When you manage your own property (versus hiring a property manager) you will likely, at some point, find yourself in need of a professional to perform maintenance on the property. Many landlords are handy with small fixes, but when major plumbing work needs to be done or there is damage due to a storm, it's time to call in the pros. Knowing who to call, though, can be difficult. Hiring a great contractor can make your life much easier and you can go back to them once you've used them once, but if you haven't used them then it can be a bit of a gamble if you don't take certain precautions.
If you find yourself in need of a contractor for major or minor work, check with other local landlords. Who have they used and who do they recommend? Other landlords are a great resource on many different levels and you should not overlook how helpful they can be.
You never want to just accept references given by a contractor off the street. If they approach you with references and a price that seems too good to be true, it probably is. Don't lose out on money. They may not complete the job or they may not complete it well. Sometimes the old cliche 'you get what you pay for' is true, and while saving money is always a plus for any landlord or property manger, you don't want to do it at the expense of your property. In the end, it will cost you more than it will save.
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