While springtime brings the excitement of graduation and new beginnings to college campuses, it can also bring a world of stress for student housing property managers. Unlike traditional communities that see more sporadic turnover throughout the year, student properties see the majority of residents arrive and depart at the same time.
These peaks leave little time in the summer months to make necessary repairs or upgrades before the next group arrives.
In the rush to complete tasks, it’s easy for these managers to maintain a deep supplier library and rely on different outlets for product delivery, storage and labor. This multi-faceted approach can not only prove expensive, but also requires thorough coordination and precision to ensure all partners work in sync. To remain on schedule, and on budget, student housing property managers need single-source service partners who can handle the full scope of work required to efficiently turn over an entire property. Consolidating a summer’s worth of renovation and repair projects to a single partner can provide wide-ranging benefits, the following three considerations offer the greatest advantage to crunched property managers.
Inventory and Fulfillment
Given the short turnaround, it’s imperative that property managers begin identifying desired product SKUs, styles and order volumes as early as possible. In fact, the best time to select and coordinate appliance and equipment needs for summer renovation is at the end of the preceding winter semester.
A trusted partner can help property managers evaluate renovation needs, organize their inventory and schedule deliveries. This includes ensuring that online orders can be fulfilled at a nearby store or delivered directly to the property preventing managers from either having to hire a separate crew or make trips to the store or warehouse themselves.
Additionally, property managers can rely on their partners for convenient troubleshooting should they need more or a particular item, ranging from a large refrigerator to a small doorknob. In these instances, project managers can take the lead to secure additional items and arrange delivery from nearby stores.
Distribution and Storage
Depending on the desired upgrade or remodel, it’s possible that student property managers will have multiple incoming units of large appliances. This can prove troublesome for properties that either lack the space to store the items or are approaching their rework in waves.During the partner evaluation, be sure to choose a cohort who can offer convenient end-to-end delivery and clean-up services. For instance, partners can trust The Home Depot to organize and execute the full scope of shipping, uncrating, installation and removal of both boxes and old appliances. This thorough assistance steers property managers away from the problem of determining where to store and how to dispose of large inventories of toilets, dishwashers and other large appliances.
For added convenience, project partners can also help student housing managers arrange deliveries based on demand and schedule. Instead of receiving a full load of appliances at once, the two parties can work together on an efficient long-term schedule that instead sees a few delivered each week.
Along the way, partners can evaluate the delivery schedule and inventory and provide recommendations for labor, supplemental tools and equipment eliminating other far-too-common sources of angst for property managers.
Previously, even if a student housing property manager expressed interest in consolidating rework to a single partner, the process would have been challenging if not impossible. Only recently have retailers and fellow property-improvement businesses begun integration into the enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems that provide necessary end-to-end visibility.
Any student housing property manager should confirm that potential partners are registered in prominent ERP systems. These tools not only help with the fundamental tasks required for the full scope of the project, such as application management and organization, but also reduce the time and expenses required for invoicing, financial management and other back-end tasks.
Fortunately, ERP syndication is common practice for most of today’s big box retailers and home improvement businesses. The Home Depot in particular has its full product and service catalog integrated with Yardi, RealPage and a wide range of other prominent ERP platforms.
Student housing management brings about a unique series of demands that can challenge unprepared property managers and staff. Finding and collaborating with the right partner can relieve the majority of the burden, and ensure that necessary improvements and renovations are completed on time and on budget.
Robbie Puckett, Director, National Accounts, The Home Depot