Building a repair communication process that provides your residents with a responsive system for a quick repair and offering a variety of communication tools is critical to scaling your real estate property management portfolio.
Let's dive in first by talking about the items needed to establish a repair system for tenants:
Multiple ways in which tenants can request a repair.
Means to filter user error from true repair need.
Work order processing system.
List of reputable and reliable vendors.
By establishing these four systems, you will be able to build a repair response system that will act as an arm for building and maintaining your portfolio.
So, let's start with building a communication system for tenants. In order to do so, you need to set up multiple ways in which a resident can request a repair by:
Now, while we prefer email and text because it provides a written record of what was discussed, a phone call is an effective option for understanding the repair need quickly but doesn't provide a means to record the conversation. Unless you use a third party operating service. We will dig into this later in the lesson.
Next, once a communication system is set up for the repair need, you really want to have a way to filter out the requests that are based upon user error instead of a true repair need. This will assist in your costs in travel to assess the situation. While some third-party operating services assist with this process, I recommend draft a Top 10 list of most common requests for repairs. Then, build out a series of questions to each of these common requests with the intent of breaking out whether a vendor should be sent to the property or if the resident can simply fix this issue themselves.
Once established, having your work order system in place will be fundamental to recording, tracking, and following up on open work orders. Having said this, there are many free or entry-level software providers that can be used for recording and tracking work orders. The problem is, many require you to find your own communication service. Thus, we have not found one that provides both communication and recording possibilities.
As you grow in size, having an operating call center is effective, but having a system in place to connect your communication system with your work order recording system is critical. Hiring a virtual assistant is an effective means of completing this bridge, but your standard operating procedures must be in writing or video format for your VA to perform.
Finally, you need a list of reputable and reliable vendors that can assist you in having repairs handled quickly, affordably, and reliably. Personally, I have always been a fan of finding my own vendors, screening them, and using them slowly over time to build an effective vendor model.
When doing so, the first step in finding REPUTABLE VENDORS. This can be done by speaking to established landlords, finding reputable review websites, and simply picking up the phone and asking the vendor a list of standard questions.
Vendors should also provide a variety of means for contact (voice, text, email), and you will want to make sure your vendors are aware that they are competing with other vendors for your work orders over time. Vendors should also have the ability to be paid by mailing a check, Zelle, Venmo, or credit card. The more payment options – the better.
Vendors should also have the ability to invoice within 24 hours of the completed service. These invoices should always provide an itemization of detail of work completed, the ability to pay through the invoice itself with a credit card in preferred, and the ability to download the invoice as a pdf for recording purposes.
Re-evaluate your vendor list every six months. Those that perform well get pushed to the top of the list. Those that perform poorly get taken off the list. By cleaning your list over this timeframe, you are sharpening your system and building a strong team for repair purposes.
Our next lesson, lesson 7, will be covering how to handle inspections in an efficient and effective manner.