Building a Successful Property Preservation Team

Starting a property preservation business is exciting, but there are several factors to consider before diving in. One of the most important is building a reliable and efficient team. Developing a successful property preservation crew requires a combination of effective strategies and tips. Here are some useful approaches to consider:

  • Hire experienced and skilled team members: Ensure that you recruit team members who have the necessary experience and skills to perform property preservation tasks effectively. You can assess their experience by looking at their resume or conducting a skills test during the interview process.
  • Provide training and support: Once you have recruited your crew, make sure you provide them with adequate training and support to enhance their skills and knowledge. You can offer training on property preservation techniques, customer service, and equipment operation, among others.
  • Set clear expectations: Communicate your expectations to the team members clearly. Outline the specific roles and responsibilities of each crew member and provide them with a schedule that highlights their daily tasks.
  • Foster a positive work environment: A positive work environment can significantly improve team performance. Encourage open communication, listen to feedback, and show appreciation for hard work.
  • Use technology to streamline tasks: Utilize technology such as property preservation software to streamline tasks, track work orders, and enhance communication among team members.
  • Develop a quality control process: Establish a quality control process to ensure that the team members complete their tasks according to the set standards. This can involve regular inspections, reviewing work orders, and implementing corrective action when necessary.
  • Offer incentives and rewards: Recognize the efforts of your crew members by offering incentives and rewards such as bonuses, paid time off, or gift cards.
  • Stay up to date with industry trends: Keep abreast of the latest trends in the property preservation industry to ensure that your team members are equipped with the latest tools and techniques to complete their tasks effectively.

Navigating the Choice of Workforce for Your Property Preservation Business

When starting a property preservation business, a significant decision to make is whether to hire full-time employees or independent contractors. The choice you make can affect your business in many ways, including fixed costs, cash flow, and taxes. The IRS provides a great overview of the difference between full-time employees and contractors, which can be found here.

If you’re unsure of which option to choose, it is best to consult with your accountant. He or she can provide you with sound advice that is relevant to your business and the state you operate in.

Using subcontractors can be advantageous, especially during the early stages of your business. It keeps fixed costs down since you only pay for their services when work is available, they typically provide their own transport and equipment, and you only pay after receiving payment for the job. However, regardless of your choice, you should always verify the worker’s references to ensure that they have a solid reputation and the required experience. Additionally, during the application stage, ask applicants to sign a consent form that gives them the legal right to run a background check on them and verify their references.

When hiring employees, it is important to have two types of contractual agreements in place: an Independent Contractor Agreement and a Non‐Compete Agreement. These are designed to protect both your and your employees’ interests and will deter employees from setting up on their own at your expense. Before implementing these agreements, it is important to have a lawyer review them to ensure that they meet all the legal requirements of your state.

Choosing Property Preservation Contractors

Recognizing the need for a contractor’s services is one thing, but finding the right individuals can be a challenging task. In today’s economy, many people are seeking work, and the difficulty lies in selecting the best ones.

Before inviting contractors to visit the property, it is always advisable to obtain rough estimates from several contractors in advance. Always aim to select one contractor and have a few more on standby in case the first provider fails to meet your expectations. Verify that the contractors you plan to hire are fully authorized to perform the work you are employing them for by contacting the local registrar of contractors.

Before the contractor starts working, you need:

  • Verified insurance status
  • Proof that they have included your organization’s name in the Certificates of Liability and Workers’ Compensation listing
  • A copy of their W9 forms so that you can issue 1099 at year-end

In some regions and states, a general contractor’s license may be required to employ a contractor. This may be determined by year-end or the value of the work to be contracted. Another option is to refer the sub-contractor to the asset manager or realtor and arrange for them to bid on the work directly. In some cases, you may receive a referral fee of approximately 25% for recommending a contractor who is subsequently chosen for a project.

Ensuring Safety: Meeting the Requirements

Operating in the property preservation industry requires full familiarity with all health and safety standards. You should adhere to these standards at all times, especially those set by OSHA, safety standards, and any local safety requirements and laws that are in operation within the state you are based in. Providing your staff with full safety training is critical as an employer. 

