Third Party Maintenance Programs

We are a small agency and I jumped onboard the band wagon of using a third party property maintenance program with absolute disastrous outcome.

Is anyone using one of these and if so at what stage did you find your maintenance unmanageable?

We are extremely particular with our maintenance and have it in hand but wanted to know if there was a better way

Does this program perform the maintenance or just dispatch the maintenance?

We use Maintenance Manager, which does an excellent job; but they charge an invoice fee to suppliers and have just without announcement to us (that i was aware of) doubled or so the invoicing fee.

Dispatched the maintenance and then did the follow up

It was Maintenance Manager we used. It was the worst experience I have ever had with an outsourced company. It was an absolute disaster

@Colleen We have went through 3 in the last 4 years. Some did okay, one did very bad. I have brought it back in house where I am directly responsible for the training. The two companies that did okay we spent about 40 hours training them, every time they changed the account person.

In the end this is what I found. If you get a good maintenance manager (in house or outsourced) they are a diamond. No company that i know of can provide enough training to individuals at the price point they charge.

It is hard to find people that have the following set of skills:

  1. Working knowledge of home repairs and trouble shooting
  2. Critical diagnostic skills that can be applied blindfolded (or over the phone)
  3. Communication skills to get the information needed from the tenant
  4. Computer skills to document all of this
  5. Multitasking skills to handle hundreds of moving parts.

The tendency is to offer these individual less then what a property manager makes. In all honesty you are looking to get individuals with years of experience. This is one area where the least expensive way is not the best.

I am currently working on a model where I have an in house trouble shoot with a sharp virtual assistant.

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This is very well explained. It is exactly how I see it too but was feeling the pressure to outsource it to a third party company.

I love your 5 points. They are so on point.

I’m not up to VA’s at this point simply because we are not big enough to need one. I need bodies in the office first which I think I have build myself a great little team of Gen Y’s.

The newbie is looking at having potential to be trained in maintenance.

They are all good points, although not what the system Maintenance Manager is for. MM is simply a tool to allocate and track work orders. The property manager still does the 5 points.

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Why was it a disaster?

@adam.bettison Excellent point I think one of the reasons we fail in outsourcing is we do not have an alignment with what we are outsourcing.

My first failed attempt if I honest about it was simply that I moved more responsibility to the company then they thought I had. Since our goals were not inline it did not work. The second was just a startup that kind of over loaded themselves (we last 21 days). The third company did real well at first and we spent a lot of time in the on board process. (It felt more like training a remote employee) After 3 months they changed our account person and the amount of training our new rep had was limited. So we had to train again. We left them because I figured out I was training them and the owner was charging me to do this.

This is an interesting article I read on the difference between two very similar topics:

Final thought. :bulb:

Is it is easier to outsource the routine and well defined.

  • Before I look at outsourcing to fix a problem, I must make sure I know how to solve the problem.
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They were disorganised. High staff turn over. Rude. and worst of all they set us up incorrectly and then tried to shift blame. The head guy and his side kick … arrogant unprofessional and bully buy tactics did not sit well with a group of woman.

After our experience I would never give them a second chance.

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Hmmm that doesnt sound good.

I found them reasonable to deal with, maybe i was with a different part of their business.

It was both sides of their business. The maintenance and then their property reports.

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We had to get Maintenance Manager to stop sending the property reports because they are so shit!! We now have to pay to use the program but I do think its worth it!
We are bit different tho so this might not help anyone. We have 1 x full time maintenance coordinator who used to be a PM, he does all maintenance stuff, he has a full time VA also.


I like that model a Maintenance manager who understands a PM concerns and maintenance, with a VA to back end admin.

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Hi Sarah, we are looking into this model too, we have one person that is perfect for this. I was thinking of the VA to lighten the admin part and get the person to focus more on the marketing side and pushing this forward. If I can ask, what’s the size of your portfolio? Just wanted to have an idea at which point it makes sense to have a VA on this business line.

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HI Marine, we have 1200. We actually have 3 VAs however, 1 that works full time in Maintenance :slight_smile:

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