Perception can be Reality
A significant part of property management is getting the right tenant for a property. This means that the property must be presented in the most welcoming of conditions. In the spring and summer, this is a lot more of a simple task, but winter provides a new challenge for managers. Not only does the property need to be inviting and encourage potential renters to look around, but the property must also be safe. When hiring a snow removal professional service, be sure and ask for a snow consultation and site plan review that addresses the best way to avoid the potential hazards that can lead to injuries, possible lawsuits, or the loss of a potentially great tenant. If you are showing a property to a potential tenant during the winter and the showing happens to be scheduled on a day with bad weather, then that showing could either make or break the bank so to speak depending on the condition upon arrival. Below is a checklist to help you think through items to cover with your contracted service providers. Ask lots of questions about the game plan and be sure they have thought through your properties snow removal plan and prep for property showings.
Outside the Building
Parking Lots and Driveways
Clear any snow accumulation or ice and distribute salt to clear any unseen patches of ice. These precautions will not only help prevent slip and fall accidents, but will keep cars from skidding. Where will the excess snow be stored on the property and is that location susceptible to melting, drainage paths into traffic and refreezing at night? If so, have them move it to an off site location but keep in mind that this additional equipment and labor will cost more.
Sidewalks and Stairs
Sidewalks and stairs must also be shoveled and salted to prevent falling. Keep in mind that too much salt on the stairs or sidewalk can be a nuisance but for high service properties, it is better to be safe than sorry. You can always sweep away any excess and place more salt back down later. Ask your provider about the type of salt materials used based on your properties needs. Specialty properties such as LEED certified or newer properties often want specialized treated materials that cost more but can save the environment and less wear and tear on the walks.
Break off any ice layered on railing or brush off snow to make the rails easier to grip. If the property has many outdoor railings, you may want to have them serviced and make sure they are a part of your service contract.
Clear entryways completely, making sure the door can open all the way. If there is an overhang above the door, make sure it is clear of snow, so there is no danger of the accumulation falling onto someone walking in or out of the door.
Inside the Building
Mop up any puddles and set up a WET FLOOR sign immediately inside the front entrance. Provide a coat rack and place for wet boots and umbrellas. This is usually handled by on site staff or managers outside your snow removal company but always a good idea to set up to handle that days traffic.
Go through the entire building with a dry mop and clean up any puddles or footprints. This may require around the clock additional service and depending on your property hours of operations, a good idea to keep the service overtime during bad weather.
Keep the office set at a comfortable temperature that can be easily tolerated. Just because it is cold outside, doesn’t mean that is should be sweltering indoors. If it’s too hot, potential tenants may decide to cut their viewing short.
These items are just a good starting point for discussions with operation managers, facility managers, property managers and executive teams to successfully navigate the pitfalls of winter related pitfalls. Even on the “good days” of winter when you have that dream tenant on site, take a few minutes after the walk through and include this winter plan in your presentation as part of the diligence your team employs to create space for successful businesses like theirs to work from.