Nearly one-third of Americans choose to rent their homes, according to the National Apartment Association (NAA). That’s a lot of choices, and attracting the best residents to your property isn’t easy.
Residents select their homes on a number of criteria—from location and price to amenities and customer service. Your leasing staff and maintenance crew play a vital role in recruiting residents and subsequently keeping them happy and satisfied after they move in. A professional appearance goes a long way in forming the initial impressions potential residents have of your property, and having a uniform program can ensure staffers present themselves in a consistent, competent manner.
There’s a misconception that creating a uniform program can be difficult, time consuming and expensive. Not the case—if you’re working with the right promotional consultant. In fact, it can be done in seven easy steps:
Begin by looking at the climate where the property is located. Communities in Arizona have much different needs from those in Minnesota, so you’ll need to plan for any seasonality changes.
Next, determine what basic styles of apparel align not only with the property’s climate but also with your corporate culture. If the property is more formal, button-down shirts with jackets or sweaters would be appropriate. If more casual, golf shirts may be the choice for you. And if budget allows, consider including skirts, pants or shorts for even more uniformity.
Also think about the needs of leasing staff versus maintenance staff. Leasing agents need to look neat and fresh throughout the day, so garments that are wrinkle resistant make sense. Those maintaining the property need highly durable and stain resistant garments that can easily be laundered.
The number of garments each individual receives is also a consideration. You want to make sure employees have enough shirts to make it through the work week without having to launder their uniforms every evening.
Color also play a role in creating a successful uniform program. White looks great, but it’s difficult to keep clean and can begin to look dingy over time. Black is a forgiving color, but it is also nondescript. Color adds personality, and you can make selections to align with your corporate colors for consistent branding. Properties that are near college campuses often coordinate with the school’s colors. And for properties with a modern aesthetic, fashion-forward garments that are on-trend with what’s hot at retail can really make a statement. Whichever way you go, pick a color that works for both leasing and maintenance.
Decorate the apparel with the property’s logo. While screen-printing may be used, embroidery has a higher-end feel and looks more professional.
Work with your promotional consultant to order quarterly, as it’s much easier to plan and budget than larger annual orders that must be warehoused until needed. You may also want to think about setting up an online program that works with the entire property management company to simplify the process while increasing the brand consistency across properties.
Dress The Part
Whether your property is large or small, a uniform program can help build your brand and enhance your professionalism. Additionally, having a uniform program is a great hiring perk for property management companies, as employees appreciate the fact that they don’t have to worry about what to wear each morning—and they have more disposable income because a portion of their paycheck isn’t going to their work attire.
Just as residents have many choices in where they live, the selection of apparel for uniforms is also vast—which can be a blessing and a curse. Don’t go it alone. Work with a professional promotional consultant who understands uniform programs and knows what works—and what doesn’t. Not only will it save you time and money, but it will also give you access to a wider variety of garments that can be tailored specifically to your property’s needs. Keep in mind that the leasing and maintenance staffers are your property’s ambassadors, so make sure they dress the part.
Valerie Hayman Sklar grew up in the property management business, leasing her first apartment at 12 years old. Today, as president of Detroit, Michigan-based The Apartment Boutique powered by Corporate Specialties, she combines her vast property management experience with her love of all things marketing. The result is a unique promotional marketing firm uniquely targeted to the multi-family market. Contact her to learn more.