Topics that you may wish to include in your safety meetings could be your organization’s health and safety procedures, the importance of following health and safety procedures at all times, employees’ rights to work in a safe environment, employees’ responsibility to behave in a safe manner at all times, dangers of taking drugs or drinking alcohol when working, disciplinary measures that will be used against employees who fail to follow safety procedures, policy for reporting and monitoring illness, injuries, and accidents, what employees should do in the event they sustain an injury while at work, return to work policies and procedures, compensation fraud, OSHA requirements, general first aid, use of personal protective equipment (PPE), awareness of blood-borne pathogens, and employee medical records and rights to them.

Accidents can occur despite the best precautions, and it’s crucial to take appropriate action when they do. In the event of an emergency, the person in charge must dial 911 without hesitation. If they are uncertain whether the situation warrants an emergency call, it’s safer to contact 911 and seek expert advice than to risk someone’s life. For minor injuries resulting from an accident, administer basic first aid. It’s essential to complete a detailed incident report and keep it on file whenever an accident occurs.

Set Clear Expectations

Setting clear expectations is essential for the success of any team, and property preservation teams are no exception. When team members understand their roles and responsibilities, they can work more efficiently and effectively. Here are some tips for setting clear expectations for your property preservation team:

  • Clearly define each team member’s role: Start by defining each team member’s role in the property preservation process. This could include roles such as property inspector, landscaper, or general contractor. Make sure that each team member understands their specific responsibilities and what is expected of them.
  • Outline daily tasks: Provide team members with a schedule that outlines their daily tasks. This will help them to prioritize their work and ensure that all tasks are completed on time.
  • Communicate project goals: Clearly communicate the goals of each property preservation project to your team members. This will help them to understand the bigger picture and how their work fits into the overall project.
  • Establish deadlines: Set realistic deadlines for each task and make sure that team members are aware of them. This will help to ensure that work is completed on time and that the project stays on track.
  • Provide feedback: Regularly provide feedback to team members on their work. This will help them to understand what they are doing well and where they need to improve.

By setting clear expectations, you can help your property preservation team to work more efficiently and effectively. This will not only benefit your team members but also your clients and the success of your business overall.

Offer Incentives and Rewards

Offering incentives and rewards are a powerful way to motivate and retain employees. Recognizing the efforts of your property preservation team members is critical in keeping them engaged, motivated, and committed to the success of your business. Incentives and rewards not only serve as a means of recognition for their hard work but also demonstrate that you value their contributions to the team.

There are various incentives and rewards that you can offer your team members, such as bonuses, paid time off or gift cards. Bonuses can be offered for achieving specific goals or targets, such as completing a project on time or within budget. Paid time off is an excellent reward for employees who consistently meet or exceed performance expectations. Gift cards to a favorite restaurant or store can be a simple yet effective way to show appreciation and recognition for a job well done.

When implementing incentives and rewards, it’s important to ensure that they are fair and equitable. Consider offering incentives and rewards that are relevant and meaningful to your team members. It’s also essential to communicate clearly and consistently about the criteria for earning rewards and the timeline for distribution.

Staying up to date with industry trends is crucial for developing a successful property preservation crew. The property preservation industry is constantly evolving, and keeping up with the latest trends can help you stay ahead of the competition and ensure that your team members are equipped with the latest tools and techniques to complete their tasks effectively.

One of the most effective ways is to attend industry events such as conferences and trade shows. These events provide an opportunity to meet with other professionals in the field, learn about new products and services, and hear about the latest industry developments.

Another way to stay up to date is to read industry publications such as REALTOR® Magazine, and HousingWire. These publications often feature articles and interviews with industry experts and provide insights into the latest trends and best practices.

In addition to staying up to date with industry trends, it’s also important to ensure that your team members receive regular training and development opportunities. This will help them stay up to date with the latest techniques and best practices, and ensure that they are equipped to complete their tasks effectively.

Summing Up Key Strategies for Successfully Building a Property Preservation Team

Starting a property preservation business involves building a reliable and efficient team, which requires hiring experienced and skilled crew members, providing training and support, setting clear expectations, fostering a positive work environment, utilizing technology, developing a quality control process, and offering incentives and rewards. 

The choice of the workforce, whether full-time employees or independent contractors, can significantly affect the business, and it is important to verify their references and legal documents. When selecting contractors, it is advisable to obtain rough estimates from several contractors in advance, verify their insurance status, and ensure that they are fully authorized to perform the work. Meeting health and safety standards, including OSHA and local safety requirements, is critical, and employers should provide their staff with full safety training.