Getting Inside the Head of the Online Renter
by Michelle N. on 8/19/2014 9:27:11 AM
We rely on our Maintenance Teams to keep everything on site up and running. From the simplest tasks to complex mechanical systems, they have a tool for every job, and they get the job done. But, have we ever considered our Maintenance Program being used as a tool to improve resident retention? We recently came across this article, which was originally published in the 2012 SatisFacts Research-published ebook, “Getting Inside the Head of the Online Renter.” The importance of maintenance in a resident’s decision to renew is often overlooked, but the facts point to maintenance being among the most important factors for renewals, and the article below provides some great advice for developing a strategy to use great maintenance service as a retention tool. For more ideas on how to maximize the efficiency of your maintenance program, reach out to the team at Buyers Access – we’ve been helping our clients develop cost effective, efficient maintenance programs for over 30 years.
Believe it or not, the service your maintenance team provides to your residents is more important to resident retention than perks and parties, the appearance and condition of their apartment home, and even the desire for more parking.
Knowing that maintenance teams play such a critical, yet often overlooked role in the lease renewal process, here are four tips that successful property management teams can apply to leverage this important asset and improve resident retention:
1. Identify Common Property Maintenance Service Requests
As an entire team, sit together and identify the 10 most common service requests at your community. For each of those 10, identify if there is a troubleshooting tip the office can suggest to the resident to see if they can resolve it on their own (i.e., reset button on garbage disposal or outlet), and define five key questions the maintenance team would like you to ask regarding that service request to get the best detail possible.
2. Follow Up on Every Property Maintenance Service Request
Follow-up on every completed service request, whether by phone, email, or follow-up survey. Be sure to ask, “Did we complete everything to your expectation?” and “Is there anything else we can do for you?”
3. Introduce Property Maintenance Service Team Members by Name
During tours, if you see a maintenance team member, introduce them by name to the prospect and give some highlights about them such as, “Joe’s been taking care of this community for nine years now” or “Jackie and her team are usually able to resolve any service request within 24 hours.”
4. Nurture Communication between Property Maintenance and Office Teams
Nurture constant communication between the maintenance team and the property management team. The better the communication and respect within the entire team, the more comfortable and secure the residents feel about the service they are receiving. There’s not room here for Us vs. Them. We’re all on the same team!
While there are some maintenance team members who feel more comfortable working behind the scenes and just taking care of their service requests, the fact of the matter is that their work and resident relationships are the cornerstone of any property’s success. And it’s probably no surprise that residents know almost ALL of your maintenance team members’ names.
Celebrate their impact on resident retention and leverage their importance at every opportunity.
About the Author: Jen Piccotti, Senior vice President of Education and Consulting at SatisFacts Research, has over a decade of experience in customer loyalty, quality assurance programs and process efficiency, and has worked in the apartment industry since 2000. She heads up special projects for SatisFacts, including satisfaction survey action planning, work-time analyses, special studies, quality assurance, process evaluations, and educational services. Jen holds a Master of Science – Quality Assurance degree from California State University, Dominguez Hills.
Winterizing the Pool: Top 10 Pool Closing Tips
by Michelle N. on 8/13/2014 9:05:26 AM
No more cannonballs, no more belly flops, no more Marco Polo, and no more lounging by the pool…at least not until next summer. It is that time of year again to close your property’s pool for the winter. Winterizing your pool may seem complicated, but with a little preparation, it can be a very simple and pain-free process. One of our Suppliers, Leslie’s Pool Supply, has provided a quick Top 10 Pool Closing Tips list that will help you close your pool quickly and easily!
1. Begin Winterizing One Week Before Closing Your Pool
One week prior to closing your pool, add a phosphate remover to help keep algae out
2. Brush and Vacuum To Remove All Debris
Cleaning your pool before closing prevents algae and makes your spring opening even easier
3. Manage Your Water Level
FREEZING – Water should be 4-6 inches below: skimmer (vinyl-lined) or tile line (plaster)
NON-FREEZING – Water should be filled to the top, almost to the point of overflowing
4. Balance the Pool Chemistry
Total Alkalinity should be between 80-120 ppm, pH level should be between 7.4-7.6
5. Shock and Chlorinate Your Pool
Shocking kills any bacteria that might linger in your pool during the winter
6. Backwash Your Filter
Allow the pump to run for a full cycle before backwashing and chemically cleaning your filter
7. Drain Pool Lines and Add Antifreeze (for freezing temperatures only)
This prevents the costly repairs that come from burst of damaged pipes
8. Install Air Pillow
Inflate the air pillow using an air pump and place in the center of the pool
9. Install A Safety Cover, Winter Cover or Leaf Net
Protect your pool and family with a secure cover
10. Monitor Chemical Balance Monthly
Routinely check water chemistry, and consult a Leslie’s Service Technician or Store Associate if chemicals become unbalanced
Follow these recommended tips and it will mean less work and reduce maintenance costs in the Spring. Will your property be ready for opening day?
