Property Maintenance – It’s Summer, Why Should I be Thinking About The Winter?

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Property Maintenance – There’s Never a Good Time for a Cash Crunch

property maintenance - sweeping.comThere’s a good chance that you’re going to experience a major expense for property maintenance this year – and you won’t see it coming.

It’s frightening, isn’t it? And the worst part is that it will probably come when your budget is already strained. But fortunately, you can avoid this.

You can protect yourself an unexpected expense. And all you have to do is think ahead.

Here’s some recommendations about how to do it…

Property Maintenance – Recognizing That Prevention is a Lot Less Expensive Than Intervention

Most people have heard of Murphy’s Law.  Murphy’s Law states, “If anything can go wrong — it will.”

This is particularly true of real estate property.  Especially property that is used for commercial or residential purposes.

People use property and tend to be hard on property.  They drive on it, walk on it, cook in it, play in it, work in it, shelter beneath it, sometimes damage it (when they’re angry or careless).

Let’s face it, if it were not for people, a property would last a lot longer.  But property does not have value unless it is used, so people (and ultimately maintenance) is unavoidable.

What is most interesting is that property use is predictable.  People are very predictable creatures (most of the time) and patterns of use are predictable.

Peak hours for a commercial or recreational facility can be tracked.  This means supplies, materials, and manpower can be scheduled to meet the demands based on use. That is, of course, if a savvy property manager is paying attention and keeping track.

The point is that most property maintenance issues can be avoided with some strategic thinking AND a respect for Murphy’s law.

Property Maintenance – Summer is the Best Time To Think About Winter

In addition to the wear and tear from people, a property can take a beating from the weather as well.  Weather is even more predictable (most of the time) than people.

If a property manager maintains properties in the Northeast, at some time during the winter, the property will need ice and snow removal.

Properties in the Pacific Northwest experience more wet weather than other parts of the country.  Southwest properties deal with high temperatures.

Most of the time, weather patterns are predictable and strategic planning for property maintenance can be more comprehensive because this information is readily available on the internet.

Here’s a link to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s 3-month climate predictions for the US.  You now have access to climate predictions three months in advance!

These predictions can’t tell you whether a large hurricane or damaging Nor’easter is going to occur, but these predictions are far more useful for property maintenance planning than looking up at the sky and guessing.

Property Maintenance – What to Think about

Safety

  • What parts of the property require extra attention before cold weather arrives?
  • What parts of the property create potential safety hazards due to cold weather?
  • Are the property’s mechanicals and safety equipment in good order now?  How do you know?
  • What needs to be inspected to ensure the safety of tenants, clients, and property users?
  • What contingency plans are in place if there are material shortages or outages because of equipment failure?
  • Who do you need to contract with so that needed services are available (snow removal, ice removal, roof damage, electrical or HVAC failure) in case of emergency?

Efficiency

  • When was the last time a through property maintenance inspection was conducted?
  • How often should property maintenance inspections be conducted?
  • What property elements are near “end of life?
  • Which property elements need regular servicing?  Have they been serviced?
  • What can you do and what needs to be (or should be) done by others?

Inventory

  • What materials, equipment, and manpower do you now have on hand to provide optimal property maintenance?
  • What materials, equipment, and manpower will you need to provide optimal property maintenance?
  • What contingencies can you develop for materials, equipment, or manpower shortage?
  • What can you stop ordering or start ordering to provide optimal property maintenance while saving costs?

At the end of the day, you want to move from reactive to predictive.  This is why you should be thinking about the winter in the summer.

As a property manager, you want to predict when something is close to breaking down, or when the efficiency of a piece of equipment becomes questionable to the point that it makes financial sense to replace it before a costly breakdown.

You can do this with strategic planning and a partnership with an experienced property management company.  I know it’s still summer, but it’s relly the best time to think about the winter.

Did you find this article thought provoking?  If so, give us a call, C & L Services at 732-886-1940.  We’ll help you with strategic planning, safety recommendations and efficient thinking in property maintenance.

Power Washing – Does Size Matter?

power washing big scope - sweeping.com

Power Washing – Are Larger Projects Better?

power washing scope - sweeping.comOur society likes big things, for example, big cars, big boats, big movies (with lots of load explosions!).

The general public often thinks that bigger means better. You’ve heard the saying, “go big or go home”.  Businesses use this saying to imply that it’s better to make big commitments than offer a half hearted effort.

