Effective property management is vital to keep clients, tenants, owners and internal staff happy, but it isn’t always easy. It takes a unique skillset to manage multiple properties including excellent time management skills, organization, dedication and a strong work ethic. Even with these skills, most property managers could use some help to maximize effectiveness. Here are three simple tips to help manage multiple properties:
1. Communication is key
It sounds obvious, but communication is often an undervalued part of the property management process. You already know that it is important to communicate with your staff, but you shouldn’t neglect the importance of maintaining open lines of communication with property owners and tenants.
Creating a clear communication plan is the first step. Ensure that your clients, tenants and other stakeholders know how best to reach you at all times. No one likes being woken up in the middle of the night with an unnecessary call, but it is worth taking the risk if it means that you can get on top of issues before they develop. Also, be sure that you have updated contact information (and emergency contact information) for all your contractors so that you are never left in the lurch when you need to reach out to someone.
Make an effort to regularly reach out to stakeholders in order to prevent any unwanted surprises, and to build up a friendly (but professional) rapport which will make your life easier down the road.
It’s important that communication is recorded. Ensure the contractors you hire are capable of producing a report every time they visit one of your properties to keep you and your clients completely informed of the reason for the visit and what was accomplished while they were there. Make sure this report comes to you electronically so you can easily forward it to the necessary people. Contractors should be embracing new technology in this way (or it might be time to get new contractors).
2. Set clear expectations with contractors and review them regularly
As you know, in order to manage multiple properties effectively, you have to put your trust in other people and delegate tasks to make the most of your valuable time. Landscaping is the perfect example of a task that should be delegated.
However, communication doesn’t end once the contractor is hired. For example, it’s important to set clear expectations and goals for each service. Whether you’re investing in irrigation and water management, snow and ice removal or landscape management, a clear Scope of Work will outline expectations as well as the actionable items included in each service. Having a clear and well-defined Scope of Work is a great first step towards successful results on your properties. Reviewing the Scope of Work with your contractors regularly will ensure nothing is being missed and goals are being met on your properties within agreed upon timeframes.
It’s important that the contractors you hire understand your property goals and can articulate a clear plan to achieve these goals within the Scope of Work document. When you work alongside an experienced specialist and have clear expectations you’ll be better able to achieve high standards, long-term results and see a strong return on your investment.
3. Establish long-term working relationships
It’s important to establish long-term relationships with the best contractors. Developing a good working relationship will help you to:
- Keep communication clear and accurate
- Develop trust with your contractor which will allow you to spend less of your time managing them
- Reduce frequent turn-overs between contractors – this wastes time and money as you have to find and interview new contractors – you may go through several companies before you find the right one
- Reduce the risks involved in hiring new contractors with whom you haven’t yet established trust.
Early planning and preparation are key to a successful year and quality landscape. Look for contractors who offer seasonal care packages – these types of packages are designed to offer holistic care to your property, will minimize the disruption to seasonal routines and will increase your return on investment, especially when you commit to working with one contractor over a three or five-year timeline.
Effective communication, clear expectations and long-term relationships with your contractors are three simple, but critical steps to ensure effective property management, especially when multiple properties are in play.
POSTAL CODE CHANGE: Please note that the Garden Grove Landscaping postal code has changed to L8B 1K5. Our 136 5th Concession location remains unchanged. Please edit our contact information accordingly.
Written by Paul Lammers
Paul Lammers is the vice-president of operations with Garden Grove Landscaping. Garden Grove provides Commercial Landscape Management Services across the Golden Horseshoe, GTA and Southwestern Ontario. Paul may be contacted at email@example.com or 1-866-996-1099.