Property management and maintenance services may seem like two sides of the same coin. Even though they’re both essential for preserving and enhancing your property’s income and value, they are different disciplines. Whether you manage residential, student housing, or commercial properties, property maintenance services refer to activities involved in the upkeep of your property. Thus, it’s sometimes considered just a subset of overall property management activities.
Of course, property management also includes all of the tasks included in property operations, such as collecting rent, property marketing, accounting, and handling leases. While managing properties requires more than maintaining them, no property owner or manager wants to simply leave such a critical aspect of building management to chance. Take a moment to learn more about various aspects of building maintenance management, why it’s so important, and of course, how to handle it better and more efficiently.
What is Property Maintenance and Why Should it Matter to You?
Property Maintenance Defined:
Property maintenance is the strategy and tasks involved in keeping your rental properties in good condition. There are routine property maintenance tasks, such as ensuring fire detectors are in working order, pool services (if applicable), ensuring lighting is functional, and so on. There are also larger, less frequent maintenance projects such as roofing, parking lot or walkway paving, etc.
Why Are Property Maintenance Services Critical?
The reason maintenance is so critical is to avoid the unexpected maintenance issues that can arise if the upkeep is ignored. You really can’t overstate the importance of property maintenance services. One report pinpointed the outbreak of SARS in Hong Kong to poor building maintenance. Other potential and more common hazards include injuries from falling building materials, fires, or poorly kept walkways. No property manager or owner wants to face claims of negligence in court, deal with skyrocketing insurance premiums, or experience bad press and negative reviews. To avoid serious problems, property managers have to consider maintenance one of the most important parts of their job.
Besides reducing the risk of property injuries for yourself, your employees, and your tenants, you need to have a good property building maintenance system in place for plenty of other reasons too. Consider just a few examples:
- Increased property value: A maintained property will hold value or increase in value. The lack of repairs will detract from the property’s market value and rental prices.
- Satisfied tenants: Poor maintenance of buildings, property, and appliances will generate dissatisfied tenants and may break the terms of your own lease.
- Reduced costs: An efficient property management program can help save money by minimizing risks, extending the life of appliances and equipment, satisfying tenants, and decreasing manual effort.
- Less work: Property managers have plenty of work to do. By having a building maintenance system in place, you can reduce the time you spend contacting tenants and owners, tracking work orders, manually entering data in other software, paying invoices, and dealing with emergencies.
It’s no secret that you need to keep your property maintained to maximize its value. In turn, this can give your company a chance to maximize rental prices and even be more selective about tenants. When you satisfy tenants, you should also enjoy lower turnover and lower the risk of charges that you have broken your end of the lease agreement through negligence.
Your prudent investment in a good building maintenance program will help improve your profits, preserve your good reputation, save time, and reduce hassles. You have every reason to invest in property maintenance services.
How to Provide Superior Property Maintenance Services
At the highest level, your property maintenance services should include:
- A property management preventative maintenance checklist: As they say, an ounce of prevention is worth tons of cure. You should have a checklist of routine maintenance, that you perform on a monthly, seasonal, or yearly basis, such as this Winter Checklist. A simple example could include having the HVAC system serviced twice a year or making sure the roof has been cleared of debris before it snows. Scheduled maintenance can prolong the useful life of valuable assets and minimize the chance of expensive, urgent repairs.
- On-call maintenance services: Obviously, tenants will call in with problems that occur within their own units or common areas from time to time. As a property manager, you or your employees may also notice maintenance problems, such as ice on walkways, that you need to address immediately. You need a way to communicate, handle, and track maintenance issues to keep your property safe and renters satisfied.
Why is Offering Good Maintenance Services for Tenants and Owners Difficult?
Great building maintenance will provide you and your company with lots of benefits. By offering both tenants and owners the benefits of outstanding maintenance, property managers can even personally benefit by increasing their own productivity and value to their employers and relationship with renters.
Still, achieving these benefits requires an ability to communicate with tenants and stakeholders, manage work orders, budget for work and supplies, and stay on top of schedules. To get a handle on how much effort effective property management requires, it’s important to drill down from the high-level overview above into the main activities that have to get handled to assure proper property maintenance.
Respond to Requests From Tenants
Tenants may call in at any time with maintenance requests that may range from routine to urgent. Some examples could include anything from routine requests to change light bulbs to urgent problems with leaky or clogged plumbing. You might field requests by phone or email, and obviously, some of these requests will occur after typical working hours.
You need a maintenance management system to make sure tenants are satisfied by providing a convenient way to communicate. Tenants also need assurance that somebody is getting the message and addressing their issue. Some property managers find that handling phone calls to report and then request information about repairs takes more time than simply handling the repairs.
The best building maintenance apps allow tenants to submit requests and even track their status online. These days, surveys have found that customers increasingly prefer to serve themselves. Self-serve options make dealing with maintenance problems easier for you and more convenient for your renters.