But going “big” is not always the most effective approach. Unfortunately, there are many circumstances where bigger is not always better.  Think about big mistakes or big decisions gone bad.  These big things are not always welcome.

When it comes to power washing, the size of the project is not as important as careful preparation and skillful execution.

Power Washing – Big Projects Need Big Preparation

The bigger the power washing project, the more time is needed for careful preparation. Flawless execution is also required, however, it much easier to accomplish when the right people are doing the right things according to plan.

This is why the success of power washing projects is measured by scope, not size.  The power washing project that involves a stand alone conference center has a smaller scope than power washing the homes in a 240 unit residential community.

Power Washing – Scope of Work

It is especially important to spend time walking a property, talking with affected property users (notice I don’t say property owners…although they are important too) and identifying the logistics of the project.

The impact on property users (shop owners, homeowners, tenants, etc.) is particularly important.  The reason for this focus is that property owners are usually held responsible for any real (or perceived) inconvenience caused by mishaps or miscalculations during the project execution

Power Washing – Scope Questions

Although this is not an exhaustive list, these questions help identify the scope of the power washing project:

Before the Project

  • Who is in charge of the project?  What is the scope of their authority (full, partial, advisory)?
  • What is the size of the property? Whats the total square footage of area to be cleaned?
  • Who needs to receive communications? About what?  How often?  Who is responsible to communicate?
  • What are the specific responsibilities for project executions?  Who is going to do what and when?
  • What are the safety requirements?  For the property, property users and workers?
  • How many workers are needed?  What is the breakdown of workgroups and supervisors for the project?
  • What materials are needed?  How much?  When are they needed?  Who is in charge of ordering, storing and maintaining material?
  • What equipment is needed?  How many?  When are they needed?  Who is in charge of ordering, storing and maintaining equipment?

During the Project

  • How much time is allotted for project completion?  What is the deadline? What are the contingencies for weather. materials or equipment delays?
  • What are the contingencies for weather, materials or equipment delays?
  • Who needs to receive communications about unforeseen circumstances?  Who is responsible to communicate?
  • Where will materials and equipment be stored before the project?  During the project?
  • How will materials and equipment be handled during the project?
  • How will safety be monitored during the project?  How will safety violations be handled?  By whom?

After the project

  • Who will conduct the final inspection?  What will evidence project completion?
  • How will final inspections be communicated?  To whom?  Who is responsible to communicate?
  • What follow-up will be conducted to ensure client satisfaction?
  • Who needs to receive followup communications? Who is responsible to communicate?

Power Washing Project Bottom Line

As you can see from the scope questions, successful power washing project execution is based on careful planning and consistent communication.

Do you have a large power washing project on the horizon? Looking for advice on power washing?  Not sure about the need for power washing?

Have a look at our article – Powerwashing – What’s The Purpose

Give us a call at 732-886-1940, we’ll give the facts you need for effective, efficient power washing.

Street Sweeping – Comparing Apples to Apples

Street Sweeping – Caveat Emptor (Let The Buyer Beware)

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Click the image or the link below to get your copy of this “Apples to Apples” checklist.

No one likes to be taken advantage of.  However, in the case of street sweeping, it’s hard to know.

There is an old proverb that states, The buyer needs a hundred eyes, the seller but one.

The first time I heard that quote, I thought, “how cynical, does one have to protect themselves in all transactions?  What has happened to trust!”.

Over time, however, this has grown to be one of my favorite quotes, simply because it explains the importance of due diligence before you make an important (and potentially expensive) decision.

In fact, I think every potential purchaser of property maintenance and sweeping services would do well to read this quote, understand it and start applying it to evaluating potential service providers.

Street sweeping – What Do You Know?

Here’s a quick quiz…

Question 1: True or false, An individual needs to be trained, I-9 compliant, have a clean driving record and be screened for drugs drive a street sweeping vehicle.

Question 2: True or false, Street sweeping vehicles that are less than 5 years old provide more thorough cleaning and are more environmentally friendly.

Question 3: True or false, Tracking sweeping patterns by satellite is the most efficient way to provide thorough street and parking lot cleaning.

If you answered “true” to at least two of these questions, give yourself a pat on the back – you know quite a bit about street sweeping. However, if you got even one wrong, then there’s still more for you to learn.

