Archive for October 21st, 2013

Property Management Online

Property Manager OnlineAs with all businesses these days, the property management business is also going online for both employees as well as tenants and investors. Property Management Online is a major trend. It is impacting all businesses and if your property manager is not heading in that direction it is time to find out why. You could be receiving much more up to date information in real time. This also decreases costs over all and allows the owners to keep closer tabs on just about everything.

Online Information for Investors

Investors can look at all of the reports on line regardless of where they are simply by logging on a server or CRM system that the property management company will provide access to. They will be able to see their income statements, expense statements, and all reports. The modern property management online company is now providing these kinds of services. In addition they should be able to review work orders and the status of these orders. In situations where there are multiple investors or owners, a limited number of people may have access to ensure security and privacy levels are maintained. For example the board members might be the only ones with access or someone who is designated the job of keeping tabs on the property manager.

Online Information for Employees

Property management employees can also update the CRM system so that management can review the results. Review work orders that need to be completed. In addition review the status of all of these work orders. View all  information associated with an apartment or facility. This makes it easier for everyone to understand what is happening.

This also provides a record of the activities associated with a particular unit. Review at one glance all work orders for a given unit. In addition review the history of the work completed. This is a good way to determine if a rental unit has had more work than others completed. The same applies to common areas or the outdoor facilities. It is information that many owners and investors find helpful, but for property managers it is invaluable to them. This information helps them do their jobs better and reduces the cost to manage the building over all.

Corporate memory has long been relied on to manage apartment buildings and town houses as well as commercial properties. There may have been lots of paper records available for someone to dig through. However when it came to finding out what was really going on, you spoke to the superintendent of the building. He or she could always provide anyone with an up to date report of just about everything that was happening.

What If You Lost Your Superintendent

But what happens when the superintendent leaves for whatever reason. All of the real time corporate memory goes with them. This can be a large problem if there are also no accurate records to fall back on. Accommodate many small invoices for repairs. If there is no record of them how is anyone really other than the tenant supposed to know.

Also if a tenant was asking for something to be completed in their unit and was turned down for some reason,  there is an online record for a new superintendent to look at. They can make a decision on better information, rather than just listening to the tenants side of the conversation. There might have been a good reason the request was turned down by the previous manager.

Tenant View of Online Property Management

In some cases tenets of property buildings apartment buildings will also be able to log on the CRM system and view the status of work orders associated with their unit only and any common areas of the building. This provides him with a status update and helps to manage the expectations associated with the apartment.

Reduce Energy Usage

Reduce Energy UsageWe just wrote a post about reducing electrical consumption at home which may be interesting to many people, but there is a lot more that consumers can do to reduce their overall energy usage. For example expanding from electrical usage to include heating systems, our cars and even our offices. There is a lot more that we can do to reduce energy usage. we can put a lot more money back in our pocket. The picture on the left should also persuade you to reduce energy. There is a lot of pollution being produced at this plant. Check out our previous post about reducing electrical consumption. Or read on to learn more about some of the other things we can.

Reduce Energy Usage – Driving Cars

For example our cars use a great deal of gas and cost a great deal to manufacture. Every time you can decrease the use of your car, you can save some money. You can also contribute to the greening of the planet. Walking to work, taking the bus or riding a bike to get to work makes such a difference. Especially when it comes to saving money instead of buying more gasoline.

But if you must use your car, make sure that it is always properly tuned up and the tires are fully pressurized to ensure that you obtain the best mileage per gallon that you can. You can reduce your gasoline usage by as much as 10% by keeping your car in top shape. In addition, avoiding jack rabbit starts and stops will save gasoline and allow your brakes to last longer. Even keeping your tires properly balanced will make a difference.

We all love to drive fast and beat the guy beside us. We routinely drive 10 or 20 miles per hour over the speed limit. You can save a lot of money and get better gas mileage by driving at the speed limit. Do your own test to see what a difference 10 or 20 miles / hour makes on your gas mileage.

Heating Our Homes to Reduce Energy

Just by setting the temperature a few degrees lower in the winter time and a few degrees higher in the summer time will reduce your overall energy foot print. Many people heat their homes with gas, oil or even propane. You can reduce your usage a great deal by simply setting the thermostat a bit lower and even shutting off rooms that do not need to be heated. Just make sure that there are no water pipes in these rooms that could freeze during a cold snap. You will save both electricity usage by not running your fan as often as well as the fuel used to heat your home.

The same applies to air conditioning in the summer. Although you will not reduce fuel, you will reduce your electrical energy usage by a significant amount if you set the temperature higher and close rooms that do not need to be cooled.

