With the possible exception of keeping properties leased, nothing occupies more space in your mind than rental property maintenance. And how you manage it often makes the difference between contented tenants and constant complainers, between praising your team and yelling at them. The good news is that you can avoid most of the hassles and headaches by simply taking full advantage of your property management software.
If you’re still handling maintenance with sticky notes, business cards taped to walls and numbers stored in your cell phone, there’s a lot you can do quickly and easily to improve not only your team’s enjoyment of their jobs but also the loyalty and satisfaction of your tenants and maintenance providers. Here are some suggestions.
Organize Your Contractor Database
Pull together all those business cards and scribbled notes, and get ready to collect names and numbers from your cell phones, laptops, and the Internet. Your first job is to consolidate and organize every vendor your people use in your property management system so all are instantly accessible. It won’t take long and will deliver huge benefits.
In the typical property management business, the same vendors are usually called on: the same plumbing company for plumbing jobs, the same painters for paint jobs. But this isn’t always the case. Some dropout and new ones arrive on the scene who can provide quotes and perhaps get costs down. Often there are vendors you or your co-workers have contacted for quotes who simply haven’t been used yet, and you don’t want to overlook them for future jobs. At any rate, it’s important that everyone get all vendors into this central database.
This is your chance to create an “approved vendor” list and eliminate the rogue hiring of vendors who don’t meet your standards, have performed poorly in the past, are uninsured, or are too expensive or unreliable. They don’t make the approved list, so your people won’t be calling them for quotes. You can add references, skill sets, history with your company and background checks along with insurance information to their records. Remember that it’s important to vet all vendors who do work at your properties!
Once all approved vendors are in the system, they’re instantly accessible to everyone.
Initiate, Schedule and Track Jobs Using Software
Phone calls and emails are a poor way to schedule and track property management inspections, maintenance projects, and repair jobs. There are too many opportunities for confusion and misunderstandings. The right property maintenance software, on the other hand, is a beautiful thing to see in action. Jobs are systematically logged, quoted on where necessary, dispatched, and tracked to their conclusion. You can integrate your schedules for regular maintenance at each property (such as lawn care and HVAC checkups) into your software as well, so you won’t have to stay on top of the schedules yourself. Finally, a mobile property management inspection app can cut your people’s time spent on this frequent task in half while allowing them to easily initiate any necessary maintenance.
If you tie this automated maintenance system into an owner portal and tenant portal, you’ll eliminate all those time-wasting phone calls, emails and walk-ins to check on the status. Owners and residents will know how each project is coming along without having to bother you or your vendors.
Vendor Payment and Oversight Made Easy
Keeping up with paper invoices is a hassle and can lead to lost or late payments, which can compromise your relationships with your all-important maintenance people. A great way to streamline your vendor relationships is to automate your work order and payment system. In addition to achieving increased consistency in paying vendors, you’ll have a superb way to track maintenance expenses at every property and compare vendor costs.
A Complete Maintenance History, At Your Fingertips
In integrating maintenance with your property management software, you’re automatically creating an online record of all maintenance and inspection expenses at every property. This will save you untold hours and headaches when owners come to you looking for information about what was done at their properties, and the costs involved. No more digging through file cabinets or folders on your computer searching for the information you need. Once it’s in a central database you’ll be able to locate what you’re looking for instantly.
While good software can make your life easier in almost every area of your business, it would be hard to find an example more dramatic than maintenance. This core part of your job can be either routine and even rewarding or truly painful, depending on how you manage your vendor relationships. Experts at Propertyware are standing by to help you accomplish the improvements listed here with ease – and make your life a lot easier while you’re at it.