24 Hour Service?

This is a question that many property managers discuss among themselves.  Do we provide a 24 hour service?  Emergencies can happen at any time, so is a property manager on call every moment of every day?
When asking a property manager, the answer is ‘No, don’t be silly.’  But when you ask a landlord or tenant, the answer is increasingly becoming an indignant ‘Yes ,of course’ and often when they call at 7am in the morning or 3pm on a Sunday afternoon they’re surprised that no one answers.
Here’s the challenge we face – mobile phones, laptops, tablets – they all allow us to be accessible 24/7, but if you think about those industries that are on call, available 24/7, think about how much they charge.  A lawyer is going to answer / have meetings with their clients at any time of the day, but I’d shudder to think of the hourly cost – $300ph, $500ph… Yet, on a $300pw property, how much do you think a company is earning – somewhere between $15-26 per week, and that’s not what the property manager themselves is being paid.  Turn that into 150 properties and that’s $2250 – $3690per week.  168 hours in a week = $21ph best case scenario (And again, that’s the company, not what the PM is getting paid)
Would you be on call 24/7 for well under $21ph?
Thanks, but no thanks.
So how do we get around the seeming need for 100% access 100% of the time?  Without charging 15% management commission? (Though, if you want to list 150 properties with me at %15 commission, I’d put my hand up as a business owner to be available 24/7 I can tell you that now)
Here’s how we provide our service;

  1. The after hours contact is spread around.  So it’s not 1 person on call all the time.  We have an office number, with a voice mail that provides urgent trade contacts and an emergency mobile number.
  2. We understand that not all hard working landlords or tenants can be available during the day, so we offer an after hours call schedule – it’s much easier (and a much better work life balance) to book in a phone conference at a set time outside normal business hours than it is to have someone call you in the middle of trying to get your kids to bed for example.
  3. Business owner is always available.  It’s a hard job, but someone has to do it.  as the owner of Eview Werribee, Bryan’s number (which is on all his cards, online, on the website) makes him accessible 24/7.  Will he answer the phone at 3am in the morning?  Unlikely, but if you book in this time for an international conference call then that’s a different story.

Am I available 24/7?  Almost.  The benefit of being an employee over being a business owner.  (I am typing this on a Sunday afternoon but hey, it’s more interesting than the footy right now).
As a landlord, what are your expectations?  As a tenant, how contactable do you think your property manager should be?  Let me know, I’m always interested in feedback.