How to Keep Your Commercial Property in Tip-Top Shape

Once the commercial construction project wraps, you complete the final walk-through and pick up your building keys. You move your business into the structure and might think you’re done. Your beautiful commercial building doesn’t take care of itself. Every building requires maintenance, but you can make caring for your commercial property easier by hiring a commercial property management firm.

What does a commercial property management firm handle for you? Let’s consider the many tasks you would need to do to upkeep a building and the multitude of service personnel you would need to hire if you didn’t contract with a property management firm specializing in commercial properties. These companies handle much more than maintenance, so we’ll delve into the administrative tasks they handle, too.

Daily to Weekly Maintenance

Whether the building houses your company or tenants’ companies, you’ll need to maintain a clean, orderly property. Without a commercial property management firm, you would need to hire a commercial cleaning service to clean the building each day or every week. Check your municipality’s building codes and ordinances, because many locales require clean commercial properties to meet health regulations and protect public health and well-being.

Daily cleaning in an office environment refers to tasks like sweeping and mopping, emptying the trash cans, and cleaning the toilets. Every week, the cleaning crew may dust the open surfaces and clean the glass counters. For small office buildings, the cleaning crew may clean both sides of the windows each week, but on large, multi-story buildings, they only clean the interior each week.

Every Two Weeks Maintenance

Beyond the building, as the owner of a commercial building, you will also need to maintain the grounds. This requires mowing the lawn every two weeks, edging, and clipping/shaping the shrubs and hedges. Hiring a landscaping firm for this work can ease your burden, but a property management firm handles the hiring and the lawn maintenance.

Monthly Maintenance

Every month, you’ll need a serviceperson to change the air filters in your commercial building’s heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) system. Replacing these filters each month helps the HVAC system remove dust, dirt, and debris from the outside air before processing it for use in heating or cooling your building. Depending on the type of heating and cooling system your building uses, the service personnel may also add biofuel, fuel, or coolant to the system.

Seasonal Maintenance

Pest control also comes under the many duties of a commercial building owner. By hiring a commercial property management firm, you absolve yourself of needing to interview and hire a pest control company. These service personnel visit the property each season or twice per year to treat it for rats, mice, roaches, ants, and other pests that could create a health hazard.

Owners of large, multi-story buildings will need to hire a professional window cleaning crew to wash the exterior windows. Although the cleaning crew keeps the inside of the windows clean each week, high-rise buildings only undergo exterior window washing every few months. Check with your municipality on whether this task requires a permit.

Your HVAC system needs seasonal maintenance to get it ready for the changing weather. Your commercial property management firm provides the services of a commercial heating service to complete tasks, including calibrating the thermostats, winterizing the cooling system, and inspecting the heating systems. This serviceperson may also address seasonal maintenance of the building’s water heater.

Annual Maintenance

Just like homes, commercial buildings require annual maintenance. Some tasks you perform in both a home and a business location, but others only occur at a commercial location. Let’s explore the vast number of items your commercial property management firm helps you take care of each year.

At least once per year, your building needs commercial gutter cleaning to remove leaves, trash, twigs, and small tree branches that become wedged in the roofing gutters on windy days. When roofing gutters fill with debris, they can’t perform their job – whisking water away from your roof and foundation. Although annual cleaning helps temporarily empty them, consider having gutter guards installed to block debris from entering the roofing gutters.

No building remains pristine, so once a year, have your commercial building power washed. A commercial property management firm typically provides commercial pressure washing services to maintain the exterior of your building. In most cases, you’ll only need to have your commercial property pressure washed once per year, but buildings in areas with smog, nearby industrial complexes, or other environmental complications that result in exterior grime require more frequent cleaning.

According to the Certified Commercial Property Inspectors Association (CCPIA), every twelve months a commercial property should undergo a comprehensive visual inspection that spots system defects. Using the International Standards of Practice for Inspecting Commercial Properties (ComSOP) as a guide, the inspector should ensure that the building meets compliance standards. This cost-effective inspection catches problems while they remain small and eradicates them by empowering the building owner to address them early.

When Damage Occurs to Your Commercial Property

Despite a commercial property owner’s best efforts, severe weather and other hazards can damage a commercial property. If this happens to your building, contact your insurance carrier and commercial property management firm. The property management company handles obtaining the specialty services needed to repair the building and restore it.

For example, if a flood damages your commercial building, you’ll need to hire local commercial property water remediation companies to clean the space and repair the damage. This work includes bailing out the water, drying all surfaces, and replacing damaged subflooring and drywall. The remediation company also sanitizes the building and its surfaces.

Using a commercial property management firm means you will have an on-call commercial electrician available for emergency repairs. Lightning strikes, floods, and fires all damage electrical wiring. By contracting with a commercial property manager, you save yourself the time required to locate and vet a qualified emergency electrician.

