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;
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.