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January 25, 2020

Time is Money: A Rental Checklist Is Important

I’ve mentioned a few times that I’m a big fan of using a rental checklist for automating property management. Checklists have helped me and the teams I work with in managing Loudoun Escape, become far more effective and accountable. Let me explain.

I carry a small pocket notebook around to write down quick notes and items to do. I’ve done this for a number of years. While I’ve transitioned most note-taking to specific apps on my phone, a small notebook is still handy to have at the end of the day.

I personally don’t like taking detailed notes by hand, but I do like making a to-do list of tasks or note personal brainstorming sessions that I can transfer onto other mediums (documents stored on a local laptop, documents on Microsoft Teams, collaboration platforms, etc.).

rental checklist

I often think of something and need to write it down or I forget. Most of the teams I deal with for Loudoun Escape are similar, such as the cleaning companies and various handyman companies I’ve worked with. As an example, with the cleaning companies, I’ve found that having a repeatable set of tasks to work on and review for each room, makes the cleaning experience consistent.

I started with simple rental checklists to have on hand for the cleaning companies we work with at our Loudoun Escape property. The checklist was provided through the admin portal of our Loudoun Escape website. Our cleaning company lead could log in to fill it out. The checklist was automatically generated and ready to fill out after each reservation was completed. This worked very well and we soon added weekly checklists for my property manager to ensure the property was always functional and ready for guests.

I started making similar checklists with tasks for handyman companies and found that all items were accurately addressed. Nothing was missed or forgotten, on my part nor on the handyman’s side.

I use companies that I have an established relationship with and who I trust entirely. Good people and good companies are often busy. It doesn’t make sense to ask these companies to come out for one missed item. In the past, this was inefficient and not cost-effective. Time spent equals money spent.

To my surprise, my cleaning company gave me feedback saying that they loved the checklists we set up. They even asked me if it was possible to use this checklist system for other properties they cleaned.

Why does a rental checklist work well for property-based services?

  1. It makes work easier because it takes away extra thinking at the time of doing a task.
  2. Expectations are set clearly for both parties, so there is no ambiguity of what needs to be accomplished.
  3. It holds teams accountable for tasks. Good, trustworthy companies and individuals are not going to mark items down as done when they have not done the work.

We’re expanding the full capability of a rental checklist through our sister company, Jervis Systems, to include the ability for cleaning companies and handyman companies to provide evidence of completed tasks. This can be pictures or videos that show the task was completed.

Another complementary feature is for property owners and/or property managers to provide similar inputs to cleaning companies or handyman companies of exactly what tasks need to be completed. These can also be pictures, videos,  manuals or even hand-drawn sketches.

We also found that cleaning company or handyman visits often trigger purchases that need to be tracked, or items that need to be checked regularly. This spawned our idea of creating a different set of checklists for tracking purchases or items that need to be done from a property management perspective on a quarterly, bi-annual or annual basis. Examples of this would be opening hose bibs in spring and closing the bibs in fall or changing out the various air or water filters at the property.

This are all features we will be including in our rental management system Jervis Systems.

Overall, checklists make the process of using service-based companies, like property management, property cleaning and handyman services, more efficient and effective

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