Schedule Routine Maintenance
Property maintenance managers should schedule certain maintenance tasks. Some examples may include routine maintenance like cleaning leaves off the roof in the fall or changing HVAC filters every few months. To maintain the property, keep expensive systems running, ensure nothing falls through the cracks, and reduce risks, somebody has to manage work orders to make sure these periodic tasks have been completed on schedule.
Without maintenance tracking software, the property manager has to spend time following up and in some cases, communicating with tenants and owners. Luckily, the same apps that can manage requests from tenants can also have calendar features that allow property managers to schedule tasks with a calendar.
This kind of building maintenance scheduling software will make sure that importance deadlines don’t fall through the cracks. They can even automatically send messages to interested parties.
Track and Handle Expenses
Of course, property managers also have to make sure contractors get paid and expenses get tracked. Without integrated maintenance software programs, the property manager may have to handle all of these tasks manually. This kind of manual effort always wastes time and allows for errors.
Good building maintenance software should also integrate with accounting programs and other software. There’s no reason to have to manually take information from the property management app and enter it by hand in other software.
Meanwhile, Managing Building Maintenance is Only One Part of the Job
If you’re an experienced property manager, you know how much work handling property management property requires. Once you drill down into all of the tasks involved in property management, you will also see that offering property maintenance service is only one task out of many.
Besides maintenance, property managers may also be responsible for collecting rent, screening tenants, marketing, setting budgets, managing leases, coordinating activities, and much more. You already understand why you need to invest in excellent property maintenance. An investment in the right tools can help you save money, reduce the burden, and generate higher profits.
Simplifying and Improving Building Maintenance
To simplify and improve building maintenance, you should consider the benefits of these good options:
Good Software for Property Management Companies
The right apartment management software will include features that will please customers, building owners, and of course, property managers. It allows renters to make maintenance requests online. After that, they can use the same app to track the status of their request and receive communication. Many property managers find that they save enough time on phone calls, particularly at inconvenient times, to justify the software.
Meanwhile, you, property owners, and any other stakeholders can view the status of work orders. When it’s time to send information to accounting, this integrated software eliminates the need for manual data entry by simply exporting the information electronically. This kind of software lets you automate many of your business processes and improve renter satisfaction through self-serve options.
Advantages of Professional Property Management Maintenance Services
Busy property managers can benefit from contracting out almost all of the hard work involved in maintenance services for tenants too. Trained customer service agents can take calls or online requests, troubleshoot maintenance requests to mitigate problems, dispatch approved vendors, and update the property maintenance software themselves. Trained maintenance experts allow you to have a professional maintenance department available immediately without the startup costs or training delays. Meanwhile, tenants, property managers, and all other stakeholders will have access to the requests, so that everybody can track the work order status.
Mostly, hiring building maintenance services will free up your time to focus on other tasks involved in managing properties and tenants. You might also consider the benefits of making sure that your property is represented by professional service representatives and fixed by approved vendors.
Benefits of relying on trusted property maintenance managers include:
- Your tenants can enjoy the convenience of self-serve maintenance requests and tracking.
- You will benefit from the ease of having automatic property maintenance services handled by people you can trust.
- Property owners, investors, and landlords will be happy to know that approved vendors will be dispatched to maintain their property’s value and reputation.
How to Offer the Best Property Maintenance Services
As a property manager, you should understand that property maintenance services serve two groups of people that you should think of as your customers:
- Maintenance and renovation services for investors and owners help maintain property value and reduce risks.
- Maintenance services for tenants help keep them satisfied and make it possible to maximize rents, reduce turnover, and hopefully, attract better renters.
As a property manager, you win by reducing your workload and the chance of errors or overlooked maintenance issues. When you can work more efficiently, everybody involved benefits.
Discover the Benefits of Maintenance Management Software
To learn more about how we can relieve your workload and improve property maintenance, you can watch our free webinar about the property manager’s secret weapons for property maintenance services. One of the most exciting features is AppFolio’s Maintenance Contact Center where our U.S.-based team of experts can take your residents’ maintenance service request calls 24/7, thus eliminating late night, holiday, and weekend phone calls. With a team of trained troubleshooters available around the clock, property managers can focus on maintaining great relations with stakeholders and partners because they know that their residents’ requests are in good hands. Additionally, this modern, streamlined technology allows maintenance technicians to be notified via their mobile devices when and work needs to be done, improving vendor interaction. Best of all, residents love how quickly their issues are resolved.
Of course, our application does even more than just provide web-based maintenance software – we have an all-in-one, full-service solution to address all of your property management needs.
We will also help you automate property marketing, leasing, rent collection, accounting, and much more. You can sign up for a free demo of AppFolio Property Manager today or contact us with your questions. We have pricing plans that make our services affordable and sensible for all types of properties.