What do you pay your full-time maintenance men? - Posted by John Butler(Stl)

Posted by Mark (SDCA) on March 08, 2000 at 19:48:43:

I hate to even think. I expect the 12.50 figure mentioned would the bare minimum. I was paying 10 per hour in Phoenix.

Mark

What do you pay your full-time maintenance men? - Posted by John Butler(Stl)

Posted by John Butler(Stl) on March 08, 2000 at 13:59:45:

I am considering adding my first employee to take care of maintenance issues. I know markets vary, but I am looking for some ballpark numbers. This would be for a full-time(40 hours/week) position. I know the level of expertise will change this figure so I will give a list of things I would like him(or her) to be able to do. This person would need to know how to put down carpeting, paint units, repair minor plumbing(such as replacing a hot water heater), put up drywall etc. I will continue to contract out the specialized jobs such as heat/AC work, roofing, and sewer work. I am currently paying $20-25/hour to my general handyman’s company for labor that I am sure he is paying ~$8/hour for. This seems to me to be a cost savings I could capture by bringing this in-house.

There is an overview, so please respond with what you are paying this type of person or how people that do this type of work are paid. BTW, I realize that there will be payroll overhead that increases my actual cost(unemployment, fica etc), I am looking for the actual $/hour figure I should offer to attract a quality employee.

Thanks in advance,

John

Employee leasing. - Posted by John J.

Posted by John J. on March 10, 2000 at 24:09:30:

When I had a lot of units I had a full-time maintenance person who worked quite independent. I never paid more than $10 per hour. I expected him to do most repairs, except installing carpets. He had his own tools and truck. Occasionally I would hire a helper for him. Everyone worked for an employee leasing company. At the end of each month I faxed them the hours and rates and they invoiced me. The discount that they received in workers comp and unemployment insurance paid for the fee that they charged. They also offered benefits such as group health insurance that the employees could pay for.

Re: What do you pay your full-time maintenance men? - Posted by ray@lcorn

Posted by ray@lcorn on March 09, 2000 at 10:54:41:

John,

We just got through hiring a new head maintenance man. The previous one retired after working for us for about ten years. The guy we hired came for $10 per hour. We pay his health insurance and the gas for his truck. He supplies the truck and his tools, and has many years of experience. I hope he works out and stays with us. We like long term employees. Our general policy is to award ~5-10% raises on the annual anniversary date of hiring. He will work with a “helper” that has been with us for about eight years. We pay him $7.50 per hour. Before you ask why the helper didn’t “move up”, well, you’d just have to know him. He’s not exactly a self-starter.

We run our properties on a similar basis as Millie and Jim described. My brother Rick is in charge of all construction and maintenance for the company, and these employees answer to him. Rick supervises all expenses and usually makes the decision on whether to contract a job or do it with his people. Regardless of which route we go, we stay in complete control of the job at all times. That means we review every invoice for material and labor, and often will supply materials rather than trust a sub to buy the right stuff in the proper quantities. I can’t count how many times through the years we’ve found our materials on somebody else’s jobsite.

We’re in a very tight labor market here, and finding the general fix-it type of guy is getting harder every year. Most everybody in the construction trade has more work than they can get to, and the contractors cherry pick jobs. We are getting back into construction, and are having the devil of a time getting subs to commit to our work. We’ve been out of construction for about eight years. The rebuilding process is going to be slow, but necessary for us.

Good luck!

ray

Re: What do you pay your full-time maintenance men? - Posted by Millie I.

Posted by Millie I. on March 09, 2000 at 01:33:01:

John,

Is this the same 24 or 36 units that you had to fire the property management company for poor performance? That is the reason I don’t hire them.

If I was in your shoes, I would:

  1. Put an ad out to hire a husband and wife team that are experienced as janitor+engineer+rental agent for an apartment complex (2 or 3 years will do). Then I’ll give them a small apartment rent-free in exchange for showing apartments, collecting rents, cleaning and painting after tenant moved out, minor repairs, washing carpets, changing locks, minor electric, plumbing, furnace cleaning, cleaning common areas, and perform general tenant support services, etc. The couple will also get 5% or 6% of total monthly rent receipt. If tenants fail to pay rents, or if there are vacancies, it hurts their income, that will motivate them to bring your rents in. If they perform well, you can always give them a Christmas bonus at your discretion.

  2. Contract out any other work that require a licence or specialised expertise such as major wiring, major plumbing and sewer work, furnace repair, hot water heater, carpet installation, major drywall or roof & gutter work, etc. Some of these work may require a city permit. It is best not to let the city catch your un-licenced maintenance man doing any work out-of-code, and give you trouble. I usually like to hire employed liscenced contractors to do work for me after hours. They do professional work, and I pay them what their employers pay them (1/3 of what they charge). Your maintenance man should have the list of contractors, and be authorized to call as the needs arise. He should approve the job before you pay the bill. Personally, I like to pay my own bills, and get a realistic idea of how I am doing.

Some landlords like to be totally hands-off, and wait for the check to come in the mail. Sometimes it works, other times it doesn’t. I like to maintain the final control as top management, and let the maintenance man, building manager, and contractors handle the front-line contacts. I do, however, like to know about any major happenings in my buildings such as potential evictions, gang or drug activities, domestic violence, major damages, etc. I like the final say when something is important.

