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The Benefits of Centralizing Maintenance in Multifamily Property Management



To centralize or not to centralize? That is a question many multifamily property management firms have been exploring, especially post-pandemic.
 
Centralization of property management maintenance can be an effective way to streamline operations and service multiple properties with a single team. However, it can also create challenges when issues arise and there isn’t an onsite maintenance person at the ready. Understanding the maintenance needs of the individual properties under management and the individual skill sets needed to support those properties is essential in designing a solution that serves both residents and owners alike.
 
Here are a few key areas where centralization provides benefits:
 
Workforce Skill Sets

As staffing shortages of skilled workers increase, individual properties may be challenged to retain skilled maintenance technicians. Centralizing the maintenance function creates the ability to pool resources and service properties with a higher skilled workforce than what an individual property may be able to support on its own. It also allows for building a team of individuals with diverse and critical skillsets, reducing burnout by not overloading one or two onsite individuals, and creating opportunities for staff to strengthen and grow their skills, in turn retaining quality people who take pride in their work.
 
In the short term, moving to a centralized approach may increase a property’s costs initially. However, in the long run, this model ensures decisions are made with both institutional knowledge and senior-level experience and that appropriate skillsets are being matched to each job, ultimately saving money for the property and the owner, while delivering the best service to residents.
 
Operational Efficiency

When done correctly, centralized maintenance can be extremely efficient and effective. Rather than addressing work orders as they come in each day, centralization allows maintenance teams to address routine maintenance on designated days, while being available at any time to respond to emergency issues that may arise. It also helps to navigate staffing shortages and better manage the need for contractors. For onsite managers and residents, centralized maintenance reduces the unknowns, helping them know when they may need to kennel pets, make arrangements for children, or even take off work, if needed.
 
Resident Satisfaction

For many residents, one of the benefits of living in an apartment community is not having to worry about maintenance. So when an issue arises or preventive maintenance is needed, it can mean a disruption. Centralizing maintenance operations can help reduce the disruption for residents, by helping them plan and prepare for services on designated routine maintenance days. It also ensures the right person is dispatched for the job, so issues can be resolved promptly with fewer disruptions. A centralized team also helps streamline coordination, improve communication, and quickly identify trends or common issues across properties. This allows for proactive maintenance measures and targeted solutions to reduce the likelihood of recurring problems. All of this supports a consistent and high level of service quality that enhances resident satisfaction.
 
There are merits to centralizing maintenance operations. However, in the final analysis, a hybrid model may make the most sense – with fewer permanent onsite maintenance staff supported by a centralized, higher-skilled workforce whose experience allows for greater operational efficiencies and positive resident satisfaction. 

1 Comments

  • John Puller

    This is very interesting. I have done on smaller properties . But the possibility of area services make sense.

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