As we ring in the new year, the time to start planning for your property management company’s success is now. Preparing your service teams early in the year when your property is less hectic will pay off for the rest of the year and beyond. If implemented today and continued throughout the rest of the year, these four initiatives will ensure a successful season for your business.
Organization is key to helping your service teams be as efficient as possible. Shops and storages should be neatly arranged so that parts, tools, and appliances are readily recognizable and accessible. By having your service team work on this goal, it will serve several purposes.
First, because everyone will have a hand in cleaning and organizing, they will take ownership in keeping the shop and storages clean and in shape.
Second, if everyone works on reorganization, then everyone will know exactly where to find parts and tools. If you go as far as color-coding and labeling all your shelves and bins, you’ll save time for each service team member every time that they need to find something in the shop. Not to mention your maintenance supervisor will be able to order and control inventory in this new system much faster.
Finally, it’s also a great team building exercise. Throw in a couple of pizzas and soft drinks and it’s more like a shop cleaning party.
Now that your new budget is set, you should know:
- What capital projects you will be doing this year
- What month they will happen
- How much they should cost
You’ll also know when other projects are scheduled to take place such as pool and spa openings, fire extinguisher inspections, fire protection system inspections, elevator inspections, preventative maintenance, etc.
Some or all these projects may require a vendor to complete. If you need to get bids, the earlier the better. If you already know which vendor you will be using, get on their schedule in advance. This ensures that you get your projects done when you need them done.
By taking the time to put together a master schedule and making those vendor arrangements, your maintenance supervisor will be able to focus on what really needs attention during the busier time of the year. It will also cut down on your maintenance staff forgetting when certain projects are due.
Another thing that should be on your radar early in the year is training for your service teams. Providing training gives your service staff new and improved skills that will increase their productivity and their level of customer service.
However, not every team member will need the same kind of training. Look for training options that come with some sort of accreditation or certification. They are more desirable among service staff.
Some of the most popular classes include; EPA 608 certification, Certified Pool and Spa Operator (CPO) by The National Swimming Pool Foundation, and the Certificate for Apartment Maintenance Technician (CAMT) through the National Apartment Association Education Institute. You can access these classes through your local apartment association, your vendors and suppliers, or private industry educators.
Cross-training is also a very valuable exercise not just for a service team on one property, but for your service teams across all your properties. Having different on-site staffers get to know each other will pay off when one property may need extra help due to vacation, loss of manpower, or the occasional deluge of work. It’s also a new way to build comradery across your apartment communities.
Some people believe training and mentoring are the same. They are very different. Mentoring is done on a one-on-one basis and the skills and knowledge obtained are usually more specialized and in-depth.
I have seen several maintenance technicians get promoted to maintenance supervisor roles and fail. That’s because they didn’t have the administrative skills necessary to be great maintenance supervisors. Now is the time to start grooming your service technicians for leadership by pairing them with excellent maintenance supervisors. Remember, not everyone is cut out to be a mentor. Ask around your staff to see who would be interested. It will be very beneficial for both the mentor and the mentee.
By starting with just one of these suggestions, you will set your service teams and your property management company up for more success in the new year. Each one of these initiatives will improve your service team’s productivity and empower them to handle more of your community’s day-to-day operations.
By Chad Moulin:
Chad Moulin has been in the field of property management for more than 25 years. Chad has earned his CAMT designation through NAA as well as been recognized many times over as a leader in property management maintenance.
Starting out as a groundskeeper and working his way up through the ranks of property management, Chad has worked on almost every type of property and dealt with every type of resident imaginable.
In 2012, Chad created Prop Ops: Property Operations Training and Consulting. His goal is to bring a higher standard and more in-depth type of training to the world of property management through a maintenance perspective. Chad’s seminars are designed around a real-world approach to achieving property management excellence. Visit his website here.
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