According to a recent ATTOM report, nearly 1.4 million residential properties in the United States sit vacant in the first quarter of 2022.
This same report states that residential properties in the process of foreclosure are up 3 percent from Q4 of 2021 and up 31 percent from one year ago.
Creating Real Estate Vendor Management Partnerships
Property preservation and real estate vendor management services protect these homes against the elements and damages and can aid in keeping neighborhoods safer.
A national field services provider is key to not only helping servicers and investors avoid violations or other costly repairs, but to grow local and regional property preservation companies, who perform many of the services that maintain assets. ServiceLink Field Services Vendor Management focuses on a partnership-first approach, with market managers and directors in place to support local and regional ‘boots on the ground’ efforts. The partnership philosophy allows for mutual success and accountability for both ServiceLink Field Services and its vendors.
“We’ve shifted to a much more proactive approach to vendor management,” says Samantha Saggio, Vice President, Field Services Vendor Management Office for ServiceLink. “Initially our vendor management teams focused on order management and getting in outstanding work as quickly and efficiently as possible in order to satisfy client timeline expectations. Vendor issues and concerns would be addressed as escalated by vendors, and relationships were managed at the leadership level. Without having someone take ownership of an issue or concern, vendors were left feeling frustrated and in need of a resolution. We listened to the feedback in the field and made positive changes.”
How Vendor Management Creates Growth Opportunities
Part of that change was enhancing communication within the field. ServiceLink Field Services instituted a contact/escalation matrix into the process to address issues in a timely manner. The vendor management team also meets daily to assure the team is on alert of any urgent issues that may come up, even if it’s not in their respective region. ServiceLink also has a team of vendor management directors to support the market managers for escalations and stepping in as backup when needed.
Hawkeye Field Services is a full-service property preservation company based in Newberry, Florida that services the entire state of Florida with the help of the ServiceLink Field Services Vendor Management Office. “We started our property preservation company 15 years ago, working primarily for one client,” says Erin Kravitz, Vice President of Operations at Hawkeye Field Services. “Connecting with ServiceLink has helped us to grow our business and perform more efficiently.”
In a highly challenging industry with constant change, taking the time to listen to a vendor’s issues helps everyone come to a mutually agreeable resolution. Whether it’s losing a subcontractor or having a system shut down in the field, having a reliable vendor management partnership to help resolve issues can help to improve the overall experience.
Kindi Kinder is a market manager for ServiceLink’s Field Services Vendor Management Office and manages Erin Kravitz’s team as part of her territory. “The market manager role changed the culture for ServiceLink and its vendors,” says Kinder. “Through our support, our vendors now feel heard. I like to think of it as being a business partner with each of my vendors. They’re not in this alone - we’re here to make sure they’re successful.”
“Feeling a part of the solution gives empowerment to all parties and a renewed sense of wanting to do the job right, and often ends up with individuals going above and beyond the scope of what is expected,” says Saggio. “A pipe bursting on a Saturday night in the middle of winter? Your chances of getting a response to a call for help are better when you have a good working partnership in place with the vendor whose help you need.”
A scorecard incentive program helps to ensure vendors meet quality and timeline goals. With positive performance comes greater volume. “Our subcontractors quickly discovered that by working hard and getting the work done on time and correctly, they would be rewarded with increased business,” says Kravitz.
How Servicelink Supports Effective Vendor Management
The benefits of ServiceLink’s Vendor Management program also work in favor of vendors through fast pay and easy operating systems. “Many national vendor management companies are on a 30-60 day pay structure from the time a job is completed,” says Kravitz. “ServiceLink is very unique, in that they finalize their work and complete invoices three to five days after a job is completed. They also offer daily remittances for work completed. ServiceLink is the quickest paying national out there.”
ServiceLink Field Services clients benefit from having a network of willing vendor management partners ready to help in an emergency. By providing reliable support and creating a team environment, all parties have the same goal of protecting an asset the best they can.
“ServiceLink’s customer service is just number one - it’s what separates them from the rest of the nationals in the country,” says Kravitz. “They truly value their vendors and focus on long-term relationships.”