Property Management & Me

Ep6: Tackling repairs and maintenance customer service — with Taylor Coleman

July 10, 2023 PropertyMe Season 1 Episode 6
Property Management & Me
Ep6: Tackling repairs and maintenance customer service — with Taylor Coleman
Show Notes Transcript

"The other big piece of that is actually understanding what these assets are worth in the home. Because as an owner, if I want to say hey just slap another hundred dollars to fix that oven, but in reality that oven is 10 years old, it’s had 10 maintenance jobs and it’s not worth anything anymore, that’s just an irresponsible decision financially."
— Taylor Coleman

This episode features practical tips from Taylor Coleman from Tapi and Kate Sunol from PropertyMe on the What level of service is expected from landlords and tenants, what is achievable, and if a repair and maintenance process can actually add value to your property management service.

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Transcript with Taylor Coleman


 Kate: Hi and welcome to Property Management & Me, a series from PropertyMe bringing quick tips and insights that will make a difference to your everyday property management practice.  I'm your host Kate Sunol and today I'm joined by co-founder of Tapi, Taylor Coleman. Welcome Taylor. 


Taylor: Hey Kate, thanks for having me.


I'm really excited to be on the podcast today. 


Kate: It's great to have you here. For our listeners who don't know Tapi, they're a new integrator app or partner app with Property Me. One of the things I'm really passionate about having worked in the industry for a long time is making sure that when you're plugging tech in, you're not just choosing the one that has the best sales pitch, that you understand the tech well, you understand how to get the best value out of it, and you're using it to its full potential, that it's really going to hit the nail on the head with Those areas that you need assistance in or really to hit those agency goals that you want to be tackling.


Taylor, can you sort of just help break down for someone who's never heard of you? What do Tapi do and how do you help property managers?  


Taylor: Yeah, absolutely, Kate. So Toppy is a full end-to-end maintenance and compliance software. So essentially, we take the stress and pain out of managing maintenance for the agencies and allow you to provide a better experience for your clients with your tenants and your owners.


Kate: Okay, so working across that two-pronged approach of assisting with the workflow, but then also providing that customer experience. How do you go about doing that? How do you make sure that you're covering both of those areas? 


Taylor: Yeah, Kate, and that's a really great question and you got to take it for granted that we are a maintenance compliance software but we've done surveys with thousands of landlords over the years and the number one reason why that we found that landlords choose a property manager is because of maintenance  And going with that, the whole maintenance and compliance process is something that's really, really difficult right now, whether it's getting bogged down from after hours, phone calls with your tenants and going back and forth, or if it's following up with trades, trying to get an answer or just frankly, getting quotes back to your owners back and forth and trying to get them to actually agree to pay for the maintenance, there's so many steps in the process.


That are just really difficult. And the other thing that we find with every agency that we bring on is they all just don't get enough credit from their owners. This is the number one reason why that people choose a property manager, which is maintenance. But you're still essentially being a punching bag from the tenants and the owners and the trades.


So that's where we see the biggest pain is dealing with those issues. 


Kate: Yep, absolutely. There are often a lot of friction points and a lot of frustrations when it comes to the repairs and maintenance process. So,  what are some of the things that you've come up with to alleviate this sort of caught in the middle scenario? 


Taylor: Yeah, absolutely. Okay. That's a great question. And I think, you know, let's just take, you know, the toppy out of the equation for a second. I think this conversation is about what ways can PMs do to alleviate it. So for the best of the industry, whether it's Tapi or if it's a different solution, you know, let's talk about just tenant reporting in general.


So. As a PM, I'm either, if I'm taking a call at three in the morning, when I'm trying to put my kid down to bed from a tenant talking about, Hey, the power's being out when they could have flipped the fuse box, or I'm just getting so many back and forth phone calls, trying to help tenants troubleshoot, how to turn water mains off.


There's so many pieces in the process that causes that a problem. So with Tapi, for example, we have a  24 7 tenant chatbot, which we call the tenant concierge that allows you to troubleshoot everything up front with the tenant so they can answer all the right questions, help them, for example, if the power is out, help them figure out the foot, the fuse box, check the power outage of it so we can troubleshoot all that information up front.


So then potentially, the tenant can fix it themselves, but mainly making sure that the PM gets enough information so they can manage the job. And the other big piece of that is actually reducing call outs from an owner standpoint, again, creating more value for your clients. And then that transitions into having something that's automated and actually tracking your maintenance.


At the moment, if you're creating tasks in your system or having to mainly follow up the trades or doing job reports, that's a lot of stress on the PMs. With Tapi having a system that automates those follow ups and give you clear visibility of where your maintenance is at and also your compliance as well.


So you make sure that your trades of all of their documents, whether it's your gas and electrical safety checks for people in Victoria, having clear lists of that. Making that really, really simple and really easy. But the other big piece of that is talking about creating value ads for your owners. So having the ability to track your assets, your warranty information, knowing what the depreciation values on those assets are, but also giving the ability for owners to put maintenance on payment plans.


Like I talked about before, one of the biggest issues that we find is that owners just can't afford maintenance. So then what happens, the tenants get frustrated that potentially you can leave the home. Maintenance doesn't get fixed. You may lose your client altogether as an agency, because they just don't have the money to pay for it.


So with Tapi you can invest in a solution, which for us is called the property tab, where we can put maintenance on a payment plan. So again, we're ensuring maintenance gets done and gets fixed. 

