09 Sep

10 Property/Facility Management Basics

1. Do what you say you will do and exceed customer (tenant and building owner) expectations. Procrastination and letting people down, causes more work in the long run.

2. If you are out of the office, say so on your voicemail or instruct those that answer your calls to let callers know when you will return. Create a list of key VIP building owners, tenants and leasing brokers so those calls and messages are directed to you as soon as possible.

3. Give an alternate human to contact if you are busy or away. People want the answer now! Do not make anyone wait. Use an online VoIP forwarding system to have the “follow me” service to your other offices, cell and mobile lines. Many voice mail systems have great features such as voice mail notification. Each time a voice mail is received, the system calls you on your cell phone.

4. Create an online permanent and on-going, F.A.Q. (Frequently Asked Questions) so the simple and most common questions can be answered immediately, with or without you! (Touch It Once)

5. Stay in front of your tenants. Host mini events as often as possible. For instance invite other businesses, community groups/organizations in your area or service vendors, to your location to educate and inform you, your tenants and your staff. This will keep you in the know and addresses a multitude of outreach goals you must keep up with.

6. Do a one page newsletter or blog on a regular schedule that keeps all clients, customers, staff and key vendors up to date on projects at your properties. Include a copy of this page in your monthly owner report so your Asset Manager or Building Owner see the day to day happenings as well.

7. Proofread. Double check. Do the math twice. Check your work, inspect the final product. It saves tons of time by eliminating the time it takes to unravel silly or careless mistakes.

8. Allow enough time to do projects well and defend your deadline or due date. Do not allow people to push you into accepting a deadline you cannot meet. Explain why you need more time upfront rather than agreeing to a date you cannot achieve. Quality is more important than bad quantity.

9. Think about the next guy to follow you. Document, document, document. Leave an excellent audit trail for the “next guy” to follow. Post-it notes work just fine as the most basic bread crumbs. Just leave something to point the way. We are an industry of change, and we need to embrace that eventual sale or transition.

10. Use your website to set up as many online intake forms and documents as possible. In other words, if you wish tenants to keep you informed when key contact information changes, set up an online form or a downloadable form so those important, but easy to execute tasks can be done with a free and simple form.

This list of basics came to mind because there is so much focus on doing things faster and more efficiently and with less people; but you cannot lose sight of the basics. No matter what the economy or the trends, the above 10 basics can make a difference in your time (property) management efforts. Best of all these 10 basics are FREE or very low cost solutions!

07 Jun

New Property or Facility Takeover: Where Do I Start?

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Start out thinking like a one person S.W.A.T. Team and and change your attitude to “We or I manage the facility, the facility does not manage us or me.” It is so very profound and calming. In doing transitions or takeovers of properties you need to focus on several key points.

1. Master or take command of the property. Be ready for an emergency on the evening of day one, around 5pm!
2. Be very determined and relentless.
3. Run the property like a Navy ship and visualize it!
4. Do not accept 2nd best, only the best.
5. Let everyone know what you expect.
6. Follow up and through.
7. Create meaningful logs or lists. (think back to no computers to achieve this)
8. Gather and inventory every single thing and count it all. (think back to no computers to achieve this)
9. Do everything with baby steps but, do, do, do and do not stop.
10. Stop being reactive and let everyone know that Rome was not built in a day or good things take time.
11. I am the biggest geek around and would want everything in a database, online and backed up. However, I have to take command first and sink my teeth into the systems first, meet the tenants and staff and plan and organize before I do anything with the information.
12. Have the engineers draw you tons of pictures so you can visualize all of it and have legends and keys to all key valves and other critial issues as part of the understanding.
13. Go meet the tenants and staff. If need be, walk with the staff or take turns walking and knocking on doors.
14. Contact all contract service providers to be there day two. Again, walk and talk with them as well. Keep knocking on doors if there are any tenants left to meet.
15. Open all drawers and read leases and files, if that is appropriate. All properties are different, but the concept is to find the bombs and defuse them ASAP. Do not wait for them to explode.

That should get anyone off to a running start for a property takeover or transition! For an indepth checklist, check all of the cool forms at IREM or BOMI or IFMA. All of these organizations offer books, forms, procedures and checklists when you are faced with a new property assignment. If you need to obtain an example of a form I have used and adapted over the years, click here to visit my box.net account!

What words of wisdom do you have for folks facing a new property takeover or transition? Tell us about it so we can all learn together!