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"Does your company require technicians to do HVAC work outside once it is dark out?"

Below is a video of some of my thoughts on "Does your company require technicians to do HVAC work outside once it is dark out?"

What is expected where you work?  

 

 

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Anatomy of a Maintenance Training Program – Developing Maintenance Talent From Within

One of my favorite sessions of this year’s Apartmentalize Conference delved into one of the industry’s hottest topics – how to find great maintenance talent.  In that session, David Creek, Director Of Maintenance at Hayes Gibson Property Services, dug into not just finding talent, but also how to build up the talent you have.  Fortunately, David took some time with me to really delve into their approach and plan on tackling that issue! If I’m going to promote you, you are going to have to have the skills to train your replacement – David Creek   Creating “Maintenance Masters”, a Maintenance Training Program In creating their maintenance training program, David and his team first wanted to understand two things:  1) They wanted to understand what type of skill gaps their team members were struggling with, and 2) They wanted to identify those already on their teams who excelled in different areas of apartment maintenance.  Those advanced team members would then be the first to help train future “generations” of maintenance team members.  Therefore, it wasn’t focused completely on a top-down training approach, but rather peer to peer training, leveraging existing knowledge and skills of their team members.  In that same vein, David noted this approach, where maintenance team members were trained by their peers, was actually preferred by maintenance learners, rather than being trained by upper management. To start the program off, they decided that electrical was the first key area to be addressed, as it overlapped with several other key areas of maintenanc......
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Maintenance Tracking Via Mobile Devices Continues to Surge

A continuing trend over the past 12 months is the adoption of mobile devices when tracking service requests, as shown in our most Maintenance Strategies Research Report (download for free here).  24 months ago, 33% of responders within our maintenance strategies research reported using mobile devices to track service requests, but in 2018, that number has increased to 47%, and we do not see that trend subsiding anytime soon. 

On a related note, we also asked professionals how they accepted service requests at their properties.  Phone calls remained the most common method of receiving service requests, but what was interesting was the rise of text message based service requests, which grew to 33% of companies responding. 

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If Maintenance Can’t Find The Problem, Service isn’t Complete

service calls  “Couldn’t find the problem, everything is ok.” Trust me if maintenance cannot resolve a problem in a residents apartment. Everything is not ok.  The resident is looking for service and we are failing to provide it. The Inconvenience of Service Requests Here’s a life changing truth. Residents do not call the leasing  office to have maintenance come to their apartment home without a reason. This is not PUNK’D. We may not be able to find the problem as described by the resident.  But there definitely is a concern that supported a reason to report a problem.  The resident has straightened up their home in anticipation of maintenance in the apartment. The service request has been called or emailed to the office. After a long day at work the resident returns home to a find the service order documentation, noting, we couldn’t find your problem, everything is okay. Can you feel their frustration growing? Now the problem unresolved, the resident will have to contact the office again.  Attempt to explain the problem and schedule another repair appointment. They will have another day of uncertainty with maintenance entering their home again. Frustration For A Repeat Service Call For the maintenance crew, this is equally frustrating. The time for the first visit appears to be wasted time. Now a second visit is being scheduled, to an apartment where the “whatever it is” works fine. This is a communication disaster. The resident may be giving us specific information for the repair, instead of describing the problem. Our sta......
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Love This "Don't Get Ghosted" Maintenance Team Game!

Ashley Rene posted this picture on the Multifamily ShareSpace and I thought it was too good not to share! 

 

I had a blast playing "Don't Get Ghosted" with my maintenance team!

 

 

I asked Ashley to explain how the game works:

The top portion is in reference to work orders. You receive a ghost if a work order isn't complete it properly or a frog for completion. I use the point system so not everyone was just grabbing work orders to replace light bulbs.

The bottom portion of the board is in reference to turns. You receive a frog (white dot) if the turn is perfect or has less than two items on the punch list. You receive a ghost for every two items that are found during the final walk prior to the apartment being made ready. In that area you can also earn frogs by assisting others

It truly was an enjoyable game and at the end of the day we were all able to laugh and encourage each other.

The crowning ceremony is this afternoon.

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The Value of Setting Standards on Products, Services and GL Coding

The Value of Setting Standards on Products, Services and GL Coding
  Setting standards on products, services, approval processes, and GL codes not only makes your process more efficient, but also saves you money and makes costs (and budgets) more predictable.  When paired with software to elevate visibility and enforce controls, your organization can more easily get the right things done, and eliminate time spent wondering what to do and/or what happened.   Product and service standards, approvals and GL coding all have common attributes.  They are necessary in order to operate profitably and to provide your residents with high quality service, and yet there are too many choices.   What are Product and Service Standards? Defining what products and services to use for a given class of property or region is what I mean by product and service standards.  For example, there may be a certain carpet spec and color used in your class A properties, and specific appliances used in your class B properties.  You may have regional differences in what you decide to specify, for example you may want to use an eggshell paint in more humid areas, and flat paint in temperate areas.   Some of the categories in which companies often enforce standards include:   Floor Covering Carpet Cleaning Appliances HVAC Water Heaters Paint Paint Services Landscape Services Plumbing Fixtures Lighting Fixtures Fire and Security Equipment Window Coverings   If you don’t provide guidance on standards, your staff may have too many choices of what to buy, who to buy from, and what to pay.  As you c......
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Don’t Let a Dead Roach Join Your Leasing Team

