5 Common Challenges Property Maintenance Companies Face
Running a property maintenance business comes with a lot of challenges, but the most important challenges don’t always happen on a day-to-day level, no matter how complicated the project. While it’s important to make sure your field staff have the right equipment for each day, and the right specialists on call when needed, what happens before, after, and behind the scenes of each successful project your business takes on?
It’s crucial that your property maintenance business has effective lines of communication between its office and field operations, so streamlining collaboration is important. Property maintenance companies must also have the agility to take on new demands while tackling ongoing projects, so scheduling, time management and data management are essential to success. Despite all of this multi-tasking that may leave business owners feeling like plate spinners in a circus act, to run a successful property maintenance business, the company must also successfully execute existing work and will be expected to satisfy its client’s demands on all fronts – and in the moment.
This article explores five challenges common to property maintenance businesses and the ways in which new technology, such as field service management software like Workforce, can support with solving these issues.
Property maintenance companies keep a lot of records – property details, checklists, payment records, and employee records, to name a few. These records are often held as paper documents and files. But there’s always a risk that these documents could be misplaced or destroyed. Flood warnings are prevalent across the UK in recent times, but even something as mundane as an office move could pose a threat.
Property maintenance companies that have not yet digitised all of their processes can avoid losing paperwork by making a digital transformation, and storing their valuable documents on secure cloud platforms like Workforce. Digitising would also allow your business to consolidate any digital tools you may have already implemented in the first steps towards digitising paper processes.
With document frameworks to replace the disparate tools many businesses currently use (such as Microsoft Excel and Google Calendar), property maintenance staff can keep detailed project records using Workforce software, and integrate those documents into an admin system that’s accessible from any location.
With a legacy paper system, office workers may have spent a lot of time sorting through piles of documents to find what they needed, slowing down the daily pace of work and subsequently reducing the quality of service rendered to customers. Within Workforce, important documents like purchase orders and quotes can be stored and referenced easily, and even delivery tracking from suppliers can be integrated into a custom view, meaning office workers and fieldworkers can keep up to date with the status of a project instantly, freeing time to focus on customer service.
Project managers who work with daily timesheets and expense forms can also use Workforce to keep track of their operational processes. Timesheets and quotes can be submitted for payment in the app with the click of the button, drastically reducing the wait time for payments, which will lead to happier staff. For office staff, field staff and customers, the benefits of switching to a paperless system will be invaluable.
Difficulty Managing Data
Although businesses may be used to storing important data on one central machine or server, this is a legacy model of managing data. Put simply, if your business is not utilising cloud services for important data, you will be left behind. Storage capacity is improved on the cloud, which is multiple ‘virtual servers’, rather than one. An obvious benefit is that cloud services can help businesses scale up or manage multiple projects without the risk of lag or jitter that can come from overloading cramped servers with too much information.
Property maintenance businesses, in particular, can benefit from cloud services that enable very easy job logging, management and archiving if needed. Most businesses have woken up to the fact that it’s much easier to access data when it’s stored on cloud-based, user-friendly systems; they can store large amounts of data and retrieve it from where it is securely hosted over the Internet.
Many fears around the cloud are usually based on security and disaster recovery, however, reputable apps will have safeguards in place to ensure business continuity. With a 99.9% uptime record, Workforce utilises the latest technology to ensure your account is both safe and backed up. In the unlikely event that the system suffers a loss of service, everything is backed up in a separate location, which can be restored right away. Cloud services offer a safe and scalable data management solution.
Office staff may be required to communicate with field agents on an ongoing project. Field staff will need a communication channel that lets them share site details with people back at the office. With property maintenance projects, the absence of effective real-time communication channels may lead to a delay in decision-making on the ground, and affect the quality of work done onsite.
Not only can software such as Workforce replace paperwork, it also provides a clear alternative to remote project management that may have taken place via phone calls and meetings in the past. The Workforce platform allows staff to update each other on the progress of work in real-time. Workers in the field can send images of the property they are inspecting back to their office, and get feedback instantly. Office workers can also set up automatic emails or text messages to send to field staff based on conditions, as needed.
Better communication with customers is also supported. With a digital view of the entirety of the project in Workforce, office staff can update customers whenever something changes on the project. Customers can also opt-in to SMS notifications that automatically notify them of updates in real-time. Workforce also enables fully branded comprehensive job reports and you can offer your customers access to a branded portal where they can see all of their job information in one place. Seamless communication will enable a smoother project experience for your staff and your customers.
Sometimes clients will request unscheduled maintenance, especially when a previously unknown fault is detected. This may present problems for property maintenance companies if they can’t immediately determine what the existing schedule looks like, or whether there’s anyone in the field team available to take on the job.
Property maintenance companies could solve this problem with field service management software. Using Workforce, office staff can have an automatic view of field staff at hand via a built-in GPS tracking tool. An office worker can view fieldworkers’ live positions on a real-time map, and this enables them to find the closest fieldworker to take on an urgent job. This agile service level is one that customers will appreciate.
Property maintenance businesses may want to take on more work without significantly scaling up their team and resources. One obstacle to achieving this is a lack of time to get any extra work done. The Workforce app frees up time by making job management processes faster. The app’s tools speed up tasks like reporting, invoicing, and payments, enabling its users to raise their productivity levels within fixed periods.
These are just some of the challenges property maintenance companies face. Many businesses are turning to cloud-based technology to help them overcome difficulties around time, data and multitasking. The property maintenance industry, in particular, has issues that will be directly benefited by cloud-based tools, as covered in this article.
Solutions like Workforce will become a staple for the industry in the coming years, as clients demand faster and higher quality service from businesses in the property maintenance space, so it’s worth learning more and investing in the future of your business.
Workforce is a real-time management solution for Field Service & Service Management businesses. Whether you have a small mobile team of five fieldworkers or a large enterprise with hundreds of field staff, Workforce field service management software makes your job simple. Increase productivity, reduce paperwork and save admin time with our easy to use field service software for both the office and your fieldworkers. Why not trial our software for free today?