vendors provide technology services, such as building automation systems, security systems, internet services, and energy management systems.
- Insurance vendors: These vendors provide insurance services, such as property and liability insurance, as well as risk management and loss prevention services.
- Energy vendors: These vendors provide energy services, such as energy procurement, energy efficiency upgrades, and renewable energy solutions.
The specific types of vendors required may vary depending on the type of property, its location, and the specific needs of the property and its tenants.
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Local Vendors for Your Property
Advantages of Using Local Vendors
Using local vendors for your property has several advantages. Here are some of the key benefits:
- Local market knowledge: Local vendors have a deep understanding of the local real estate market, including local zoning laws, building codes, and other regulations. They are also familiar with the local business environment, including the needs of potential tenants.
- Established relationships: Local vendors typically have established relationships with local contractors and service providers, which can be valuable when dealing with repairs and maintenance issues. These relationships can lead to faster response times and better pricing.
- Quicker Contracts: Local vendors are more typically more willing to sign standard management company contracts. This can be a huge time saver since you won’t have to go back and forth negotiating terms. This can also save you money as you can avoid attorney fees.
- Personalized service: Local vendors are often smaller companies that can provide more personalized service and attention to detail. They may be more flexible in their approach and able to tailor their services to meet the unique needs of your property.
- Faster response times: Because local vendors are based in the area, they can respond more quickly to emergencies and other issues that may arise. This can help to minimize downtime and reduce the risk of damage to your property.
- Cost savings: Local vendors may be able to provide cost savings by leveraging their relationships with other local businesses and suppliers, and by having a more efficient operation. They may also have a better understanding of local pricing trends and be able to negotiate better rates for services and supplies you need.
Overall, using a local vendor for commercial real estate property management can provide a range of benefits. When choosing a property management vendor, it’s important to carefully evaluate the options and choose a vendor that has the experience, resources, and expertise necessary to manage your property effectively.
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Disadvantages of Using Local Vendors
While using local vendors for your property can have its advantages, there are also some potential disadvantages to consider:
- Limited resources: Local vendors may have limited resources compared to national vendors. They may not have access to the same technology, tools, or professional networks that larger companies have, which could limit their ability to provide certain services.
- Limited geographic reach: Local vendors may have limited geographic reach and may not be able to provide services to properties in multiple locations. This could be a disadvantage if you have properties in different areas that require different levels of management.
- Limited scalability: Local vendors may not have the same level of scalability as national vendors. They may struggle to handle larger portfolios or to expand their business to new markets.
Overall, while local vendors can provide personalized service and local expertise, there are also potential drawbacks to consider. When selecting a property management vendor, it’s important to carefully evaluate the pros and cons of both local and national vendors and choose the one that best fits your specific needs and priorities.
National Vendors for Your Property
Advantages of Using National Vendors
Using national vendors for your property has several advantages. Here are some of the key benefits:
- Wider geographic reach: National vendors have a larger presence and can provide services to properties in multiple locations. This is an advantage if you have a diverse portfolio of properties in different regions or if you are planning to expand your portfolio to new markets.
- Access to greater resources: National vendors have access to more resources, including technology, tools, and professional networks. They can leverage these resources to provide more efficient and effective management services.
- Consistent standards: National vendors typically have established processes and procedures that are consistent across their locations. This can provide a higher level of consistency in service delivery, which is important for maintaining tenant satisfaction and ensuring compliance.
- Greater scalability: National vendors have the infrastructure and resources to handle larger portfolios of properties. They can quickly adapt to changes in your portfolio and provide the necessary management services to support your growth.
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Disadvantages of Using National Vendors
While there are some advantages to using national vendors for your property, there are also some disadvantages to consider. Here are some of the key drawbacks:
- Lack of local market knowledge: National vendors may lack a deep understanding of the local real estate market that local vendors have. They may not be familiar with local zoning laws, building codes, and other regulations, which could lead to compliance issues.
- Limited personalization: National vendors may not be able to provide the same level of personalized service as local vendors. They may have a one-size-fits-all approach, which may not meet the unique needs of your property.
- Communication challenges: National vendors may be less responsive to communication and may have more layers of bureaucracy that can slow down decision-making and problem-solving. This can lead to delays in addressing issues and may impact tenant satisfaction.
- Higher costs: National vendors may charge higher fees for their services to cover the cost of their larger infrastructure and overhead. Additionally, they may not have established relationships with local businesses and suppliers, which can lead to higher costs for repairs and maintenance.
- Less flexibility: National vendors may have standardized processes and procedures that are difficult to deviate from. This may limit their ability to adapt to changing needs or unique situations.
Overall, while national vendors may have resources and expertise that local vendors do not, there are several potential drawbacks to consider. As we previously mentioned, when choosing a property management vendor, it’s important to carefully evaluate the options and choose a vendor that can provide the level of service and expertise your property requires.
Local vs. National Vendors in Austin
The companies you hire as vendors for your property will heavily depend on the market your property is in.
Most property managers use a mix of vendors. We typically recommend using local vendors for regular maintenance contracts like janitorial, landscaping, etc. as the relationships built are important in caring for the property. Once you have a good relationship with a local vendor, they’re more likely to be able/willing to help on short notice.
We recommend using national vendors for large projects such as roofs, chiller/AHU replacements, or large construction projects. These types of jobs are usually much less frequent so standing relationships don’t matter as much.
The Austin commercial real estate market is large and has a multitude of highly-skilled vendors to service properties. Most local property managers should be able to recommend vendors they trust and use.
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Ultimately, the decision between using local or national vendors for your property will depend on several factors, including the size and location of your property, your budget, and your specific goals for the property.
In conclusion, there is no one-size-fits-all answer to the question of whether to use local or national vendors for your property’s services and maintenance. The choice will depend on several factors specific to your property, including its size and location, your budget, and your specific goals for the property. It is important to carefully evaluate your options and choose a vendor that has the experience, resources, and expertise necessary to manage your property effectively.
Are you looking for a property management company that can help hire the best vendors for your property? Schedule a free consultation with our property management team today.