Managing an apartment building or condominium complex is a tough job. In addition to your basic building maintenance, you also have to deal with individual requests from residents as they come in, which can make simply managing all your work orders a time-consuming and frustrating task - to say nothing of actually addressing each of these maintenance concerns.
Unlike with commercial or industrial facilities, tenants in apartments, condos and other residential facilities are personally invested in the well-being of their home. This adds an additional layer of importance to ensuring you're properly addressing your maintenance strategy to keep everyone happy, healthy and comfortable. Here are a few tips to give your apartment maintenance game a boost.
Residents care about maintenance - a lot
Everyone remembers back to their first apartment. Whether it was a leaky sink, drafty windows or a door that wasn't quite situated right on its hinges, chances are, there was some small maintenance flaw that endured throughout your residency.
While it's easy for us to laugh these off as "character" in retrospect, in reality, tenants are more concerned with their apartments' maintenance than any other aspect of residential living. In fact, PropertyManager.com noted that poor maintenance was the No. 1 thing driving tenants away from their current living situations to find new options. In other words, you may think you're saving money by deferring some of the less-immediate maintenance requests you get, but you're actually doing just the opposite.
Residential management is synonymous with time management
Whether you're managing a three-story walkup or a skyscraping high-rise building, you'll likely feel overwhelmed with the sheer volume of maintenance requests you receive. Unfortunately, one thing that residents often lack in apartment maintenance scenarios is patience. If you take your time addressing a work order - even for the sake of triage - you're damaging your relationship with your tenants and possibly even your building's reputation.
This may seem at odds with your limited resources and personnel, but before you despair, take note of the technology-based solutions available. A cloud-based maintenance management platform or CMMS can streamline the process of fielding, assigning and following up on work orders tremendously. Additionally, mobile compatibility means that your repair staff can update information on their given work orders in real time, greatly improving operational efficiency and reducing the chances that a work order will be overlooked or addressed twice.
Don't be afraid to get help
If you're operating on a penny-pinching budget, you likely try and do as much as you can yourself so you can save money on potentially costly repairs. However, when it comes to residential maintenance, spending a bit more up front can save you a lot down the road.
For example, while you may feel comfortable fixing a leaky sink or even patching a leaky roof, sensitive operations such as pest control or mold removal are best left to the professionals. Home remedies in these areas are often ineffective, and in some cases can even exacerbate the problem. This will result not only in you spending more money on repeating maintenance operations, but may also land you with a nasty class-action lawsuit if you aren't careful.
Choosing a contractor can be intimidating, and it's wise to build a network of trusted companies that you can cultivate a relationship with. Cost is obviously a major factor when outsourcing, but be sure to look beyond the bottom line to things like a company's reliability rate and sustainability practices. Few things can leave you in a tighter spot than a third-party contracting team that didn't get the job done properly - or at all - so don't be afraid to do your homework before picking up the phone.