“Can you get a bid on that?” (How to handle owner requests for bids on small jobs)


little-builderAs a Nevada Property Manager, you know how challenging it can be to find and retain qualified vendors to do the myriad small jobs for the rental homes you manage. Now that we’re working against The Tesla Effect,” it’s becomming even more difficult to find vendors who are willing to take on those small jobs at fair prices. Many of us expect this trend to continue, for at least the next 3-5 years.


Enter the conscientious landlord. This may be his first foray into rental property ownership; perhaps he once lived in the home. Although she hired a professional property manager, which was a savvy decision on her part as a new investor/landlord, she still wants to know what’s going on, especially when repairs are needed. “Can you get a bid on that?” We hear it all the time, don’t we? As property managers, we know what a losing proposition it can be to seek bids for small projects. But, how do we effectively communicate this to our owner-clients? 


I had just this very occurrence recently, and my initial reaction was not my best reaction. I think I said something like, “It doesn’t make sense to get a bid for a job this small. We’ll just get it taken care of.” Not very reassuring to a small portfolio client, is it? Luckily, I thought better, and cleaned up my response. I’m  sharing my ‘new and improved response’ with you now, in hopes you find it helpful when you’re in a similar situation with your owner-client.


“To clarify, the job is pretty small – a routine repair. It’s a time and materials kind of thing. When we ask contractors to bid something this small in advance, they usually estimate the job based on a “worst case scenario.” In other words, they bargain for variables that may or may not occur with the job. Not exactly “padding,” but making sure they don’t under-bid, which can happen if they don’t take variables into consideration. Most times, when a job is pre-bid, the invoice for that job matches the bid, to the penny.


On smaller projects, it typically works to our owner/clients’ best interests to simply dispatch good vendors to take care of the jobs, and trust that they’ll invoice the job fairly. Overall, it’s the best way we know of to keep maintenance costs down without reducing service to our owners, their properties, and tenants.”


So many times, we forget how confusing this business can be to our clients. To some property managers, the resolution to reducing the confusion is to avoid communication altogether, except when absolutely necessary. Yet, if your approach to the business is a bit more personalized, it will help you to remember that our clients sometimes need a little hand-holding along the way.


Best wishes for a wonderful holiday weekend!


Warm regards,




2 Replies to ““Can you get a bid on that?” (How to handle owner requests for bids on small jobs)”

  1. There is also a school of thought which says a handyman cannot submit a bid. I suppose one would have to contact the Contractor’s Board for clarification.

    The Nevada State Contractors’ Board enforces the requirements of NRS 624.020, which states, “ A contractor is
    any person, … who in any capacity other than as the employee of another with wages as the sole compensation,
    undertakes to, offers to undertake to, purports to have the capacity to undertake to, or submits a bid to, or does
    himself or by or through others, construct, alter, repair, add to, subtract from, improve, move, wreck or
    demolish any building, highway, road, railroad, excavation or other structure, project, development or
    improvement, or to do any part thereof, including the erection of scaffolding or other structures or works in
    connection therewith…”

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