Preparing for the New Year
By Pamela Alton
The excitement of the Christmas season and New Year's has passed, and now it's time to turn our thoughts to spring and the busy summer rental rush. It will be upon us before we know it!
The weather will be getting warmer soon and you can begin planning your attack to get your facility in shape for the spring and summer. Now is the time to sit down with a pen and paper and begin planning your spring cleaning and special projects. If you are on a first-of-the-month rental cycle, then you have slower times of the month when you can plan those special projects. If you are on an anniversary date, then you might have to plan your project when you can have your relief managers come in and help you.
Walk the Facility
During these wet and cold winter months, why not begin your spring cleaning by taking a good walk around your facility and making notes of any maintenance issues? Will you need to buy new annual flowers for any flower boxes, beds or barrels? If so, what will you plant in them, and when? If you have awnings, are they in good shape? Should you order new ones? Do your facility signs look faded and worn, or are they in good condition? Are there any security issues to be addressed--breaks in the fencing or exterior lighting that needs replacing? Is your entrance or exit gate working properly? Are your downspouts in good shape--do any of them need replacing?
Walk the interior hallways if you have them. Are your hall lights on timers? Do they all work properly? If not, which need repair or replacing? Are the interior lighting, ballasts and bulbs all in good working order? What about skylights--any broken or cracked ones that should be replaced?
Do a thorough lock check. Pull each and every lock. Are they fastened securely? Do you have security stickers on every lock with the unit number written on the sticker? Do you have any double tenant locks--is that against your company policy and should you notify the tenant to remove the second lock? How are the door hasps and hinges--do any of them need replacing? Open each and every vacant unit. Are they all swept clean? Do they contain rodent poison? Do you have a notice of illegal items posted along with your facility rules and regulations? Be sure to look up and see if there are cobwebs that need to be swept. How do your roll-up doors look? Do they need to be swept down, or gently hosed off if they are exterior doors?
Maintenance Shop and Office
How is the "shop" at your facility? Do you need new supplies--light bulbs, rodent poison, brooms, dustpans or tools? Is your golf cart up to par--how is the paint, batteries or charger? What about the upholstery--is it torn and worn out? Should you get it replaced? Is it time to clean it up and have it ready to have prospective tenants riding on it? Do you have a sign displayed on it that states, "Rider rides at own risk"? Why not display on the dash the locks that you sell?
Look at your office with fresh eyes. Can you see outside or are your windows dirty? What about those blinds or drapes--is it time to have them replaced or cleaned? Does your office "flow" or should you move the file cabinets, desks, chairs and computer? Do you have your merchandise displayed properly? Should you order more items? How is the carpeting or flooring in the office--is it time to have it cleaned or replaced? Do you have adequate lighting? Does the office need painting? Do you need new accessories--plants, pictures or desk lamps? Is your office cluttered? If so, is it time to "de-trash" the counters, tops of file cabinets, etc.?
What sort of marketing will you be doing this spring? Easter is coming up and it could be a good time to plan for a canned-food drive or Easter-basket drawing to new tenants. How do the facility flags and banners look--do you need to order new ones? Are your facility price sheets, mail-outs or literature up to date? Do you have enough leases, office letterhead and envelopes on hand, or do you need to order more?
By taking a few minutes now to sit down, make a list and plan an attack you will be done with your spring cleaning before you know it. Your facility will be neat, clean and ready for the upcoming summer rush. You, your tenants and your owner will appreciate your hard efforts to make your facility the neatest and cleanest around. Good luck, and have a healthy, happy and prosperous new year!
Pamela Alton is the owner of Mini-Management®, 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.