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What advice would you give to a new Service Manager?


To many people in the industry it is a long time goal or a dream come true to become a Service Manager for a property and most likely they have spent a significant amount of time learning different trades, how to make many types of repairs and get make-readies prepared for new residents.

The emphasis and responsibilities shift when you become a Service Manager. When you are a technician there is a greater emphasis on one’s technical ability to make repairs, get all the certifications required, and continue training in every relevant area possible. To list a few; electrical, HVAC, plumbing, landscaping, general construction, carpentry, appliance repair, pool care and maintenance etc, etc.

When you become a Service Manager you have to remain proficient in the trades and repairs but you are now responsible for leading a team that delivers results, completes tasks on time, and remains solution oriented.

Of course the universal standards apply such as consistently showing up on time, how positive your attitude is, how you dress for work, and if you are a person people respect and want to follow. All of these are a true indicator of the pride you have for yourself and the priority you put on working with your team.

There is a process of feeling out your new position and it applies to everyone at every level of employment within a company. The most common mistakes a newly promoted person makes is that they want to deliver results and impress everyone so badly and prove to everyone that they are the right person for the job, they mistreat their teammates, speak unprofessionally, and don’t know how to work with people to get the best out of every situation. You may find yourself being overly-reactive and hyper sensitive to the new pressures and demands of the position and unknowing putting negative pressure on your teammates.

The skills that got you promoted are different than the skills required to succeed as a Service Manager.

Most of your teammates will be glad for your promotion and will want you to succeed. They are cheering for you and want you to do well. If they know you sincerely want to maintain a great culture that gets results or make the changes necessary to become that team, they will help you as long as you treat everyone with professionalism, maturity, integrity, and set standards that apply to everyone with no exceptions.

People want to belong to a team that takes care of business, gets results, and treats everyone equally. Standards cannot become personal; ultimately, they are there to promote the success of the company and take care of residents. Just ask yourself “how does this best serve the customer and the company?” and make the best and most informed decision possible. Also, asking for help is not a sign of weakness or inability. Asking questions is a sign of intelligence and demonstrates you are seeking answers when you are unsure, so you can do the right thing. As time goes by and you gain more experience you may ask fewer questions but most likely you’ll just ask different ones.

Start learning more about the business, how you impact the property financially, and how you can better work with and help the Property Manager. Everyone wants a Service Manager that understands how they impact a property financially and makes good business decisions. Now that you have been promoted, you are more responsible for the success of the property and when you become proficient at building good teams, delivering results, and creating a team environment that people want to be a part of, you will become much more valuable.

Hire people that have better skills in some area than you do. A confident person is not afraid to build a team with people that are better at something than they are. You will not be replaced by someone just due to the fact that they can make more HVAC repairs. You are helping your Manager and the Owner run their business by taking care of the customer, managing the service department, and operating within budgetary guidelines to the best of your ability.

Be the person people can count on to get things done, take care and look out for your people, never forget you are a very important part of what makes the company successful as a business, always look for a solution and seek self improvement, fanatically send your people to training, help them grow in every area, and I guarantee you’ll get better results.