You’ve heard the old adage “time is money”. It’s a simple concept, but when it’s applied to a complex world of business operations, it can be easy to miss the opportunities to maximize the efficiency of both your time and your money.
For most property managers, maintenance coordination is both a time suck and a major expense – one that takes away from time that could be spent on strategy, growth, and a proper vacation or two. It’s a ‘round-the-clock kind of job that can’t be left unattended to.
We know it well at Latchel – our company was founded when our Co Founder and COO, Will Gordon inherited his family’s property management business, and was so frustrated with maintenance logistics that he left his job as a Senior Manager at Amazon to build a solution.
We’ve since been able to help over 400 property management companies achieve 3 main goals:
- Reduce time spent on maintenance. (65% of all work orders require zero touch from property managers).
- Drastically improve service levels. (We have a 4.8/5 star rating for resident satisfaction and automatically push 5-star reviews to online company profiles).
- Reduce costs and add a new revenue stream. (With a resident paid amenity service baked in, property managers are getting maintenance support at zero cost and padding their margins).
When we looked the problem of maintenance coordination dead in the eye and applied a logistical framework for solving it, we boiled it down to 4 core components.
Those who’ve fully adopted the 4 pillars of our product are growing their portfolios 20% year over year – 8x faster than the industry average.
Stop Taking Maintenance Calls In House
When you or your team is responsible for taking every maintenance call, you usually end up with:
- Angry residents wondering why it takes so long to be responded to.
- Poor resident satisfaction leading to high turnover and poor online reputation.
- Frustrated employees who are juggling too much to be able to minimize backlogs of requests.
These things have become a bit of a status quo in the industry without effective solutioning available. So, we made a call center with instant response times an essential part of our platform and services.
We create a dedicated phone number for residents to call or text whenever they have a maintenance issue – within 60 seconds or less they’ll be connected to our team. We screen for emergencies and proactively troubleshoot before dispatching a vendor. We can pass non-emergency work orders back to the Property Manager to coordinate, or we can coordinate those too.
Utilizing a call center solution gives you and your team time back, without sacrificing quality service levels. The right call center solution should improve service levels since a majority of poor online reviews are related to slow response times.
To learn more about our call center solutions, you can book a time to chat with our team here.
Have an Effective Troubleshooting Process in Place
How often are service providers being dispatched for something as simple as pushing a reset button on a garbage disposal, or flipping a breaker switch?
How often are they being dispatched for an emergency at hiked rates, when it’s not actually an emergency?
How much time is everybody involved losing by not proactively troubleshooting every maintenance request before dispatching?
We run about 9,000 work orders/month, and about 30% of all of those work orders are able to either be fully resolved over the phone, or de-escalated from an emergency to a normal request. We have a preset troubleshooting diagnostic flow that our team runs every single work order through before dispatching.
If you already have comprehensive troubleshooting flow in place, you are probably eating at your margins more than you need to be. Even if you aren’t outsourcing this aspect of your maintenance operations, you can still implement one internally.
We created this comprehensive troubleshooting guide that outlines some of the most common maintenance requests that can be solved over the phone. You can download the guide for free here.
Use Technology to Automate Repetitive and Repeatable Tasks in the Process.
As mentioned above, it’s possible to have 65% of all maintenance requests fully coordinated and resolved with zero touch from the property manager and managed with better quality. This wouldn’t be possible without a technology platform. Meaning 65% of the entire process is repetitive, manual work that you and your team don’t need to be using your brains (that have far higher potential) for. That time and headspace can be reallocated towards doing what humans do best – strategy, relationship building, and growth.
With an automation system like Latchel, you can customize settings down to the unit level – settings like:
- Preset emergency definitions
- Preset budget limits
- Prioritized and preferred vendors, and more.
You can login to get a birds eye view of all requests and only step in where needed. All transactions are recorded and logged so if you need to dive deeper into a specific work order, you won’t have missed a beat.
This platform should also integrate with your core property management system to eliminate double data entry anywhere possible. Companies who’ve fully leaned into utilizing a system like this have supercharged their growth, and free time.
If you want to see a demo of exactly how it works, you can book a time to chat with our team here.
Add In an Amenity Service for Residents To Generate Revenue
This 4th pillar of transforming a problem into an opportunity was born in tandem with the rising popularity of a resident benefit package.
Resident benefit packages are small monthly fees added to the lease at signing to cover costs of higher levels of services that residents wouldn’t normally get in a typical rental situation. They can include things like: utility set up, air filter delivery, trash valet, 24/7 concierge services etc.
We know that in any industry, people are more willing to pay more for higher service levels. According to a recent Consumer Insights study, 86% of respondents said that they were willing to pay more for a better experience.
So, we asked ourselves: what would residents be willing to pay more for?
We added a 24/7 virtual concierge service to our platform. For a small monthly fee added to the lease, residents can also use Latchel to request resident responsible services like, home cleaning, furniture assembly, tv mounting, dog walking, and more!
On top of that, we add in $300 worth of service credits to help pay for those services. We also added in $300 worth of cash reimbursements on resident caused damages that they’d normally be responsible for paying for. And, we partnered with a bill splitting app Fuse to include in the package so residents could easily manage bill splitting among roommates.
With this in place, property managers get all of our maintenance coordination services at zero cost and generate new revenue.
With all 4 of these solutions working eloquently together, maintenance coordination becomes not only more manageable, but a source of true growth.
If you want to learn more about Latchel and our services, you can book a time to chat with us here.
Author Bio: Catrina Linhard is the Head of Marketing at Latchel. Latchel is the only maintenance software platform that pays property managers to use them while also reducing the costs and time a manager normally spends on maintenance coordination. By adding features to our tech that elevates the living experience for the resident, property managers are able to include Latchel’s Home Assistant as a resident paid amenity in lease addendums. Not only are our customers providing better and more competitive resident service levels, but they’re also reducing costs of operations and increasing their profitability.
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