On call at Christmas

I think this is both a PM and Business topic depending on who you are in the business!
I was in the South Island last week and during a gathering a question came up about working or being available “on call” over the Christmas period. How are PM’s remunerated, is this usually covered in employment agreements, what do you do in your business?


Hey Kelly,

It’s a good question. At Wendell’s we have created 2 shifts.

Shift one, (Christmas week)
Shift two (New Years week)

We make sure that we have someone from the Admin team on each shift for the trust account, someone in letting, and at least 2 Property Managers for each shift (but normally 3). No-one really gets both off, if they do they have to do lots of catch up and groveling for the rest of the team! :smile:

This works for us because the team members with families don’t mind about new years, but they want Christmas off with their families… The younger ones don’t mind working the Christmas week (We are closed stats) but they want to party for new years / Rhythm and vines etc…

We don’t pay any extra for the teams over this period, but we do make sure that it is balanced, and fiar. In our teams’ contracts,(Excluding support staff) they have to be on call for a period of 7 days (24 hours) every 4 weeks. However, it normally works out to every 6 - 7 weeks because as owners we also take a turn.

Love to hear anyone else’s process, and hope this helps someone who still needs to set theirs up.


We always had a great system to manage after hours maintenance all year round. We formed close relationships with our preferred contractors and publish their direct numbers on leases and on our after hours message service. Tenants would ring them direct and our maintenance guys would triage and decide if they need to go out or not. Even at over 2,500 properties I would get only 1 call a week for after hours work that was genuinely urgent.

Over the Christmas break, we would shut the front door and divert the phones to message bank, so we looked closed, however, we had people volunteer to work in the office to download rent, check for urgent emails and phone messages. There would only be 4 (out of the 26) people and they would only have to work 4-5 hours a day. This worked really well. Once we advertise to our clients that we would be closed, they seem to leave us alone so you don’t get the normal build up of emails and phone calls.

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oh! it was this idea that I did my After Hours, but been so busy with work and property investing that I have sort of parked it on the side. The idea was to get any property manager in the country to direct all their calls to the free calling number, I have a team that will take the calls - and ask the trouble shooting questions before engaging the services of the property managers or the owner of the property’s preferred tradespeople. The trouble I had with property management companies is that I felt they found me a threat (as I am a property manager) as they were ultimately handing over to me their intellectual property - property addresses etc. I did this for my own team here, plus a few smaller companies last year - so between mid December and to around Jan - I took all the calls for emergency maintenance only. Then, took a holiday myself - when everyone was back at work. :slight_smile:

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Awesome idea @Shadi I imagine there would be many people sitting there thinking, “Who’s going to get the short straw to be on call this Christmas!!”

Perhaps a non-disclosure might help people to get over the hurdle of you contacting their clients and not running off with them

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I can understand AK PM’s might get nervous but surely it would be perfect for out of town PM’s and
particularly small one man bands who struggle to get a holiday especially at Christmas?

hmmmm… actually may put the word out there again… I will cancel my champagne drinking activities and make some money :slight_smile: thanks.