Navigating the "pre-NTV" & turnkey process, together!: Renewal Series Part 2
by Christin D. on 6/18/2020 1:13:00 PM
Renewal Series: Part 2 – Navigating the “Turnkey” process together
Restructuring the process
In part 1 of this special renewal series, we examined how to forecast as accurately as possible for upcoming turns to begin scheduling and sourcing supplies. Though the industry has seen a decline in resident turnover, turns will still be inevitable. Some suggestions below can help you navigate current turn-key procedures and provide support and solutions for some pandemic imposed challenges.
Notice to vacate walks (or lack thereof)
Upon receiving a resident’s “Notice to Vacate” (NTV), an industry best practice is to notice the resident of entry for their “pre-Notice to Vacate” inspection, explaining it’s just to set expectations. These inspections usually are done anywhere 14-45 days prior to move-out. Under current conditions, access has become much more restricted, so how should you proceed scheduling upcoming turns?
The recent Pandemic has made access more difficult, but there are options if you are unable to walk the unit for condition and scheduling. By looking at workorder history, length of residency, and asking residents if they have any questions for their move out inspection, you may be able to field some solid scheduling needs. Urgency in scheduling a contractor for needed turnkey activities with a potential back up plan is key navigating the current landscape. You don’t want to assume that one contractor will always be available, especially with any existing furloughs or reduced staffing practices currently in place with key contractors.
The “turn-key” process as we know it, knew it, and how to navigate it
To help navigate the turn process, below is a guide for each action and potential resources through Buyers Access or industry suppliers:
The “Standard”, “Challenge”, and “New Needs”:
1- Pre NTV-walk:
Standard: Typically done 14-45 days in advance of move-out with resident to inspect for repairs needed, and once again after current resident(s) vacate.
Challenge: unable to enter due to pandemic restrictions
New Needs: Social distancing protocols, PPE, ordering supplies in advance, scheduling back up for contractors in case they are unavailable due to pandemic shifts in labor and health.
2- Move out inspection:
Standard: conducted with or without the resident taking photos to generate Final Account Statement. Lock change is completed at this time and the maintenance and repair items identified can be scheduled with turn contractors (Paint, Clean, Carpet Cleaning or Replacement).
Challenge: Contractors may be unavailable due to pandemic impacts, so schedule back up or get basic turnkey supplies such as paint, carpet cleaning solution and minor equipment if warranted.
New Needs: Sanitization protocols recommended by CDC and other industry resources such as NAA and NMHC. Buy enough turnkey common items for a couple months in case supply chains become an issue due to substantially increased demand or extended supply challenges.
3- Lock change:
Standard: Change locks upon surrender of unit by resident, or as needed upon eviction.
Challenge: Contactless operations can impact the surrender action causing legal issues if you are not careful. Also, contactless operations pose challenge to in person surrenders and lock changes.
New Needs: RemoteLock, a Buyers Access supplier can help you with touchless and contactless lock changes. See more about RemoteLock HERE
4- Trash out:
Standard: Follow legally recommended guidelines when performing Trash Outs to minimize liability risks.
Challenge: Evictions in bulk, limited PPE available, extenuating circumstances exist, grey areas to consider in evictions, and potential adjustments to local laws that are abnormal restricting landlord activities.
New Needs: Consult your legal counsel before proceeding with a Trash Out where surrendered possession is in question.
Standard: NTV walks revealed much of what would be needed in the past but without the ability to enter units in some areas, plus potential for shortages in supplies, ordering further in advance or more than typical may be prudent. If you have problems sourcing products, or would like to better understand advance purchasing needs Buyers Access can help. Contact us HERE.
Challenge: Supply chain issues, ambiguity in forecast accuracy.
New Needs: Buyers Access has helped our members throughout the pandemic to source high demand items, and to get ahead of the curve. If you need someone to help execute a smooth transition between all turnkey and operational purchasing activities, Buyers Access is a good place to start. Contact us for a free analysis, or a call to discuss how we can help.
6- Paint, Clean, and Carpet Cleaning:
Standard: Schedule vendors for each activity upon pre-NTV walk.
Challenge: Availability of qualified resources to perform turns, and Pandemic imposed changes.
New Needs: Buyers Access members have access to a network of supplier partners and vendor resources, as well as access to some in house solutions to the standard turn key contractor process. Suppliers within our network provided educational materials and training to operate new equipment to paint, clean, etc. If you need help with this, contact Buyers Access.
7- Final Walk and Lock Change, unit is complete!
Industry best practices continue to evolve over time within the multifamily industry. Pandemic and other emergencies that are unpredictable can often create the need develop shifts in approach, or changes in practices to continue to serve our residents and teams. Prior to approaching the “Pre-NTV” walks, step back and weigh the options.
How to renew more residents, project occupancy, and navigate uncertainty - Renewal Series, Part 1
by Christin D. on 5/27/2020 12:18:00 PM
How do you project future rent trends with the pandemic’s anomaly influence on the multifamily industry? Can you properly budget for your future turn expenses and maintenance costs associated with turnover without a clear picture or access to the soon vacant unit? Delinquencies nationwide are higher than typical and recapturing funds is important, but other conversations will support future planning efforts if navigated with intent. Below we will uncover some other components of how renewal follow up strategy can help reveal a more accurate forecast amid pandemic imposed uncertainty.
