A repair threshold provides our team with authorization to initiate and approve work from 3rd party service professionals, up to your maintenance threshold. As a customer, you select the threshold as we never want you to be outside of your comfort zone!
What is reasonable for repair thresholds?
You want to make sure the threshold is reasonable, as tenants should have a great maintenance experience. Low thresholds result in unnecessary delays due to the approval process. Our average customer has a maintenance threshold of $350 and an emergency threshold of $750.
Can Hemlane provide a bid prior to supplying a threshold?
The minimum threshold of $150 still applies. Many trades (e.g. handiwork, plumbing, electrical) have service call fees and therefore a minimum is still required. In addition, we looked through thousands of maintenance requests and found the vast majority of jobs (where you would want to be more passive) are around or just over $150. This section tells you why a threshold under $150 actually costs you more in the end.
Once we have this threshold, then we confirm bids. Anything over that amount will be submitted to you for approval prior to having any work done.
Does Hemlane have a minimum to initiate service professionals?
With a $0 threshold, Hemlane will not initiate service professionals and may reassign the maintenance request to you if our team cannot get in touch with you.
Our threshold policy to initiate a service professional is as follows:
- Standard thresholds: $150 minimum, $350 recommended
- Emergency thresholds: $500 minimum, $750 recommended
Here are two reasons why very low thresholds are not a good idea. Low thresholds:
- Require you to be on call for approval during the scheduled date: If your threshold is $150 and a service call is $75, then we will send out the service pro. The pro will call you for anything over $150. If they cannot get in touch with you for approval, then they will leave and charge the $75 service call rate. Your tenants will be unsatisfied with multiple trips and you will be unsatisfied with multiple service call fees.
- Slow down the speed to coordinate and fix problems: When we have a threshold that meets most repair requests, then we can start scheduling the appointment. These fast responses increase tenant satisfaction and allow you to spend more time at the beach.
What happens if the repair is over my threshold?
If a repair service costs more than your threshold, you will get a call from the 3rd party service professional to approve. If you are unavailable to take the call, then they will not perform the work.
Exception: If we initiate your own service professional, they may refuse or select not to call our team for authorization. We cannot do anything in these situations and you are still responsible for the bill.
Can I put a $0 maintenance threshold?
Yes, but keep in mind that we can only troubleshoot with tenants. After that, then we need to wait for additional approval and authorization from you.
Does Hemlane provide the maintenance threshold to the service professional?
With few exceptions, the Hemlane team will not give 3rd party service professionals the maintenance threshold. During the diagnosis / appointment, we ask for the service pro to call us and provide a diagnosis and cost to fix. We compare this cost to the threshold and provide the approval (or ask for them to call you for additional authorization).
Does Hemlane push back on cost, even if it's under the threshold?
Yes, the Hemlane team is on your side. If the maintenance coordinator believes the estimate is too high, despite it being under your threshold, then they may inquire further on parts vs. labor, etc.
Why would a threshold under $150 cost a landlord more in the end?
From analyzing the data across all of our rental units, it has shown that a threshold under $150 costs landlords more in the end. We are always trying to save money for our landlords.
Let’s take an example where the landlord’s threshold is $100 (not Hemlane’s $150 minimum), and the bill is under $150. The landlord has three scenarios:
- Scenario 1: Approves the estimate.
- Scenario 2: Approves the estimate, but is unavailable to approve at time of visit (2 visits required)
- Scenario 3: Does not approve the estimate (a second vendor is sent onsite)
Scenario 1: Landlord approves the estimate
The outcome is the same. Whether the threshold was $100 or $150, the outcome is identical.
Total Cost: $101
Scenario 2: Landlord approves the estimate, but is unavailable to approve at time of visit
Handyman 1 has a $65 service call fee. He goes onsite and estimates the job is $101 total (inc. service call rate). Hemlane calls the landlord for approval. The landlord doesn’t pick up and Handyman 1 has to leave for his next appointment. The landlord gets charged the $65 service call. Landlord approves at a later time, and Handyman 1 goes back and charges the $101 + first $65 service call rate.
Total Cost: $166 ($101 to fix + $65 for first service call)
Scenario #3: Landlord does not approve the estimate (a second vendor is sent onsite)
Handyman 1 has a $65 service call fee. He goes onsite and estimates the job is $101 total (inc. service call rate). Hemlane calls the landlord for approval, because they have a $100 threshold. The landlord doesn’t approve it and asks for a second estimate. The landlord gets charged the $65 service call.
Handyman 2 has a $85 service call fee. He goes onsite after and estimates the job will be $90 in total (can fix it within service call fee + $5 for small part).
Total Cost: $155 ($65 + $90)
Probably more important is that the tenant is frustrated that their smaller repair request was not fixed on the first visit and they had two handymen onsite. $150 will cover any reasonable service fee for a licensed/insured service professional (plumbing and electrical especially) and opens the door for more qualified, better quality, and faster appointments (generally).