Property management budgeting season is typically not the highlight of multifamily managers’ annual calendar. Off-sites, bootcamps, late nights, endless spreadsheets, stacks of reports to filter through…ugh.

A thorough, well-crafted budget often requires us to step outside of our comfort zone and deal with personnel issues and other things that personally impact the people we work with or for.

Then, if that wasn’t bad enough, the budget proposal is just the first step. It is most often followed by upper management/C-level/board review and in many cases, the dreaded word: CUTS. In other words, back to the drawing board.

OK, enough of the doom and gloom; how can maintenance data help?

Data collected within your maintenance operations can be a hidden gem when it comes to the overall condition or staffing of your property from a maintenance perspective. Here are four of our favorite areas to dig into.

Maintenance Categories/Tags

Most property management software tools do a very good job of enabling categorization of requests. Analyzing and sorting work orders/service requests by maintenance category (some systems refer to this as “tagging”) can provide a treasure trove of information during the budget process.

Based on multifamily industry data, the average 300-unit property generates an average of 150 resident service requests per month. Add another 50 or so on top of that if your sites track make-ready activities or preventative maintenance. Over the course of a year, or even just six months, there is a lot of valuable information when budget season rolls around.

Export them into a spreadsheet pivot table and see what categories of requests you get most often. Then, dig a little deeper. For example, if 30% of your 150 requests are roof leaks, and you are outsourcing those repairs, take a look at what you are spending with that vendor(s). It might be that a capital project for roof replacements is in order.

Geographic Heat Mapping

Otherwise referred to at geo-mapping, this is a very powerful way to understand the frequency of repairs at specific buildings or addresses. Based on the method explained above of using categories to isolate high-volume repairs, you’ve identified that you are spending a large amount of money repairing roof leaks.

But wait, do they all need to be replaced? A quick glance at a breakdown of roof leaks using geo-mapping may indicate which buildings to focus on. You may also be able to learn some things from patterns that you see, like south facing roofs are worse than the north-facing roofs. This may help you to decide on which materials or even preventative measures that could be taken.

There are some free cloud-based programs that will do this, or maybe your current property management software does it. Either way, visual representations of data are consumed much faster than text, making this a fast and powerful way to filter through the noise and identify problem areas.

Service Cycle Times & Resident Feedback

Budgeting for staffing of your onsite maintenance teams is a pretty easy task, right? Maybe, maybe not. Not every site is the same across portfolios. Older sites require more repairs; higher-end sites may require a higher level of service, etc. Pretty obvious – so how can maintenance data help?

At the end of the day, your residents will tell you how your are doing, which can assist you in determining if your sites are staffed correctly. Be comparing Resident Feedback with your Service Cycle Times, you will be able to identify sites that are underperforming or performing well.

Service Cycle: this is the total elapsed time from when a resident reports a service issue (creation_time) to the time at which is was successfully resolved (completion_time).

These two metrics have a direct inverse relationship – when one goes up, the other goes down and vice-versa. This is something we track obsessively for our clients and one they have come to rely on as the at-a-glance metric for assessing the operational-maintenance health of a every property in a portfolio.

For budgeting purposes, this relationship can help you assess whether you got it right last year, or help with justification for additional resources.

We talk more about key observations between resident feedback and service cycle times here.

Vendor Spend

Keeping track of vendor spend is no trivial task, especially when you depend on vendors for so many aspects of your maintenance operations (resident requests, make-ready, and preventative maintenance). Having some real-time data on how much you are spending on vendor services per unit per month is an essential piece to your overall budget puzzle.

A combination of vendor spend in addition to the categories/types of requests that you typically outsource can help you to determine whether or not that extermination technician needs a place in your budget for next year.


At the end of the day, the empirical data gathered by a simple analysis of these four areas should not only help you lock in on your multifamily maintenance budget, but also prove helpful in justifying the request to your ownership groups. Good luck this budget season! To learn more about how ServusConnect can help you get the data you need to win in property management, schedule a demo.