Using Software to Calm the Property Management Storm
Time is the one resource most of us wish we had more of. As a property manager, you’re constantly juggling multiple requests and trying to resolve them as quickly as possible. Issues come in 24x7 via phone calls, emails, text messages, and even visits to your office. You’re get hit with issues from tenants, owners, vendors, and, in the case of commercial property management, sometimes the general public.
Your issues include everything related to the inside of the buildings or apartments, such as appliances, electrical and HVAC, to outside like landscaping, security lights, and parking lots.
Different from regular facilities management, property managers have a responsibility to both the tenants of the buildings they manage and the ownership groups involved with the building.
Whether HOAs, a single owner, or a board of directors, their goal is to keep occupancy rates high, and do everything in the most cost-effective manner. This could mean getting multiple quotes for a project or fixing a broken asset instead of replacing it. But how many times do you want to fix a faulty asset if the best long term solution is to replace it?
Tenants just want their problems fixed as soon as possible. Tenant satisfaction goes a long way towards lease renewal, which ultimately keeps the occupancy rate high. Also, poor customer service and inattention to problems not only means that tenants leave, but bad reviews and a sagging reputation makes it harder to rent the space going forward.
Email and Spreadsheets - A Temporary Measure
The property manager needs to balance what’s best for the owner, as well as the tenant. For example, in an apartment complex, if you have a tenant refrigerator that breaks over a weekend, you need to fix it as quickly as possible, so the tenant’s food doesn’t spoil. However, if this is the third time that refrigerator has broken in the last six months, it might be more beneficial to the owner to replace it, instead of paying someone overtime to come out and repair it. And perhaps, you might have to do a combination of both - a patch repair to solve the immediate issue for the tenant and ultimately a replacement to make sure you’re not having the same problem repeatedly. So when you contact the maintenance man or appliance repair vendor, how do you know whether that refrigerator is under warranty? Or whether it’s subject to a recall?
Between the variety of call sources, the sheer number of issues, and keeping the owners up to date, frustration can mount quickly. A lot of property managers try to manage their workload through email; however, it becomes increasingly difficult to keep track of the issues and the paper trail associated to vendors. Unless it’s an extreme emergency, prioritization is challenging. Even with spreadsheets, detailed reporting is difficult. If an owner wants to know how many issues have come up related to a particular asset or how much longer the asset has its lifecycle, it can be a challenge to determine.
Benefits of Tracking Software
Your job as a property manager is to integrate people, places, and processes with the appropriate technology to manage a host of requests and processes. To be effective, you need to stay on top of everything that’s going on.
A tracking software has benefits beyond your own sanity. It will allow you to organize and prioritize your issues and make sure that nothing falls through the cracks. There are three main areas where software can make your life easier.
- Communicating with tenants, vendors and owners
With issues coming in from multiple sources, a tracking software gives you a central repository to capture all communication about that issue. You could potentially set up a webform for tenants to request service, which then becomes an issue automatically. Being able to attach documents to an issue means you can keep track of repair quotes, purchase orders, and warranty paperwork.
- Reporting on repetitive problems
With all your issues captured within a tracking software, you’ll be able to report on trends. Tying issues to assets or reporting by location lets you see whether the problem is the asset itself, abuse of the space, or inaccurate repair. Because of your responsibility to the owner, there will always be reports and information they need on a recurring basis. Being able to set up reports that automatically deliver keeps the owner in the loop and on top of their property.
- Scheduling preventative maintenance
With 34 models of washing machines recalled from Samsung alone in 2016, staying on top of the maintenance of assets is critical. Warranties remain valid only when appropriate maintenance schedules are adhered to. Being able to schedule these maintenance items ahead of time and on a recurring basis lets you make sure that no assets go unattended. Also, you can potentially prevent problems by making sure you follow the old “ounce of prevention” adage.
No matter the types of property you manage, without a good tracking mechanism, there may be items that get missed, forgotten, or potentially ignored. However, a good software package, helps keep you organized, responsive, and on point.
If you’re ready to move beyond email and spreadsheets, read more about how other property managers are using Issuetrak.
To get a personalized tour showing how Issuetrak can help you organize all your facilities management needs, talk to one of our Product Experts today!
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