Follow General Grant’s Example With Your Tenants

“General Grant was his usual self — that is to say, ready and also determined to do more for you than you could possibly have the effrontery to ask him to do.

Apparently he never meets anybody half way: he comes nine-tenths of the way himself voluntarily.”

–Mark Twain quote in Grant’s Final Victory: Ulysses S. Grant’s Heroic Last Year

In Grant’s Final Victory, author Charles Bracelen Flood describes how General Grant lost his wealth in a terrible 1884 swindle, and was also faced with the news that he had throat and mouth cancer. Destitute and dying, the great civil war general began to write his memoirs to save his family from financial ruin.

Grant faced his challenges with unflagging courage and good will.

He finished his memoirs just three days before he died. They were published by his friend Mark Twain and the book became a bestseller, raising over $400,000 for his family. His thoughtful, philosophical work is regarded as the best book ever written by a former military leader and president.

Using Grant’s Example

Of course, in life there are very few people who meet you 90% of the way, but those that do usually earn our admiration and loyalty.

In keeping good tenants, we should follow Grant’s example and meet them 90% of the way. One way to take good care of tenants is in quickly responses to repair requests.

Responding Quickly to Tenants Needs

I admit that when my wife, Angy, and I first became landlords in 2002, this was a low priority for us. In the first home that we turned into a rental house, we used to cringe when we’d answer the phone and a tenant would be on the line with a repair request.  We knew we were going to have to spend some of our valuable time and hard-earned money to deal with a maintenance request. We would sometimes let the repair linger instead of jumping right on it.

Now, we look at tenant calls as an opportunity to show the tenants that we take their problems seriously, and we respond to their concerns immediately. We have busy schedules, but our tenants have busy schedules too.

Keeping our good tenants happy is our highest priority because it directly affects our profits. The fewer tenant turnovers that we have the more money we make. Plus, we like our tenants and want them to feel comfortable in our properties.

Put “Who you gonna call?” list on speed dial

Chuck Norris

 What has helped us to respond quickly is that we now have accumulated a “Who you gonna call?” list of good repair professionals over time.

We have plumbers, an air conditioner company, handymen, Ghostbusters, Chuck Norris, and other professionals that we trust, on the speed dial of our cell phone. That way, we can get them started on a repair without delay.


Recommended reading:

How To Remember People’s Names at Fearless Men

Inspirational Quotes To Jumpstart Your Day at the Untemplater

Does building out a garage ever make sense? at LandlordInvestor

5 Nearly Free Things to Do With Your Kids This Summer at Work Save LIve

The Saturday Weekend Review #22: Our Neighbours And The Fence Plus Free Stuff at Candian Budget binder

How To Be A Stellar Contact Lens Patient at Eyes on the Dollar

The Benefits and Pitfalls of Investing for Your Future at Modest Money

How to Make your Own Good Luck at

Problem Tenants; It’s Always Something at Louisville Gals

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11 Responses to “Follow General Grant’s Example With Your Tenants”

  1. Terry –

    There just isn’t any substitute for good customer service is there? It’s amazing to me how few people fail at this part of investing. Well said.


  2. Sometimes in life we have to jump in and get things done no matter if we want to do it or not. You are right meeting your tenants needs as soon as you could was a good way to keep them living in your rental. The last thing you want is a revolving door of tenants. My mum and dad have had the same people for many years now and that’s because they sort any problems out when needed. Thanks for sharing a CBB post.

  3. Untemplater says:

    That’s crazy he was able to complete his memoirs so close to before he passed away. Having a list of trustworthy go to’s for repairs is so handy. I hired a bad plumber once and it really wasted so much time. Thanks for the mention!

    • Terry says:

      I sympathize. When you get a bad plumber you can spend a lot of money and stil have the original problem.

      On the lighter side, did you hear what the plumber said when he broke up with his girl friend?: “It’s over Flo.”

  4. Keeping the renters happy means they take better care of your place. Win win for everyone. Thanks for including me this week.

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  6. Miko Matis says:

    Its different now on how you respond with your tenants. Now, they have social media, they have the power to voice out their opinion whether good or bad.

    • Terry says:


      That’s a point that I hadn’t thought much about. Yet another reason to treat tenants right, beyond the fact that we want them to stay in our properties as long as possible.

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