When your office receives an onslaught of maintenance requests, it’s easy to go into autopilot and resolve as many requests as possible, as quickly as possible. However, taking the time to ask critical questions about each issue ensures that you’re addressing the root cause of the problems, rather than the visible effects. MultifamilyInsiders.com recently presented the “Mastering Maintenance: From Diagnosis to Repair – Maintenance Questions That Matter” webinar, led by Paul Rhodes, Director of Maintenance Operations at The Life Properties. The focus of this informative session was to effectively manage service issues, avoid temporary or incorrect repairs, and build a stronger team through troubleshooting.
While the stress of a never-ending to-do list can push your team to focus on fast fixes, taking a moment to review each new maintenance request can have a significant impact on your operation. When you utilize Rent Manager’s maintenance features and examine each situation to see what’s happening, what’s causing it to happen, and what’s powering that occurrence, you can save time, money, and stress by preventing future issues.
How to Troubleshoot Maintenance Issues
1. Identify What’s Happening (or Not Happening)
When a new maintenance request is submitted, identifying the core problem is the best way to start. Break down the issue to its most basic elements. What’s happening that shouldn’t be happening? Or… what isn’t happening that should be happening? Perhaps you’ve received a Service Issue* request from a resident regarding a sink that won’t drain. In this instance, what is not happening that should be? The water isn’t draining. By identifying the main issue, you know exactly where to start.
2. Find the Cause
After identifying the issue, the next step is to find out why it’s happening. Reviewing previous Service Issues for the apartment through Unit History Notes* is a great way to get acquainted with previous problems. However, you will still need to do some detective work to resolve the issue. Going back to the sink example, you already know that water isn’t draining. After poking around, you can identify that the garbage disposal appears to be the source of the block. Having narrowed in on the problem, you are one step closer to finding a solution.
3. Track the Power
Now it’s time to go to source—the power source—and identify if you have power where you’re supposed to. Is electricity running into the garbage disposal and it still isn’t working? Then the garbage disposal itself may need to be repaired. If you find that there’s no electricity reaching the disposal, then go down the line to identify where the breakdown is until the problem is solved. Is it a fault with the disposal’s power source? Has the breaker the disposal ties into gone bad? By locating the root of the problem, you can solve both the cause and effect of the maintenance issue.
Things To Keep In Mind When Troubleshooting Maintenance Issues With A Team
- Listen – Questions will only get you so far. In the rush to solve issues quickly and move on to the next item on the list, you can miss an opportunity to hold space, listen, and digest responses. By taking the time to seek complete solutions to problems, you’ll save time later by identifying concerns early on.
- Training – Continue developing your team! As tools, trends, and the industry are constantly changing, make sure you’re continually educating your team and preparing them to tackle any maintenance issue that comes their way. Rent Manager University offers courses on the best way to utilize Rent Manager’s maintenance features to keep processes streamlined and your maintenance team on-the-go.
- Stay up-to-date on maintenance – The best way to prevent future service issues is to perform preventative maintenance regularly. Make sure furnace filters are being changed regularly, flush your property’s water heaters, keep an eye out for termites and other destructive pests, etc. to prevent small upkeep items from becoming big maintenance headaches. Rent Manager can help with these efforts. For example, reports like the Overdue Asset Maintenance* statement help your team track and plan for projects before they become issues.
There will always be maintenance repairs and updates that will require your team’s attention. Proactive service and thoughtful problem-solving when service issues strike can help keep your property and community running smoothly.
*To learn more about these Rent Manager features, press the F1 key in your Rent Manager database to access the Help File.