Another area that commonly undergoes damage in severe weather events – fencing around a commercial building – requires professional repair. Commercial fences differ from those surrounding a home in type, style, and structural components. The fence around your commercial building probably takes the form of a palisade, cement, vinyl, mesh panel, or chain link fence. Each fencing type requires a professional who specializes in its installation and repair of it.

Time, weather, and hazards, such as earthquakes, can damage driveways, walkways, and hardscapes of a commercial building or complex. A qualified commercial property management firm helps you retain the services of a commercial paving company to repair cracks and uneven surfaces or repave areas that collapsed. The pavement company restores the usefulness and safety of your commercial building’s hardscapes.

Benefits of Using a Commercial Property Manager

Contracting with a commercial property management firm provides more than a steady stream of qualified repair and maintenance personnel. Their assistance in emergencies alleviates problems for you. The company you contract with can also interface with your insurance company, saving you the time and hassle of dealing with insurance agents, adjusters, and other personnel after you file a claim.

Having a property manager for your commercial building frees you from the day-to-day tasks of building management. When your employees or building tenants need something repaired, they don’t phone or email you; they contact your building management company. The management company handles the repairs from permitting to final inspection. Providing this single point person or company for all repair and maintenance needs ensures consistency and high quality.

Property management firms do much more than upkeep the property. These companies handle all aspects of managing the property for the building owner. Let’s consider what that includes that frees your time and helps you produce a greater return on investment (ROI) from your building.

Property Management Handles the Finances

A professional property management firm specializing in commercial properties manages the building’s budget and accounting. The company creates the budget for the building owner, providing a written estimate based on facts and current labor and materials costs of how much proper maintenance will cost in the coming year. The annual budget also forecasts the revenue generated by the building.

Besides providing day-to-day contact for tenants, the property manager collects rent. The company tracks each tenant, rental due date, amount, and payment history. The property management firm saves you from hiring a separate bookkeeper or accountant.

Acts as a Business Development Partner

Property management companies specializing in commercial buildings track real estate trends and help you maintain your property’s competitiveness. A professional property management firm suggests building improvements and upgrades that result in enhanced curb appeal and improved building performance. Doing so helps building owners stay on top of developing compliance needs and building code updates. Professional management companies help building owners develop their goals for each building and their overall business.

Serving as Your Public Relations Contact

If you own more than one commercial property, you might already employ a publicist. Individuals who own one commercial building or recently purchased their first commercial property may need a public relations point person. Your professional property manager serves this purpose by interfacing with your tenants and potential tenants. Their polite, helpful interactions can help you increase your lease renewals and attract new tenants when an opening occurs.

You can also have this company represent you to the media. Its professional employees can make statements to the press when required. Some property management companies will write and submit press releases for you when needed.

Keeping Your Building Spaces Rented

Besides exterior grime or damage, nothing makes a commercial property look worse than empty rental spaces. Your pristine building goes to waste unless you rent each office or retail space. Contracting with a professional property management company solves this problem because the firm handles advertising the un-rented space, tenant applications, interviewing tenants, and lease negotiations. A high-quality management firm ensures you keep your building occupancy at its maximum.

Handling Tenant Complaints

Buying a commercial building doesn’t have to mean devoting every day to managing a commercial building when you contract with the property management company. Instead of phoning you when one tenant experiences a problem with another tenant, the people who rent in your building call the property manager. The company with whom you contract deals with negotiating peace between the tenants and solving the problem.

Managing Tenant Turnover

The term tenant turnover refers to when one tenant moves out of an office or retail space, leaving it open for a new tenant. A lot must occur before you can rent that space to a new business, including cleaning, inspections, and repairs. The management company handles everything for you, making the property quickly market-ready.

Legal Issues and Code Compliance

Entering the commercial property ownership industry means opening the door to major compliance requirements. Not only will your building need to maintain local, county, and state code compliance, but it will also need to meet the compliance requirements of national law, such as the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Your property manager handles all of this for you!

Other legal issues that the management firm handles include evictions, lawsuits, and debt collection. Contracting with one of these companies saves you from an immeasurable amount of paperwork, and can work with your attorneys to speed up the legal process. Some property management companies that handle commercial buildings employ negotiators or mediators to help their clients avoid going to court by negotiating a settlement.

Getting Started with Commercial Property Management

Your commercial building can provide a source of revenue and afford you a generous ROI, but it requires regular maintenance and upkeep. Rather than devoting all your time to maintaining your building, contract with a property management firm specializing in commercial properties. Doing this frees you from mountains of paperwork, locating the right service personnel for each problem that arises on the property, and dealing with tenants. Make your life as a commercial building owner easier while maintaining your property in tip-top condition.

About Sarah Bennett 402 Articles
Sarah is a highly experienced legal advisor and freelance writer. She specializes in assisting tech companies with the complexities of the law and providing useful information to the public through her writing.