Facility Maintenance

As the fall and winter months approach, it is not only time to think about outdoor maintenance of your facility, but also maintenance of your office entry and area. The office is the first point of appeal a prospective tenant will see. It is imperative it be neat, tidy and appealing.

Stand back and look at the front of your facility. How does the entry door look? If it's painted, does it need a new coat of paint or a new sign posting office hours? If it's glass, do you try to keep it clean and free of fingerprints? What about the awning, if any--is it in good shape or does it need replacement? Do you have planter boxes near the entry? If so, how do they look? Is it time to replace them with winter annuals if you are in the South, or time to retire them to the company unit until next spring? How do your curtains or mini-blinds look? Are they tired and worn and needing replacement? Do you have an "OPEN" sign in your window that displays office or gate hours? If not, perhaps you should head to the office-supply store and get one.

Now it's time to look inside the office. How does it look and smell? Yes, I said smell. Some offices can be less than pleasing to the nose, as you know. If you need a little something to help in that area, consider getting a potpourri jar, air freshener, candles, flowering plants--something to help the office smell pleasant.

Now take a look at your counters. Are they neat and uncluttered? Do your tenants have room to sign a rental agreement or write out their rent checks? Do you display other items beside those associated with storage? If so, are they attractively displayed or should they be there at all? How does the countertop look? Is it clean and well-maintained or does it need replacing? If it needs replacing, get some bids from contractors for your owner or supervisor. What about the front of the counter? Is it all scuffed up and in need of painting or does it look good?

Take a look at the walls. Are they cluttered with papers push-pinned to them? Do they need a new coat of paint? If so, should you call painting contractors or handle the job yourself? What about your decorative pictures--are they clean or do they need replacing? Do you display a sign that outlines your rules and regulations, items illegal for storage, prices and fees? If not, perhaps you should have one made.

What about your carpet or other flooring? When was the last time you had it cleaned or replaced? Do you need a doormat to help keep the office clean? Should you get some bids for new carpeting or tile?

How is your office furniture--desk, chairs, tables, file cabinets? Do you need more cabinets, shelving or storage units? Is your chair in good condition or tired and worn-looking? Make sure you have a good sturdy one, since you sit there many hours each day. How does your desk look? Should it be moved to make your office area "flow" better or be more appealing? Is it time to consider replacement? If so, get some bids and submit them to your owner or management company.

What about your software? Are you still running a DOS-based program? Is it time to replace that program with a new one? How about getting some quotes or demos from the various software vendors and discussing them with your owner or supervisor? How is the hardware holding up? Do you have enough memory in your computer system? Do you need a new computer, printer, copier or fax machine? What about your phone system--do you have enough lines? How are the telephones themselves--do you need new ones?

Do you have plants--silk or live--in the office? Do they need replacing or do you need to purchase some? Green plants look inviting and with silk ones everyone has a green thumb. Just be sure to dust or hose them off once in a while to keep them looking neat.

Is it time to order new business cards, forms, fliers or brochures? Do you have attractive displays for these items? If not, head to that office-supply store.

Do you have company uniforms? If so, are they old and tired-looking with frayed collars and stains? Or are they too small from washing? Is it time to order new ones? If so, don't forget your relief managers.

Facility maintenance is not only keeping the grounds, hallways, roll-up doors, etc., neat, clean and in good working order. Your office area is also extremely important and should be well-maintained. This is the first impression at any facility, so remember, you never get a second chance at a first impression.

Pamela Alton is the owner of Mini-Management® Services, a nationwide manager-placement service. Mini-Management also offers full-service and "operations only" facility management, training manuals, inspections and audits, feasibility studies, consulting and training seminars. For more information, call 800.646.4648; visit www.minimanagement.com.

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