Everyone wants to live and work in a safe and functional environment, which is one of the main factors that impact our quality of life.
As a property owner, you might be wondering which actions you need to take to ensure that your property fulfils those expectations. To find the answer, you should first familiarize yourself with the insides and outs of property maintenance.
Suppose you are looking to streamline aspects of your property management business. In that case, you may be considering hiring a property maintenance company to help with basic upkeep, turns, and seasonal maintenance projects.
Before you make a decision, you should know that there are a few drawbacks to working with a full-service property maintenance company.
Let’s look at the pros and cons and see if other options might be better for you.
We have a wide range of property maintenance Melbourne services at Hitch Property Constructions.
What is property maintenance?
Property maintenance is the process of preserving a residential or hospitality building and its immediate surroundings in an optimum condition through a set of specific maintenance activities.
It refers to the different activities that are essential for keeping a building functional and comfortable for its occupants (which is why it is often used interchangeably with the term building maintenance).
Property maintenance activities include:
- cleaning of the building’s internal and external common areas (including drains, roof gutters, corridors, etc.)
- rodent control and removal
- gardening and landscaping
- garbage separation and disposal
- servicing, repairs, and replacement of all mechanical and electrical systems (lighting, HVAC, water supply, water heating, etc.)
- Safety checks (proactive routine inspections of mechanical and electrical systems, fire fighting installations, and safety inspections of the entire premises).
Property maintenance is beneficial for both the occupants and the property owner as it works to keep everyone happy.
From an occupant, you want to get home after a busy day and know that you can relax without worrying about issues like a clogged up kitchen sink, a dirty, poorly-lit, and greasy staircase where your kids could trip and hurt themselves, or toilets that won’t flush.
For the property owner, you want to ensure that your asset retains its value over the years and that you don’t spend most of your day attending to one dissatisfied tenant or the other. You also want to avoid liability issues if someone gets hurt on the premises.
What Does a Property Maintenance Company Do?
Property Managers hire a property maintenance company to handle regular and specialized maintenance of a building, complex, or campus. Simply put, the property maintenance company handles routine work like cleaning, landscaping, and seasonal repairs, along with one-off repairs like replacing doors, fixing locks, and addressing roof leaks.
Property maintenance companies usually have an agreement with the Property Manager to be on-premise certain days. Larger complexes might hire maintenance companies to come out weekly, while smaller buildings might only need monthly service.
Property Managers often hire these companies for their speed and flexibility. They are seen as a cost-effective alternative to hiring full-time on-site maintenance staff, and they often have a large team that allows them to get multiple repairs and projects done in a short period.
The Drawbacks of Property Maintenance Companies
While a property maintenance company might seem like a smart way to go, these businesses have limits.
Pay for Time You Don’t Use: You may end up paying a flat monthly rate to maintain a property that doesn’t require that much work. For example, if you have low-maintenance residents or the property is in good condition, then the maintenance firm you contract out will only have minimal work to do.
Difficulty Scaling Up: On the flip-side, if you experience a rush in maintenance needs, the company may not have the resources to keep up. You are limited by what the property maintenance company can and can’t do. If you have a rapid influx of work orders, the company might not be able to get to them promptly, leaving your residents unhappy with the slow response time.
Lack of Expertise: There also may be cases where a maintenance firm doesn’t have the experience to do all of the work you need. If you need work done by a licensed, specialized contractor, you will need to hire help outside of your property maintenance company, incurring additional costs and fees.
Hiring a property maintenance company might not be ideal for your bottom line.
Do You Need a Property Maintenance Company?
Before you decide to hire a property maintenance company, look at the existing tools and systems you have in place. With a little organization, you may have the resources to handle property maintenance without hiring a full-time partner.
First, create a rental maintenance checklist. Focus on regular maintenance like lawn care, pool management, and indoor cleaning. Then, review seasonal jobs like checking the fire alarms and cleaning the HVAC systems. These will add extra hours each month to your workload. Finally, build in some extra time and budget for emergency repairs.
