There is an acronym we recently coined around our office for the key components involved in quality maintenance that I think is helpful albeit a bit odd-sounding. The acronym is Quality PECS. In other words:
- P: Professionalism
- E: Expectations
- C: Communication
- S: Speed
If this weird acronym-of-sorts is missing anything it would be an F for Focus or an I for Importance. In other words, maintenance is really important and you should not let it become an afterthought.
Why Maintenance is So Important
A prospective tenant may become an actual tenant with a warm glow in their heart. Your new tenant may love the house or apartment he or she moved into and think it is the greatest place imaginable. But even if that is the case, that warm veneer will wear off. After a while, their landlord or property manager is just that person who takes their money every month and little more.
This is not exactly a good dynamic for them to feel positively about you.
Where you can change that perception is with good maintenance.
Maintenance is, more or less, customer service in property management. It is the chance you get to prove your worth. The better you do on maintenance, the more lease renewals you will get. The more lease renewals you get, the less turnover you will have. The less turnover you have, the greater your profitability will be.
So make maintenance a priority. And do so by focusing on Quality PECS.
Quality: This should go without saying. Use good materials and quality contractors or employees. Don’t be penny wise and pound foolish!
Professionalism: Whether you do the maintenance yourself, hire a contractor or have employees do the work, you should insist on professionalism. This means not only to be polite and treat your residents with respect, but also to dress well. If you have employees, I would recommend ordering company shirts for them and even decals for their trucks.
Expectations: This is a big one that often gets forgotten. People are often much more upset about their expectations not being met (even if their expectations are unrealistic) than poor quality work. We lay out our maintenance process, how long things usually take and what is and what is not emergency maintenance during our lease signings. This way, the tenant has the right expectations from the get go.
Communication: Another big issue that is often overlooked is communication. As with expectations, people will often be less upset by a work order being done slowly than with a lack of communication. If you stay in touch and let them know where things were at, most people will believe you care and are on top of things and that goes a very long way. So even if you don’t have an update, let the tenant know that there is no update and you will reach out again as soon as there is one.
Speed: Finally, everyone wants things done yesterday. The faster you can get out to a project, the better. We aim to get to each maintenance request within 72 hours. That doesn’t mean the work order will be done then (it may require a second trip or ordering a part), but we will get there within 72 hours. And if we can’t for some reason, we will call the tenant and explain why (Communication).
Obviously, these things are easier said than done. But if you make maintenance a priority and work on each element of “Quality PECS,” your tenants will greatly appreciate that. And in turn, they will reward you with more lease renewals.