As COVID-19 stay-at-home orders expire, many people are returning to work to find a pile of projects that were put on hold while they were working from home. This is particularly true for Property Managers and maintenance teams who repair, improve, and turn rental units.
If this sounds like you and you’ve returned to work to find a long list of backlogged projects and work requests, HOMEE is here to help.
A Backlog of Work Orders Is Expected
Even if you feel like you kept up with projects during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, there will still likely be a backlog of work orders.
You will likely see a backlog of work orders if:
- Your budget was cut or paused. Many rental properties have been operating with a limited budget due to economic uncertainty and/or having tenants unable to pay rent. This limit on funds may have paused projects to save money and plan for an unknown future.
- Your team has been sick. If maintenance workers came down with COVID-19 or their loved ones were ill, then they likely missed work or needed to self-quarantine for two weeks.
- Your team stopped working on non-emergency projects. In order to reduce costs and manage with a limited team, some rental properties limited project requests to emergency maintenance services only. Now, you need to catch up on planned projects.
- Your tenants moved out. COVID-19 has impacted the budgets of millions of people. You may have had residents decide to move out because they could no longer afford their rent. You may have properties that need to be cleaned and turned.
- Residents waited to place a work order request. Some people didn’t feel safe submitting work requests because they didn’t want people inside their homes. As residents feel safe again, they will start to submit new work orders.
- You asked residents to wait to ask for work. Your team might have limited work order requests to prevent your maintenance staff from exposure during the height of the pandemic. Now, you need to complete those work orders, along with new work requests -- all at the same time.
Your existing backlog will need to be tackled alongside your usual workload of emergency issues and seasonal maintenance tasks. Plus, not all of your residents will immediately feel safe reaching out for help, so it may take a few weeks to understand just how many projects need your attention.
In short, anticipate a backlog of work orders and don’t expect your workload to diminish any time soon. Instead, get ready to tackle the projects and get back on track with these tips.
How to Overcome a Backlog of Work Orders
#1) Re-Prioritize Property Maintenance Projects
Even if the pandemic ends tomorrow with zero new cases, the effects of COVID-19 would still be felt across the country for several months following. In order to prevent your staff from getting overwhelmed by new work order requests, evaluate which project can get pushed back to Q3 and Q4 or even delayed until 2021.
Go through a rental maintenance checklist and decide what projects can wait. For example, while you still need to clean the gutters of each unit, you may be able to delay adding a fresh coat of paint to the walls.
#2) Communicate Your Plan With Residents
As you determine the best course of action to reduce your backlog of work orders, communicate with your residents so they understand the issue at hand.
- Let people know when it is safe to submit work orders again.
- Ask residents to be patient about any delays in repairs because of the backlog.
- Encourage residents to limit general service requests and focus on emergency issues instead.
Communication is an important step to prevent residents from getting frustrated by a lack of service work. If you don’t communicate, they won’t realize that there is a huge backlog of work orders. All they will notice is how long projects take to get done. Communication builds patience.
#3) Hire Extra Help
With so many projects piled up, now may be the time to expand your property maintenance team with the addition of part-time workers and independent contractors. You can either bring in someone who specializes in specific projects (like a landscaping professional) or hire a generalist who can pick up any miscellaneous project you need.
Bringing on extra help for a few months will help you get through the pile of orders and get back on track to managing upcoming projects.
To quickly hire the help you need, try HOMEE’s on-demand property maintenance app.
Manage Your Backlog of Work Orders with HOMEE
HOMEE helps you fill gaps in your maintenance team and quickly get through your backlog of work orders. Using the app, you can find and hire vetted maintenance professionals that can typically be at your property in about 30 minutes.
Plus, all of the contractors on the HOMEE network are vetted and rated by customers. Their trade licenses are confirmed, and every job is insured. This allows you to get the maintenance specialists you need without the stress of interviewing and vetting each one.
Working with HOMEE also means you don’t have to worry about hiring part-time maintenance team members or contractors to assist with the backlog. You can skip the recruiting and onboarding processes and avoid the expenses that come with adding members to your payroll. Get the contractors you need without the paperwork and costs associated with hiring an additional set of hands.
Prepare for a Post-COVID World with HOMEE
With the right tool, you can stay organized in the coming weeks and months and successfully manage the backlog of work orders that have piled up while your residents and team were safely social distancing.
With HOMEE, you can stay organized, prioritize work orders, handle emergencies, and get back on track with work order requests.
See how HOMEE can help you in a post-COVID world. Request a demo today to see how HOMEE's desktop solution and mobile app can make getting back to normal easier on you, your team, and your residents.