Fortunately, you’re about to learn everything you need to know about how to compare effective street sweeper providers with this article.

So roll up your sleeves, put on your thinking cap, and let’s look at important criteria when comparing apples to apples for street sweeping services.

Street Sweeping Employees

Although it appears to be a simple task to jump into the cab of a street sweeper and drive straight, there’s more to it:

  • Are driver screened: Drug and Driver Record?
  • Are drivers I-9 (Citizenship) Compliant?
  • Are drivers trained on the specific needs of your project?

Street Sweeping Management & Supervision

  • Is there a Supervisor on every shift?
  • Is an Account Manager dedicated to your needs?
  • Does the company have a Scheduling and Quality Control Manager?

Street Sweeping Equipment

  • Does the provider have spare equipment ready to be deployed?
  • Are all onsite vehicles clearly labeled with logos?
  • Does the provider have a wide range of equipment for all needs?

Street Sweeping Technology

  • Are there GPS Tracking devices on all trucks?
  • Do the trucks have Digital Cameras installed?
  • Are the drivers using 2-Way Radios for fast communication?
  • Are the sweeping patterns tracked by satellite?

Street Sweeping Risk Management

  • Are they NAPSA Certified Sweeping?
  • Are they affiliated with an industry partner such as 1-800 SWEEPER?
  • Do they have less than 5 Million Umbrella insurance?
  • Is their Worker’s Comp/Liability up to date?

Street Sweeping Company

  • Does the provider wash the area so the cleaning truck functions at the highest level?
  • Does the provider have Certified Mechanics In-House?
  • Does the provider’s company have a full office staff to support relationship needs?

Now you know how to compare apples to apples regarding street sweeping providers.

However, before I wrap up this article, let me share with you some additional services that you may need when maintaining your streets, parking lots or garages:

  • Line Striping
  • Seal Coating
  • Pavement Repair
  • Power Washing

To get the best results, you’ll want to choose a street sweeping company that has what you need, when you need it.

Go ahead and compare apples to apple – I think you’ll like your results!

For your convenience, we’ve put together a one-page checklist to make your comparison quick, easy and thorough.  Just click this link – Comparing Apples to Apple Checklist

Have additional questions, please call us at 732-886-1940.  We enjoy being compared to other provers of street sweeping.

 

 

 

Line Striping: Never Let Parking Lot Lines Fade Away

Line Striping As A Form Of Communication

line striping fade-sweeping.comLine striping is a critical form of communication in an organized and structured parking lot.  The line stripes direct parking lot users on how to drive through the parking lot and where specifically to park.

However, over time and with more use of the parking lot, these lines can fade away.  Consistent maintenance requires that they are regularly “re-striped” so they are easy to read for clients, customers, and others.

Fading is mainly caused by use, with the rate of fading determined by the level of traffic and “wear & tear” on the lines. Parking lots with high traffic fade faster.

Other factors that affect the rate of fading are environmental factors such as exposure to the sun, weather elements, snow melt chemicals, and the quality of line striping paint.

Line Striping Functions

Why is maintaining line stripes in parking lots so important?

Parking lot line striping serves two primary functions:

1. Direction arrows and parking lines help direct traffic in an orderly manner so that people know where to drive and park.

2. Well maintained line stripes look good and leave a positive first impression for the people who use the parking lot.

Ensuring the lines are always visible and in good condition is an effective way for property owners and managers to show just how well the property is maintained.

An additional benefit of proper line stripping is aesthetic: clearly colored lines that make it easy for a driver to find a parking spot and properly park his/her car boosts the property’s curb appeal, and in the process, the overall impression of the businesses served by the parking lot.

Line Striping Fading

What happens when the striping lines fade away?

Since line striping lines improve the aesthetic value of the parking lot, the first casualty of faded parking and direction lines is the negative perception created for the public.

When driving lanes or parking space markings are hard to see, parking lot users can get frustrated even before they step out of their cars. This frustration can be transferred to the businesses served by the parking lot.

A diligent property manager or property owner cannot afford to have customers and tenants parking in erratically, this is just not good for business.

A business parking lot without clear line striping will not be properly organized and space that could be put to good use will be wasted.

Just like a road without markings, a parking lot without well-defined lines increases the chances of an accident, higher incidences of customer dissatisfaction and possibly business liabilities.

