Streamlining the maintenance requests and work orders that come in from your tenants is vital for several reasons. First, it gives you peace of mind knowing that those maintenance requests are responded to right away. This is an important part of your process because your residents want to know that their concerns are being addressed right away. They don't want to wait weeks or even months for repairs. When you have a streamlined process in place, you’re improving tenant retention because you’re meeting the needs of your residents and providing a responsive rental experience.
Second, a streamlined work order management system will allow you to track and control your spending. You’ll have a more detailed look at what you’re spending on repairs and preventative maintenance and what you’re losing on emergencies. This will allow you to budget better and feel less surprised when you need to make a replacement.
This is also a great way to improve communication between you, your vendors, and your residents.
If you’re working with a Los Angeles property management company, there’s likely already an efficient and data-driven process in place to keep maintenance requests organized, efficient, and streamlined. We’ve invested in a great system that allows us to be transparent and accountable when it comes to how maintenance requests are received and what we do to respond.
We’re telling you a bit about that process today, and sharing some additional benefits to remaining focused and process-driven when it comes to better maintenance for your investment property.
Collecting Online Maintenance Requests from Tenants
We streamline a lot of communication, we manage our response, and we follow up much better because we accept maintenance requests online from our tenants.
This doesn’t work for every situation. If there’s an emergency, for example, we’ll want a phone call. But for routine repairs and general needs, the online process that we’ve implemented serves our tenants, our owners, and our properties much better.
Here’s a look at how it breaks down:
Emergency Repair Requests
Unexpected maintenance emergencies are often stressful for tenants, and they need immediate reassurance. Your property needs speedy attention. If there’s a fire or a flood or a sewer line has broken or an occurrence is putting the health and safety of you tenants in danger, you want to take immediate action. No one, in such a case, is thinking about the reporting process in your lease agreement.
A phone call is usually best when we’re talking about emergencies at your Los Angeles rental property. Tenants should call you as soon as they notice that something has gone wrong. You don’t want to waste any time when it comes to protecting your property and your residents.
Routine Maintenance Requests Online
Routine repairs do not require a phone call. Instead, we encourage tenants to use our online reporting system so that everything can be streamlined and easily managed and documented.
These routine issues are likely to feel inconvenient for your tenants. They will still be anxious to receive an immediate and efficient response from you, and if you’re interested in retaining those tenants, you’ll want to act with a sense of urgency, even if the repair needs are minor. Let them know that the problem is being taken care of and you have a plan to fix or replace whatever is needed.
An automated response can be sent as soon as a request is submitted, confirming the receipt and providing a brief summary of next steps.
Accepting electronic maintenance requests is easy for Los Angeles property managers because we’ve invested in some great technology which provides our renters with an online tenant portal. That’s where residents can make routine requests when something is wrong or needs attention. These repairs are often responded to in a day or two, so there’s really no delay.
If you’re not already working with a Los Angeles property manager, you might not have the resources necessary to provide an online portal or a streamlined maintenance request process that integrates with your existing platforms and software. But, you can still accept the request in writing. Ask tenants to email you or send a text message. You can use any messaging app, really, to collect and organize maintenance requests.
Why Collect Repair Requests in Writing Online?
Everyone has a different process for accepting maintenance requests and responding to them. We like having written repair requests for a number of reasons, and we’ve found that this process is consistent, effective, and pretty easy. It works well for everyone because:
It allows tenants to make requests at times that they find convenient. They don’t have to worry about waiting until normal business hours to make a phone call.
This process allows you to document when the request came in.
It allows tenants to be as detailed as possible in describing what is wrong. Pictures and videos can even be uploaded in tenant portals to show what’s going on.
Here’s the most important reason that we think it’s a good idea to create an online reporting process for maintenance: There’s a record of how the repair was handled. Our process provides a written timeline and a sequence of events that can protect you if a tenant claims a repair was not made. The intuitive function of this process can also help our owners plan for when preventative maintenance may be needed going forward. If you’re trying to decide when to replace an appliance, for example, you can review how often you’ve had to fix it in the last year or two.
Streamlining Means Prioritizing Work Orders
Another great reason that we streamline all of the maintenance requests and work orders that come through our system is that it allows us to prioritize. We’re managing a lot of properties for a lot of owners and investors. We cannot let any of them slip by, unnoticed. When we’re collecting all the information we need about maintenance and repairs in this consistent and streamlined way, we can take a look at the individual needs of each property and compare them to the other needs we’re juggling. We’ll know where we need to direct most of our time, attention, and resources right now.
Just because a repair isn’t an emergency doesn’t mean we’ll leave it on the back burner. We get to every repair request quickly, but we need to know where the literal fires are.
With our process, we know what needs to get done. Prioritized lists help us organize work orders and keep track of them more efficiently and effectively.
When work orders come in, we sort them based on:
Urgency of need.
Team member or vendor who is likely to respond.
Bell Properties gets a snapshot of what’s needed, and we can respond to the most urgent requests first. Having a list of every work order that’s open can also prevent requests falling through the cracks. We’re able to do this with our software management technology, which keeps us detailed, accurate, and transparent when it comes to the maintenance that’s needed and the maintenance we’re performing.
Our system automatically adds tenant requests to our dashboard, allowing us to immediately assign work orders and respond to them right away. We can track the process and the progress right up until the point that each particular request is closed out.
With our streamlined and prioritized lists, we create a system of ensuring every repair issue is addressed. We also resolve the most pressing issues first instead of responding to requests randomly. Prioritized lists make maintenance work orders less chaotic and more predictable.
Streamlining Maintenance Helps Us Manage Expectations
Sharing and understanding expectations is much better for the relationships we create with tenants. Our residents understand what to expect from us when a maintenance request is made, and they understand what we expect from them in terms of how to help us care for your investment property.
Thanks to excellent communication and our effective process, our tenants have realistic expectations about when requests will be completed.
Most of our residents are educated about their properties and our process. They understand the level of urgency for each type of maintenance request they make and the work order we assign. For example, a complaint about a leak or an HVAC issue will be attended to in a day or two, while a closet door that’s sticking might take a few days.
Bell Properties provides tenants with an estimated resolution time for every work order that they’re waiting for us to complete.
Not having a streamlined process in place to receive, communicate, and follow up about these work orders will take a lot of extra time. You’ll be having multiple conversations about the same things, constantly shifting and changing your priorities, and your tenants will be left wondering when you’re going to take care of their issue.
Streamlined maintenance processes and work order management ensures everything is completed on time and correctly. Your residents will be happy with your responsiveness.
Would you like to hear more about how we manage maintenance for Los Angeles investment properties? Please contact us at Bell Properties.