120 - 90 days in advance, renewal offers are sent to current residents. Offers are generated by market rent suggestions based on market survey rent reporting statistics, technology driven, or by hand. Whatever the case may be, those offers generated and sent in early February are a great way to drive residents away from you community and increase move outs. So, how can you navigate the unexpected downturn and preserve your property from plummeting in occupancy? Renewal follow up strategy is the answer. Strategic action is the way to future stability, and it starts with the residents you already have.
ACTION 1: “Save” residents on notice-to-vacate
Without urgency, nothing will come from the act of saving notices. Urgency as represented here is not outward, it’s inward, and the intention behind the effort. Every day you wait that resident is looking for a home. Start now and work backwards listing all residents on notice in good standing and delinquent, and identify the “keepers”. Targeting the less risky renewals in good standing is the priority.
Set goals and work towards them.
How many do you think you can save? Now, add 20%-30% and set the bar high. Know your competition’s standing and develop some ideas on negotiations that could help seal the deal. Go to the respective person who would grant approval of your negotiation presenting the goal and how you intend to get there. See what negotiation tools you can use at your discretion. People act on emotion and change their mind, so time doesn’t work in favor of these efforts. Once you have that “Yes”, send the lease instantly for execution and follow up within 24 hours. Maybe put a time limit on negotiation offers for an “act now” influence to create urgency. Then close it as fast as possible.
If they don't cancel, get details.
If they don’t cancel the notice, ask them why? Get specific but don’t get defensive. Listen, but also find ways to sell the future today. Empathize, and overcome objections with a solution to concerns. Finally, if they go anywhere else find out how you could improve things for other residents. Getting the most out of a resident who has given notice to live somewhere else lies in the questions you ask, then in how you respond. If you know your market and your property weaknesses and shortcomings, you can develop ways to offer solutions as a response to others.
ACTION 2: The pre-pandemic “Yes” who still hasn’t signed the renewal
Calling the “Yes, we want to renew we just haven’t signed our renewal” residents requires the same level of urgency used when saving the notice-to-vacates. They could be shopping around! Prepare any re-negotiations or incentives before picking up the phone. Knowing what tools are available eliminates delay that will give renewing residents time to change their mind.
If they aren’t sure if they want to renew, take the same approach in trying to get a resident who already gave notice to stay. Ask the leading questions, listen, and use any negotiation tools you have to win them over. Once they sound the slightest bit engaged, set expectations for your next actions with narrow timeframes, but come across as concerned, not pushy.
What if they now aren’t sure about renewing or have a past due balance?
What if they are now delinquent on rent because they lost their job? There is a difference between a hardship imposed by pandemic, and one imposed by habitual late rent. The clues to the cause lie in the payment history. If a resident has been in their home for over 6-8 months with only one late payment, it’s possible the pandemic has cost them their job.
Management companies who are willing to consider an alternative to the conventional best practices in pre-pandemic times will be more likely to save on the cost of turning the unit and finding a new lease later. An example of non-conventional in this case? Trial utilizing shorter terms, or month-to-month can minimize the risk if things don’t improve soon and minimize the chance of being stuck with a non-paying resident.
What ideas can you generate?
There is no doubt that the pandemic imposed economic shifts were unexpected. For multifamily and many other industries, outside the box strategies are crucial to preparing for the next wave of uncertainty. Stay ahead navigating the current climate and have a plan.
We hope you look forward to our next chapters in renewal strategies, which will include articles on delinquency strategy, maintenance turnkey scheduling and realistic spend forecasts.
Communicating in socially distant times featuring Courtesy Connection
by Christin D. on 5/4/2020 6:44:00 PM
Social distancing has become a familiar concept as the recent pandemic threat continues to effect communities world-wide. Defined by the CDC as, “keeping space between yourself and other people outside of your home”, the 6-foot recommendation is strongly encouraged to prevent further spread of illness. This and other health and safety recommendations have created an immediate need to adjust operational protocols to ensure the safety of residents and team members, while continuing property operations. But how do you continue to operate without being able to physically connect with prospects and residents on-site?
Onsite teams immediately responded to new restrictions imposed by the pandemic, coming up with ways to still connect with communities despite absence of physical presence. Smartphone and video conferencing technologies have allowed teams to create new virtual solutions helping to continue “business as usual”, when it is anything but. Eager to support these efforts, multifamily suppliers have quickly launched changes to create streamlined operations and efficient practices, pandemic or not. Below are some new innovative ways to address social distancing and keep residents engaged in socially distanced times.
Courtesy Connection launches the ultimate solution to off-site phone follow up and there's an "app"!
On-site multifamily teams have traditionally reported in person to their respective communities daily and have been a consistent presence residents and prospects could rely on. The phone and ability to “call the office” has always been a vital part of on-site operations, and when calls go unanswered service and resident retention can suffer. With many teams and personnel repositioned off-site after the Covid-19 outbreak, Courtesy Connection, developed a new remote-friendly call solution to help bridge the gap. Now available via app on both iOS and Android devices, Courtesy Connection can provide owners and operators with a “call-masking” platform that allows remote telecommunications without revealing staff phone numbers. This new solution is fully integrated with most property management software systems and all calls are recorded and reported for record keeping and increased visibility. Ryan Nigro, the owner of Courtesy Connection introduced us to this new innovative solution and commented:
“When I was putting together Courtesy Connection's 2020 feature roadmap, a worldwide pandemic was not a contingency for which I had planned. When it started to become apparent that Coronavirus would dramatically change how we do business, we immediately changed course so we could focus on helping our clients remain effective, safe, and productive during this challenging time”.
