A property manager talking about Triage? We aren’t on an episode of Grey’s Anatomy, there is no McDreamy maintenance man here.
But, triage is exactly what we do every day. The official definition is the assigning of priority order to projects on the basis of where funds and other resources can be best used, are most needed, or are most likely to achieve success.
The medical field assigns colors. Red is immediate, Yellow is Urgent, Green can wait, Black…well we all know what black means. Same goes for a maintenance department in property management.
On any given day we can get multiple requests that span a wide range of needs. Some quick and easy, others require long term research and approval and some dead-on arrival. You know the ones asking for a kitchen remodel, those get cancelled right away. Nice try though!
So let’s take it from the top:
- Fire or Flood: is the most emergent issue we will encounter. Also blood, but typically we cant do much at that point. Call the authorities.
- Stove not working
- Heat not working, sorry AC doesn’t count here.
Semi Urgent, but can probably wait
- Minor Plumbing, Garbage disposal or Toilet Back Ups: If you have one toilet, this becomes Urgent. Otherwise clearing drains and fixing garbage disposals can wait a day or two. Unless it is leaking than it becomes urgent. Did you try clearing the line yourself, if the plumber pulls back hair- gross I know, you should see the pictures we get- you will be billed for it.
- Other appliances not working: Depending on the appliance and availability it could take weeks to find parts or get authorization to replace.
- A/C not working: same as above for A/C. These can become very expensive.
- Garage door not opening: You may have to manually use it for a day or two. Garage doors are hard to come by these days.
- Windows: Did you break it or someone else? Do you live in an HOA? Chances are we have to get the new window approved and that takes time.
- Landscape Issues: unless there is a lot of water.
- Blinds: not working and did you break them? Not likely we are doing much in that case.
- Pest Control: if you’re in a multifamily complex there may be pest control under contract. If not, it may be your responsibility to handle. Check your lease, but if you are really grossed out, then call a pest control company. It will be faster then waiting for owner approval if at all.
So, when you are waiting on an update for your outstanding service request, remember this break down. And also consider if you live in an single family home, condo or apartment building? Do you live in an HOA? There are way more hoops to jump through depending on the property type. It’s not always a simple yes fix it.
It is what it is, we must Triage the most important maintenance in order to have the most success.