Dear Maintenance Men

Dear Maintenance Men | February 6, 2009


Dear Maintenance Men: I am a property supervisor for a local property management company and I am looking for solutions to my maintenance issues. How do I keep the cost of maintenance down while still maintaining good living conditions for my residents? Sally

Dear Sally: Prioritize and bundle is the short answer. To elaborate, you will want to prioritize all of your non-emergency maintenance work by unit, building and area and then bundle enough work for each unit, building or area to use your maintenance tech or vendor efficiently. The less your tech or vendor needs to travel between jobs, the lower the cost of each job will be. Essentially, you would accumulate all non-emergency routine maintenance work placed on a P.O. or work order and forward it to your vendor or tech as authorized. This dramatically reduces the costs related to gas, trip charges, mobilization, purchase hours, etc. (It works even better if your parts are already on site.)

Establishing a “time and material” (not to exceed) approach to billing vs. a per unit price method would also give you more bang for your buck. Talk to your vendors or techs about bundled service to help cut costs. Most will appreciate a more organized approach to servicing your properties.

Dear Maintenance Men | February 6, 2009


Dear Maintenance Men: I have been contemplating the purchase of a high pressure sprayer for my employees to use in maintaining and cleaning around my apartment buildings. Because these pressure washers produce a powerful stream of water, I am worried about my employees hurting themselves or damaging the building. What size machine do you recommend and how safe are they to use? Should I rent one first? Julia

Dear Julia: As with any large ticket items it is always prudent to “try before you buy”. Fortunately there are a variety of rental places to choose from which carry all sizes, makes and models.

A rental yard will often use the best and longest lasting machines. Most times these companies can provide you with the best information on the products in regards to maintenance, wear and tear, life expectancy and performance. In regards to workers safety, look at the operators manual for the best advice on personnel safety wear and use. These machines can produce a very powerful jet of water capable of ripping through clothing, skin and even break small bones. You should always wear goggles, leather gloves, and steel toe leather workboots with non skid soles.

Stucco and wood siding is especially susceptible to damage when using a power washer. Use the lowest setting and wide spray nozzle to avoid damage. Lightly mist stucco surfaces if cleaning is your objective. Keep nozzle adjusted to spray not stream and approx. 2' to 3' away from the surface.

As with most things, proper training will help insure safe usage of power tools.

Contact AACSC

Apartment Association,

California Southern Cities
333 W. Broadway St., Suite 101
Long Beach, CA 90802
(562) 426-8341

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