First Aid Safety Gives Peace of Mind to Residents and Staff
by Michelle N. on 8/6/2014 10:47:02 AM
Earlier this week, -we shared an article- that reviewed the importance of fostering a safe community for residents. While property safety and security is an absolute priority, we must not forget that first aid products, such as AED’s (Automated External Defibrillators), in residential properties are equally important and can foster safety with residents and property staff, too. With an alarming rate of 88% of cardiac arrests happening at home, apartment complex employees and residents can tremendously increase the ability to save lives with an AED on site. Because every second counts when cardiac arrest events occur, why not be fully prepared for in-house emergencies?
Modern defibrillators administer an electric shock to restore heart rhythm and the new models on the market provide video guidance for responders. For example, the Cintas ReviveR™ AED is designed with no lids, moving parts or cases – just two buttons with pre-connected pads. Additionally, when in use, visual indicators prompt the user from start to finish. Talk about user friendly!
As a Buyers Access member, you have access to an AED program and First Aid Service through Cintas in order to ensure that your property is ready for any medical emergency. So, if you are interested in first aid safety, saving valuable time as well as adding a peace of mind to your residents and staff, contact Buyers Access today.
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Phone 800.445.9169 • Fax 303.991.5588
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Keep Your Eye on the Prize
by Michelle N. on 8/4/2014 12:18:16 PM
Residents should know that their safety and security are community priorities. On Call Now has a great article on how establishing safety initiatives are fostering safe communities for residents while maintaining a budget.
Keep Your Eye on the Prize
Safety is always a top resident concern, but security initiatives don’t have to drain the budget
Why did “This is a safe place to live,” score so high? That’s what I asked my property manager client when she shared the results of her latest resident survey. Her “safety and security” score was higher since her previous survey, and here’s how she did it…
First she contacted neighboring communities and HOAs to establish a zone of interest. Then she contacted the police and fire departments and asked for any resources and property inspections that could help foster safe communities.
Within the first six months of her safety initiative:
- She installed additional lighting in the parking area and common walk ways.
- She revised her lock and key change program.
- The fire department held a fire safety and CPR training event at her complex.
- The police department helped the communities set up a neighborhood watch system.
She also sends residents severe weather alerts and notifies residents to give them a heads-up to help them stay safe. She shared a few recent examples:
- “This month, we’ll be conducting routine seasonal maintenance in many of our units. Service personnel will not come to your unit without an appointment. Our office will always contact you to schedule any maintenance activities.”
- “A large raccoon has been invading our dumpsters. Please be careful when using the dumpsters at night. Make sure your children know to never, under any circumstances approach any wildlife.”
- “A resident in one of our neighboring communities experienced a car break in. So please make sure you always lock your car doors.”
Her attention to safety issues has increased awareness in her community. That alone heightens the perception of security. In addition, her residents are now more security conscience and most of the children in her complex know what to do in an emergency. In a very short period of time, her residents got a strong message that their safety and security were community priorities.
As an added bonus—and this is big—she accomplished this without draining her budget. Her budgeting strategy is, “Keep your eye on the prize and don’t skimp on the most important things that affect retention: maintenance services, safety and security, and good customer service.” I think she’s got it right.
Read On Call Now article here
3 Simple Tips to Enhance Your Move-in Day Plan
by Michelle N. on 7/30/2014 10:53:39 AM
Move-in day is around the corner and each year colleges and universities prepare to welcome students for the fall semester. On Call Now has put together three tips that can help make your life easier for when that hectic day arrives.
3 Simple Tips to Enhance Your Move-in Day Plan
Reach beyond the chaotic logistics to establish long-term benefits
Move-in day is hectic, no doubt about it. It takes a lot of organization just to get through it and get everyone settled in. And even with the best plans, chaos can reign supreme.
But turn time is the best time to lay the groundwork for streamlined processes and smooth relationships with your new and returning student residents.
Here are three tips that fit into any move-in day plan. They’ll help save staff time, reduce late payments and cultivate responsible residents long after move-in day is over.
- Get all their contact information up front—in advance is best. Phone, email, social media. Students usually have multiple contact points. Get it all. And make sure you get all the contact information for their parents, too. Keeping parents in the loop greatly increases your ability to get responses and results. Get as much information as you can prior to move-in day. It may be mission impossible trying to obtain it after.
- Rent guarantee agreements may be legally binding, but reminders trump collections any day! This is where having all the students’ and parents’ contact information is critical. It’s much easier to send a reminder—and it’s effective, too—than to try to collect delinquent rent. Message notification services like One Call Now make it easy. Use it to send voice and text messages via land lines, mobile phones, email and social media. Automated features save loads of staff time. Create and store messages and schedule delivery dates and times. Multiple delivery points for each message make it simple to include parents in your reminder messages.
