Developing a strategy for the communities you manage can put you on the path to success.
- Creating a community management plan is essential
- Focusing on maintenance and repairs is paramount
- You’ll also need communication and financial strategies
- Automating some tasks with technology can help
The life of a community manager is never dull. You have endless work on your plate from the moment you start in this industry, which can quickly pile up if you don’t stay on top of it.
Creating a strategy for promptly handling your tasks is critical. One method involves breaking complex projects into smaller jobs and tackling each of them individually, as this can prevent you from getting overwhelmed and makes the job far more manageable. But regardless of how you schedule your work, staying organized is critical. Here are four community management tips to employ while on the job.
1) Efficiently handle maintenance and repairs
One of the primary roles of a community manager involves dealing with repairs and maintenance. Best practices suggest creating a preventative maintenance plan from the start, as this can limit the number of significant repairs required down the road.
You’ll want to conduct regular inspections of the properties you manage and address areas needing repairs as they arise. You should also have protocols in place for emergency repairs whenever they become necessary.
Developing relationships with contractors and vendors is a vital part of community maintenance. After all, you don’t want your residents waiting days or even weeks for a repair because you can’t find a contractor to help. Using a vendor management system like VendorSmart can help make vetting and organizing your vendors a breeze, making it well worth your consideration.
Your budget should also include allowances for maintenance and repairs, including a “rainy day” fund for unexpected repairs, which could be helpful if a community you manage experiences a catastrophic event.
2) Develop positive relationships with tenants
The relationships you nurture with the residents of your communities also matter. While you probably won’t become friends with most of them, maintaining open lines of communication can foster a more welcoming and cohesive environment, which helps keep everyone happy. Staying as transparent as possible with your tenants can also go a long way toward building trust and establishing good working relationships.
Part of the communication process is creating clear policies and procedures for tenants to follow, including penalties for infractions. Setting rules and enforcing them consistently and fairly helps maintain order within the community. For example, clearly outlining the community’s parking policies can limit disputes and prevent residents from disturbing their neighbors.
Responding to tenant complaints and dealing with tenant disputes are crucial parts of the job. Handling these situations often requires de-escalation techniques, so you’ll want to be sure you have the necessary skills before getting involved in a potentially hazardous situation.
The goal is to provide outstanding customer service because these tenants ultimately pay your salary and expect professionalism in return. Do everything you can to use your communication skills to keep your communities running smoothly and achieve the best results.
3) Have a financial management strategy
Another key aspect of community management is developing a financial management strategy for your properties. Failing to organize each community’s finances can put you in a challenging position as you attempt to handle maintenance costs and determine the fees you’ll need to collect.
Your financial management strategy should begin with a comprehensive budget. This budget should look at how much money you’ll have coming in from tenants and then allocate those funds for the community’s expenses throughout the year. The goal is to create a budget with a surplus that can be used for emergencies or improvement projects in the future.
One way to generate a surplus is to minimize the community’s operating expenses. For example, if you can develop relationships with local vendors, you can sometimes negotiate discounted rates on their services that will save your tenants money.
You’ll also want to implement a rent collection strategy if necessary. This strategy might involve using technology to give tenants multiple ways to pay, minimizing the chances of late payments causing problems.
Finally, your financial management strategy should track all income and expenses through financial reports and statements. These reports offer proof of your operating income and costs, making it easier to stay organized and keep the community’s board up to date.
4) Use technology to automate tasks
The good news is that you don’t have to do all this work on your own. Community management software can help make your job a whole lot easier. This technology can help you automate many of your essential tasks while keeping everything organized and easily accessible.
For example, community management platforms can free up some of your time by sending out automatic past-due rent notices, tracking maintenance schedules, and helping to manage rental applications and screen tenants. You may also want to set up an online tenant portal, which gives residents an easy way to communicate with you and pay their rent, while providing you a convenient place to post community rules, policies, and news.
Community managers are also increasingly using social media and digital marketing to make their jobs easier, as well. You can list any available units on various social media sites and integrate those listings with your community management software for the best results.
Of course, there’s always a learning curve when using new technology, but modern software is designed to be easy to use, and once you get the hang of it, you’ll see the benefits.
Never stop improving
Community management professionals should never stop learning and developing their skills because the industry moves rapidly. Following these tips can help you stay current on best practices and continue to improve the ways your communities operate. Utilizing a vendor management platform can also put you on the right track by helping you find reputable service providers looking for work in your area.
VendorSmart is a web-based platform that helps community managers find the ideal vendors for their projects. Our team does the heavy lifting for you by vetting vendors and compiling bid comparisons for your job, making it easy for you to find the best contractors and service providers for your communities. Contact us today to find out what VendorSmart can do for you.