image of people with homemade face masks

Advanced Solutions for Property Managers in 2022

Updated | 1/26/2022

COVID-19 has negatively impacted the multifamily industry, creating a myriad of new challenges for property managers and owners. Some pandemic pain points include:

  • Increased prices of tools and materials
  • Decreased availability of third-party vendors
  • Larger time frames for delivery of supplies for repairs
  • Increased resident presence due to more people working from home or being in quarantine
  • Increased demand for extra services and amenities

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the consumer price index rose 7% in 2021, the largest 12-month increase since the period ending in June 1982. In 2022 the cost of maintaining a multifamily property will continue to increase, while the availability of supplies and vendors will continue to decrease.

To succeed as a property manager, you need to increase operational efficiencies with the correct tools. To help you achieve your goals, AppWork has developed new product features, including auto-assign for work orders, automatically updating make ready boards with vacant units, location tracking for technicians, and more. Our goal is to help you have a successful and profitable year.

Five Priorities for Multifamily Property Managers

#1 Keep Residents Safe and Happy

Attracting and retaining high-quality residents will be the top priority in 2022. Since the pandemic started, residents are staying home more, resulting in an increased demand for amenities. When a resident trusts you as a property manager, they will be more loyal in the long run. Residents complain the most about receiving subpar maintenance services; they often cite this as the primary reason for moving out. Providing outstanding maintenance is the best way to gain trust and retain residents.

When it comes to maintenance, residents want responsive and contactless service. It needs to be easy to make a service request, there needs to be a quick response, and they need to feel safe with the maintenance process.

Most residents want to create work orders digitally and at their convenience. This is why AppWork offers an online resident portal and a mobile application for residents. They can create work orders, attach pictures, add notes, and rate service all from one place.

image of man working at home with his dog

Besides easy service requests, residents want quick responses. That doesn’t have to mean a technician showing up at the door within 24 hours. It does mean receiving some response and acknowledgment of their request. When residents receive prompt emails, keeping them informed about the status of their work order, then they feel that you’re working on a solution.

According to the 2022 State of Property Management Industry Report, residents of all ages prefer communication via email over texts and phone calls. With AppWork, a resident receives an email every time their work order status changes. They also have the option to receive a text message, if they prefer. Not having to deal with the headaches of upkeep and maintenance is a big reason why some residents continue renting instead of buying. Residents must feel that maintenance is easy and hassle-free if you want them to stay.

Cloud-based property maintenance platforms also provide extra security for residents in two ways. They avoid face-to-face encounters with office staff (and can schedule technician visits to avoid face-to-face time with them). Also, with an application like AppWork, residents will see a picture of their technician before the technician arrives.

#2 Keep Owners Informed and Happy

In a volatile property market, owners need to stay apprised and have a solid understanding of their properties’ performances. Analytics and reports are two of the top digital solutions desired by owners.

Both owners and property managers built AppWork. We know how important data is for making informed business decisions. We also understand that if you have loads of information, but no one can read the report, then all that data is meaningless.

As more properties adopt software solutions for management, owners expect increased transparency. The problem is that some property management software programs are intuitive and easy to use by on-site teams but lack depth in analytics. Other programs provide in-depth, comprehensive analytics but are difficult for staff members to use.

AppWork has created a platform that balances the needs of owners, managers, technicians, and residents. On-site teams can quickly understand and use the application, while managers will benefit from extensive data and easy-to-read reports. Easily export reports so that your boss can track the progress of each property and technician—full transparency with the click of a button!

#3 Keep Technicians Busy and Happy

The labor shortage in the multifamily industry is expected to get worse before it gets better. Given the dearth of service technicians and the decreased availability of third-party vendors, it’s more important than ever to engage your service technicians.

image of man fixing a light bulb

Also, it’s critical to utilize your technicians' time wisely. Recently, AppWork launched a feature using machine learning to auto-assign work orders. AppWork’s algorithms take into consideration the technicians’ current workloads, ratings, and skill sets. Besides saving you time, auto-assign helps to ensure that technicians have consistent and regular work.

Finally, AppWork is working hard to improve communication with third-party vendors. We want to create a work order workflow that moves smoothly from request to purchase order approval to assignment to completion, whether you assign the task to an on-site tech or a vendor.

#4 Balance Technology with a Human Touch

The age of whiteboards has ended. AppWork’s cloud-based make ready board offers the ease and customization of an analog whiteboard, with the advantages of digital automation. If you see a column that you don’t want or need, you can hide it with the click of a mouse. The best advantage over a whiteboard? It isn’t stuck on a wall in one location and awkward to move around. Multiple people can work on it from different places—even on-site!

Embracing technology in property management operations results in increased efficiency and increased convenience. The problem is when extra efficiency results in losing touch with your residents. Technology is on the rise, but the need for empathy and human interaction has also increased during the pandemic.

According to the NMHC, the percentage of rent payments made continues to decline from 2019 through 2021. In some states, almost 20% of renters are behind in their payments. Property managers are stuck in the middle, dealing with unhappy owners who are losing income, and upset residents who are struggling with financial difficulties plus the fear of eviction.

In situations like this, all the technology in the world won’t help. Residents are people. People have basic, universal needs. These include the need for esteem, both self-esteem and the respect of others. It’s vital to protect the dignity of your residents (even if you, unfortunately, need to evict them), and this will require a personal touch. The more that you, as a property manager, personalize your relationships with residents, the fewer turnovers will occur.

#5 Increase Operational Efficiencies

For managers with multiple properties located near each other, creating a centralized maintenance team can save time, money, and manpower. To help with this, AppWork now offers location tracking for technicians. When a work order comes in for a broken radiator, you can easily find which HVAC expert is closest.

Better yet, location tracking will help you know where your techs are currently working. In case of an emergency, you can pull them quickly to handle the urgent situation.

Additionally, AppWork offers advanced technician skill tracking. Want to know who fixed the most appliances? Who completed the most plumbing tasks? With our technician dashboard, you can easily see and demarcate specialists.

Don’t want your top plumber called out to flip a breaker switch? You can customize the work order categories each technician should or should not be assigned. Plus, AppWork uses artificial intelligence to categorize work orders as they come in. The resident can submit a work order, and then AppWork will categorize it automatically and assign it to the appropriate technician, without you having to lift a finger.

Finally, AppWork has added the ability to automatically update make ready boards. As soon as a unit is vacant, it will show up on the board, so property managers can get it ready for a new tenant, without having to add the unit manually. Let AppWork focus on the tedious, recurring tasks so you can focus on building personal relationships with your residents.

Bonus Feature: Customized Property Management

Every multifamily property manager needs to increase profits, increase efficiency, increase staff buy-in, keep residents happy, and track progress. AppWork has all of those needs met, but we wanted to give you a little something extra.

We recently rolled out a new feature that allows managers to revamp how the look and feel of the AppWork application. You can add a custom color scheme and your company’s logo. We realize that however much we love the color green, you might prefer something else. Other property management software applications can charge hundreds of dollars for white labeling, but AppWork is offering it free to every client.

We’ve worked as property managers, and understand how important customization is. We’re going to continue adding features that allow you to customize your make ready board and more. You have a unique way of doing things—a company vocabulary, branding, and workflows. We want AppWork to fit in with your existing staff and structure. This increases familiarity and decreases the learning curve.

Take Your Properties to the Next Level

The coming year will continue bringing challenges to the multifamily property industry. This is the perfect time to adopt new technology. Instead of letting those challenges bring you down, you can use them as an opportunity to improve and grow. At AppWork, we believe that your success predicates ours. Our core mission is to help you succeed.