If it’s feasible, consider sending reminders regarding other housing expenses: utility bills, insurance premiums, and parking permits. If it affects your property, it affects you.
- Let them know what you’ll do. You may already have something in place—your website, literature—to let your student residents know their responsibilities. But don’t fall short when it comes to letting them know your responsibilities. What you will do when a repair is needed; when there’s property damage; when rental payments are late; when they become delinquent.
Let residents and parents know the steps you will take. What they can expect. Knowing that there’s a process in place inspires confidence and satisfaction. And understanding the consequences when they default on their responsibilities fosters compliance.
The steps you take up front to establish your resident/parent communications will payoff throughout the term of the lease.
Read On Call Now article here.
Are Your Business Resolutions Being Met?
by Michelle N. on 7/28/2014 9:52:55 AM
Are your business resolutions being met? Back at the beginning of the year we asked about business resolutions you would be making for the upcoming year – it’s time for a mid-year check up!
Here are some of the things we heard were important to you and your organizations;
Review & Analyze – Perform a complete review of MRO (Maintenance, Repair, Operations) spend for the prior year. Evaluate each property’s expenses and number of vendors used.
Consolidate & Standardize – A reduction in the number of suppliers, and different product brands/styles = standardization. This results in a reduction of invoice processing, inefficient inventory, and time. Time = Money
Negotiate Pricing & Value Added Services – Review your current vendor pricing and discounts. Does that vendor offer value added services (free shipping, rebates, training & reliable customer service)? Schedule meetings with your preferred vendors to review your current purchasing programs.
Implement Your Revised Purchasing Program – Rollout your new purchasing program and procedures to each property. Include initial training to property personnel, scheduled quarterly updates, and performance reports.
Be Realistic & Honest - Do you and/or anyone in your organization have the time to review, develop and implement these necessary steps? Consider the real value of a reputable GPO (Group Purchasing Organization) like Buyers Access. Our average member realizes a NOI of over $50 per unit per year.
How are you doing so far? Have you been able to translate the activities above to better control of your budgets? There is still time! We’re ready to help you get those resolutions on track. Our team of experts can guide you through the process, and give you the support you need to follow through on all of your Business Resolutions!
Save Money and Increase NOI with a Customized Purchasing Strategy
by Michelle N. on 7/9/2014 8:24:29 AM
More and more owners are interested in how to save more money on the various products they purchase. With the right purchasing partner, you can take advantage of member pricing and leverage top quality products from national suppliers as well as track and measure product purchasing across your entire portfolio.
How Do I Find the Right Purchasing Partner?
Learning the proper way to select a multifamily group purchasing partner for your property can be the key to your success. One important area of focus is having the understanding of the big picture reasons for selecting a purchasing partner. Often times important pieces are forgotten or missed all together which can lead you to get on board with the wrong partner. It is imperative for all owners or the go-to decision makers to provide a list of their needs and wants as well as share how they go about the property’s daily purchasing habits.
There are many additional key elements that should be considered when choosing a purchasing partner for your property or portfolio. For example, Buyers Access has expert Account Managers available to walk you through a detailed needs analysis to help determine your purchasing goals and map out the best purchasing strategy for your portfolio’s unique needs. In addition, the Buyers Access dedicated Member Services team can assist in product searches, bulk purchases, special requests, price checks, management reports, bid solicitation, bid contractor sourcing and training.
Lastly, the Client Success team diligently works to support all departments at Buyers Access, from business analytics to corporate office management. All three teams work hard to bring you smart multifamily purchasing services.
For more information on how the Buyers Access Smart Advantage Purchasing Program can save you money and increase NOI, please contact our Sales Team today!
Buyers Access Exhibits at NAA in Denver Next Week
by Michelle N. on 6/10/2014 9:53:06 AM
The 2014 NAA Education Conference & Exposition takes place this year at the Colorado Convention Center in Denver, June 18-21. Make sure to come visit Buyers Access at Booth 909 and learn how your property can increase NOI with the Smart Advantage Purchasing Program. Enter to win Beats by Dre, get your photo taken at our Smart Photo Booth and more! To set up a meeting, please contact a Sales Director below.
Johnathan Hovanec - Vice President of Sales
Location: Orange, CA
Phone: (714) 461-8382
Diana Gaus - National Sales Director
Location: Orlando, FL
Phone: (407) 409-3085
Theresa St. Pierre - National Sales Director
Location: Los Angeles, CA
Phone: (310) 947-5076
Diane Van Lear - National Sales Director
Location: Philadelphia, PA
Phone: (484) 994-4153
Fred Zeeck - National Sales Director
Location: Dallas, TX
Phone: (214) 636-7808
Click here to find our booth location at the show.