Modern gated Communities sizes varying from 100 units to 20,000 units per community have got housekeeping staff, security staff, technical staff like electricians, plumbers, and landscapers, similar to blue-collar manpower in hotels and resorts. Some places have got trainers, in-house medical staff, and meal providers as well.
However, contrasts appear when it comes to white-collar manpower.
Most gated communities are significantly under-staffed when it comes to this managerial layer. Even though the communities have been in development over the past one to two decades, sufficient experience is required for the managerial skills to be available abundantly.
Often management committees fill in for these positions by volunteering their personal time on weekends or after-work hours. However, without a critical element, this entire setup falls into chaos.
That critical element is technology. Robust online technology, like a community app, powered by Community Management SaaS, becomes essential in this situation for managing gated communities.
How does technology help in keeping these properties well-managed?
Let’s look at some of the top functions in gated community management and the impact of technology on these.
One of the most important activities of the managerial staff is to constantly communicate with the owner and tenants. With a community app, the communication can happen on the official channel where all verified owners and tenants are added. Without the app, such communications happen over e-mail and WhatsApp, which creates chaos and members missing critical information. Additionally, managing the WhatsApp groups in a Gated Community involves an additional one man-hour per day at a minimum.
Servicing the residents with utmost satisfaction upon receiving the maintenance requests remains one of the highest priorities of the managerial staff. The online helpdesk in the app allows residents to lodge their requests without having to walk to a register or call a phone number where their problem may get lost in translation! With an interactive online helpdesk, solving an issue becomes transparent and eliminates multiple phone calls. In its absence, maintenance requests are handled using registers and phone calls that add three additional man-hours for the managerial staff.
Many gated communities have world-class clubhouses with Olympics grade pools, tennis courts, badminton courts, gyms, and sauna. Residents pay a premium as rent or maintenance charges to access these facilities. However, booking these facilities involves intricate algorithms to ensure uniform availability for all residents. The online booking feature of the community app automates these algorithms for facility booking. With the help of the facility booking feature of the community app, bookings happen quite like online travel or hotel booking. The resident does not have to meet a manager to get this done and it also saves managerial staff a minimum of two hours per day.
The main source of income for gated communities is the maintenance charges paid by each owner. These vary from Rs 1000/month to Rs 30,000/ month depending on common amenities and services provided in the gated community. Billed on a monthly or quarterly basis in most cases, it is the most effort-intensive managerial process in a gated community. In the absence of technology, accurate billing used to be a rare miracle due to arrear complications, late payment penalties, and consumption-based billing for utilities. However, automatic billing and online payments on community apps have eliminated the exhausting inefficiencies around maintenance billing and saved lakhs due to timely collection and late payment penalties.
Some community management apps also have fully integrated automated accounting along with the maintenance billing and collection function. This means that the need for manually posting the journal entries is eliminated for 60-70 percent of all financial transactions of the community!
Such advanced automation saves 4 hours per day for the accounting staff. Using this online technology has saved up to 10 man-hours per day. Apart from these, much managerial time is saved due to online supervision of security as all visitor entry information is available online along with LIVE availability of incident and guard patrolling.
Automatic move-in workflow on the community app not only welcomes a new tenant in a professional and well-guided manner but also reduces the managerial staff’s time from move-in management duties. Managerial staff can instead be focused on supervision of the property at this time.
Overall, it is evident that despite the limited manpower, sustained management of gated communities on a modern scale and sophistication is possible only due to the adaptation of community management technology!
- Authored by San Banerjee, Co-founder and CEO, ADDA. Views expressed are personal