Did you know that even the smallest repairs job can generate up to 15 back-and-forth exchanges between contractors, landlords and tenants? By the time you’ve sifted through every last phone call, email or text in the trail, that’s a lot of time wasted. By streamlining contractor communications, you could increase your capacity for other jobs, not to mention actually resolving the repair itself more quickly. It sounds simple and, actually, it is with the four Cs of contractor communication.
Make sure you set out your expectations clearly from the start. If the job has a specific timeframe, make it clear that you need it to take priority. While the very nature of a repair indicates a certain amount of urgency, being open with contractors about what needs doing and when it needs doing by will establish a transparent relationship from the start. If a contractor is unable to stick to an agreed timetable, consider terminating the relationship. That said, do bear in mind that nobody likes to be micromanaged – sufficient clarity at the beginning of a job should mean you don’t have to reiterate your expectations halfway through the job.
To keep things simple, contact all your contractors in the same manner. Whether you choose to use a repairs and maintenance management software system or prefer to stick to emails, standardise your communications across the board to avoid confusion. And when you take on a new contractor, don’t forget to ensure they’re happy to communicate with you in your preferred way to avoid undoing all your hard work.
No matter how clear and efficient your communications strategy might be, all it takes is one small misunderstanding and things can snowball. Creating a time and date-stamped audit trail of every interaction you’ve ever had with your contractor (a repairs and maintenance software system like Fixflo does this automatically) means that if there is any fall-out, you’ve got a comprehensive record of exactly who said what and when they said it.
Very few jobs in the property market are entirely desk-bound and contractors particularly are often on the move. Designing a communications system that allows them to access job details and progress while they’re out and about is definitely the best way to make sure a job runs smoothly. This is where messaging apps or even purpose-built apps like Fixflo’s Contractor App can add real value. These apps allow for instant, logged communication, and they also make it easy to update details and detail additions as required. They can be logged into from any smartphone or tablet, making your contractor communications as simple as just picking up the phone - but infinitely more efficient.
For more information about Fixflo's Contractor App, click here.