Lately I have had a lot of inquiries about using a virtual employee for maintenance. One of the most common questions we get is – why use a virtual employee over an outsourced maintenance provider. It is a great question, so I thought I would compare and contrast these 2 options in an effort to help my fellow property managers make the best decision for their firm.
Since hiring a full time dedicated virtual employee is new to a lot of property managers. Let me start by sharing what a virtual employee can actually do. The answer is kind of simple- if it can be done with a computer and/or a phone, a virtual employee can get the job done. While that sounds simplistic, it is true, but let me give you some concrete examples:
- Taking all the maintenance calls
- Basic troubleshooting of the problem
- Entering the work order into the management software
- Dispatching the appropriate vendors
- Provide the tenants with an ETA for scheduling
- Follow up with the vendor to confirm an appointment was set
- Follow up with the tenant to confirm work was done & was satisfactory
- Receive and enter the vendor invoice in the management software
- Put pictures of completed repair from the vendor into PM file
- Put a copy of the invoice into the owner’s portal
- Verify vendor compliance for insurance and solicit insurance certificates yearly
- Provide weekly/daily reports to manager about unresolved maintenance issues
- Get multiple bids from vendors if required
- Communicate with the Owner about non-emergency repairs for approval
You will find that outsourced providers can do some of those things too depending on the level of service that you hire them to do.
Advantages of using an outsourced provider over a virtual employee. If there is someone out sick at the outsource provider, then there is another person available to take the call. It doesn’t cost you any headaches or additional resources and it is seamless. They also offer extended hours as they have 3 shifts of staff that rotate.
Other than the above, I am of the opinion, having your own virtual employee has every other advantage. You see, your virtual employee gets to learn YOUR way of doing business. They work for you exclusively and therefore you get to train them exactly on what you want. They work whatever hours you want them to work. Some of our clients extend their office hours by hiring a virtual employee to work from 12 pm to 8:30 pm so that they have more coverage.
Now when your virtual employee isn’t there – outside of his/her shift, or has a family emergency – you don’t have coverage (unless you have 2 or more virtual employees which is why I personally will never have just 1 ever again). But, I have heard my fellow property managers say that they must continually work with the outsourced providers over and over again because of their staff changes.
Another advantage of hiring a virtual employee is that when an area of your business is slow, you can shift your Virtual Employee to another area of your business. When using an outsourced provider, you pay a minimum fee regardless of your usage. I don’t know about you, but I want to pay for what I need.
Ultimately, you need to determine what will best serve your needs. We have had some amazing results with ourselves and our clients. Interested in having a conversation to explore the possibilities? Feel free to book an appointment with me.
To your success!