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Forget to Schedule Maintenance? Automate It!

With winter just a few weeks away, many residential property managers have already begun preparing their properties – as well as their tenants and residents – to be ready for the worst that the weather has to offer.

One of the best and cost-effective ways to be prepared, of course, is through regular preventive and corrective maintenance. Waiting until after damage is done just makes the job that much more expensive. Performing some routine maintenance at regularly scheduled intervals can reduce and in some cases eliminate the need for costly emergency repair calls.

While the majority of property managers do a good job of routine upkeep, preventive maintenance can be easily neglected when you’re busy with so many other things. Most property managers and landlords spend the majority of their time responding to emergency calls to fix problems as they arise, processing thousands of individual work orders a year.

A recent survey from Software Advice found that more than half of property managers use manual methods such as Microsoft Excel or even a physical paper log to manage their properties, while nearly 10 percent currently don’t have any method in place. While about a third currently use property management software, many of those systems don’t automate scheduling and tracking of preventive maintenance. Many are not equipped to address common-area issues – such as pool winterization, roof and gutter maintenance, storm sewer cleanouts, fall landscaping and cleanup, fireplace and chimney cleaning – only work orders for individual units. Each preventive maintenance task, therefore, needs to be done manually as a new work order.

These are time-consuming distractions that are better done in an automated fashion. By implementing an automated notification system, property managers can schedule routine maintenance as well as more easily communicate with tenants about what’s being done to improve their homes and neighborhoods, raising resident satisfaction.

Anton System’s SKYLINE Facilities Maintenance and Work Order Processing Module helps property management firms reduce costs and increase efficiency by automating and accelerating the entire maintenance process while providing full integration for end-to-end accountability.

The module enables property managers to easily create detailed work orders and schedule and track routine preventive maintenance tasks. The module dispatches both in-house and contracted service calls and records and tracks all job activity, including time and material expenses. Once the order is completed, the system identifies whether the job needs to be billed to the resident or the property owner.

It includes a color-coded weekly work order schedule and calendar with detailed drill down into each work order. It includes an analytical time/cost report with statistical details and metrics by unit, vendor and task, helping to eliminate duplicate expenses and overhead costs. By using the system, managers and owners can create custom reports to analyze costs, including budget versus actual data and historical details.

Forty percent of property managers surveyed looking for a new property management system say they want a Web-based solution, including being able to access information via a mobile device. With SKYLINE, managers can submit work order requests electronically via the Internet through the customizable webwork request portal and send work orders via email to multiple technicians and vendors.

Users managing more than one property can run multiple SKYLINE databases simultaneously from one source.

While using good property management software with a solid maintenance module like SKYLINE can make scheduling and tracking maintenance work easier, it’s only as good as the data that’s input into the system. Make sure your maintenance staff knows what to look for and what needs to be tracked. SKYLINE takes care of the rest.

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