Business and management textbooks often advocate ‘leading from the front’, but how do you do this in the property management business? And how does it help you?
Contractor management is a prime example of where you can lead from the front
How you deal with both tenants and contractors will have a big impact on how they react to you. Actions speak louder than words, so you have to ensure that your performance with tenants and contractors is in alignment with your expectations from them.
An example: paying contractors before their payment due date
If you pay contractors as soon as they have completed your work, you will find that they will prioritise your work in future. They will view you as good to work with.
So even if their payment system asks for money by the 20th of the month, you’ll always stand out if you pay them within 7 days.
Tenants appreciate prompt attention too
You’ll find that your tenants will also tend to complete things quickly if you undertake your landlord responsibilities quickly.
Tenants will notice if the electrician or plumber turn up immediately after they’ve made a repair request. Or if you proactively organise hedge cutting throughout the year, they’ll perceive you as being an organised person who cares about the presentation of the property. Likewise, you’ll make a strong statement if you organise to have the gutters cleaned out every year at the start of spring.
It pays to lead from the front
If your tenants are impressed with the service they receive from you, they will tend to prioritise the things they need to do for the landlord.
Tenants generally think that the only thing that’s important to the Landlord is the rent being paid – and on time. However, if it took you 6 months to repair a stove element, they’ll probably remember that when you’re chasing up payments for their water charge. In most cases, you’ll have to do a lot less chasing if you act promptly and proactively… or in other words, lead from the front.
An example of leading from the front:
I was once managing the electrical design and installation on a large industrial site.
Because of the tight project programme, I had arranged for our electrical contractor to provide workers 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. This meant they were running 2 crews each day, i.e. the day crew and night shift. This was a total of about 25 electricians, and the contractor agreed to this programme and proceeded to implement it well.
I always remember a comment made to me by the owner (principal) of the electrical contracting company. I was on the site on a Sunday evening at 9pm just to see how progress was going; the principal of this company had also driven up. He had supervisors and a foreman on site, so he didn’t actually need to be there to organise anything. I thanked him for dropping by at 9pm on Sunday night.
His comment to me was that he couldn’t expect his team to be working long hours and yet he wasn’t seen to be stepping up to the plate. He stated that he believed in leading from the front.
Leading from the front isn’t just about taking your Landlord responsibilities seriously; it provides a better working relationship, better communication, and better results for everyone.
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