Second, see what size team you need to manage the work. Once you have documented your expected work, see how many hours (on average) it will take we use the rule of thumb that for every 100 multifamily units, a property has enough work for one full-time maintenance tech and maintenance manager.
From here, you should have an idea of your estimated costs for labour and the hours needed. You can use this as a base to shop around to different property maintenance companies and see if they offer anything in your price range that meets (or exceeds) your needs.
Consider Alternative Options to a Maintenance Company
When deciding if hiring a property maintenance company is right for you, review all of your options before you decide. Here are a few options that might make more sense for your property.
Work with a maintenance partner that offers fewer services instead of a full-time maintenance company. This could save you money and allow you the flexibility to work with your specialty contractors for specific projects.
Hire a full-time or part-time maintenance technician. The cost of their salary may be less than the annual fees you pay a maintenance firm. (Remember our rule of thumb. If there are fewer than 100 units to manage, the property isn’t usually large and lucrative enough to justify the cost of payroll for permanent, in-house maintenance staff.)
Handle the work on your own. Keep up with on-site tasks yourself and hire contractors for the work you can’t do on your own.
Use a combination of all options. Using HOMEE’s property maintenance software, you can get the best of all three options. You can:
- Track and organize work orders in one system so you can see what you can do and where you need help
- Assign tasks to your internal team, if you have one
- Easily hire on-demand expert maintenance professionals when you need extra help
How to find the right company?
The Internet is a great source of information when you are looking to find the services of a professional and qualified property maintenance company in Auckland. You can also visit the websites of such companies and look through their portfolio of services and client testimonials as well.
Most websites also have a photograph or image gallery, which will allow you to understand how their services have helped in transforming different properties. Most property maintenance companies offer a vast range of services, and this can ensure comprehensive care for your property.
You need to hire the services of a property maintenance company that can deliver their renovation and maintenance services in the most optimum timeframe. For instance, if your property has gone through some water damage, then time is true of the essence. Water, if left untreated, can quickly turn polluted. Worse, it can seep into the woodwork and walls and cause much more serious damage in time. It would therefore be an extremely good idea for you to find out the turnaround time that a property maintenance company can give you.
Looking for comprehensive services on property maintenance? Look no further! Hitch Property Constructions has you covered.
Range of services
Ideally, you should be able to retain the services of a single property maintenance company in Auckland and allow them to look after your house thoroughly. Therefore, it would be good to hire the services of a company that can give you:
- plastering and plumbing
- looking after your tiles
- repairing your various appliances
- looking after furnishings and furniture
- gas fitting and even
- locksmith services.
This way, all you have to do is enter into a comprehensive contract with a single company and leave your property in their care.
Reasons Why You Need Property Maintenance Company
Property Maintenance Companies Do It Right
While it’s true that these companies won’t care as much about the property as you do, they do care about their reputation. They know they need to do things right- otherwise, you’ll never use them again and possibly leave a bad review online.
Because these guys and gals are the experts, you can rest assured they’re more likely to do a good job than you are. Watching a few YouTube videos doesn’t make you an expert at replacing drywall or repairing a pipe- no matter what the YouTuber says.
Of course, you can do even more research by buying books or practising, but there’s something else you need to keep in mind.
Hiring Property Maintenance Companies Values Your Time
If you value your time and know-how to use it wisely, it doesn’t make sense to spend your valuable time messing with maintenance issues. If you’re an investor, the whole point of having the property is to make money for you. And if you’re a property manager, your time is likely better spent doing other tasks like networking and looking for new clients.
This can be not easy to swallow, and some argue that DIY makes sense because it gives your life some variety. And while that’s true, you can probably find other ways to build variety into your life than painting walls, laying down hardwood or installing windows yourself.
Does this mean you should pay someone $50 an hour to paint? No, it needs to make economic sense if you make $25 an hour at your job and can paint just as well as that guy charging $50, put on your painting clothes.
But in general, you have to consider what your time is worth. If you make $25 an hour at your job and the painter charges $25 to $30, you should invest in his service so you can focus on more important things.