This is one of many, brilliant solutions Courtesy Connection offers which are fully able to integrate with multifamily management software. For more information about Courtesy Connection visit www.courtesyconnection.com or contact Buyers Access for more information.
Mobile Doorman: your socially distanced "sense of community"
Mobile Doorman is a multifamily communication tool that makes it easier for property management teams to share messages with their residents. This software solution has an app available for residents to download on both iOS and Android devices. The app offers easy access to a variety of conveniences and activities, and improved communications with the property staff. Work orders can be submitted by residents, and management personnel can send messages, post announcements communicate more effectively with residents via the app. A win-win for everyone.
But the benefits don’t stop at the management team or business to consumer levels. Residents can also communicate with each other via the “virtual bulletin” feature, while staying sheltered in place. Reaching even further is the ability to support local providers through the Mobile Doorman Marketplace, where businesses can advertise specials in the area viewable to Mobile Doorman users. Who doesn’t want to support restaurants and grab a to-go order? Additionally, with many amenities closed, virtual resident events are gaining popularity. Mobile Doorman has an invitation and RSVP feature to schedule events, provide details and encourage participation. Work orders, amenity rentals, and other features exist, and the system is updated automatically through integration available with most major property management software platforms. For more information on Mobile Doorman visit www.mobiledoorman.com and email our friend Mikel Persky for more information at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Please share your pandemic new and innovative strategies with us!
Service and communication are at the core of multifamily community success. Without it, the sense of purpose and belonging is difficult to maintain. The multifamily industry, whether owner, operator or supplier, have all had to dramatically adjust to “socially distancing” times. Innovative solutions at all levels have not only made operating under new challenges easier but offer new efficiencies long-term. Buyers Access has over 50 supplier partners and leverages over 750K units, helping companies and properties to optimize purchasing, forecasting, best practices, processes and technology solutions. Please feel free to ask how we can help you! For more information visit www.buyersaccess.com or email us at email@example.com.
Smart purchasing practices can save BIG money! As featured in Colorado Real Estate Journal's Q1 Multifmaily Properties Quarterly edition
by Christin D. on 4/21/2020 11:03:48 AM
Are your vendors covered? Is the coverage enough? Is the coverage active? How can you be sure?
by Christin D. on 1/28/2020 3:50:00 PM
Vendors and contractors without the proper insurance coverage can cost your management company, property owner, and/or investors millions.
Those Certificate’s of Insurance sent in the mail to properties and corporate offices turn out to be pretty important after all! A vendor without a valid COI that shows the information that is needed to transfer the risk off of you and on to them, you are assuming the risk for their actions when hiring them to perform work at your property, and it will cost you. Even if expired for just one day, if the vendor policy is not active and an incident occurs, it’s going to be hard to get the risk off your shoulders; and you probably won’t. That’s why monitoring vendor and contractor insurance coverage is so important and needs to be a top priority daily, but how do you possibly do it when you are at the mercy of your on-site responsibilities?
Property teams have daily tasks that are best practices within the multifamily industry. These tasks can range from “sparkling” vacant and model apartments, preventative maintenance inspections, grounds clean up, and turn-key operations, to name a few. Residents in and out of the office day after day make having a solid hour or two to verify insurance for vendors next to impossible. The struggle!
Insurance compliance is often an afterthought until it matters and doesn’t make that to-do list every day. Often vendor insurance isn’t checked every day; they come onsite, especially painting and carpet contractors, and we assume it’s valid because they come often, and you are sure it’s the same, right? The responsibility to manually verify the coverage is active would be needed to ensure 100% compliance every time they came to paint an apartment. That is unless you aren’t the one monitoring, and you have a database that will send you an alert when a lapse of coverage exists so you know not to let the vendor begin until corrected. There is a better way.
Why hire a 3rd party
RMIS is a program that exists in the multifamily management space that handles all vendor compliance, coverage verification, and like activities for you. RMIS will invite your vendors to register with them and track all the information in a custom database. This saves the operating team from missing coverage lapses, details on stipulations, and other crucial components. Wouldn’t it make more sense for the on-site team to focus on managing risk on the physical asset in real-time, daily than doing administrative checks and balances, leaving risk unnoticed?
Life before and after RMIS – what a transformation!
Look at the comparisons in the table below and see for yourself just how much time you get back by outsourcing this crucial step to a service like RMIS.
WITHOUT RMIS’s help YOU must:
WITH RMIS, you are relieved of managing:
Keep your records up to date with all vendor and contractor W-9 and COI forms.
The vendor onboarding process is initiated and managed from start to finish by RMIS.
Ensuring coverage is active by checking the dates on the COI.
Customer and vendor support provided through RMIS team members who are available for on-site teams to contact for any insurance needs.
Checking for coverage limits and types.
Daily vendor monitoring to ensure active coverage is in place, consistently.
Validating that the interested party is listed correctly on the COI to cover your property.
Obtains coverage documents if expired on behalf of the property management team
Promptly requesting all non-compliant information, manually, and entering corrections submitted from vendor insurance companies or the vendors themselves.
Verification of background screenings and proper licensure.
Obtain vendor COI upon expiration and re-verify coverage and other requirements.
Analysis of COI’s to check: coverage limits, coverage types, additional insured clauses, Waiver of Subrogation, records policy numbers, tracks effective and expiration dates, and other items as needed by management companies.
Ongoing management of everything in the next column, without 3rd party support or resources to save time and prevent expensive oversights.
Upkeep of all of the documentation, processes, and certifications that are accessible on-demand and customized for your company requirements.
