Managing an apartment community is rarely straightforward, but your job can get a lot more complicated during the holiday season with changing weather, increased deliveries, and overnight guests. The role of a property manager changes quite a bit during the winter months. So, we’ve created this list of winter property management tips to help make sure your staff and residents have the best experience possible every holiday season.
Five essential steps to get your apartment building ready for the holiday season:
- Send a holiday newsletter to residents
- Make arrangements to pay owners and suppliers
- Implement a holiday package delivery system
- Winterize property plumbing and heating systems
- Ensure effective visitor management for guests
1. Send a holiday newsletter to residents
Your residents started making their holiday plans as early as September, so it’s best to send your holiday newsletter ASAP. While your newsletter can be as creative as you want, make sure to cover a few key points that your residents need to know.
- Holiday business hours: Many businesses have different hours to allow employees time at home with their loved ones during the holiday season. If your staff is taking time off or adjusting their schedules, include that information in the newsletter. Your residents will want to know if the doorman is gone for a week or the front desk will be closing early.
- Fire safety warnings: Did you know that Christmas trees are one of the most common causes of residential fires? And more cooking fires happen on Thanksgiving than on any other day of the year. So, include apartment safety tips for residents like using non-flammable decor and turning lights off when unattended.
- Guest policy: Many residents have family and friends coming to visit during the holidays. So, if you have guest policies, make sure to remind residents in the holiday newsletter.
- Event announcements: If you’re planning any community events for the holiday season, include them in the newsletter. Your residents may need reminders, so hang flyers and send calendar invitations to help improve attendance.
2. Make arrangements to pay owners and suppliers
You’re probably planning some holiday time off of your own to spend with loved ones. But, it’s essential to make sure you have a plan to keep the community running in your absence.
If you use online payroll and property management software, then you may not need to plan ahead at all. However, if any of your suppliers or staff still get traditional checks, make sure to send them out before you start a vacation.
3. Implement a holiday package delivery system
Year-round, package deliveries are a lot of work to manage. But, as you know, shopping increases during the holiday season, which means even more package deliveries. To prepare for holiday deliveries, you need a package management solution.
There are three key package management options to consider:
- Package room: Package rooms are the most efficient and secure way to manage deliveries. Set up a dedicated room within the building where delivery carriers can drop off packages for residents to pick up at any time.
- Package lockers: These systems are set up in a central location like the lobby of your apartment building, where residents can easily retrieve their packages. The lockers are designed with several compartments so delivery couriers can leave parcels in a secure location. Residents then retrieve their packages from the locker at their convenience.
- Off-site: One of the newer package management options involves off-site package storage. Companies like Fetch introduced a concept where residents have packages delivered to a third-party facility then schedule a drop-off time that’s convenient for them. The third party then delivers the package to the resident’s door at that time.
All three options will facilitate more secure and efficient package delivery. However, a package room can be easily combined with contactless entry to save your staff time as well. Unlike package lockers and off-site storage, delivery couriers can let themselves into the package room with a PIN code.
Watch how a package room works:
4. Winterize property plumbing and heating systems
Preventing property damage is essential all year. But, in many climates, the winter poses additional challenges. Before the holiday season is in full swing, take some time to winterize your property. Preparing early means cheaper repairs before the weather is prohibitive and saves money on operating costs. Make a checklist to ensure you complete all necessary winterizing tasks.
10 steps to get your property ready for the winter season in advance:
- Stock up on salt
- Arrange snow clearing services
- Ensure furnaces and boilers are in good working order
- Clear gutters to avoid buildup of snow and ice
- Inspect the building exterior for cracks that can cause drafts
- Wrap pipes to prevent damage from freezing or, even worse, bursting
- Remove broken and loose tree branches to prevent damage during storms
- Apply extra insulation to windows and door frames to keep the heat in
- Avoid electrical fires by checking outlets and wiring before setting up holiday lights
- Provide winter reminders for tenants to prepare for the colder weather
5. Ensure effective visitor management for guests
Your residents are going to have more guests over than usual during the holiday season. So, you’ll want to prepare your residents in advance for any protocol in place regarding visitors. This is a great time to reevaluate and potentially upgrade your visitor management system.
There are three main types of visitor management systems:
- Pen-and-paper: Your front desk may use a logbook to check-in guests and keep track of who is coming and going from the building. While this system is better than nothing, it still requires your staff to check-in visitors, and often the handwritten logs are hard to read. Paper is also easily lost or destroyed, so keeping records longer than a couple of weeks is often impossible.
- On-site software: Digital versions of the pen-and-paper system are also common. These can be as simple as a spreadsheet on an iPad or have more complex operating systems. On the positive side, the software removes the need for staff to check-in guests and makes long-term data easier to manage. However, these systems often require more storage space for the check-in station itself and servers.
- Cloud-based systems: Cloud-based visitor management systems are the best solution for apartment buildings. Instead of on-site servers, these systems store data in the cloud. So, visitor information is gathered and managed without needing storage space for servers. Also, you can access the data from anywhere you have an internet connection.
How ButterflyMX can help your building this holiday season
ButterflyMX is more than just an access control solution for property staff and residents. The system also makes access simple for the visitors and delivery couriers that your building will see a lot of this winter.
ButterflyMX’s visitor access features include:
- Virtual keys: Residents can send visitors a virtual key for one-time or recurring use. The key includes a QR and PIN code that visitors scan or enter into a ButterflyMX device. This way, friends and family can easily enter the building for holiday gatherings, even if the resident isn’t home.
- Delivery PINs: Property staff can assign delivery PINs to each delivery carrier so they can enter the building using the ButterflyMX intercom. Staff can also revoke or change the PIN at any time.
- Delivery passes: Residents can also create a delivery pass through the ButterflyMX app to send to couriers. When they purchase something online, they paste the access code into the delivery instructions to deliver their package inside the building. All delivery passes are single-use codes to maintain security.