TOPIC: Apartment Academy sits down with Chad Moulin, founder of Prop Ops, to talk about why maintenance is more than work orders. This is a can’t-miss episode for property professionals — listen now!
Chad started Prop Ops back in 2012, when he found that there was a major industry need for hands-on training for both technical and soft skills. Because even if you know how to turn a wrench, there’s a human element involved in the maintenance side of properties that people don’t think about.
That’s why it’s important to be calm, cool, and collected in volatile situations. Most people haven’t gone through something like this before. And it’s important to show confidence, to project that you know what’s going on.
Property managers need to say that they’re going to help tenants through the situation and do what needs to be done. Over the years, that’s really helped with the process of getting units back online and getting people back into their apartments.
Numerous studies have shown that one of the top reasons for apartment building churn is the quality of the maintenance. People naturally assume that that means things get fixed, but another component that really matters to people is how that service is delivered.
Maximizing the resident experience outside of the actual repair itself requires training, but it also requires a well-constructed process. What is the process at your company, or at your property? How is communication carried out? These are important questions, especially for maintenance today.
This is a service-based industry, and more often than not, people have feelings about the communication and the level of service that they receive face-to-face. Because people don’t remember dates and times, they remember experiences.
Buy-In From Property Managers
Service managers and technicians on site are usually focused on the day-to-day and already have a lot of competing priorities. Introducing resident relations as another priority requires training people and getting them into that mindset. But if you implement a little bit of education, talk about the budgets and about how you can improve, and show the results, that can lead to drastic turnarounds.
The biggest thing is sharing the results with your teams. Share the stats of your property, where your physical occupancy is. what your economic occupancy is, and why it matters.
Also, you have to make time for the training. You schedule it with coverage, and you kind of do the same thing for preventative maintenance.
Even if you have smaller operators or properties that can’t afford a training budget, many vendors and suppliers will give free or low-cost training to anyone who signs up. Especially when it comes to hands-on stuff on location. They will take something apart, show it to you, and explain the components and everything.
The biggest thing is to know that those efficiencies are out there. They look different for each property and for each company. But you have to do them. You have to start at a baseline. Where are you at now? What are you spending? How long does it take?
In the end, preventative maintenance matters. And while the ROI might be hard to quantify, it is very important and it does have an ROI.