If you do this one thing
If there were doubts about whether hiring a vendor insurance compliance partner to track insurance coverage for you, we hope we convinced you there is a better way! Many may have already known the extreme amount of time and effort this process takes and how important it is to do consistently, yet struggle. It’s a tall order and quite an undertaking on your own, and it’s unnecessary to do it alone. If you are already a Buyers Access member and want to get this service set up free, contact your Account Manager and get connected! Not familiar with Buyers Access? Click HERE and explore a whole new way to drive NOI through our robust purchasing and procurement solutions HERE or contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org
. If you email us or request to be connected, 90% of the work is already done, and we take care of the rest.
There. Is. A. Better. Way.
Rent Growth VS. Expense Optimization - How do you measure up?
by Christin D. on 1/7/2020 4:50:00 PM
Another great way to drive NOI – rent growth alone is so 2019!
Pushing rent increases to drive NOI and relying on income alone sooner or later will take a back seat, and expense optimization will again prevail as the industry cycle moves towards economic slowdown. Multifamily management firms that stay ahead understand that NOI through expense optimization can be achieved easily by partnering with a Purchasing and Procurement Service Organization.
While intelligent expense management is always a common goal among companies, the opportunities to maximize this area of your business are on a different plane. Purchasing optimization as a strategy to drive NOI requires resources and expertise at a different caliber than one can do alone, which is why you need a specialized Purchasing Optimization Organization to partner with like Buyers Access.
Purchasing Quiz: Your purchasing defined
Activity: Select the number of each statement that your company currently has in place for purchasing and procurement activities.
- Onsite teams have the necessary tools to complete purchasing activities effectively through our company resources and systems.
- Our current payables process eliminates pricing and invoicing discrepancies.
- We have the best pricing negotiated with multifamily industry MRO suppliers such as Home Depot Pro Multifamily, HD Supply, Maintenance Supply Headquarters, and like organizations.
- The procurement department handles purchasing activities at our company. For larger projects and renovations, we have regional maintenance and construction project managers that ensure efficiencies.
- Our company has reporting metrics that track product spend, pricing, contractor scopes, and uncovers opportunities for further optimization.
- We have less than 1000 units and don’t need a purchasing service.
Now that you have your numbers match them with the numeric category below and unlock insight into how to better drive NOI through expense optimization.
Don’t skip anything!
"Our site teams oversee our purchasing operations and have a (weekly) report they turn in showing the efficiency."
Operating efficiency is becoming harder to achieve and the reliance on site teams to a level that drives NOI is sadly unrealistic. Staffing challenges plague the multifamily industry, especially in maintenance. Residents also are now expecting an “On-Demand” lifestyle now that services like “Amazon-Prime” and others are able to deliver faster than ever. The expectation as created the same “On-Demand” expectations for residents and site-teams have to work fast! We can’t overlook it or balk on adopting it, we must keep up with innovation and deliver. Residents are the number one revenue driver in the multifamily industry so taking care of them to exceed their expectations is important and takes priority. Take care of your teams and your residents and place purchasing optimization in the hands of an inclusive purchasing organization specializing in the multifamily industry, such as Buyers Access.
"Our site managers oversee our payables and are always catching duplicate invoices and price discrepancies right when they happen."
That is a good start, but your manager has so much more on their plate, such as monthly renewals, aggressive rent increase rates challenging retention efforts, overseeing maintenance, etc. The leasing teams, can they help? Where is maintenance? The leasing teams are fighting for their life to get leases and keep the property stabilized while growing GPR (Gross Potential Rent) in a highly competitive market. Maintenance is short-staffed and over-worked, your lender inspection is next week. Let us be the solution. Buyers Access gives on-site teams additional bench-strength through people who support daily purchasing activities, reporting, and contractor sourcing on-demand.
"We have contract pricing with our suppliers already, and we get bulk discounts as it is."
Activity: Test your consistancy-
Let’s validate the price on one item by answering a simple question. You can do this on your own to see if this solution is performing at its highest potential.
- Were you charged the same price on every faucet of the same item number from the same supplier in 2019 company or portfolio-wide?
- If not, how many different prices were you charged for that same faucet from the same supplier in 2019?
"Our procurement department already standardized the company product selection and negotiates these deals."
Having a procurement department is wonderful! Can your procurement department offer "On-Demand" support to your on-site maintenance and office teams to help with things like emergency contractor sourcing, returning incorrect items received, etc.? Do they offer an all-in-one eCommerce site to minimize the risk of pricing errors, save time through automation, or work to source and select "top-item" lists? Buyers Access' model is inclusive and will provide both managers and leadership visibility through customized reporting in real-time, approval controls, and other innovative solutions and strategies.
Are you still trying to figure out the answer to the faucet question in category 3?
- Let’s talk reporting.
The visibility you gain through operating data-driven purchasing activities makes answering this question easy. You may be struggling, and that is okay. Line item analysis and segregating products in GL code reports by supplier and item type can take a lot of time, time you may not have or can be better spent focusing on resident retention. Once you do find these metrics, the second part is cross referencing to ensure that agreed upon or "contractor" negotiated pricing between you and your supplier pricing was used 100% of the time, company-wide.
You do want the same low prices each time, correct? Of course you do! And why work harder when you can work smarter?
And finally.... Scenario 5
"We have less than 1000 units and don't need any purchasing optimization."
If you are under 1000 units and don’t think that this is applicable, think again! We have a special Small Units Program that leverages resources to get them the same deals realized by larger organizations when buying maintenance and repair supplies. Click here to learn about our Small Units Program now.
