Block Managers rank somewhere close to estate agents in unpopularity.
Managing Agents are what might be described as a ‘distress purchase’. People contract with them because they have to. There is no ‘status’ in the purchase, indeed many people feel they can do the job themselves, if only….. Usually lack of time, knowledge whatever.
So we usually start off with a grudging contract. Then the criticisms that flow are, nothing ever gets done, responses are slow, the agent is focused on things like safety, not what we want them to do. Not always a happy situation.
Let us explore how a good relationship can be created.
Firstly, and not surprisingly money is a big factor. The fees paid are all too often tight, on the basis that there ‘is hardly anything that needs doing’. The reality is there is often lots to do, but with low fees an Agent has to take on a lot of clients to remain viable and their resources are then spread very thin.
The ‘elf and Safety issue is another frequent cause of frustration. All too often there is a feeling that the Agent is interfering, creating issues and costs where they never existed before. Remember most Agents are professional in their field, health and safety is now far more important than it has been, and at the end of the day they are only protecting your interests. Breaches of regulations can be both stressful, expensive and sometimes devastating.
Learning to work with the Agent is another important factor. The sites where we find our relationship works best is where there is a nominated representative and we can discuss projects, understand the history of events and make plans jointly. All to often Agents find themselves torn between being expected to ‘make things happen’, then being criticised for not communicating satisfactorily.
And finally, ask yourself a question. Who is an agent likely to put at the top of their ‘to do’ list, someone they feel comfortable talking with, are polite and friendly, or someone who is endlessly critical, impatient and often just plain rude? I know who I am more likely to respond to.
Like many companies PM Property Management have suffered growing pains, and have not always delivered the service we want, but it is important that companies do learn from such experiences. We have introduced Service Level Agreements, appointed staff and introduced procedures to ensure consistency of delivery. And just today we had two emails, both saying ‘thank you’. You know, that can make you feel really good!