12 Ways to Improve Your Commercial Property Maintenance Strategy

In commercial property management, maintenance spend becomes a serious consideration. Commercial buildings comprise the largest overall category of investment property. Maintenance involves care for the building’s structure, functional systems, shared spaces and amenities, inventory assets, and of course, response to specific maintenance requests from tenants.

Purely responsive maintenance can get quickly out of hand, both for your workforce and your budget. Fortunately, this is not a new industry. There are many well-established and cutting-edge developing strategies that can be used to minimize the work and expense necessary to keep your commercial properties in excellent condition.

The following twelve strategies are among the most effective ways to reduce the maintenance spend for commercial property management.

Build a Proactive Maintenance Schedule

Proactive maintenance is the single most useful way to manage maintenance spend and avoid break-fix disasters when managing commercial properties. Sometimes called preventive maintenance, proactive maintenance seeks to anticipate what maintenance tasks will be needed before anything breaks or becomes a problem.

Build a List of All Maintained Assets and Maintenance Histories

First, document every asset and maintenance task in each managed commercial building. Consider the plumbing, roofing, HVAC, water heaters, landscaping, smoke detectors – all of it. Then analyze the maintenance request and work order history related to each item on the list. As you might guess, it helps to use commercial property management software to document and keep track of a list this large and complex.

You may also want to make a separate list of routine or predictable maintenance that is often done seasonally or annually that can cover multiple assets in a single maintenance service.

This list will become the foundation of your proactive maintenance schedule.

Schedule Seasonal Maintenance Tasks

Determine which maintenance tasks are seasonal and preemptively schedule seasonal maintenance visits from technicians and services. Changing out air filters, testing certain systems, and problems that typically crop up in certain seasons due to weather and regional conditions should all fall into this category.

Schedule Annual Asset and Property Inspections

Next, make sure all major systems and infrastructure are annually inspected. HVAC, water heaters, breaker boxes, drain systems, and tenant’s individual units (just to name a few) should all get an annual inspection. This will allow you to catch issues early, administering preventive measures and early repairs before anything breaks.

Plan for Asset Lifespans to Preempt Breakdowns

Know the age and lifespan of your assets. If your HVAC system is already 20+ years old, start sourcing a replacement before there is a catastrophic failure. The same is true of the roof, parking lot, and so on. Any system with a known lifespan and periodic replacements should be placed on the schedule so that you have the budget and the time already set aside for a replacement before a breakdown occurs.

Further Reading:

Maintain Weather-Proof Landscaping

Don’t forget your landscaping. You can avoid flooding and other mishaps with a landscaping design of grading and feature arrangement that naturally directs water toward the nearest storm drain or creek. You can even have creeks created for a safe and lovely way to handle seasonal rains.

Have your landscaping reassessed every three to five years to make sure it is still designed effectively.

For a complete list of preventive maintenance tips for commercial properties, read our blog.

Reduce Unnecessary Use of Building Systems

Reducing use is not just about energy efficiency. The less your systems are used, the slower they will wear out. Smart thermostats, lights, and water heating are all great examples of ways to minimize how hard your building systems are working to provide the same high-quality experience for tenants and building staff.

Smart Thermostats and Programmed Routines

Smart thermostats make it possible to use heating and cooling the minimum amount for maximum comfort. Smart thermostats can be programmed to a schedule, but they can also respond to activity detection and even weather forecasts. This means your commercial HVAC works less hard to maintain a comfortable environment, saving on electricity and wear-and-tear on the system.

Smart Lights and Activity Detection

Smart lights can be turned off and on using voice and mobile commands. But they can also be connected to more advanced automated systems. You can schedule lights to turn off after hours, but also to turn on if activity (ex: motion or device detection) occurs in certain areas of the building. This provides light for those present, while switching off the lights in empty rooms at all times.