AND....Back to the Faucet activity in Scenario 3 ... Did you find the answer?
My final proposal for you is this:
Buyers Access will answer your faucet question AND will uncover the total savings opportunities based on your companies personal puchasing behavior for 2019. That takes care of time savings through finding the answer to the faucet exercise (and future pricing verifications) faster, and money saved through leveraged resources and strategy.
CLICK TO GET ACCESS- to begin the process.
We want you to make an informed decision about the fate of your NOI and we can show you your data, not a hypothetical example. We want you to have all the information to support your taking the next step and saving 10-20% on purchasing without sacrificing quality or quantity.
Thanks for playing and don't forget...
Rent growth as a strategy alone is SO 2019 and it's 2020!
National Recycling Day - State of Recycling and Multifamily Real Estate
by Christin D. on 11/12/2019 11:32:00 AM
National Recycling Day is November 15th!
This year, National Recycling Day (America Recycles Day) falls on Thursday, November 15th, and encourages communities and their members to spread the word about recycling. America Recycles Day is a “Keep America Beautiful” campaign program focused on educating, motivating, and encouraging recycling, with the goal of engaging and promoting participation in practices to reduce the amount of non-recycled waste. To that extent, many multifamily communities have been hosting events and educating residents about recycling, and best practices to help reduce the environmental impact caused by waste produced at their community. In addition, multifamily I recycling initiatives have evolved substantially since the early days. Below we will take an inside look at multi-family waste management practices, recycling initiatives, and additional benefits created through best practices.
2001: EPA multifamily specific study
In 2001, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) embarked on a study focused primarily on the discovery of the extent to which the multifamily industry was employing recycling programs across the nation. Prior to the EPA study, multifamily did not have a clear definition of recycling practices due to falling under a commercial real estate classification. The EPA study sampled 40 communities across the nation and compared single family to multifamily community recycling practices, and their success and shortfalls. The EPA then defined what a successful recycling program should look like in the multifamily business, and how this was accomplished in what was called the “Multifamily and High-Rise Recycling Assessment”. The results of the 2001 survey brought about significant adjustments in multifamily recycling requirements to various jurisdictions throughout the country.
2016: State of curbside report study
In 2016, the State of Recycling report was published by The Recycling Partnership, which analyzed single family and multifamily best practices and effectiveness for recycling. The findings yielded some of the original challenges the EPA uncovered in the 2001 study, primarily due to a large portion of local governments not defining multifamily outside of the commercial sector. In the 2016 study, 465 communities comprising about 36 million residential units (Single family homes and multifamily units) were considered, and the study found that only 25 million units were eligible for curbside collection including recycling as an option. This means that 11 million units of multifamily were still not included as a part of curbside recycling program. Since that point in time, many local jurisdictions have started to require mandatory recycling in multifamily.
Benefits of recycling
Why does our country donate so much time into supporting recycling as an initiative on so many different levels? A plethora of benefits are realized when communities choose to recycle rather than toss waste into landfills. The practice of recycling conserves natural resources such as water, saves energy, prevents pollution, and increases economic security, including the development and creation of jobs available in the manufacturing and recycling industries in the United States. The Recycling Economic Study done in 2016 revealed that 1.57 jobs and $76,000 in wages were generated per 1,000 tons of materials recycled. Recycling also saves the number of trees that need to be cut down to make new paper products when paper is recycled by households. A 2015 survey discovered that 25% of municipal solid waste is due to paper products alone, while plastics accounted for 35 million tons and glass 11.5 million tons of waste. Reducing the amount of waste from these 3 materials alone would have a substantial impact on the environment if more households practiced recycling as a regular activity, especially those in the multifamily sector.
Challenges in Multifamily recycling
As previously stated, multifamily recycling programs have been ambiguous and difficult to measure due to data captured. This is due to multifamily properties being defined as commercial property in many local municipalities, although that is not the only challenged faced. Multifamily communities have little control over what type of waste is thrown into community trash compactors, and the addition of a recycling receptacles beside waste containers and compactors has created confusion for residents. Recycled materials often wind up contaminated by those who don’t know how to recycle properly, or by utilizing inappropriate containers with or without realizing it. Another challenge faced is the practice of encouraging multifamily households to designate a separate container to just recycled materials, often in smaller living spaces. The monitoring of any of these challenges is difficult, and multifamily communities often end up spending more on recycling without seeing high success.
Challenges in U.S. recycling
Until recently, the United States had been sending most recyclable materials to China to be manufactured into goods such as plastics, clothing, and other products. In late 2018, China began restricting recycling imports of certain types, including paper and most plastics, two of the largest recyclable materials in the United States. Unfortunately, waste management companies are now being forced to raise rates, and municipal governments are faced with either paying the higher rates or throwing the recycling away as waste instead. This has left many communities without a choice. As a result, carbon emissions and methane released by recycling decomposing in landfills, and plastic being burned is having a large negative environmental impact on the ozone layer, propelling the environment into an even further undesirable direction.
What is the solution?
It seems like recycling is a thing of the past after researching and realizing the restrictions and costs now imposed on municipalities and consumers. So how can we do our part and continue to recycle? The first step is to be more conscious of the waste we are producing in the first place. Shopping bags, straws, and water bottles are 3 easy items to stop supporting, and by adopting re-usable options instead. Be more conscious of what is going into the recycling bin! Aluminum cans, foil, steel and tin cans, corrugated cardboard, office paper, and #1 and #2 plastics such as water, juice, and salad dressing containers are still encouraged if they must be used. The second part is to be more conscious of how the goods are when thrown into the bin. Cleaning recyclables of all debris and waste such as food residue is key in the expense of processing recyclables, making it a requirement for consideration.
