As you know, a considerable amount of your overhead is dedicated to the maintenance and upkeep of your properties, equipment and facilities. That’s why one of the biggest challenges in property management is optimizing your property maintenance strategy. Property professionals are looking to strike a balance between satisfying tenants, ensuring owner value and driving down costs where possible.
Forward-thinking property management companies view maintenance as a profit centre rather than a cost centre. If you can continually tweak and improve maintenance performance, then you can impact organizational performance, decreasing costs and business risks at the same time.
Here are some tips and techniques to help optimize your maintenance program.
Monitor the Metrics
Maintenance metrics will go a long way in enabling you to boost maintenance efficiency, reduce costs and provide excellent customer service to your tenants. Key metrics here are the repair and maintenance (R&M) costs by building or portfolio. Take a look to see any up-ticks over time, as well as how the properties compare to each other. You’ll also want to be able to drill down to see the number of work orders (scheduled, completed and past due) by building or by portfolio.
You should also keep track of the percentage of expenses that are R&M, if it’s too low, the buildings might be on a “run-to-failure’ approach to maintenance – and this needs your review. You can use this information to evaluate the effectiveness of preventative maintenance plans, and make decisions on what repairs need to be prioritized. It can also help to monitor the quality of the repairs.
Get Rid of the Paperwork
Bogged down with paperwork for repairs and inspections? The tedious administrative tasks of filling out and filing inspection paperwork and other maintenance-related forms, answering phone calls or processing work order and purchase orders takes up a whack of time, and greatly reduces your productivity.
Paper-based documents are a waste of time as inevitably the information needs to be re-keyed into your system, which not only is redundant but can result in errors. By moving to a digital web-based solution for submitting maintenance requests, and capturing inspection information, property managers can save hundreds of minutes per day.
Planning & Scheduling
With effective planning, building maintenance can be done with the least amount of interruption to tenants and the most efficient use of maintenance resources. To ensure your buildings are in working order at all times, you must have a strong plan around repair and maintenance scheduling and inspection planning.
In addition to routine maintenance, you also must plan and schedule for preventative maintenance to ensure the building’s value and keep mechanical, ventilation systems and electrical work in good repair. The Society for Maintenance and Reliability Professionals (SMRP) Best Practices Committee recommends that approximately 15% of total maintenance labour hours are dedicated to preventative maintenance work. This, of course, could fluctuate depending on the type of building, its location, age and complexity, among other things.
Centralize Maintenance Documents & Communication
Did you know that on average 20% of manual maintenance requests are misplaced and 25% of tenants have lingering work orders. Another reason to get rid of the paperwork is to digitalize and centralize all documentation into a single repository.
For instance, Property Vista’s customer-centred software is organized and centralized to find what you need when you need it, while maintaining high security and full compliance to keep it safe and reliable.
Curate Your Vendors
You never know when the call is going to come. Property managers get emergency repair calls 24/7. It’s the unpredictable nature of maintenance. That’s why it’s critical to find, build relationships with and retain good vendors. You must create a vendor list that includes professionals you can trust and do a good job in the first place. (Be sure to send tenants a repair survey after the work is done to ensure customer happiness as well as keep tabs on quality assurance.)It’s ideal to have three or four vendors on call for each field (plumbing, electrical, HVAC, etc) so you know with certainty that you’ll be able to get someone on the phone immediately whenever necessary.
Automate and Improve Workflow
In addition to going digital, there needs to be a focus on removing manual work, and automating processes to save time, money and effort. When you can streamline and improve daily workflows, you also enable your company to grow and scale while still serving your customers efficiently and effectively. A good property management system has a maintenance component which integrates and helps digitalize and streamline property inspections, PO management, work order management and a portal for maintenance requests and tracking.
For example, for fire, safety and due diligence checks and other building inspections, an inspection tool makes it easy to automate daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly, bi-annually and annual inspections. You have the ability to capture digital signatures, for inspection sign-off. You can also auto-generate POs from work orders, saving time and eliminating re-work.
How Property Vista Helps
From automated maintenance request confirmation emails to being able to instantly schedule and assign work orders, the Property Vista solution is designed to eliminate paperwork, automate processes and create a digital record of all activities. Your property staff has a centralized location to track and monitor all maintenance activity and manage resident communications. To learn more about how you can improve your maintenance management, see pricing and get a demo.