Shopping Center Maintenance – Sweeping, Portering and Maintenance Done Right

Shopping Center Maintenance – What Needs Attention?

Shopping Center Maintenance - sweeping.comMaintaining your Shopping Center is like maintaining your refrigerator – sometimes there are things in the refrigerator that smell bad because they should have been thrown away a long time ago. And sometimes there are things that should have been fixed or cleaned a long time ago in the Shopping Center that now need attention.

Of course, many people miss taking care of things when they first crop up. They think, “I’ll get to it when the weather gets better” or “I’ll get to it when I have some time”. And so as time goes on, the little things retreat from our attention, until they’re no longer little things.

You can avoid this. All you have to do is make the time for preventative maintenance (not find the time…you’ll never “find” any extra time) In other words, you need to make a plan for consistent, effective shopping center maintenance. Here’s how…

Shopping Center Maintenance – Sweeping

Regular Parking lot sweeping not only improves the overall “curb appeal” of the parking lot, it extends the life of the asphalt surfaces.

Regular parking lot sweeping removes grit, oils, and pollutants that reduce the life of an asphalt parking lot. The longer the life of the asphalt, the better the ROI (return on investment) for the cost of installing the parking lot.

Sweeping is also an environmentally friendly practice, a much-needed practice in an environmentally sensitive world.

Scheduling a regular sweeping keeps the parking lot looking tidy and removes the debris, trash and normal leaf and organic matter that collects in corners.

Shopping Center Maintenance – Portering

A porter is someone who conducts small maintenance duties to keep your shopping center clean.
These duties can include removing trash from trash bins, replacing trash bags, picking up larger pieces of trash and debris, and performing cleaning of any grease, oil or organic spills.

They are an extra set of eyes on anything that might need additional attention such as broken traffic stops, damaged curbs or sidewalks and other physical equipment that needs replacement such as lights, light fixtures, peeling paint, wall gouges, etc.

By using a porter, you can get up-to-date communication on the appearance and maintenance of your shopping center.

Shopping Center Maintainance Scheduling

There is a saying that whatever you place your attention on improves. This is particularly true with regular maintenance.

Updating (or creating) a regular maintenance schedule provides an effective baseline for monitoring and measuring ongoing tasks for shopping center maintenance.

A task management schedule should be based on client requirements that satisfy process tenant safety, task quality, and environmental requirement.

The more clearly you define your maintenance task schedule, the easier it will be to monitor and measure and manage the effective maintenance of your shopping center.

How Can C & L Services Help You?

C & L Services is a third generation family owned property maintenance company. We have been consulting and servicing shopping centers, commercial properties and communities in New Jersey for over forty years.

Our shopping center maintenance services include parking sweeping, portering, asphalt repair, line striping and seal coating.

We can help you keep your property in excellent condition with reliable, dependable, cost-effective services. If you’re in North Jersey, Contact us at 908-730-7884.  If you’re in Central New Jersey call us at 732-886-1940 to speak with a professional in shopping center maintenance.

Property Maintenance – If You Want To Save Money, Don’t Defer Maintenance

Property Maintenance – Are There Self Cleaning Properties?

property maintenance garage - sweeping.comIf you’re like a lot of property owners, you’ve probably wondered how do expert property management firms keep their properties so well maintained?

Maybe you’ve even wondered if certain properties were self-cleaning (like the ovens?)

Sometimes it seems that certain properties never have any maintenance issues.  Year after year the property looks good…there’s never a construction crew or a pothole or a crack.  Everything always appears to be going well for that property.

Truth is, the properties that look the best actually have lower costs for maintenance.

That’s why we rolled up our sleeves and tried to find out why.

Keeping Costs Down

What we discovered is not surprising. Dozens of studies (see below for some) show that costs escalate the longer maintenance is deferred!

Property Maintenance – The Real Cost of Deferred Maintenance – FacilitiesNet.com

Property Maintenance – Neglected Maintenance Escalates College Costs – The Hechinger Report

[dt_quote type=”blockquote” font_size=”big” animation=”none” background=”plain”]According to Naomi Milan of FacilitiesNet.com, “the greater issue with deferred maintenance is that it only grows in scope — and cost — the longer it is prolonged. When a repair is delayed, it is still subject to the daily use and abuse of building occupants.”[/dt_quote]

Deferred Maintenance = Systemic Consequences

Surprised? Probably not.  It’s likely that you have deferred maintenance on an important item in your own home (a/c, heat, that little leak in the bath) only to find that postponing routine maintenance has ended in real inconvenience and very high costs.