Though there are many who are pessimistic about recycling and take and all or nothing approach, educating yourself and others on the facts is key to continuing any progress in our recycling initiatives, whether it be in a business or multifamily community environment.
Published by: Christin Daniels for Buyers Access® residential multifamily purchasing experts. To connect with Buyers Access and obtain a complimentary purchasing analysis, visit us at www.buyersaccess.com or email us at BASales@buyersaccess.com.
EPA (November 2001). Multifamily Recycling: A National Study. National Service Center for Environmental Publications (EPA530-r-01-018). Retrieved from https://nepis.epa.gov/Exe/ZyPDF.cgi/10000OV5.PDF?Dockey=10000OV5.PDFGreenblatt, Alan (Dec. 2018) Under China’s New Rules, U.S. Recycling Suffers. Governing: The States and Localities. Retrieved from: https://www.governing.com/topics/transportation-infrastructure/gov-recycling-trash-waste-sort-compost-china.html
EPA.gov. How Do I Recycle? Common Recyclables. Retrieved from: https://www.governing.com/topics/transportation-infrastructure/gov-recycling-trash-waste-sort-compost-china.html.
Cold, Flu, and You: Promote Wellness this Season
by Christin D. on 11/5/2019 4:00:00 PM
Flu Season and You
Flu Season is upon us and protecting yourself against contracting a cold or the flu is a high priority this time of year. From consistent hand-washing, to guzzling vitamin C, most of us do whatever we can to prevent ourselves from contracting the influenza virus. As multi-family industry professionals, we should consider the action items and steps that we can personally take to protect ourselves and others in the community. Below we will discuss some statistics of flu season, steps to take personally and professionally to prevent contraction and spreading of the flu virus, and ideas you can take to implement prevention.
Statistics on flu and cold season
Each year, cold and flu season is responsible for 44 million “sick-days” in the United States called, in by 11 million employed adults spread throughout the country. This statistically accounts for about a $9.5 billion-dollar financial burden on businesses, and even considers that 39% of the workforce will still report to work even when ill. Aside from work being the 3rd most likely place for individuals who have the cold or flu virus to frequent, according to the CDC, other locations that are highly frequented by sick individuals include local drug stores and grocery stores.
Where germs live
The flu and common cold are most contagious during the early onset. Unfortunately, this is also when people still may not realize there is anything wrong. They still feel well enough to go out in public and therefore can spread the virus without realizing the severity. As multi-family industry professionals, we work and operate where “home” is for many of these 11 million adults who do call in sick. This increases our exposure to their germs even when the resident opts to stay home to avoid spreading the virus. Since our place of work is their home, we must take extra caution to avoid getting sick. Below are some common places to consider taking extra precaution around when trying to avoid contracting the flu and common cold:
- Building entryways- including elevator buttons, handrails in stairwells and access points, door handles to common spaces in a community.
- Public restrooms in the gym or other common areas
- Hospitality and snack areas, such as a coffee bar or resident appreciation event gathering
- Common areas such as the local game room/tv lounge, business center, or conference room
- On-site fitness centers, weight rooms, or spin/yoga studios
How to protect your community
As multi-family professionals, we have a responsibility to create an atmosphere of safety and cleanliness when possible. Though we can’t guarantee the effectiveness of our efforts, it is part of our responsibility. There are a few recommendations that property teams can do to help protect the visitors and dwellers of a community, and by directly making a few adjustments on-site during this time of year:
- Supply paper towels instead of air dryers in common area restrooms to help reduce the number of bacteria left on hands after washing thoroughly with soap and water.
- Install hand sanitizer stations at entrances, stairwells, common areas, and restrooms to make sanitation easier for residents and team members on the go.
- Make microfiber cleaning cloths and sanitation wipes available to staff members so they can wipe down surfaces regularly with minimal additional effort.
In addition to the above recommendations, there are also other easy and fun ways to communicate and educate residents about flu season’s best practices. They may even create a heightened sense of resident satisfaction as you demonstrate your commitment to their community. Here are some ideas that may help spice up flu-prevention at your property:
- Host a pre-flu season event. Invite a local flu-shot vendor or offer flu-shot passes with an incentive to residents. The incentive can be small and often stores will partner and provide a “perk” to those residents that show up and get the shot! Think a discount on “Emergen-C” or “Airborne”.
- Include education in the monthly news letter for residents to read prior to the start of flu season. You could even announce the above pre-flu season event in the publication at the same time.
- Have resident care packages in the office or distribute them in an appropriate fashion for your specific community. Vendor partners and Buyers Access team members can offer great ideas and resources to do this if you have a tight resident-appreciation budget to work with.
What to do if you get sick
Even taking all the right preventative steps, you can sometimes still wind up sick. Once contracting a virus, it’s time to look at measures that can be taken to protect yourself and others while it runs its course. Remember, the flu virus is stronger in the beginning stages and can spread easier during this time. Staying home from work may be a good idea to have minimal contact with others. If you must report to work or engage in regular activities on some level, follow the below recommendations to protect yourself and others from getting sick.
- Wash your hands
- Invest in a protective dust-mask to wear outside of your individual space to avoid airborne germs from spreading
- Wipe down everything you touch with an antibacterial spray or wipe and allow it to dry naturally so it has ample time to kill bacteria and germs.
