A recent article in a magazine for property managers - your customers - focused on what they would be faced with in 2009. We thought you'd like to know how they are thinking so you will know better how to approach them. The article was an in-depth explanation of how corporations were slashing their maintenance budgets, mainly telling property managers to start now to prepare a list of their most pressing needs for 2009. At the writing of the article most of them had not yet received their 2009 budget numbers, but the advice was that the smart property manager should prioritize the needs of his various properties into the things that absolutely had to be done, preventive maintenance that would be the most beneficial, and other needed maintenance that could wait.
Most in the pavement maintenance business offer assistance in either the first or second of those categories. In the "must do" category you can look for properties where potholes will absolutely have to be fixed, striping will have to be done, or signs replaced.
It's the second category - preventive maintenance that needs to be done - where most of the work our members do falls. And in this lousy economy, with the budget cuts that will be hitting the people that are your customers, your job will be to convince them that the preventive maintenance that you offer falls into the category of "must do" because of the value of doing it now. The article never mentioned pavement but it did mention things like an HVAC unit that had been making a noise last year where preventive maintenance might keep the entire unit from failing and needing to be replaced.
So to us it looks like your job for the next few months will be to convince property managers that there are items involving the services you provide that are preventive maintenance that will save them more costly repairs in the future!
This is the year to be a "concerned friend and consultant" that understands these people are terribly overworked because companies have cut personnel and each manager probably has twice as many properties to manage as he did two or three years ago, these properties stretch over a larger geographic area with different conditions, and he has less money. It's a time to show that you understand the predicament that they're in.
According to the magazine, property managers are going to be looking to do the things that will provide them the greatest return on investment for long-term reduction of maintenance costs. So it's a great time to be in the NPCA, where both commercial and residential customers will turn to look for high-quality contractors that do the best work for the dollar. But it's also a time in all your dealings with consumers to come across less as a "salesperson" and more as someone who is trying to help them protect their expensive pavement investment.
For more about NPCA and its benefits visit www.PavementPro.com.