Have you ever walked into a "Ready Unit" and seen a dead roach sitting in the middle of the floor? I have!  Imagine if you were a prospective resident and you walked into a beautiful apartment home, only to find a roach on the kitchen counter. Would you remember the beautiful apartment, or would you remember the roach?  As a Consultant, I have frequently walked into apartment homes that were spotless - other than the one dead roach. The apartments had been made ready. The pest control vendor had already treated the apartment homes, and the apartments had been thoroughly cleaned.   But wait! If everything had been cleaned and treated, why the dead bugs? If you have a moment, stop reading and look under your kitchen or bathroom sink. In many cases, you will see that there are gaps around the pipes.  While extermination programs can be effective at killing roaches and other pests, they are not at all effective at preventing roaches and other pests from entering an apartment. Typically, when one apartment is sprayed, the insects travel through the cracks and holes in the walls to the nearest apartment. Before or after a resident moves into the newly made ready apartment, the insects travel back through the same holes and cracks to again infest the apartment.  The best way to prevent future infestations is to caulk all the holes and cracks during the make ready process. By caulking the holes and cracks, roaches can't flee to a neighboring apartment......
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Lights Out! An Easy Tip To Maintain Exterior Lighting

The Challenge Maintaining exterior parking lot and building entry lights is an ongoing challenge for many property managers. During daily/weekly tours of the property when we monitor and inspect for potential repairs and safety items, the exterior light fixtures are marked as an exception.  It can’t be inspected because the timers or photo cells are programmed for the lights to be off.  The lights are not illuminated, because its daytime. Exterior lighting is an important service to our residents.  It illuminates the parking lots, streets and building entrances.  Exterior lighting creates a sense of safety.  Without any reports of lights out, it is assumed that lights are operational.  Then a resident comes to the office to report that his car was broke into, vandalized, or even worse, a resident falls.  The concern for the resident, is elevated to a higher level of concern with the dreaded words, “the light by my building hasn’t worked for weeks.”  Without documentation it’s difficult to establish the accuracy of this resident’s claim.  Risk Management inquires  “Have we provided the expected service to maintain the exterior lighting?” An Opportunity To Inspect Lighting Lighting can be inspected by taking advantage of the on-call rotation when the maintenance staff is called out for emergencies in the evening. Establish a policy for the on call/emergency call staff. Each week, on the first occasion the staff receives a call out, an inspection of the property exterior lighting is completed. Use a map of the property, with each of the exterior light posts or building wall......
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Your Maintenance Staff's Impact on Renter Retention

When you're looking for or training a maintenance technician for your multifamily property, you're probably only focused on his or her core skills, and that's only natural. However, in the customer-centric environment of today, repair experience and an HVAC certification are just a part of the puzzle. Modern residents don't just want their faucet repaired quickly; they also want someone who is positive and friendly while doing so. If they don't get that, they may very well find somewhere else to live. Your maintenance team is also becoming an important interaction point with your renters. As more and more tasks like paying rent become automated, your residents are interacting with your leasing team less. This means more customer service and lease renewal influence is put onto your maintenance team, the very members of your staff who are the most likely to be left out of the customer training you offer. Fortunately, it's not too late to bring your maintenance into the customer service fold. Take a closer look at the following ways you can help prepare your maintenance team to build more meaningful relationships with your residents. Look for technicians who fit your culture Getting the right people on board is the first step toward building a quality maintenance team. Don't just look at how well the applicant can handle the nuts and bolts of the job. Consider exactly how this person will fit in with and adopt your company's fundamentals and culture. You want someone who is skilled and experienced......
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Making the Most of Your Service Request

As we kick off this new 2018 year, now is a great time to freshen up on best practices for employees! Maintenance plays a large part in a residents living experience, but before the maintenance staff can service the renter, it starts with the office staff receiving the service request in person or over the phone. No matter how the service request is placed, one key to successful service requests is making sure the service request is clear and detailed.  Without detailed information maintenance can only guess on what needs repair. This situation creates frustration for the maintenance; possibly having them to return to the renters home several times, and the resident begins to feel they are not able to trust the team to fix their concerns the first time. Some questions to ask your residents when entering in a service request ·         Verify name, unit and email address ·         Location of issue (choose from the drop down menu in your PMS) ·         What exactly is not working with “dishwasher, washing machine etc” ·         What is broken with “dishwasher etc” ·         Have you tried to rectify the issue yourself?  Ex: Poured drano down the sink or toilet? ·         Leave any and all specific info/description of the maintenance request Stay away from yes or no questions as those don’t allow you to receive detailed questions. Ask open ended questions, which allow the renter to share detailed information about the service request. A recommendation to make sure maintenance is well equipped with the information they need is to schedule a meeting with yo......
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