Reducing energy at Work

While you may not put money in your own pocket by reducing energy usage at work, you can certainly help to reduce the company’s energy usage and make them more profitable. In our books this is a good thing in most cases since it helps to protect our jobs.

Car Maintenance Tips

Car Maintenance TipsKeeping your car in tip-top shape will save you money and prevent costly repairs over the long run. When your car decides to break down, it is usually at the worst possible time. Such as when you are stuck in heavy traffic or on vacation a long ways from home. Any time is a bad time. However it can be expensive when you must have your car towed a long distance. Perhaps stay in a hotel somewhere and take taxis back and forth to the hotel or motel. It can become very expensive.

If you are traveling it is just not worth it to not have your car perfectly tuned up and well maintained. This includes your tires being balanced and having sufficient tread on them. They should also be pressurized at the proper level to ensure minimum wear and tear, a smooth ride and efficient gas mileage as well.

What are the Car Maintenance Tips  to Check

We put together a list of items to check on a regular basis that can be completed by most drivers. For detailed  instructions follow your cars manual.

  • Check your tire pressure
  • Look for abnormal tire wear
  • Check the engine oil level
  • Check the brake fluid level
  • Verify the power steering fluid level
  • Check the windshield washer fluid level
  • Check all lights
  • Confirm your antifreeze fluid level

Your dealer can also check the above items while performing an oil change, which should be completed every 3000 miles or 5000 kilometers for most cars. Most oil change locations will check all of the above and quite a few other items as part of their normal procedure. They will give you a report on everything they find and make recommendations regarding what you should do about the issues if there are any.

Some Auto Shops will Do a More Detailed Check

They should also check the following items:

  • Tire wear, especially  abnormal wear from poor balancing or alignment
  • Brake pads and calipers as well as disc’s
  • Muffler system including the catalytic converter
  • All belts
  • Transmission oil

If these car maintenance items are checked on a regular basis and corrected if needed along with regular oil changes your car should run very well free of major repairs for many thousands of miles. Failure to check on anything that is making some sort of noise that is not normal or checking the engine when the engine light is on is another  problem waiting to become really serious.

If your tires look like they are low in air pressure, check them immediately.  A tire that is low on pressure could be going flat and driving a tire that is low on air pressure will heat up the tire and cause it to wear that much more quickly. Hot tires have been known to explode which is something you definitely do not want happening at high speeds or in heavy traffic. It can be very dangerous and even a cause of a major accident. It is really the last thing you want to have happen at any time of the year.

Winter Driving Requires Special consideration

Make sure you have tires that are meant for winter driving on your car to prove extra grip. They also provide better handling on ice and in snow. Engine anti freeze should be set to handle the temperatures that occur in your region and anywhere you may be driving. the same even applies windshield antifreeze. a reservoir that is full of water will only freeze in cold conditions and not do your windows any good at all.

Regular House Maintenance

Regular House MaintenanceRegular house maintenance is something that all of us need to pay attention to if we want to protect our investment and make sure that our home goes up in value over the years along with our neighbor’s houses. One of our neighbors thinks that his house is worth $600,000 because he has a large home. He has a large lot which is on the surface very attractive. In fact, there are homes in our neighborhood that are worth amounts in that range.

He has not maintained his house that well. So it needs a lot of work. Someone who would like to buy his home would look at it and then look at all of the money he would have to spend. For example, it is a 2500 square foot home. All of the carpets and the linoleum ( who has linoleum in their kitchens now) would have to be replaced. Most people would put in hardwood and tile. The cost can vary a great deal. But let’s assume the cost would be $20,000. The entire home would also have to be painted which would cost another $10,000 approximately. He has a three-car wide, 2 car deep driveway that would need to be repaved, which could cost another $8000.

Regular House Maintenance

The windows should also be replaced and there are a lot of windows and these could cost up to $30,000. While they are at it they would probably want to update the bathrooms. Also, update the kitchen which can cost anywhere from $40,000 to as much as $70,000. The sky is the limit of course and it could be done on the cheap or nothing at all could be done. Excluding the cost of the kitchen and the bathrooms, the total comes to $70,000. Most people would want to do something to the kitchen and bathrooms. So let’s allow a total of $30,000 for that which takes it to $100,000 in maintenance expenses.

We have not even touched the outside in terms of things such as landscaping etc that need to be done. The point is what should be a $600,000 home might only be worth $500,000 or less. It depends on what the comparables are and how much competition there is from other homes on the market.

The point we wanted to make with all of this is that consumers need to complete regular house maintenance to maintain the value of their homes. This man has lived in his home for over 25 years. He could have completed some of this maintenance over time without it all adding up in the manner that it has.

Maintenance Activities

Here is a brief list of maintenance activities that will help to maintain the value of your home provided that repairs are completed when identified.

