In commercial real estate today the property management process is complex and detailed. The larger the property and the greater the number of tenants, you will find that the workload and challenges rise.
I find that a checklist or worksheet approach works very well. All the things that need to be done each week or each day by the manager can be itemised and actioned.
So what are the things that frustrate the day and put the pressure on property managers? Try some of these:
- Inbound telephone calls from tenants wanting to talk about issues and maintenance
- Reports and contact meetings with clients and landlords
- Rent arrears processes and actions
- Financial analysis of property performance
- Monthly close off of building income and expenditure activity
- Vacancy management
- Risk management and insurance matters
- Property maintenance
- Leasing negotiations
- Property inspections
You can no doubt add to this list based on the market, the client, and the property. Many issues and challenges arise that will frustrate the regular daily plans of any property manager. Organisation and focus are required to get things done in an orderly way.
An ‘out of control’ property manager soon has a negative impact on property performance and function. It should also be said that some managers are overloaded with too many properties or tenants to control. There are limits in the amount of work that can be done accurately by an individual, and the detailed practices of control in a property investment are many.
An ‘overloaded’ property manager is sometimes the result of a ‘lower fee’ strategy to hold the property and the management. More properties have to be controlled by the one person to keep the department performance and cash flow in balance. If you want to provide a top professional service to the landlords and tenants that you serve, you simply cannot discount the management service fee.
With all of this being said, you can create a ‘worksheet’ concept that the managers work to each day of the week. Here are the rules to the process:
- Start the day with the harder ‘paperwork’ and big issues. Devote the hours of 0800 am to 1100 am to getting that work done.
- Check your emails only after the hard things are actioned.
- Do not take telephone calls before 1100 am so you can get some real results from your ‘paperwork’ time.
- Give your clients a special number to call if anything urgent arises before 1100am.
- Emergency issues should be responded to immediately. You will require someone to ‘vet’ your calls for this purpose and take messages for the more ordinary things.
- All inspections, negotiations, and meetings should occur after 1100 am and before 0500 pm.
- Devote time at the end of the day (after 0500 pm) to organising the next day.
Most property managers work long hours. A working day can usually start before 0800 am and end at 0600 pm. It is not a career choice for people that ‘work by the clock’ and want an 8 hour working day to then go home. Commercial and retail property management is a true ‘profession’; as in specialised industries, hard work and long hours are required. That being said, a reasonable salary should be paid to top managers for the quality skills and knowledge they bring to the task and portfolio.