A Day in the Life of a Property Manager

property manager

You may know your property manager as the guy who swings by sometimes to see if you need anything, fixes what’s broken and generally keeps the building in good shape. If the property manager is a good one, tenants will never see him or her because nothing is broken. Fire alarm tests will be done in the early morning and an HVAC filter change may be done on a Saturday afternoon. Because he often goes unnoticed, unless there’s an emergency, many building owners underestimate what the life of a property manager is actually like. Let’s look at a typical day to see what he does.

5 am: Joe wakes up to his alarm and rolls out of bed. It’s fire alarm day and the alarms in his buildings need to be tested before the tenants come in for work.

5:30 am: Joe meets the inspector at his first building. It’s a medical office, and the working day often starts early. They need to get all the alarms inspected before the first patient comes in at 7 am.

6 am: The blaring alarms go off for a good half an hour as Joe walks around the building checking all the blinking lights—what a way to wake up.

6:30 am: Joe is driving to an HVAC service appointment at another building when he gets a call from the owner of a retail store he manages across town. The air conditioning condensation line backfilled overnight and there’s a half-inch of water in the basement. Joe reassures the owner that he’ll be there as soon as he can.

6:35 am: Joe lets the HVAC contractor up onto the rooftop unit, explains how to lock the door, and then runs back down to his car and starts to drive across town.

7 am: Joe arrives at the small retail store and sees the tenant moving cardboard boxes up out of the basement, so they don’t get wet. He sighs inwardly. He told the owner that this would happen if it wasn’t fixed weeks ago. But the owner reasoned that it was almost Fall, they wouldn’t be using the AC much longer and it was an expensive fix.

7:05 am: Joe talks with the tenant about the situation and what to do next. He already has an HVAC contractor in mind who does a great job and often gives Joe a discount. They’ve been working together for nearly five years and have an established relationship.

7:10 am: Joe is already on the phone with the contractor as he heads into the basement to survey the situation and start the sump pump. Luckily, he convinced the owner to install the pump a year or so back.

7:30 am: Joe is working hard to get the water out of the basement when the contractor shows up and takes over. Joe heads upstairs to talk to the client, give them an update on what’s happening and then leaves the rest of the work to the contractor.

7:45 am: Joe finally has a second to roll through the neighborhood Chick-fil-A to grab breakfast. He starts to take a bite as he drives back across town to where the HVAC contractor is working on servicing the rooftop unit when he gets another call. A security alarm is going off at a manufacturing facility. He knows the tenants don’t start work until 9 am and is concerned that someone is breaking in. He hangs up with the alarm company and calls the building owner on his way over. The owner is understandably worried and wants Joe there as soon as possible.

8 am: Joe pulls up to the building and doesn’t notice any signs of breaking and entering. The police pull into the parking lot just behind him and start to review the building. Joe lets them into the building to check the inside. The burglar turns out to be a squirrel who managed to get in through an upstairs vent. Joe makes a note to look at the vent for damage.

8:45 am: Joe finally pulls back into the parking lot of the building that was receiving HVAC service on the roof. He inspects the work that the contractor did and then locks the door behind him. The contractor did a pretty good job, and Joe calls the guy to say thanks.

9 am: Joe arrives back at the building with the broken AC condensation line. The contractor is just finishing up and recommends that Joe discuss water damage from the break with the building owner. Joe knows that won’t be a pretty conversation. Bad news is never fun to deliver.

9:30 am: Joe starts his daily drive across the county to check in with some of his buildings, owners, and tenants. He finds that checking in periodically to see if there’s any preventative maintenance that can be done leads to fewer emergencies later.

12 pm: Joe heads home to eat a quick lunch before starting on some accounting. It’s not his favorite, but he needs to estimate yearly expenses for an upcoming triple-net lease renewal. Accounting like this will take him at least the next hour or two of intense focus.

2 pm: Joe is just putting the finishing touches on his accounting worksheet when the phone rings. It’s the tenant in a medical building. It’s a uniquely set up building with a therapist’s office right next to a dentist. The dental equipment can be occasionally noisy, and the therapist finds it hard to work with her patients over the noise of the equipment. Today’s complaint is related to a client who was undergoing a root canal. The not-so-relaxing noise made it very hard for the therapist to do her work.

2:30 pm: After a long conversation, Joe heads over to the offending dental office to see what can be done. Thanks to his basic training in construction and experience with engineering, he can possibly rig up a better soundproofing system.

3:30 pm: After talking with the therapist and the dentist, Joe gets a call about some suspicious individuals loitering in the parking lot of a corporate campus he manages. The building is near a not-so-great area and is often subject to individuals who use the parking lot as their hang-out place.

3:50 pm: Bumping over a curb, Joe pulls into the parking lot to find a group of five or six people drinking out of brown bags in a corner of the lot. They shout at a few employees walking into the building and Joe shakes his head.

3:55 pm: He surveys the situation and decides to call the non-emergency line for the local police department- he has it saved on his phone. After watching the police come by and move the trespassers off private property, Joe calls the building owner to talk about hiring a security guard.

The owner doesn’t want to hear it. He doesn’t see what the problem is with a few neighborhood kids walking across the lot. Joe makes a note to himself to bring the building owner out next time it happens so he can see what’s really going on.

4:15 pm: Joe checks his watch and then rushes to pull out of the parking lot. His son has his first middle school baseball game today and he doesn’t want to miss it. He’s going to be late as it is, but luckily his wife promised to bring his son to the game.

4:30 pm: With a wave from the stands, Joe greets his son and settles into the bleachers to cheer him on.

5:30 pm: Only an hour into the game, Joe’s phone rings. It’s a call from one of Joe’s new building owners. Not wanting to miss a call from the boss, Joe moves to the side of the bleachers and answers the call. He keeps one eye on the game as he talks to the building owner about some new upgrades Joe wants to make to the building’s security system.

6:00 pm: A cheer goes up from the stands. Joe is missing the game! He thinks he sees someone from his son’s team running the bases but can’t be sure. His view is blocked by the snack stand.

6:10 pm: Joe talks fast, trying to hurry up the phone call and manages to end the call relatively quickly.

6:15 pm: Joe makes it back to the bleachers just in time to see his son slide into home. He hit a home run and Joe missed most of it. Disappointed, he promises himself he’ll see the next one.

The typical day of a property manager is long. Constant emergencies, maintenance needs, and juggling multiple bosses plagued Joe all day. While property managers can take the occasional vacation, they often struggle with shutting off their phone. If an emergency happens, they need to respond- and fast. This fast-paced, never-ending lifestyle isn’t for everyone. An experienced property manager knows which contractors to call, has the team to take care of your building (and even sneak in the occasional vacation!), and meet all of the building owner’s needs.

Don’t take on property management alone with no experience. Blackwolf Commercial has the property management team you need. After decades in the business, we have the right connections with local contractors for quality work at affordable prices. Our team approach to property management means that you don’t have to worry about your building when you go on vacation. Our status as a management company with multiple buildings often provides us with discounts that we can pass on to our building owners. Think savings on your energy bill, cleaning services, and more.

Learn more about our property management services here.