  • Check your eaves trough and make sure it’s clear of leaves during the spring and again in the fall
  • Check all of your windowsills to make sure they are not rotting and are well sealed, paint them every year or two
  • Repaint your window frames if necessary, especially if the paint is flaking off
  • Replace your air filter on your furnace at least once every 3 months and more often if your home is dusty
  • Make sure there is no debris around your air-conditioner, otherwise, it will overwork and burn out
  • Trim all of your trees and shrubs, to keep them looking great and also not block windows
  • Add fertilizer spring summer and fall to your lawn
  • Remove all leaves and debris from the lawn and gardens in late fall and early spring to protect your lawn
  • Check all exterior walls and the roof for any damage from the wind, rain or snow


Professional Hardwood Floor Cleaning

Professional Hardwood Floor CleaningMany people would prefer not to have to clean their own floors. They would prefer to hire someone to do that work for them whether it is the basement, the kitchen or all of the floors in their home.

Usually people will hire professional companies to come and clean all their floors and wash all of the rugs. It saves them a lot of time and they do not need to do the work that is involved in shampooing floors. It really is just that they do not want to make the effort to do some work and save themselves a bit of money.

What About Rugs?

As with rugs, special precautions should be taken to ensure that the detergent that is being used will not harm your rug or discolor the rug. Usually people remove all of the furniture to make sure that the rug is not stained in any way from the feet of the furniture sitting on a wet rug. Allow your right to dry before placing any furniture on it or using the rug or walking on it.

Professional Hardwood Floor Cleaning

When it comes to hardwood floors, special precautions should be taken to ensure that a mild soap detergent is used and that no water or liquid is left on the floor. Any excess liquid can harm your floor and cause the floor to buckle after it swells from absorbing the moisture. In addition, depending on the liquid, it may also stain the floor.

Immediately wipe up any liquid that spills on the floor. Don’t forget droplets that may be left over after washing the hardwood floor. Before washing the floor whether it is a hardwood floor or a rug, be sure to vacuum the floor. Remove all loose dirt and grit that maybe on the floor. This will ensure that your cleaning will do a much better job on both kinds of flooring. Your floors will last much longer than they would otherwise. In the end this saves a great deal of money.

If you really do not want to have to clean or refinish your flooring often, remove all shoes at the front door. Vacuum often to remove all grit that may be brought into the house. This grit can act like sand paper and remove the shine from your floor. Over time your floor will have a dull looking finish. It may require a complete re-sanding and refinishing to regain that shiny new look. Your floors will last much longer if you take care of them. They will look better and the cost of refinishing your floors will be deferred well into the future. Take care of your floors regardless of whether they are carpet,  linoleum or hardwood. This will reduce your annual maintenance costs.

Text Message Advertising Companies

Text Message Advertising CompaniesSign up with text messaging advertising companies to arrange to send text messages to your customers and potential customers. There are many details that can make a huge difference in the success of your campaign. These details can determine the ultimate return on investment that you receive.

Evaluate the details before you sign a contract. For example where are you getting your phone numbers to send text messages too? Is it a list of phone numbers that you purchased, with no relation to your business? Or are the numbers from a list of customers who have provided their phone numbers. Have they given permission for you to send sales up dates to them? Can you advertise items that they might be interested in? Many people are ok with this latter type of text message. Especially if they are interested in the products or services that they offer.

Text Message Advertising Companies – Customer List

Will you reach your customers with your customer list? This is so important if you are going to target customers with your sales information. Also to get a decent return on investment. Avoid just blasting out information to customers. Unless you are attempting to expand your overall traffic. It is a bit of a wild card and success rates may vary a great deal. However your ROI will be lower as should the cost of the program as well which is a negotiating point.

Incent customers to visit you online or to your store by giving them a reason. A coupon for some amount of money, an exclusive discount for them or a special sale just for them may be the ticket you need to get them interested. Make it worth their while to first of all to sign up and receive your text messages and also visit your store or online website.

High Value Customers

Aim for high value customers that have signed up to your list and want this information. If you can filter these customers even further and target the information to women’s clothes for example you will be even more successful. When they sign up try to learn as much information as possible so you can filter and target your messages.

Set objectives and then measure the objectives to assess the success of the program, to make decisions on further targeting and even if the program should continue or not. Often a few tweaks can make a huge difference in your campaign. By setting objectives you must also figure out how you will obtain the information to measure the results which can be built into your campaign.

Further by setting objectives or goals and measuring the results, companies will have valuable information to justify the program, to support future programs and to tweak the added programs that are being planned. The same approach can be applied to email campaigns in addition to text messaging campaigns.

For more information concerning text messaging, click here.

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