Property Maintenance: Outsource, or DIY?
If your organization owns or operates a property, then proper maintenance is an essential part of staying in business:
- If you use a property to operate a consumer-facing business, you know just how important it is that customers like the appearance of the storefront and feel safe spending their money there.
- If your property is used as office space by your employees, you’re probably aware that a safe, tidy, functional workspace is essential for facilitating efficient work.
- If you lease your property out to commercial or residential tenants, then more than anyone you know how important it is that the building and the grounds stay in good shape.
Not only does proper maintenance keep the property functional, but it also helps it retain its value. The further that damaging problems like leaks, pests, or decay are allowed to progress, the harder they’ll be to fully repair. If your building falls into disrepair, not only will it make business more difficult, but it will also drive down the price of the property if you ever decide to sell it.
Okay, so maintaining your property is important, but how do you do it? What kinds of skills and expertise do you require to keep your building(s) in good condition? What counts as property maintenance?
What counts as property maintenance?
For starters, property maintenance refers to the preventative or reactive inspections and repairs done on any physical assets or infrastructure on your property.
So this includes those visually appealing interiors you had designed, and the exterior envelope that’s the first thing clients, customers or tenants see. But it also includes the hidden parts of the building: structural integrity, electrical wiring, water and gas lines, heating and ventilation, etc. Everything that makes your building safe and comfortable to live or work in.
Preventative Maintenance is done on a regular basis to seek out problems that might otherwise go unnoticed and to deal with minor damage from regular wear and tear. In other words, it’s maintenance done to prevent problems that would interfere with your business. For example, it’s good practice to check up on your HVAC systems a few times per year, even if they’ve never caused you any problems.
Reactive Maintenance is done to quickly repair/resolve problems that have already occurred so that you can minimize the impact on your business. So if your HVAC system suddenly stops working in the middle of winter or on a hot summer day, you’ll need quick, reactive maintenance to keep your occupants comfortable.
What skills and expertise are required to maintain a property?
Maintenance requirements will vary based on the age and location of the property, the quality of its construction, and what you use it for. But in general, maintaining a property involves understanding a diverse range of complex systems and regulations well enough to know when things are going wrong, and how to fix them.
Unless your business or organization runs itself, you as the owner probably don’t have the time to take care of the regular maintenance work. And unless your building is relatively small or simple, the maintenance needs will probably be too diverse for one person’s expertise.
You could hire an in-house team of maintenance professionals to cover all your maintenance needs, but if your organization is under a certain size, this would probably be prohibitively expensive.
Why not use contractors?
Luckily, you can outsource maintenance services to contractors: plumbers, electricians, exterminators, and other specialists are always an option depending on your need. Contractors only have to get paid when you need them, so you don’t have to employ maintenance personnel when everything is going well, potentially saving you a lot of money.
Contractors are also more scalable, if you suddenly need more maintenance work than your in-house team can manage, you’ll either have to wait until they can get around to the other issues, or hire more workers you probably won’t need in a short time. You could always make these temporary positions, but that still requires a lot of administrative work to seek out and hire new members. Contractors, on the other hand, you can just call when you need.
But outsourcing your maintenance does have its downsides. As free agents, contractors may be stretched thin if many other properties need their services, and might not be as available as your in-house team would be.
Contractors also need to be contacted and requested every time you need them; if your maintenance needs are urgent (e.g. a broken pipe spraying water into a tenant’s unit), these extra steps can delay the solution. An in-house team, if you can afford one, would probably be able to respond more quickly.
Outsourced Property Maintenance Services
There is one more option, however, besides contractors or an in-house team: Bilt’s comprehensive property maintenance services. Instead of having to deal with a plumber and an electrician and an HVAC specialist and a carpenter and any other specialist contractors individually, Bilt provides all of these services when you need them, all in one business. All of our service packages involve all maintenance services, but there are three levels of availability depending on your need:
- Our Bronze Package sets you up with as-you-need services for an agreed hourly fee and ensures that any maintenance concerns get addressed within 1-3 days. This is the best option for properties that only require infrequent, mostly reactive maintenance.
- Our Silver Package is designed for properties that need more regular maintenance, but won’t be too badly affected when things break down. Together, we’ll create a run-to-failure maintenance program for your property and assets so that you get the most use out of what you already own. Just choose 2-4 days per week, and we’ll come and perform any inspections or maintenance you need on those days.
- Finally, our Gold Package is designed for organizations that can’t risk having maintenance issues with their property or their assets. The Gold Package keeps us on-call 24/7 so that we can respond to any maintenance requests as soon as they’re made. Best for clients that need at least 5 days, or 40 hours, per week of maintenance.
You can read more about our services by downloading our Property Maintenance Services Guide.
So which solution is right for you? There are a number of factors to consider before making a decision, so we’ve summarized them in the table below so you can compare every factor. Bilt’s service packages can accommodate any sized business with any amount of property maintenance needs. Get in touch with a representative today to see how our services can start saving you money and keeping your property in tip-top shape.