When it comes to property maintenance, there's always seems to something that needs attention. How can you optimize maintenance management?
When it comes to property maintenance, there’s always seems to be something that needs attention. But no matter how busy your maintenance activities appear to be, it’s important to have a clear roadmap for achieving your maintenance goals.
If not, your maintenance team may end up being busy with less important matters. Specifically, be clear about your maintenance goals, what you’re going to do to achieve them, and how you will measure progress. This is where maintenance key performance indicators (KPIs) come in.
Maintenance KPIs help to do the following:
Whether you do repairs yourself or hire someone else, these KPIs reveal the efficiency of your maintenance efforts. This post will focus on how landlords can choose the KPIs to track and then discuss a simple approach for putting them into practice.
As a landlord, you already know that each of your buildings is unique. Thus, your maintenance KPIs will be based mostly on your most pressing maintenance issues. For a start, consider those recurring matters that require attention right away.
It’s a good idea to start with a manageable number of KPIs, so your team doesn’t become overwhelmed or confused. Maybe five or six.
There is a multitude of KPIs to choose from, so we’ll start by categorizing maintenance KPIs into two broad groups. Then discuss a few of the most commonly used KPIs for property maintenance.
Leading indicators are KPIs that signal future events. They give you a perspective on the likely performance based on a current trend. An example is Planned Maintenance (PM) Compliance. If your current performance for a period shows that compliance is high (75% or more), that suggests that reactive maintenance and asset breakdowns are likely to decrease in the future.
Lagging indicators use past events to measure performance. Meaning, they help you look at the past to arrive at possible solutions at the end of the review period. Analyzing historical data this way allows you to apply improvements to address maintenance issues.
By using both categories of indicators, one that tries to predict future performance and another that looks at the past, you are in a better position to get a complete view of your maintenance performance over time.
As mentioned before there is a wide selection of potential KPIs to choose from and you need to focus on major challenges. More often than not, the maintenance KPIs you are going to end up tracking are maintenance costs (which can be broken into things like spare parts, inventory costs, and labor costs), PM compliance, and Work Order response time.
Let’s take a couple of typical KPIs to demonstrate how this works.
The first thing that you’ll need to do is to list and categorize your maintenance issues. Imagine that your major challenges are high maintenance costs (a cost and spending issue) and poor responsiveness to work orders (a work efficiency issue).
In step 1 above, you identified two issues. You’ll need to further define them in a manner that is clear for your maintenance team. Everyone should know what needs to be done and when. For example:
This step empowers you to define the necessary changes to make.
In the case of maintenance costs, it’s typically a broad problem with several contributing factors. You’ll want to check things like rising and regular rate of reactive and emergency maintenance, excessive labor overtime and what could be causing it, and spare parts inventory overstocking, to mention just a few.
For Work Order Response Time, consider how long it takes from the initialization of a work order until it is closed. You want data that shows how long it’s taking to complete work from creation to completion. If a task that should normally take two hours to complete is now lasting for six hours, and the trend is increasing, you’ll need to investigate the root causes quickly. Some likely bottlenecks are unavailable spare parts, issues with resources or workforce, planning problems, and poor communication.
Using KPIs is about measurement and improvement. As you progress with making the necessary changes, you’ll need a structured approach for collecting and managing your maintenance-related information. Digitized resources, especially computerized maintenance management systems (CMMS), will give you the reports you need for an updated overview of maintenance performance and if you are making progress at all. Doing this enables you to easily course correct and make improvements as you go along well before the review period is over.
It’s all very well understanding your KPIs, but if you are not properly tracking the actual maintenance tasks themselves, you may lose track of the tasks at hand. Using purpose-built property management software like Landlord Studio will allow you to easily manage your maintenance from your smartphone or desktop.
Our intuitive property maintenance management system allows you to record and prioritize tasks, track maintenance progress and easily communicate updates with tenants.
If you want to improve the efficiency of your rental property maintenance efforts, understanding and using KPIs gives you a clear goal to work towards. However, first, understand the root causes of your maintenance challenges because maintenance decisions and actions need to be data-driven to be effective. Following the tips discussed above will set you on the right track.
On a final note, ensuring you keep accurate and detailed accounts of your maintenance expenses will ensure you maximize your potential deductions and could save you thousands, even tens of thousand, of dollars in the long run. You can use Landlord Studio to efficiently and accurately keep track of your rental property income and expenses while simultaneously reducing admin.