As a property team, your top priority is your tenants. You’re constantly looking to streamline your processes to provide the best customer service possible. Technology provides a simple way to automate time-intensive aspects of your responsibilities, especially managing after hours HVAC and lighting requests.
But when it comes to evaluating automation, it’s critical to identify what’s actually driving value so you can determine whether it’s the right move for your building. Consider these four areas when quantifying the potential value of automating your overtime HVAC program.
There are two ways tenants go about making after hours HVAC and lighting requests in most buildings: work order systems and paper forms. What do both of these have in common? They involve time consuming, manual processes to fulfill the requests, and your team could probably better spend that time on other high-priority tasks.
Work orders and forms are not built for the nuances of after hours HVAC services and don’t cater to the busy life of a property team. Requests are manually entered into the building management system (BMS) and added to a billing spreadsheet. And if a tenant needs to extend their request, they need to locate someone to help them — which makes this process even more of a mess. It quickly becomes difficult to consistently account for extensions, cancellations, or duplicate requests, and leaves room for accounting errors and disgruntled tenants when the bill comes.
Automating requests will increase your team’s efficiency, and could lower the labor cost involved with your current process.
Here’s how you can calculate the potential value of automation:
Estimate how much time your team spends on fulfilling a request and multiply that number by the number of requests you get each month. Factor in your team’s hourly rate and you should get an idea of the labor cost involved in supporting your existing process.
This will help you quantify and justify the cost of investing in new technology.
Tenants are typically required to provide advanced notice when they intend to work late in order to give your team time to manually process the request. When tenants have to work unexpectedly or extend their request in real time, they often circumvent the work order system and call the property management office or security staff to get service. Engineers frequently log requests into the BMS remotely or need to visit the property to take care of it. However, if the action isn’t logged into the work order system, no billing is recorded. This is called billing leakage.
When after hours HVAC and lighting is unaccounted for, the building ends up paying for it and loses revenue. Without a paper trail for the request, your tenant can easily dispute the charge. Perhaps to keep the peace, you err on the side of the tenant while your bottom line suffers.
In another scenario, some tenants don’t bother requesting the after hours services they need to avoid the hassle of your process and/or the last-minute nature of their request. By making your overtime HVAC program more flexible and user-friendly, more tenants will properly submit requests and increase the revenue for the building.
To calculate the lost revenue in the inefficient handling of overtime requests, ask your team how many last-minute requests they receive on a weekly or monthly basis. Compare this figure to your last 12 months of after hours HVAC revenue. This will give you an idea of your baseline, and make it easy to spot growth if and when you implement a change.
One thing we’ve learned from the hundreds of properties we work with is that far too many buildings are left on when no one is there. During holidays and weekends, building occupancy is low and energy is often wasted.
By providing an easy and reliable way for tenants to request HVAC on weekends and minor holidays, you have the ability to turn off the system when it’s not needed.
To evaluate how to drive energy efficiency with automation tools, check your access card logs to assess your tenant occupancy levels during weekends and holidays.
You could be running your building as though it is at 30%, 70%, or even 100% occupancy when your true tenant occupancy at only 3%. This could be resulting in thousands of dollars in wasted utility and equipment costs each year. This will give you accurate data on how often your building is on when it doesn’t need to be, and help you justify measures to improve your process.
Let’s face it, none of your tenants want to be working on the weekend. When a request fails because of an oversight or difficult process, tenants are quickly frustrated as they try to track someone down to fix it. Property teams then get to deal with inboxes full of angry messages from tenants who didn’t get service they may or may not have requested.
By empowering your tenants with technology and simple processes, you’re giving them the tools they need (and expect) to do their jobs. And happy tenants are the ultimate goal for every property team.
Tenant satisfaction is a powerful force in commercial real estate. Many of our customers have sent tenant satisfaction surveys before and after implementing our automated software and discovered the positive impact it has on retention and satisfaction rates.
These four value drivers combine to create a compelling financial case to move away from manual processes to an automated workflow for overtime HVAC management.
If you would like a more detailed analysis on how improving your after hours HVAC program can affect your building’s bottom line, download our complete case study. This case study walks you through the quantifiable results one of our buildings saw in the year after implementing our Overtime HVAC software. We offer this analysis for all of our customers to help them quantify the value of their overtime HVAC program.
If you’re interested in obtaining a custom analysis of your building’s potential savings, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.