Many commercial properties depend on their maintenance staff for different tasks. This crew plays an important role in the company by keeping things running properly and quickly responding to building emergencies. Many companies find it difficult to justify hiring maintenance staff, which is why it is important to determine a few things before you set out on the hiring process.
Questions to Ask When Hiring Maintenance Staff
How much staff will your business need on a monthly basis?
Look at a few different factors like office equipment repair, daily cleaning and organizing, and any exterior landscaping or maintenance that will fall under the crew’s task list.
Do the number of weekly hours needed to complete these tasks fall below two or three hours?
If so, could these tasks be handled by yourself, or delegated to another employee? If the maintenance is between five and twenty hours a part time or subcontractor is enough to handle the workload. However, anything above 20 hours a week may require the help of a full time maintenance worker.
Are your current employees picking up tasks that a maintenance worker should be handling?
This is okay sometimes, but look if you’re paying a skilled worker to do something that isn’t their “typical” job. This could be costing you more money than necessary. When they are working on maintenance tasks, they aren’t completing their own work. This can cost more money in overtime, or lost productivity in the long run.
What are your current costs without maintenance staff?
While subcontractors may seem like the obvious choice if you don’t have a steady stream of work on a regular basis, they can become pricier than a full time employee over time. Perform a cost analysis based on the fees you pay a subcontractor for emergency calls versus the amount you’d pay a full or part-time employee for salary and benefits.
Ready to Hire? Follow These Steps.
Now that you’ve analyzed your situation and determined that you need a maintenance crew on staff, it’s time to begin the hiring process. Hiring a skilled maintenance worker has proven increasingly more difficult, so it’s important to remember the following points when you begin to search for your new maintenance staff.
Follow your previous plan.
You should have already determined how many hours you need the worker to be in the office, leading you to know if you are hiring for part time, full time, or contract workers. It’s also important to consider what the employee will be expected to maintain while they are on the clock. Are they handling cleaning and repairs of larger units like the heating and air conditioning? How about plumbing problems? These are questions that will determine if a skilled tradesman is necessary, or if a handyman will work.
Perform a background check.
If this person is in and out of different apartment units, a background check is necessary to protect your tenants, yourself, and other employees. To perform a background check, you do need a consent form from the prospective employee. There are different employment laws in each state, be certain that you follow yours before performing a check.
Check personal and professional references.
Ask for references during the interview process. The time the potential employee has known then past employer can speak to longevity in their last positions. Most references will provide as many details as possible, but remember in many states, it’s not required that references give you any information other than days of employment.
Don’t be afraid to test your potential candidates to verify they know what they’re talking about.
A test known as the Maintenance Technical Aptitude Test is available from The National Center for Housing Management and will test knowledge of electrical, plumbing, general repairs, overall safety, and other typical maintenance skills. Use this on your top candidates before making an official job offer.
If You Cannot Find the Right Candidate
Sometimes, the right candidate cannot be found, but a property needs maintenance help as quickly as possible. There is another option instead of hiring from outside.
Start training a younger employee and “grow your own” maintenance staff. This person should have a willingness to learn and good work ethic. Team them up with a more experienced staff member. This person should be prepared to work as a mentor, and you may want to offer extra compensation and recognition for their training.
A skilled and dedicated maintenance staff can be an asset to your company, commercial building, or property management company. If you need extra help now or in the future, partner with McMahon Services for help with maintenance tasks like HVAC and carpet cleanings, or any larger water or fire damage issues that may be too large a project for your internal staff.