Hope this helps,
Best of Luck,
Millie I.

Re: What do you pay your full-time maintenance men? - Posted by Mark (SDCA)

Posted by Mark (SDCA) on March 08, 2000 at 16:58:17:

I would be surprised if you could get someone to plumbing work for 8 an hour, especially if the hot water heater is gas.

Cheers,

Mark

Re: What do you pay your full-time maintenance men? - Posted by Jim Rayner

Posted by Jim Rayner on March 08, 2000 at 15:31:36:

John,

Other than my 2 full time “FREE” helpers( spelled partners ) those that i pay get 12.50/Hour and are expected to do anything other than work requiring a professional license. I hire them as sub-contractors to make my tax life easier. I am able to only resort to bringing them in when were overloaded with work. In terms the light housekeeping maintenance tasks i give a responsible tenant a concession on their rent for taking care of the housekeeping.I base their concession on the same rate of 12.50/hour. With 32 units i find that without the rehabs in progress that it will require at least one full timer to keep up with the routine service calls, groundskeeping, and preventative maintenance tasks.

Re: Employee leasing. - Posted by John Butler(Stl)

Posted by John Butler(Stl) on March 10, 2000 at 11:27:38:

Interesting Idea:

Where would I go to find such a leasing business? It seems this could relieve a lot of the administrative burdens of employees. Would a local ManPower office be the trick? What category would I look in the yellow pages under to find such a service?

Thanks,

John

Re: What do you pay your full-time maintenance men? - Posted by John Butler(Stl)

Posted by John Butler(Stl) on March 09, 2000 at 12:25:09:

Yes, Millie,

These are the same units that I had the bad management experience with. I would go the route you were suggesting if all 35 of my units were in one location, but mine are broken down into a 24 unit, two 4 units, two houses, a condo, and soon to be an additional 12 units. With such a scattered area, I don’t know if an on-site couple at the 24 unit would be willing or able to effectively maintain the others. Please note this person would be a direct employee of mine rather than someone I give control to. I would still be delegating all of the jobs to him and telling him what he needs to do each day.

Another reason I like this idea is the economies it produces. Right now, I have a few units that need rehab before they are ready to rent. If I have my own maintenance guy, I could let him get the units ready in his down time between normal maintenance. And once I get all of the units up and running, I can start taking on some small cosmetic rehab projects to keep him or her busy. My wife and I would still(for the time being) be in charge or leasing, rent collection, and general management of the units.

Don’t know if this changes your advice or not, but thought I should clarify.

John

Re: What do you pay your full-time maintenance men? - Posted by John Butler(Stl)

Posted by John Butler(Stl) on March 08, 2000 at 17:25:52:

Mark,

I agree. The hot water heater example would probably the most advanced task this person would handle, and if it was an issue, I could continue to outsource it. I really don’t have an idea of what the correct price should be and that is why I asked. The majority of this person’s time would be spent repainting, recarpeting, doing clean-outs etc. I would hate to pay skilled labor prices when most of their duties would be unskilled. So what would you pay someone in the price inflated state of California?

John

Re: Employee leasing - here they are. - Posted by John J.

Posted by John J. on March 11, 2000 at 08:40:47:

In my Yellow Pages they are listed under:
Employment Services - Employee Leasing. You can also look under Payroll Processing, which is another option for you.
Some of the companies with web sites are:
http://www.elm.com/
http://www.psmi.com/
http://www.usapeo.com

You might also check with the National Association of Professional Employer Organizations (NAPEO):
http://www.napeo.org/ (includes member directory.

The leasing service worked great for me. I had total control of the employees. At the end of each month I’d fax them the log with hours and rates, any fixed payments, such as my manager’s fee, and advances that I had given during the month. They’d calculate everything, withdraw the total from my bank account and do a direct deposit of the net pay into the employees’ accounts. They also took care of garnishments. They also withhold and pay quarterly the various taxes and insurances.

Re: Build a chain of command and put yourself on top - Posted by Millie I.

Posted by Millie I. on March 09, 2000 at 16:50:07:

John,

I would hire couple full/part time $6/hr younger guys to work under your full-time husband and wife team. The husband acts as the maintenance foreman, assigns and monitors the quality of the work, signs the time cards. The wife takes the calls, write up job orders for the team, do the paper work, and interacts with the tenants. You could place one or both of the young workers in your 12 units. That way all basis are covered. As your business expands, hire more young ones, and promote them as they do better, and you become bigger. Make sure you compensate your foreman couple accordingly.

You or your wife should drive by at least once a month, make unannounced exterior or interior inspections once every 3 months, watch how the money comes in or goes out, and if the tenants are happy with the staff.

I have SFR and multi’s scattered in 4 towns, and I am busily adding newly rehabbed ones to the inventory every 2 months. I don’t get more than an average of one call a month (the rehabbed SFR never call). When I do, I just have the maintenance man call them and take care of it. I know my buildings and houses so well, it’s not easy for a tenant to BS me.

Good Luck,
Call me in the evening if you want to discuss further.
Millie I.