In July, two of our team members attended an industry conference that was held by our property management software company in Chicago. One of their take-aways from that conference was the concept of Service Request Priority. Why is this important, you may ask? Imagine these, very typical, scenarios:

Scenario 1:

Resident Joe calls in on Monday afternoon, one of his toilets is not working, but he has two bathrooms in the house. We get the call and assign the work order to the vendor. The vendor is working, but gets the email that evening. Tuesday, Resident Sue calls and says her toilet in her bathroom is not working and she only has one toilet. We get the service request and notify the vendor that this is high priority. The vendor can get to Sue’s toilet that day, but has to wait until Wednesday to fix Joe’s toilet.

  • Without Priorities, Resident Joe is mad because his expectations were to have it fixed immediately (not fun, but manageable). If we don’t let the vendor know the priority, he will fix it in the order received and Sue will not have a working toilet for 2 days (Not fun and no where to go…).
  • With Priorities, we can manage both the vendor and the expectations of residents.

Scenario 2:

February 4-It’s 15°f outside and the Joe’s heat stops working. Resident Joe calls in and a service request is created. The service request is sent to the vendor with High Priority and the heat is back on within a few hours. March 29-It’s 50°f outside and Resident Joe calls in with the service request on a Saturday evening. If we send a vendor for an after hours emergency, the cost will most likely be double the amount. A service request is sent to the vendor on Monday and addressed within a few hours.

  • Without Priorities, Resident Joe is upset that no one responds to his call right away like the first time and proceeds to call 5 more times until 3 am and 6 more times on Sunday. By Monday morning, he is fuming.
  • With Priorities, Resident Joe understands that we will be in contact with him on Monday and puts on another sweatshirt.

How does this help you, the client?
Happy Residents = Long term residents. Simple as that. More lease renewals and less turnover costs.

How does this help us, the management company?
Happy, informed residents = less phone calls (when will someone fix my toilet?), less exasperation (I put in a service request yesterday and no one is here yet!) and clear expectations (Oh, my service request is medium priority, that means it will get fixed in 2-3 days).

How does this help the resident?
Clear expectations = less stress, easier to plan. Residents will know when to expect phone calls and service and can plan accordingly.


Below are our new service request guidelines with examples of each priority level that are now being communicated to residents and vendors for each service request.

Service Request Priority Guidelines:
After a service request is submitted, it is reviewed and a priority is given to it as follows:

  • High – 24 hours. Examples: Power outage, A/C or Heat out in Extreme temperatures, No hot water, Sewer Backup, Flooding, Toilet out-only 1 bathroom.
  • Medium – 48-72 hours. Examples: Appliance issues, A/C or Heat out in moderate temperatures, Small leaks, Toilet is broken with more than 1 in house.
  • Low – 1-2 weeks. Examples: Blinds broken, shelving broken in appliance, pests(ants, spiders, etc)
  • Low (Cosmetic) – Up to Owner Approval or Rejection. Examples: Painting, Updates to home, Flooring replacement.

About the author

Jennifer Bajema is the Co-founder of Access Property Management Group. She has worked in every part of the company, but now focuses on client education and business growth. Her experience in running a property management business is now over 10 years!