Cleaning Automation Tue, May 5, '20
How to Sustain Your Property Management Business in the New Normal

Property management is a competitive business, facing rising costs and shrinking profit margins. An increasingly difficult economy--dampened by the coronavirus pandemic--has only added to the challenges property managers are facing on a daily basis. According to Newsweek, nearly 30% of Americans were unable to pay rent on time in April due to fallout from COVID-19. In response to rising unemployment, 22% of property managers have already relaxed delinquency policies, and 48% are actively considering doing so--a trend that is likely to accelerate.   

As a property manager, you know that to remain sustainable in these uncertain times, you need to both manage costs effectively and protect your revenue streams. But did you know that optimizing your facilities maintenance with automation can help with both?  

In fact, making smart investments in automated cleaning technology can help you manage your cleaning costs more effectively, attract new tenants in this difficult market, and improve tenant retention--all while increasing your visibility into and control over work being done on your properties. Keep reading to learn how.

1. Manage Costs More Effectively 

As a new normal for cleaning has emerged--with cleanliness standards higher than ever--you may be wondering how to keep up with cleaning requirements without breaking the bank. Quality cleaning services can be expensive, and it can be especially costly to achieve the level of cleanliness your tenants demand with manual labor alone. 

However, you can optimize your cleaning spend by automating mundane tasks like vacuuming--which can take up to 30% of a crew’s time. Automating these tasks saves costly labor hours for critical activities like deep cleaning and disinfecting, so you can meet increasing demand for cleanliness without dramatically increasing your cleaning budget.

2. Differentiate Yourself in the Market 

While cleaning is one of the biggest costs to property management, there are many benefits to implementing measures that maintain consistent cleanliness. Keeping your properties pristine not only increases the value of your property, it also improves your business’s reputation in the market. Furthermore, a reputation for cleanliness can draw in more business by differentiating your properties from your competition. Especially now, as the coronavirus pandemic has heightened demand for cleanliness, properties that can offer a pristine, healthy environment will attract new tenants and keep units filled to maximize revenue.

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Another way to differentiate yourself in this market is by implementing cleaning practices that enable social distancing and limit person-to-person interactions, like autonomous vacuuming solutions, which can keep cleaning staff and tenants safe. About 64% of properties have already begun implementing social distancing strategies and 69% of companies managing 500+ units are already implementing social distancing. Although this is a great start, that leaves many property management companies behind in safe social distancing practices. Being a first adopter of automated cleaning solutions that enable safe social distancing can make your business stand out.

3. Improve Tenant Satisfaction and Retention 

Providing a cleaner environment to live or work will also keep your current tenants happy and healthy. As a business owner, how you respond to times of crisis--and how you support your tenants during those times--will be remembered long after they are over.  Protecting tenant health and safety, not only immediately improves satisfaction, but it can also help increase tenant retention in the long term. 

For example, carpet is the number one air filter in a building, and clean carpets are critical to maintaining air quality. Since the recession in the US in 2008, many properties switched from vacuuming every square inch of carpet to spot cleaning. However, improperly cleaned carpets are difficult to disinfect and can become a vector for disease. 

Automated cleaning technologies like Whiz, a commercial robot vacuum, make it easy to clean carpets consistently and frequently to both protect tenant health. Whiz can also provide confirmed clean reports to verify that each room was thoroughly cleaned versus just a spot clean.

4. Increase Visibility into Outsourced Work

Another challenge property managers are facing in the new normal is the lack of visibility into the work being done.  In most cases, there is little to no measurable data around cleaning to give confidence to property managers and tenants about the quality of cleanliness in their buildings.  

In addition, cleaning staff and property managers alike are looking for ways to limit in person interaction, making it even more difficult to supervise the work being done. However, with autonomous cleaning solutions, cleaning reports give you the confidence that you are paying for results, not just a list of activities. In addition, automated reports enable you to supervise work being done without needing to be physically present, which further enables social distancing. Proof of performance includes both confirmed cleans and data on where and when work was done so you can maintain more control--even from a distance.

5. Scale Across Multiple Properties 

Finally, scaling maintenance services across multiple properties will be critical for property managers who want to succeed in the new normal. One answer to this challenge is automation. Automated cleaning solutions can ensure cleaning quality is consistent across multiple locations with ease. Maintaining consistency and building a reputation for cleanliness across multiple properties can further strengthen your brand and grow your business.


Faced with rising costs and an increasingly challenging economy, property managers must seek out new strategies to sustain their businesses in the new normal. Automated cleaning technologies can help--from reducing labor costs to creating a consistent, high-quality experience that retains tenants and elevates your business’s reputation in the market. Autonomous cleaning solutions like Whiz, the commercial robot vacuum from Softbank Robotics, developed in partnership with Brain OS and ICE Robotics, are available with a subscription model, allowing you to cost-effectively pilot the solution in your properties.