We’ve also learned that when maintenance is deferred, the consequences are systemic.  In other words, other seemingly unrelated maintenance items become more stressed and repairs or replacements become more complex (and more expensive).

Certainly, property owners are being asked to do more with less.  Ironically, property owners who do a little more property maintenance on a consistent basis end up spending less in both time and money over time.

The most effective practice we’ve seen from property owners that enjoy fewer maintenance issues is the regular application of inspection, evaluation and reporting.

Here’s a link to our recommended inspection list – Property Maintenance Checklist

Property Maintenance – Get Professional Advice

If you’re thinking about deferring maintenance, give us a call.  We’re more than a sweeping company. We are a full service property maintenance company with expertise in:

Pavement maintenance & repair

Property Maintenance & repair

Property Maintenance consulting & advisory

And yes, sweeping is our core service (three generations of sweeping service to the NJ region), however many of our clients have asked us to expand our business into all different areas of maintenance.

Save yourself some money, stop deferring maintenance.  Or better, give us a call at 732-886-1940 or 908-730-7888. We’ll help you determine how to budget and save money on your property maintenance.

Property Maintenance – Preparing Your Shopping Center for Winter Weather

property maintenance winter planning - sweeping.com

Property Maintenance – Protecting Real Estate and People

property maintenance winter preparation - sweeping.comBefore winter comes, property maintenance professionals need to plan for protecting people and shopping center assets.

As important as having a plan is, making sure that everyone understands their role, and ensuring that there is a solid plan in place, is vital.

Property Maintenance – Preparations Before Winter

Identify team member roles. Who will be responsible for each of these areas?

1. Weather watcher – Identify one person who will monitor the weather to provide sufficient notice that inclement weather is approaching. Or, have everyone install a weather application on their phone.

2. Snow removal – Consider a snow removal contractor only after you reach an understanding of where your lot is on their priority list. If they have to prioritize snow removal for places like hospitals and schools, you may be waiting quite a while before your lots are cleared.

3. Asphalt/Pothole repair – Similar considerations need to be made when potholes appear after inclement weather.

4. Property safety Measures – Identify the property maintenance services team member responsible for safety. Who is responsible for making sure signage and cones are put out and that the sidewalks and floors are safe to walk on.

5. Emergency supplies –Maintain a checklist of emergency items that are kept in stock, year round. This includes food, water, flashlights, and batteries.

6. Snow melting materials – If you do not have a sufficient amount of snow melting material on-hand, order it before winter. Also, consider how long it will take to replenish that supply and assign someone to track usage. You do not want to run out when you need it most.

Property Maintenance – A Plan of Action When Winter Weather Hits

Most plans that fail do so because of poor planning and communication. A plan should be in place before winter. When the storm hits, is the time for effective communication to happen. Many organizations provide key personnel with phone lists in both electronic and laminated card form.

Everyone with a role in property maintenance services needs to be part of the notification list. The list is usually activated in a pyramid fashion. Managers notify their direct subordinates, who then notify their subordinates, and so on. If the team is small enough, only a couple of phone calls are necessary to communicate to everyone.

Effective communication may include taking the initiative to keep tenants informed on the progress of the storm and the aftermath. The weather event may be used as an opportunity to demonstrate good customer service.

Ned some additional research for your planning?  Have a look at our recent article, “Property Maintenance – This Is The Checklist You Ought To Use”

Property Maintenance Incident Escalation

Hopefully, the weather event will pass. Personnel will perform as expected, and all will be well. What happens if the weather caused significant damage, such as flooding, burst pipes, excessive ice coating or a roof collapse?

Again, pre-planning will reduce the impact of these types of events. Making sure that your key property maintenance employees and contractors have access to one another to communicate the need for immediate repairs is a must.

Property maintenance managers and owners cannot control the weather, but they do have a great deal of influence on how to react to it. Identifying who the right people for each role are, and communicating that to the team is a great start.

Coordinating expectations with outside contractors is also important. Keeping a cool head while keeping everyone focused on weathering the storm and its aftermath is the most important task of all.

It’s Never Too Late To Plan

If you haven’t already done so, go ahead and sketch out a winter weather property maintenance plan.  Or even better, give us a call at 732-881-1940.

We’ll be glad to share our expertise and help you get through the winter with professional property maintenance.

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

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.

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