COMMUNICATION IS ALWAYS KEY.
Both seasonal work like snow and ice management, landscaping, and other contract-based jobs lean on communication. Outside of a crew, communication with a maintenance managers is important to the success of a business, no matter how big or small a company is.
Every site on a route will have a contact person at the building or location responsible for the site. The relationship between on-route supervisors and labourers and the maintenance managers team for the buildings who have hired you is a very important not only to protect you as a contractor, but to empower yourself to plan your route and tasks of employees in the most effective manner.
Interested in learning how building maintenance views their relationship with you? Check out 5 ways maintenance crews approach their own relationships with contractors for a different insight into this important relationship.
There are plenty of tips and tricks online to build communication between construction crews as well as upper management and employees. The best way to develop a successful relationship between contractors and building or facility managers is to be proactive. Everything comes back to this single point:
Email, texting, and calling are three easy forms of communication. Establish a prefered method of communication with your building contact person to streamline communication and to make sure that no messages get missed.
Having one point of contact for the building administrator will help to achieve this. A good choice for this could be the operations manager who oversees multiple sites and would be in the best position to manage all customer relationships and their portfolios. However, make this choice based on the needs and requirements of your company and the types of contracts you have. There is no “right” person, only the right person for your company.
Meet face-to-face the contact person on the building facility team. Introduce yourself and remember their name as well. Ask them what the best mode of communication is for both getting directly in contact – phone or cell phone – and for sharing paperwork. Confirm the email with your contact person as well, if you didn’t get it directly from them.
Start Communicating with Maintenance Managers Before The First Visit
Getting to know the concerns of maintenance and maintenance managers will help organize the process working on a site.
Go over site plans early to identify areas of concern or priority. Listen intently and ask questions. Image borrowed from Digitalist Magazine.
Start off the season with an in-depth, question-heavy conversation about the site. Ask them about any areas on site that they are most concerned about and where things should be planted or what snow should be cleared first. Actively listen and take notes on their response. Consider visiting the site and having them show you any spots that are a concern for them.
For snow removal, discuss daily reports and if/what they would want to be reported on each day. Some may say that they do not need a report at all. Some will want a very detailed report. These detailed reports may include:
1.GPS logs – Including maps and time logs of when a site was serviced
2. A detailed list of services provided, including anything not completed or rescheduled for the net maintenance cycle
3. weather conditions while on site. (snowy, Rainy, clear, etc.)
4. Daily Weather reports on a monthly basis
5. Employees to sign in upon arrival
If facility for maintenance managers do not ask for these things, it is best to keep track of it on your own end anyway. Not only does this protect you in the case of an accident on site, but it eliminates the need to search through data if they ask for it at a later date. Organize this content by day.
You can even integrate it into your companies standard operating procedure and send this information anyway. Not only will it help to protect a company and it’s workers, it proactively answers many of the property managers questions before they even have to ask them.
Reporting can be done on paper and using digital programs and tools. Never feel bad for supplying a work report to a building that has hired you. Use any and all tools available to produce consistent and organized reports.
Technology Can Help To Ease Communication Between You and Maintenance Managers
A lot of the data that will be need to be communicated to property owners, maintenance managers and building staff can be automated using existing technology. You may already be using some of these technologies. Modern fleet reporting systems can track and save information automatically for easy reporting for you and your customers
There are a lot of online and cloud-based technologies which track the location of crews and schedule jobs while keeping reports on chemicals and materials (like salt, sand, etc for winter and mulch, maneuer, or even sod for landscaping) laid. They sometimes facilitate communication between contractors and customers. Many of these platforms also incorporate invoicing, scheduling, payment, route optimization, quoting, material tracking, GPS and much more.
It’s proactive communication at it’s finest.
There are many different types of technology to facilitate reporting. There are so many different software available so you can find the best one to suit your needs.
Owning Up To Deficiencies
It happens to everyone. Especially in winter, weather and time can get in the way of being able to get everything done the right way. Equipment can break down. Employees get sick. The snow won’t stop coming down or the rain just won’t fall. Some things are out of your control and, after all, we are all only human.
Being open with maintenance managers about any problems you encountered on-site can help maintain a strong relationship. Come to them with an update and a plan.
Providing a solution before they have time to ask for one sends a message that you understand their position, support their role in maintaining a building’s property, and are honest and trustworthy.
A Storm’s Brewing
Continue with this mindset all season long. Communicate proactively with maintenance managers in the event of an upcoming storm. Whether a winter snowstorm, a rainstorm, or even a tropical storm or tornado, let your maintenance contact person know that you are thinking ahead.
Using whatever line of communications that has been established, inform them about your action plan for the storm and encourage them to reach out with any concerns. Promote two-way communication so that they can feel encouraged to speak to you about any problems as well.
Building a Comfortable Rapport With Maintenance Managers For a Long Term Relationship
The more proactive and open you are in your own communication, the more encouraged your contact person will be in reaching out to you. When everyone feels heard, understood and respected, then everyone is set up for a successful year with less miscommunication or confusion.
The better your communication is, the better your relationship will be. The better the relationship between you and your building contact person, the more likely you are to have a return contract the next year. Something as simple as proactive communication can make for a more enjoyable – and successful – working environment for everyone.