In our Maintenance Manual, we’ve created a flow chart that summarizes the process we use to
create and manage maintenance work orders. The idea is to give owners an idea of how they can
expect the experience to go from start-to- finish.
It’s a simplification— all flow charts are— but basically it starts in the red box, the starting part
of the work order, and ends in the green box, the follow up.
Now, we have a system in place where work orders can be entered 4 different ways. There’s an
online portal tenants can go into that lets them put in a work order directly to our system through
We also allow tenants to email or call us and we also have the Night Service, which is a
specialized maintenance service, and those emails come into us at night and are processed the
So what is our specific process for work orders that come in?
First, every work order is labeled with a work order number and an address.
From there, the work orders are formatted with bullet points. We don’t want them to be just huge
blocks of text. A maintenance tech who’s out on the road trying to read a work order off their
phone can’t be expected to make sense of that.
So our goal is clarity.
Once the work order is formatted correctly we try to make sure that the details are as precise as
We start by making a phone call to the tenant to find out the answers to some questions: What’s
broken? How broken is it? Is it broken all the time?
You need to have answers to these kinds of questions so no time or money gets wasted trying to
make sense of the problem that needs to be fixed.
Sometimes we’ll even ask tenants for pictures— depending on how serious the problem is and
the quality or their description.
Then there are times when our maintenance tech goes out and has a different idea about the
problem than the tenant. Which is always fun.
From there, you’ll see a dotted line that asks questions about whether or not we’re going to get
owner permission or not. Certain issues— like items that aren’t required or aren’t urgent or
bigger problems that are over the maintenance allowance we’ve set up with the owner— we call
and ask for permission.
Oftentimes, you don’t know the cost of repair when you send a maintenance tech out, so there’s
a caveat— sometimes we’ll tell them to do something and the total cost ends up being more
expensive than we anticipated. Which is, of course, a call to the owner.
We have a specific format for how we contact the vendors and maintenance techs and, as soon as
an email goes out to them, the Propertyware system sends back a follow-up prompt to remind us
to follow through with that repair to the end.
We also email the tenants just to acknowledge that we have dispatched the vendor, pass along
the work order number, and tell them what they need to do if things don’t work out the way we
And, on top of that, we email the owner another template email to tell them what’s going on and
what we’re doing about it.
The owner should never get a bill or have to worry with a maintenance issue UNLESS it’s
something we need permission to go forward with. If they’re being bothered with that, that’s a
failure on our part as the property manager.
Once all this is done, we move on to the green box which is the follow-up.
First, our maintenance vendor replies to the email we sent with the work order and address. The
vendor includes pictures, line-by- line item notes, and answers to specific questions about the
total cost, how much should be billed to the tenant (in the case of tenant-caused damage), etc.
We forward all of this to the tenant and to the accounting department to put the bill on the
owner’s account and pay the vendor.
Once all of these emails are sent, we do a tenant survey to ask if the maintenance tech was
professional and how well they performed their work for the tenant.
Finally, we close out the work order, but we put a task on the work order in Propertyware to
ensure that we follow-up with the tenant until they’re 100% satisfied with the results of this
So this is our system. I know it may seem complex hearing about it, but it’s reasonably simple.
It’s a few steps but when you lay it out a lot of it can be done in one or two fell-swoops.
Ultimately, it’s about maximizing time and making sure things get done correctly the first time.
If you have any question about our maintenance methods, please feel free to send us an email,
give us a call, or leave a comment below!
Have a great day— be a great landlord.