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Apartment Personnel Training and Staffing  

The Summer of '10: Have You Cleaned Out the Cobwebs?

Spring brings change and newness to the earth and to our lives. Spring and "springtime" refer to the season, and broadly to ideas of rebirth, renewal and regrowth. ( We anticipate it, celebrate it’s arrival, and revel in it. (Except for, possibly, the allergically challenged whose lives change during Spring in a bit more sniffly way.) The weather warms, flowers bloom, and leaves return to the trees. Children are reenergized with afternoons of outside play and thoughts of the school year soon ending. We all are excited with thoughts of a less hectic Summer schedule, vacation plans, and days or weekends at the park or by the pool with friends and family. (Personally, that first Spring rendition of Take Me Out to the Ball Game gets me ready!) Easter, Memorial Day, 4th of July, and Labor Day all mark milestones in our Summer experience. We recall Summer’s past in terms of the year, like the classic Bryan Adam’s tune titled Summer of ‘69. 

Okay Traci, you say, your point is . . . .? What does any of this have to do with the fact that I still have to show up for work every day, watching neighborhood Mom’s head out for the pool and seeing the sunshine and flowers from the wrong side of my office window? A lot, I say!!! Everything! Carpe Diem! Let the Sunshine In! Be re-born and uplifted. Brush off the cobwebs, Spring clean your property AND your brain and take a new look! 

This Spring I challenge you to figure out where the cobwebs are. First of all, look at your physical property. In my experience as an advertising executive for residential properties, this was the time I headed out with the camera. No matter what the “alphabet rating” (ABCD), every property looks it’s best at Spring. Green grass, trees, blooming flowers. Don’t have much money for landscaping? Well, you have hands, right? Get out one day with your maintenance staff in jeans and at-shirt and clean up the winter mess. Pack a lunch and stay outside all day. Look at each building individually as if YOU lived in it, and brainstorn with your team about some inexpensive ways to make it look more like home. Plant flower seeds like sunflowers at the clubhouse. They are inexpensive, and big enough to turn heads of passers by.

I must take a moment here to mention a few more things you can do with flowers. Flower seeds and pots are inexpensive marketing and follow-up tools. Place fragrant potted flowers in your office, models and vacant apartments, good smells create a good feeling and will help your prospects remember your property. (Try to avoid flowers with high pollen content, however, so your prospects don’t leave sneezing and blowing!!) I also LOVE the impact of flower seed packs. They are pretty, cost a dollar and some change, and make a great marketing tool along with a cute computer designed or handwritten note talking about “Come Grow with Us”, or “Come “seed” what’s so great about . . . . . “ Cute, cheap little pots from one of the dollar stores with some sprouting grass seed (even cheaper than flowers, and grows quickly) and a note about “The Grass is Always Greener at . . . “ Let your imaginations go. The options are endless!!!

Next lets look at your intellectual property. (That’s YOU, by the way) Now’s the time to clear your brain, and let some new ideas in. Once Summer traffic and move-ins are in full swing, your brain is sure to get muddled and crazed once again. So now’s your chance. We all know that the leasing season is about to begin. Our property looks great, now let’s make sure we get good qualified traffic, the kind of traffic that gives us long term residents who help to make your property even more appealing. Do some inventory, think about who is moving right now. How can you reach them? Who is hiring? Who are your best residents? What can you do to attract new residents and keep the good ones? Brainstorming sessions with your entire team (and some trusted residents) always produce the best ideas. Head outside for a meeting, have a picnic and an ice cream sandwich, breath in the fresh air and let out some great ideas!

So here’s some quick ideas from my recently cleared brain. Have a community clean up day and order pizzas for all who help. Make it a kids activity and invite someone from the community to talk about the importance of recycling. Do it on a high traffic day to show a sense of community and “living green” to your prospects. (In the meantime, your property is getting a clean-up!) Many local pizza shops will donate pizza in exchange for the exposure, and the opportunity to deliver a flyer or two to your residents. Have a yard sale. Encourage your residents to clean up their space by having a Sat morning yard sale on the property. Its a fun time for residents to gather, make some money, and prospects can do some shopping and get an idea who their new neighbors might be! Visit the relocation offices of some growing businesses in your area with some seed packets and cute slogans. Oh, I am full of ideas, too many too write. Thats is why I teach classes on this stuff, it’s how I clear my cobwebs!

In conclusion, I say to you Happy Spring. Happy thinking, doing, living, and working. The more you prepare your property and yourselves for Summer, the more you too can enjoy the pool, the park, the sunshine, and a cold drink on the beach. I truly hope you all have a great one, one you’ll always remember. I now leave you with this: “Ain't no use in complainin' , When you got a job to do, Spent my evenin's down at the drive in, And that’s when I met you, yeah!” Make it a great Summer of ‘10.