The Property Maintenance Companies Will BE Responsible
Have you ever tried to fix something around your home and messed it up? Maybe you tried to build a paver patio, and it turned out uneven. Or you tried to fix a leaky faucet and somehow made the problem worse.
When that happens, guess who is responsible? Yup- you. This leads to more frustration, which isn’t what we’re looking for in a rental property. Your energy could be much better directed towards learning new property management software, finding tenants, etc.
If you hire a maintenance company or handyman to do the work, they’re responsible. Sure, you still own the home, but they should fix any problems they create.
It’s Not A One-Man Show
The problem with doing everything yourself or hiring a one person (like a handyman) to do investment property maintenance is it’s too reliant on a single person.
What happens when that person gets sick? Or their kids get sick? Or they run into an issue they have no idea how to fix?
These types of things don’t happen as often when you hire a team. Property maintenance companies usually work in teams, meaning they can put in the work even if they lose one or two folks temporarily. This may not be a big deal sometimes, but if you’re on a deadline and trying to get your property fixed up so tenants can move in, every day is the money going right out that broken window.
Tips for keeping your property in tip-top shape
In addition to what we’ve mentioned above, here are a few tips that will help you to guarantee that your property constantly remains in its best condition:
Prioritize maintenance funding
When so many other issues in your property demand funding, it can be tempting to cut back on maintenance spending. But, this can lead to rapid asset deterioration and an uncontrollable deferred maintenance list which creates an ideal setting for safety hazards.
Avoiding these and even more problems requires that you proactively estimate and budget for Operating Expense and Capital Expense maintenance annually. Usually, it’s advisable to budget a minimum of between 2 – 4% of your property’s current replacement value for your annual maintenance budget. According to some internal data, every dollar you spend on maintenance saves you $5 in the long run.
Procure and use durable components
To keep your property in tip-top shape, you’ll want to use replacement parts that operate safely and last as long as possible. When you stock your spare parts inventory (with fan belts, HVAC parts, light bulbs, motors, pumps, etc.) that are high-quality, you’re investing in the longevity of your property.
Although very durable items may cost a little more at the onset, they help you save on future repairs and minimize frequent rework problems.
Automate maintenance management
No matter your maintenance team/service provider’s competence, it can quickly become challenging to stay on top of every single maintenance task. Especially in huge multi-unit properties, tracking everything manually can quickly breed inefficiency and leave room for wasted time and resources.
That’s why more and more property managers are interested in automating maintenance management by using a computerized maintenance management system. A mobile CMMS will help you to streamline and optimize every aspect of maintenance, handle repetitive administrative tasks, track safety, measure performance, reduce maintenance costs, and much more.
An added benefit of having a CMMS like Limble is the oversight over outsourced maintenance services. You can give technicians from the commercial property maintenance company limited access to your account and assign them Work Orders through Limble. This way, you can ensure that the work is actually being performed and performed promptly.
Check out Hitch Property Constructions for a huge range of Melbourne property maintenance services.
Enable regular property audits
Another fundamental practice for keeping your property in optimum shape is to adopt a custom of regular facility condition assessments (FCA). An FCA will empower you with comprehensive baseline data about how the entire property and its systems perform. That information helps to highlight areas for improvements.
During an FCA, the inspection team will check things like the current condition of all the assets and identify any safety hazards for quick corrective action.
Great property maintenance companies are an essential part of your team. It may take you some time to find one you love, but know the investment is more than worth it. Especially as your portfolio grows and you need to allocate more time to other tasks.
If you currently own or manage a residential property, property maintenance is not something you’re allowed to overlook. It is required and regulated by law in most jurisdictions.
That said, apart from obeying the law, the benefits of property maintenance are too many to ignore.
Fortunately, it doesn’t have to take too much of your time. Whether you choose to hire a commercial property maintenance company or set up an in-house maintenance team, what matters most is to ensure that maintenance is ongoing and that those in charge of maintaining your property have the skills, funding, and tools they need proper execution.