Kate: Yeah, just touching on that point of the tenant concierge, I know for me personally, quite a while back when I was sitting in reception, very new to the industry, Someone would call up and they'd say, I've got no powe or my hot water system's leaking. And it took a lot of back and forth, even within the office to get a senior PM to know what questions to ask and how to troubleshoot because at 18, just out of school, I'd never dealt with any maintenance on property. So having that information in there, being able to help manage that communication flow and that information flow will really help new starters to the industry and streamline that conversation, get the information and the solutions together faster and really taking that pressure off always needing to keep that information in your head.


Taylor: You brought up a really good point, right? You were 18 not sure how to manage that and I think a big part of this conversation Is there's so much turnover in the industry, you know what the stats say is that one and three PM's leave when they come into the industry and It's too difficult. There's so much you have to learn. There's so many things, like, for example, you bring up tenant reporting, you know, if I'm a 20 year old property manager and the water mains off and the water is going freaking crazy with the leaks at the home and the water main needs to be turned off, you're not going to know how to talk your tenant through that.


So it's about investing in that technology up front to take care of that. So I think you just brought up a great point there and having those extra resources and the technology that's there to really help support and do a job well, it's often a luxury. And the expectation can be that PMs should go through the ropes of learning everything from scratch, or they should be able to manage the process themselves along with all the other tasks that they oversee.


Kate: So how can you be communicating or explaining that value piece to essentially? Win more business or new managements or just to get a buy in from your agency to bring a new tech platform on. 


Taylor: Yeah, that's a great question, Kate. And as I talked about before, you know, when we've done surveys of landlords to really understand this, figure out more ways that you can drive value and differentiate yourself as an agency through maintenance.


Because like I said, maintenance is the number one reason why. That an owner chooses a property manager. And when we did our surveys, it was really interesting because we found that 60 percent of the landlords believe that their property managers overspent on maintenance. And a lot of people listening to the call are probably rolling their eyes because every owner's potentially going to say that, but we actually drilled in and had clear data on it.


And it was really interesting. There's a couple of things that came out of it. The first was unnecessary call outs. Which is why you invest in that tenant solution that tenant reporting so we can reduce that and take away that happening up front and you can leverage that and show that to your owners that you're investing in a solution like a AI. driven chat bot to ensure those call outs don't happen. The other key piece of this was sending jobs that under warranty. So at the moment, there's not any good ways to track, like, is my oven under warranty? Is my air conditioning unit? Some agencies are paying on the owner to keep track of it in their head.


The PMs might have knowledge of it, but when we get to the actual job itself and as a PM, if I send out a work order and my owner didn't realize it's under warranty and it costs the owner money, that's a massive friction point. between the PM and their client. So with Tapi, you now have the ability where every warranty that you have on all of your assets and your fixtures in the home, that's going to get flagged when you send it out.


The other big piece of that is actually understanding what these assets are worth in the home. Because as an owner,  If I, you know, want to say, Hey, just slap another 100 to fix that oven. But in reality, that oven is 10 years old. It's had 10 maintenance jobs, and it's not worth anything anymore. That's just an irresponsible decision financially.


So with a solution like ours, with our asset register, not only are we tracking the warranties, you actually know what the depreciation value is on these assets in the home. So I can see that, oh, it's not worth anything anymore. Let's actually talk about replacing this now to make the most sense financially.


So that's another thing that our clients leverage really, really well to show the value that they're creating for their owners and a fun feature with that just for the PMs. We pull in almost every single make and model manual automatically into our system. So again, that's helping reduce those call outs because I can send that to the trade. I can send that to the tenants and just another bit of tech that you can show your owners. Hey, this is how we're different from other agencies. This is why we're offering you the best service. And then the last key piece of it, and I talked about it before. But having the ability to put maintenance on payment plans right now, we're not sure what's going to happen with the economy of a 12, 000 job comes out of nowhere.


That's going to cause a lot of landlord stress. They may not be able to afford it. And if you lose the tenants in the home, you may potentially lose the client. You've got to give the ability with that flexibility to offer a solution with a low interest rate. That's flexible in your maintenance workflow to make it really easy for your owner to go.


Yep, I'll put that on a payment plan so I can get maintenance done and you package all of these features together with a solution like ours and you can show to your owners and say, Hey, listen, we've invested in a technology solution that's going to make maintenance simple. It's going to ensure that you're getting the best return for your investment, and we're going to provide that amazing experience for you as a PM company that other agencies just can't do because they haven't invested in the right technology. 


Kate: Yeah, wow. That's a huge amount of information that you've got there and a lot of really great points that you can be sharing with your landlords and your potential landlords on why an AI solution to maintenance could really be benefiting them.  Thanks so much, Taylor, for coming on and chatting about what you guys are doing at Tapi and how we can really be supporting our team through that maintenance and repairs piece.


If people want to continue the conversation and get in touch on anything we've covered here today, How can they reach you?  Yeah, absolutely. For anybody in our New Zealand and Australian clients, you can just head to www.tapihq.com and you can just click book a demo today, reference that you came through in the Property & Me podcast, and you can speak to me personally. 


Thanks for tuning in to Property Management and Me. You can catch us every Monday for episodes on the latest tech in the industry, career journeys, tips and insights on practice, and how we can help your journey as a property manager.  Look forward to chatting to you next week. 


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