remote employees

Managing Maintenance with Remote Employees

In this month’s Beyond Maintenance webinar and knowledge series on September 23, we focused on remote employees and the effects they can have on your business — for the better.

Managing a Team of Remote Employees in the Virtual World

Todd Ortscheid and Joni Wolfswinkel explored the significant challenges around business expansion and workforce needs. They shared their experiences in managing property maintenance with remote employees. By the end, attendees gained the insight they needed to implement their own virtual team.

Todd Ortscheid, President & CEO of Revolution Rental Management, shared his personal experience managing their virtual assistants. Having standing meetings, just like they are in the office, is crucial.

“We do a daily stand-up meeting with our virtual assistants as if they are in the office. We have weekly EOS meetings. We don’t like to refer to them as “remote employees” though, because they are just like any other employee at Revolution [Rental Management]. It’s no different as far as I’m concerned.”

Joni Wolfswinkel, Broker/Owner of Real Property Management Preferred and Owner of True Work Logistics, added that they hold similar meetings with their entire team, including employees who work remotely.

“Holding them accountable is important. We have morning huddles, and “KPI Wednesdays”. If we’re in the red, we dive in and see how we can get to green. Plus, we do maintenance workshops on Thursdays. Every week is different, but it’s all about training them and setting expecations.”

Onboarding the virtual workforce like you would any other employee is essential, Wolfswinkel made the point.

Cost Savings with Remote Employees

As the discussion progressed, attendees learned of possible cost savings they would experience when implementing remote employees. Would a property management company experience cost savings right out of the gate? Or is there an upfront cost that you would need to navigate before reaping the benefits of virtual assistants?

Wolfswinkel responded, “The only initial cost we see is the processing fee. But, we save tremendously. Originally, our cost per door was $300. Then, we decided to add virtual assistants… Currently, we have 5 remote employees and one maintenance lead to manage them. Our cost is now $134 per door. We saw that cost per door drop immediately. We were able to provide better customer service, because we had more people assisting in the effort. It also allowed our leader to do the things to grow our business instead of being stuck in the weeds.”

Ortscheid immediately saw savings as well. In addition, he mentioned the quality of an international assistant had changed the game at his company.

“When you look at the savings, you’re cutting the cost in half. When you outsource internationally, you’re also getting a higher quality employee for that price. The quality combined with the cost savings is incredible. They aren’t just entry level positions, you’re running with a Director of Operations as a virtual assistant.”

Are there challenges of virtual assistants?

There was concern that transparency and communication of virtual employees could be an issue in management from a few attendees. Woflswinkel and Ortscheid showed no concern about those challenges.

“With the software we use, our employees log in everyday and we can monitor them. We can see what’s on their screen or their computer if we need to. It’s not really an issue and the transparency is there. They are full aware we can check in on them at any time, too. We use Zoom and Slack regularly for communication,” said Ortscheid.

Joni admitted, “We used to have after-hour call centers. We actually just got rid of that altogether and created our own call center. We have 3 RTM’s that work after hours. We have more control that way. There isn’t always an emergency after hours, and they are able to do things at night, like clean up Melds and review inspections. My main lead is able to focus on the things that matter when she comes to the office.”

As Wolfswinkel and Ortscheid shared their insight on how virtual assistants changed their business for the better, it was clear; they are saving money and time — focusing on expanding their business. Let us show you how you can pair virtual assistants with technology and request a demo of our web-based platform for your company.


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