Attend educational workshops such as those offered by Strata Mastery. Tell Building Managers to listen to the experts – Listen to those who have walked these very pathways and succeeded.
HOW CAN WE MAKE OUR BUSINESS BETTER AND MORE VALUABLE?
WHAT AREAS OF SUPPORT DO YOU BELIEVE THE STRATA MANAGEMENT INDUSTRY WOULD WOST BENEFIT FROM?
The most important training in my view is outside assistance or independent consultancy services to ensure that the guidelines as previously mentioned are actually put into practice. Seek a person who understands the business who can guide you and support you without the internal politics or personal agendas.
WHAT ARE COMMON MISTAKES THAT YOU HAVE OBSERVED IN BODY CORPORATE MANAGEMENT & HOW ARE THESE BEST AVOIDED?
From the very beginning set down your ground rules. Run your new business as a business, not as the Doorman or Concierge.Have your nights and weekends off just like the building residents but provide after hour emergency contact options.
It is not reasonable for any business owner to be physically available 24/7. Have a lock box on the premises for an emergency key in case of lockouts. Accept text messages at night and on weekends but do not accept phone calls.
In my professional experience, there are in fact very few genuine emergencies, ever. Provide a list of emergency phone numbers for residents to call if required. These may include an after hours security service call-out number, 24 hour plumber and electrician, fire services company and local police services etc.
AS AN EXPERIENCED STRATA TITLE MANAGEMENT RIGHTS OWNERS/OPERATOR, WHAT CHECKS AND BALANCES WOULD YOU RECOMMEND WHEN PURCHASING MANAGEMENT RIGHS?
Many potential purchasers of strata management title rights have the finance, skills and management ability but do not conduct their own due diligence to ensure that the property they are looking to buy actually suits them. Purchasers should refer to minutes of meetings to identify any obvious patterns of behaviour and speak with the Chairperson before committing.
Potential purchasers should also inspect the building (including internal lots) at least 3-4 times before committing. I would also strongly advise the Buyer to read the Caretaking and Letting Agreement themselves. Sit with the Book Keeper and read a few emails between the current Caretaker and the Committee so that you are aware of the relationship between the management rights owner and the existing members.
WHAT ARE SOME OF THE MANAGEMENT STRATEGIES THAT YOU HAVE ADOPTED THAT HAVE HELPED YOU TO BUILD A HIGHLY PROFITABLE BUSINESS?
Run the business as a business and use business principles. Show that you are pro active not reactive. Keep in close and open contact with the Chairman of the Body Corporate Committee. Treat him/her as your Boss. Show initiative and show that you have everything in hand.
Never mention your contract as this only alienates you from your Committee and invites “petty” discussions.
Be in control. Try not to show properties after hours unless you absolutely have to as this only demonstrates that you are desperate for business, rather than in control of your letting portfolio. Always apply business principles to the leasing side of your business and stick to your ground rules.
WHAT OTHER ASPECTS OF YOUR BUSINESS WOULD YOU CREDIT TO YOUR SUCCESS?
Having a good knowledge of best business practices is a key factor to your success but joining industry organisations is also a must for people who are new to management rights. Meeting with other managers/industry experts and listening to their advice is critical to success.
As stated above, be proactive with the Committee and never ask for permission to undertake projects unless you have all the quotations for the work at hand in the first instance. Go to meetings well organised with all aspects covered and answers in hand for any likely queries.
TELL US ABOUT A TIME WHEN YOU HAD TO DEAL WITH CONFLICT ON THE BODY CORPORATE AND HOW DID YOU OVERCOME THE SITUATION?
I once had two new committee members who were antagonistic towards the Chairperson and the existing Committee and thought that they had all the answers to every situation. It was important that we listened to their point of view and provided the newly elected members an opportunity to show their support and deliver on any delegated tasks.
One new member was delegated an important job within their area of expertise but failed to finish the project. It is my belief that a Committee Members role should not be taken lightly and if Members fail to consistently and actively perform, than other Owners should be given an opportunity to nominate for that given position at the next Annual General Meeting of the Body Corporate.
When in doubt, ask yourself this question, “Will my actions increase the capital value of this asset?”… If you can answer “yes”, then you are on the right track.
Your building management strategy should be pro active, assertive, co-operative, professional and conducted with honesty. Treat the building as if it was the best building in the area. Take pride in the property you own and manage. Always talk it up!