On-Demand Water Heaters

Say goodbye to tank water heaters, which are constantly heating and reheating giant tanks of water. On-demand water heaters heat water as it passes through. They need more frequent inspection but do not need to be flushed and descaled like tank water heaters, and use much less electricity.

Install Failsafe Maintenance Devices

Undetected leaks are one of the primary sources of major property damage. Both water and gas leaks can be catastrophic if they are not addressed immediately. Fortunately, recent wireless device development gives commercial property managers an early warning system and even the ability to remotely shut-off leaking pipes.


Leak Detectors Features

Leak/moisture detectors are small wireless disks you can place below pipes and plumbed appliances. If water hits the floor, an alert is sent to the property manager.

Smart Remote Shut-Off Valves and Flow Monitors – Water and Gas

In-line flow monitors can tell you if a tap is running (or a leak is somewhere down the line) by alerting when the flow doesn’t stop after a certain amount of time. These can be combined with remote shut-off valves to prevent disaster. Remote shut-offs on water pipes can prevent extensive water damage, while remote shut-offs on gas pipes can prevent carbon monoxide poisoning and explosion risks.

Wireless Signal Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Detectors

Look into smoke and carbon monoxide detectors that don’t just go off, they send a wireless signal to property managers and building emergency systems as soon as danger is detected.

Cultivate a Network of Trusted Technician Services

Another way to reduce your commercial property maintenance spend is to work with a network of trusted technician services. High-quality work will last, comes with warranties, and you can often negotiate a better rate in return for a steady supply of work orders to maintain your properties.

Sourcing, vetting, and managing vendors and service providers for commercial property maintenance becomes significantly streamlined with the right software for commercial property maintenance.

Develop a Pre-Approved List of Maintenance Services

Do the research to identify licensed and highly rated commercial property maintenance services to fulfill your full range of property management needs. Work with each one two or three times and form an opinion of their speed, reliability, and quality of work. Choose at least two providers for each service type and build a list of technicians you are confident to call when your building needs care.

Negotiate Service Contracts

Reach out to your pre-vetted maintenance services and try to negotiate service contracts. Offer them steady positions as your seasonal, annual, and on-call service providers in return for a contract discount on individual services and supplies. It never hurts to ask, and you can often secure better prices in return for a reliable source of work orders.

To dive-deeper into tips for effective vendor management in commercial real estate, read our blog.

Develop a Maintenance Procurement Strategy

Most commercial properties also include a certain supply of on-site maintenance equipment. Cleaning supplies, air filters, the floor polishing machine, and other maintenance assets need to be procured from time to time. Often, on a regular basis. Make it a policy to find the best procurement deals and to train your team to follow this maintenance procurement strategy consistently.

Seek to Acquire Maintenance Supplies and Equipment at Better Prices

Look for vendors who offer quality maintenance supplies and equipment at a good price. Don’t overpay for familiarity when you can guarantee quality for less spend.

Develop Business Partnerships with Suppliers

Seek out business partnerships and vendor contracts to lower the price on your regular maintenance supplies.


Seek Deals on New and Efficient Installations

When it comes time to replace and install new appliances and building fixtures, look for deals and other savings opportunities. Check for rebates, state tax refunds, and special offers from local or accessible vendors. Look for opportunities to save on the installation as well as the appliance by working with local vendors or your already partnered service providers.

Extend Warranty and Insurance

Commercial property managers benefit a great deal from extended warranties and insurance policies. If something breaks when it’s not supposed to, a warranty or insurance can significantly reduce – if not completely cover – the cost of repair or replacement.

Look for opportunities to extend warranties on your building systems and installations, and always secure a beneficial insurance policy that could cover your commercial property maintenance needs.

Equip Property Management Teams with Efficient Tools

Multiply the effectiveness of your property management teams with the right tools and software.

Property management software like Fyxt makes it possible to easily manage both your proactive maintenance schedule and tenant maintenance requests. Software facilitates the coordination of services, allowing property management team to quickly address, schedule, and oversee several maintenance tasks at once, inspect the results, and sign off on the work without running around from place to place.