- Drink plenty of fluid and use paper cups or personal drinkware that won’t be washed and re-used in the office or public area.
- Rest more than you think you need to. Your immune system is already weakened substantially once you do get sick so this extra TLC can speed up recovery. If you reported to work and start to feel worse, re-evaluate your attendance and communicate any concerns to your workplace supervisor.
Getting sick is no fun and nobody ever wants to get sick. It’s important to remember the seriousness of the flu virus and consider that even mild strains can cause serious complications. Spreading bouts of sickness around the office or community can be decreased by following some of the above suggestions and preparing for the flu season accordingly. Buyers Access, and our supplier partners, are always available to help equip your team with the supplies needed to create an uninviting environment for germs associated with the flu virus and other bacteria. One of the best parts about being a part of the Buyers Access program is that you have an abundance of additional resources and extra sets of hands to call on when you need them. Contact our sales department at BASales@buyersaccess.com to get this support. If you are already a member, your account manager and the member services team can quickly help you get prepared by sourcing the best products and lower prices with additional savings on mass quantities when needed. Email email@example.com to reach out to your team of support and make your property safe this flu season!
October is Fire Safety Month in Multi-family
by Christin D. on 10/14/2019 5:34:31 PM
Welcome to Fire Safety Month
The month of October brings about some of the Fall seasons best comforts, as the leaves turn and the temperature drops. This can mean more pumpkin spice latte’s, or s’mores nights, social gatherings over delicious home cooked meals, and maybe throwing a few logs on the fire place. With the increase in heating and cooking during this time of the year there also comes the increased risk of fire. Because of this, October is known as Fire Safety Month. Whether you are a service provider, CEO, or on-site team member, as multi-family professionals, we all play a critical role in the area of fire prevention, precaution, and safety. So, what are some of the industry’s best practices in terms of fire safety?
Causes of Fire in Multi-family
Residential fires made up 29.1% of total fires by property type in some of the most recent data available, making it the second most common fire type behind outdoor fires. Closer living quarters and adjoining walls in multi-family structures increase the risk of fire. Fire in these structures can also impact more people and cause damage on a larger scale at a more rapid pace due to the co-existence of many in a single building.
Cooking fires made up 51.6% as the leading cause of all residential fires, with heating being the second most prevalent. The kitchen and bedrooms are also statistically the most common places for fires to start in residential homes. Residential buildings that include baseboard heaters, space heaters, electric stoves, and fireplaces heighten the risk of both instances occurring. For all these reasons and many more, ongoing fire safety and preparedness is extremely important for multi-family sites during October, the colder months, and throughout the year.
Provide Information in Advance
What things can we do as multi-family professionals to decrease fire risk? One of the most important things we can do is provide residents and teams detailed and easily understood fire information for education, training, preparedness and prevention. Furthermore, property management teams should have detailed working knowledge and training on how to respond to these emergency situations. Partnering with local fire departments, or Buyers Access vendors such as Cintas, is a great source to conduct fire safety training sessions with employees and residents at community gatherings. Get everyone as knowledgeable and prepared as possible, and be proactive!
Drafting a Property Specific Fire Safety Guide
When developing a fire safety guide to provide residents and team members, include a building diagram that marks the location of fire extinguishers, evacuation routes, stairwells, and fire pulls. The diagram should also identify designated exterior meeting areas for residents, vendors, and staff when evacuating the building. Other things to include are alternate routes for evacuation, additional stair access, tips for handling various emergency conditions such as smoke, being trapped, pets, and any other property specific information that may be helpful.
Time is everything when it comes to fire. Every 30 seconds a flame can double, filling up a room in a matter of minutes and making each second crucial. Organization and confidence should be a priority when training staff members on fire protocol. There is no guarantee that the community manager or service manager will be available to guide other employees during a fire, so it’s also important to plan and train accordingly. Team members gain confidence through education, and communication, role playing, and fire drills. Working with Buyers Access account managers and vendors can assist in this training process.
Types of Fire Safety Inspections
Multifamily communities have a critical responsibility to ensure certain fire and life safety requirements are always being met. Because of this, annual inspections are often required by local officials to ensure that code requirements are being met. Inspections on building fire alarm panels, pull station operation, fire extinguisher expiration dates, fire sprinklers, and visual requirements such as clear pathways are some of the more important fire related inspection items. If a property is in violation of any of these areas, authorities can issue an “order to comply” and issue fines until repairs have been completed.
Fire Safety Every Day
There are many other things to consider when protecting a community from fire hazards, which should be considered daily. Any time any fire safety device is malfunctioning it should be addressed and remediated immediately. Preventative maintenance inspections can serve as a great time to inspect interior and exterior fire safety devices. Encouraging residents to notify management of any safety risks is also helpful in case it is overlooked or not caught immediately by property staff.
A very common fire safety issue is burnt out “Emergency Exit” signs in hallways. Changing these bulbs promptly or utilizing LED bulbs in Exit signs, can minimize this risk. Fire doors should be automatically self-closing when the alarm sounds. Paying close attention to anything blocking these doors or preventing them from self-closing should be a priority, along with ensuring ease of ingress and egress in common areas at all times. If the fire doors are always closed, make sure self-closing and latching hardware are operating correctly so they consistently close immediately behind users.
Fire safety awareness is crucial no matter what time of year, and the above recommendations are a good start to protecting your property from associated risks. We hope you will apply some of the aforementioned best-practices into your fire safety routine. Buyers Access supplier partners such as Cintas and SmartBurner, can offer members quality solutions and services associated with fire safety. If you are in need of additional support or are curious on the savings you can realize by gaining access to the Buyers Access program, contact us at 1-800-445-9169 or by email Basales@buyersaccess.com. If your already a valued customer and are in need of assistance, reach out to member services by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or contact your account manager.