Line Striping and ADA Responsibilities

People with disabilities, in particular, could have a difficult time making use of the lot if handicapped spaces are not clearly defined.

Along with ADA requirements, fire departments have guidelines which encourage the colors on parking lot stripping lines be vibrant and clearly visible.

For tips on planning, paint, and measurement, check out our post, “Line Striping: Guidelines for Line Striping the Right Way”

Line Striping Remedy

How to remedy the fading of parking lot stripping lines?

There is little that property managers can do to reduce the fading of stripping lines in a parking lot. The best they can do is to ensure that the lot is always properly cleaned and well maintained to get rid of dirt, debris, tire marks, and other elements that may obstruct the visibility of the lines.

Experts recommend that parking lot line striping lines on a busy parking lot be re-striped at least once every 12 to 24 months and on less busy lots up to 48 months. This is necessary and should be considered a recurrent property maintenance expense.

As you can see, the line stripes in a business property parking lot play a huge role in creating a good first impression about the property and the businesses it serves.

Regular re-striping fading lines will restore the aesthetics improve the confidence customers and tenants enjoy with property managers and the businesses that the lot serves.

Need your parking lot “re-striped”?  Call C & L Services at 732-886-1940 to discuss the scope and logistics for your parking lot line striping.

Shopping Center Parking Lot Sweeping – Why It’s Vital to Creating a Great First Impression

Parking Lot Sweeping – There’s More Psychology Than You Think

parking lot sweeping impressions - sweeping.comIt’s all science!

Psychology experts say that many people, if not all, will judge a new environment within the first seven seconds of interaction and their opinion will most likely never change.

Shoppers believe they deserve nothing but the best and form an impression about a business or property they visit the moment they enter the parking lot.

Since shopping centers are still the main source of goods and personal services even in this age of online shopping and home delivery, businesses must do all they can to create a positive first impression for shoppers (and maintain this impression consistently!).

Parking Lot Sweeping – You Don’t Get a Second Chance to Make a Positive First Impression

Thorough shopping center parking lot sweeping is the most effective way to create a positive lasting first impression on shoppers and the public. People like to meet up and do their shopping in a clean and safe environment, even if their personal environment is not as neat.

Considering the ever-increasing competition for ground space between foot traffic and vehicles, most property owners and managers are tempted to neglect the appearance of their parking lots. They do this with the mistaken belief that it does people don’t pay attention to the parking lot.  This is not true…people judge everything within their environment and the parking lot is the first thing they see.

Proper cleaning means thorough and regular parking lot sweeping. Creating a reassuring environment does not need to including laying the most expensive tiles or setting up catchy artwork; regular cleaning of the parking lot will reassure visitors (and tenants) that the services offered inside the shopping center are just as excellent.

Parking Lot Sweeping – Creating Safety

There is something else. Many people visit shopping centers to get away from their everyday routines to get personal service or meet friends.

Although this means more maintenance for parking lots and frequent scheduled portering and pressure washing, it can be worth it if means more visitors feel safe, relaxed and comfortable in their environment.

Take a look at all the trash that can collect in a shopping center parking lot.  Here is an article we posted about the variety of trash, debris and litter we lick up, “Street sweeping – One Man’s Trash is Another Man’s Treasure”.

Parking Lot Sweeping – Prioritize parking lot sweeping and maintenance

It is not uncommon for businesses and property owners to invest a lot in remodeling their buildings, helping their buildings to stand out. A visitor can always tell an expensive property where everything inside is very likely to be more expensive, from a valued property that is well taken care of both inside and out.

If you are in charge of ensuring the cleanliness of a shopping center parking lot, it sends a conflicting message if there is a poorly maintained parking that welcome customers to a property.

The best courtesy you can pay the tenants of the shopping center is to ensure a regular shopping center parking lot sweeping, cleaning and maintenance. This sends a positive message about the commitment that the owner has in his property.

Parking Lot Sweeping – Dealing With The Challenges

Both stiff competition and technology have made doing business more challenging because convincing picky customers takes more than advertising and applying a coat of paint every year.

One of the things that really work to create a positive impression to maintain a clean and well-maintained parking lot.

Are you looking to make a good (or better) first impression with your parking lot?  Give us a call at 732-886-1940.  We’ll be glad to discuss how you can improve the overall impression of your parking lot through regular parking lot sweeping.