Mobile access means your team can manage their duties through phones while on the go, facilitating an active yet coordinated team. Finding the right property management software and toolkit can ensure that your team is working as efficiently as possible and equip them to coordinate maintenance in a way that minimizes spend on delays, work hours, or miscommunication.

Simplify a Maintenance Request Submission for Tenants

Make sure your tenants can submit maintenance requests in a quick and easy way that translates naturally into work orders. The optimal approach involves facilitating commercial property maintenance requests through a tenant portal or, ideally, allowing direct submission to property managers without the need for system logins.


Give tenants easy access to begin a maintenance request. Provide a digital form they can quickly fill out with the relevant details including the exact location of the issue, anything they have noticed, and even a quick picture taken with their phone.

This will encourage tenants to report issues immediately, provide plenty of information, and reassures tenants that their request has been received. The reports will then be automatically entered into your maintenance management software to be swiftly processed into a work order.

Fyxt seamlessly integrates with email and text, enabling tenants to submit requests via their preferred methods (email, SMS), while automatically incorporating these requests into the property management dashboard.


Educate Tenants About Asset Use Best Practices

Help your tenants avoid causing maintenance issues (and increasing maintenance spend) through tenant education. For example, property managers in northern climates often provide a few pointers on how to prevent pipes from freezing in spaces where tenants are in control of their own plumbing access.

Teaching tenants maintenance signs to watch out for and when to send in a maintenance request can also help you catch issues early and empower tenants to ask for service when it is most beneficial to both them and the building.

Keep an Open Channel for Communication with Tenants

Your tenants are often the first line of defense when it comes to preventive maintenance in their own units. After all, they spend the most time there. This means tenants should not only have access to an easy maintenance portal, but you also benefit from maintaining an open channel of communication.

Make sure that tenants feel comfortable communicating with property management and encourage them to ask questions if they are concerned about something that may or may not require a maintenance request. Odd pipe noises, flickering lights, and other “unusual” building behavior could be early signs that maintenance is needed before disaster strikes and there is something to fix.


Coordinate Services with Digital Work Orders


You can streamline work from your vendors and reduce spend by ensuring your service teams have everything they need when you call in a work order.

Translate Scheduled and Requested Services Into Work Orders

Start by automatically processing tenant requests and scheduled commercial property maintenance into digital work orders. If necessary, just one property management team member is needed to look over work orders as they are generated and approve them to be sent out to the nearest favorite technician service.

Fyxt is renowned for its comprehensive suite of maintenance management features. Check out how property managers can effortlessly link incoming maintenance requests to specific jobs.

Ensure Work Orders are Detailed and Complete

Ensure all the information you have on a job is translated into a detailed work order. Provide your technicians with everything they need to know to plan an efficient job. This will help minimize time and money lost to sourcing tools, parts, or inefficient routing from job to job.

Use Geolocation to Call the Nearest Service

Always call the nearest preferred technician service. You can use a handy geolocation tool to categorize which service to call based on the area of each commercial property you manage.

Track Maintenance Data for Opportunities to Improve

Lastly, make use of commercial property maintenance data to optimize your preventive maintenance scheduling, procurement, and maintenance service spend. Look for ways to make your routine more efficient by preempting common problems, providing tenants with proactive maintenance within their units, or negotiating more efficient service routines and contracts with your providers.

If you are using a comprehensive property management platform like Fyxt, all the data and useful reports you need will be generated automatically as maintenance data flows through the system and is compiled into valuable insights.

To discover what Fyxt can do to optimize your commercial property management routines and reduce your annual maintenance spend, contact us today.

Ryan Botwinick

Building on a wealth of knowledge and expertise in both real estate and technology, Ryan set out on a mission to redefine the commercial property experience through technology and for the past 5 years has successfully built a team, product, and company to do just that. Ryan is also a member of the Forbes Real Estate Council.

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