Refuse and Paint Expenses- Budget Edition!
by Christin D. on 8/9/2019 9:42:00 AM
This edition of the Buyers Access® budgeting series takes a look at two of the largest recurring expenses a property realizes in monthly operations; waste disposal services and property painting requirements. Here we will review some of the most complicated issues faced by management companies within these two categories and explore solutions that Buyers Access® can offer access to from vendors within our strategic partnerships network.
About waste, recycling, and valet services
Waste services are not a glamorous, value added benefit that can be seen in day to day operations on a property by residents or prospects. On the other hand, we can guarantee that the waste services (or lack thereof) will be immediately noticed when it goes awry. Receptacle overflows, jammed compactors, nasty smells, and bulk items sitting at the curb take away from a property’s curb appeal, and make for some unhappy residents in no time. Nothing is worse than conducting a weekend leasing tour, and the trash receptacle areas create a detraction to the property. Waste and recycling services may seem like an easy thing to manage from a resident’s perspective, but the behind the scenes “plan” can be a bit more complex.
Waste service needs are unique from property to property. One asset can contain multiple contracts and invoices to process and monitor depending on things like: property location, vendor selection, equipment needs, local ordinances, bulk item disposal needs. and valet recycling and doorstep valet waste services. All-encompassing waste services are sometimes hard to find depending on vendor offerings in the area, requiring management teams to keep track of separate contracts for each of the services. Everything from the hauling of half empty containers to “contaminated” recycling bins that the recycling company can’t haul, causing extra charges and fees for additional services outside of traditional scopes defined.
Buyers Access® and Refuse Specialists work together to offer Buyers Access® members a simple solution to their waste disposal services. Refuse Specialists is a team of waste consultants who analyze, renegotiate, and monitor invoices for property management companies. Their services have no upfront costs, and the savings Refuse Specialists realizes is passed on to customers, saving them 20%-40% on waste expenses without sacrificing services.
Refuse Specialists - 4 Step Solution
- Refuse Specialists contacts each waste company you are currently contracted with and renegotiates the contract keeping it to a minimum of a 5-year term to avoid annual expense increases.
- A waste analysis is conducted on the current waste activities which includes evaluating equipment on site, haul frequencies, and other aspects of the waste health of a property.
- Once the contracts are negotiated based on the analysis of the current health, the contracts are delivered directly to the property management team to review and sign off on when appropriate.
- After execution of the contract(s), Refuse Specialists continues to monitor every invoice that is received for waste and related waste services, extra charges, fees, inefficiencies, and other inaccuracies, saving you time and money!
All about paint
Budgeting for recurring and non-recurring paint expenses
Paint frequently accounts for a large portion of a property budget. Buyers Access®, provides members a competitive advantage through access to national supplier partners; PPG and Sherwin Williams. Members have access to lower pricing, additional design resources, and industry leading expertise through account management by both Buyers Access® and the chosen paint supplier. Through the Buyers Access® program, properties can effectively create a practical strategy to manage all painted surfaces and lower prices, while increasing quality and useful life.
Matching Existing Paint
Paint can vary immensely and create many challenges for properties when it comes to painting surfaces on the interior or exterior of the buildings. Newer properties with freshly painted walls at construction may be difficult to touch up when that first resident moves out because of the commonality of primer not being used when the fresh surface was painted at construction. Paint touch up becomes challenging with varying sheen and primer practices. Paint types must be evaluated considering such things as type of property, average length of resident stay, and even geographical location. Working with the paint suppliers in our program and Buyers Access® simplifies the development of paint programs for a property/company and aids in streamlining paint operations.
Varying Surfaces and Paint Selection
Exterior paint surfaces are diverse and require various textures, qualities, and finishes in order to last on surfaces for the expected life of the paint project. For example, using the incorrect type of paint for a site-wide front door painting project could be detrimental if the paint easily chips when residents enter and exit their homes. Not only do these peeling doors create an eye-sore, they can also cost the property even more money than originally intended if they all must be re-painted due to the improper paint being used originally. Both PPG and Sherwin Williams have a complete exterior paint program that includes such things surveying the exterior needs and photo imaging services. Keeping the exterior of your buildings looking fresh is an investment that can help attract and keep your residents!
Another example of potential shortcomings involved with improper paint selection can come in the form of increased risk and liability. It is common for properties to treat stairs and pathways in and outside the structures with paint as a surface, especially on concrete stairs and pathways. If the concrete is a smooth surface and the paint used is not porous enough or durable enough to withstand being on the floor, the property has increased its exposure to slips, trips, and falls along with the paint possibly peeling in an unreasonably short about of time. This can potentially cost the property money and time directly through re-touches or re-done paint projects, as well as liability issues.
Our team can help
Partnering with Buyers Access® eases the budgeting and decision-making process in waste and paint expenses. Buyers Access has key supplier partners: Refuse Specialists, Sherwin Williams, and PPG, who can aid in the budgeting process for these larger recurring expense categories. Not only do members have access to a full member services department and account management department within Buyers Access®, but they also have additional resources from industry leading experts specializing in streamlining paint and waste activities for multi-family communities. Contact our sales department today at email@example.com to learn how we can help your team through a successful budget season. If you are a current Buyers Access® customer, reach out to your account manager for more information regarding the programs and how you can get started.