Our in-house maintenance team offers a wide variety of advantages to owners of investment real estate.  This is an alphabetical list of those benefits and an in-depth understanding of how and what we do for you:

Approval Limit

Each Owner designates an approval limit over which for any one item – which is not a habitability issue – requires owner prior approval to completion. 

Comparison:  Independent Contractors versus In-House

Our competitors will indicate that their web of independent contractors is less expensive.   The profit earned by our Maintenance company works out to about .5% of the income from a given property.    Therefore if you take our management fee quoted and add .5% you can compare apples to apples.  We think all of the benefits outlined in this paper for the combined fee we propose demonstrates the superiority of an in-house structure.

Cost Savings & Control

The following is a bullet point review of how we foster cost savings and maintain cost controls:

Customer Service
There is a strong element of customer service built into our maintenance model.  We complete 80% of all service orders within two days of the receipt of the calls.  This builds tenant good will.    Having in-house maintenance also assists the property manager in explaining issues to the tenants.  This is an important aspect of customer service.

Employees, Long Term 

We offer both an extremely competitive hourly wage plus a solid industry leading benefit package including health care, 401K and vacations.  This makes us an employer of choice and with the best possible team that benefits ownership in numerous ways.   This gives us a well-seasoned and experienced team of maintenance techs with an average tenure of six years per Tech.

Guarantee & Quality

We have a two year guarantee on all workmanship and in-house maintenance is vastly superior in terms of providing quality and a consistent product.

Invoice Cost Reductions

Over the years through interaction with our owners, certain tasks and jobs have come to be discounted for a variety of reasons.   For example, we discount mailbox lock replacement, light bulb changing and smoke detector replacements because the jobs though small can often be time consuming and a large bill for these types of items are always difficult to review and accept.  Each Vice President overseeing his portfolio reviews all invoices and adjusts them based on historical experience.  We also have a $10 service charge that we utilize instead of actual time spent billed for these small, routine jobs.

Large Jobs T&M Beats Bids Every Time

When you pay Time and Material for larger jobs the cost savings is typically five to twenty percent or at time even more.   Large jobs that are bid out by contractors typically include line items for profit, overhead and contingencies.   All contractors ad in large contingency factors.   Without these large contingency factors built in your time and material costs on large projects ends up being substantially lower on the final bill.

Licensed, Bonded and Insured & Guaranteed

We are licensed, bonded and insured.   CA Contractors License# 1068906.  Our work is guaranteed for two years.

Long Term Averages

IREM, the Institute of Real Estate Management, puts out an annual book that is a survey of expenses from owners of apartments.  It has a category for “Walk up Garden Apartments” which is what your typical San Diego apartment is.  Using the IREM guidelines and then adding over 20 years of hard data from our actual performance has created a metric that we watch closely.  We have found that in any time period the costs associated with the two key aspects of maintenance for apartments typically falls with the range of 3.5 to 6.0% of income with 4.0 being the long-term average.  That is for all maintenance.   For unit turnovers the range is from 1.75 to 2.75% of income with 2.0% being the long-term average.

Therefore you can expect for a typical building in market condition that your average maintenance and turnover costs to be about 6.0% per year. 

 Any given building and any given year can vary substantially either on the low side or the high side.

We take over management of buildings where the numbers stay low for years and we have buildings that run on the high side, but these are good guidelines upon which to base your expectations.

Mold Certified Staff

We have two persons on Staff that are Mold Certified Inspectors and Mold Certified Remediators.   We take air samples ourselves and have a full process for handling all claims of mold no matter how small.   This policy and procedure are available for review, but it has all but eliminated large claims, keeps costs of remediation down and works to educate the tenants as to how their actions are necessary to maintain a mold free apartment or home.

One-Stop Shop

Welding, gutter cleaning, small electrical and numerous other trades can be performed in house and can easily beat the cost of sub-contractors.   We do utilize subs that are better, faster and cheaper.  A great example is window screens.  Speedy Mobile Screens is much better than our team so we use the sub in this case.

Oversight & Infrastructure

The maintenance team is overseen by Joe Robatto with 20 years-experience in San Diego housing, a maintenance coordinator scheduling unit turnovers and all other service calls, and Rick Thornton with 25 years as a General Contractor.


Over 33 years we have established a solid set of sub-contractors plus that provide apartment grade pricing coupled with outstanding high-quality results.  We also have a group of contractors that we use for roofs, larger projects that our owners have access to with not GC fee from Cal-Prop. 

Team Efficiency

With over thirty years encountering similar types of repairs over the years our techs have become well versed in moving through their daily schedule

Multi-Prong Strategy – Painting

For all of the various trades we use a web of our own techs and outside vendors based on the concept of what is the most cost effective and reliable for the clients.  Painting is a good example as we have both in house painters and two preferred vendors.

  • In-House Touch ups
  • Two Vendors:  Dynamix and Superior
  • Dynamix – Apartment grade – fast
  • Superior – Quality Apartment grade

Quarterly and Annual President Review

Some portfolios can benefit and Owners desire an Asset Management like review of their portfolios to assist in providing a look that may help their strategic vision.   We offer this capability.   Samples are available.

Unit Turnover –   In person or via E-mail

Our Maintenance Director or a designated Senior Tech do a walkthrough of each vacant unit and establishes a guide for the number of hours necessary to clean and touch up paint and a full list of all maintenance items for the unit turn with time estimates.  This procedure keeps all vendors and techs in line with expectations for time spent hence lowers costs.   Ownership can either go with our standard turnover procedures, or have a PDF e-mailed to them for review or meet at the inspection with the Maintenance Director. 


This was an extensive look into what we provide and the benefits of our in-house maintenance.   Should you have any further questions or areas to discuss please e-mail or call anytime.

Alec Willerman   alec@cal-prop.com  Marketing Director

Rick Thornton rick@cal-prop.com  President