The Pros And Cons Of Hiring Temps For Your Apartment Office
Is a temporary employee the right fit for your apartment office? Considering that the turnover rate for leasing professionals is at 20 percent and turnover of other office roles keeps increasing, according to a Grace Hill 2019 assessment of multifamily housing, using temp workers for apartment management provides a trial period not found with a direct hire.
Hiring quality office employees is a must for managing your apartment building regardless of the number of units. Training and retention also are important aspects of employee management, but are proving more challenging as older talent ages out of the workforce and younger talent tends to stay in positions for less time.
Consider bringing on temporary professionals to help handle a ranges of office positions and tasks from leasing to bookkeeping and management. Temporary (“temp”) employment is more acceptable these days and is a desirable choice for those employees seeking flexible work schedules.
Temp Workers for Apartment Complex Questions
Whether you need a temp to cover maternity leave for your assistant property manager or to create online training courses, there are several questions to ask before hiring temp workers for property management, leasing or another position:
- Does the position or task require a short- or long-term worker?
- Is licensing or certification required?
- How long would it take to get the temp worker well trained?
- Is it more cost effective to use a temp?
- Is there proper desk space and equipment for the temp worker?
- Should you directly hire a temp or outsource to a temporary employment agency?
General Manager Albert Navarret of Valley View Condominiums in Dallas, where rentals are a large part of their business, notes that he only needs seasonal help when looking for new condo tenants. Temps help with “paperwork, offering the homes, and whitelisting possible renters,” Navarret concludes.
Advantages of Hiring Temp Workers
There are many advantages to hiring temp workers for apartment complex positions that could save time and money.
- Specialized skills – A temp employee could be hired that has experience or skills that your permanent employees don’t possess, such as creating spreadsheets that are complicated to setup but easy to use, thereby increasing your team’s productivity.
- Lower costs – Depending on weekly hours worked, employment costs will be less since insurance, paid time off, and sick pay (in most states) are not required.
- Distributed workload – A permanent employee may be on long-term leave or vacation and it’s helpful to have one or two temps cover all or part of their workload to ease the burden on your remaining permanent employees. Tasks are distributed, “so if an employee is absent for a certain reason, the work continues,” explains Adeel Shabir of GigWorker.
- Trial employment – You could test out the apartment office worker on a temporary basis before deciding to hire them on as a permanent employee. “This is a great way to find young talent,” says Navarret.
- Request again – A temp employee can be requested again in the future, as they’ll already be trained and have relationships with you and your team.
Disadvantages of Hiring Temp Workers
Likewise, there are numerous disadvantages to hiring temp workers for property management and other positions:
- Legal issues – Knowing Fair Housing Act (FHA) laws, among others, is crucial for temp workers in certain positions. Pennsylvania Attorney James. S. Tupitza acknowledges, “The greatest risk in hiring temps in any housing-related office is the risk that an untrained worker will confuse logic and compliance with the FHA.” He notes an example of a prospective tenant rolling into the apartment office in a wheelchair and naively being asked by a temp how she/he was hurt as being in violation of the FHA.
- Reoccurring trainings – Trainings are important but can be costly and take time to prepare and present. The more temp workers you have, the more trainings that are needed.
- Frequent turnover – Too many short-term temps could impact your permanent employees, as it can be difficult to learn workers’ personalities and establish relationships necessary for a healthy office environment.
- Fixed end date – When hiring a temp, an end date is usually given that helps both parties plan. Extending the end date down the line may not be possible if the temp worker already committed to another job. “You could have a valuable asset that could go in any given moment,” says Navarret.
- Other employers – If temporary and part-time, the temp could be working for another employer. This may detract from their availability or focus.
Let an Employment Agency Do the Work
You can spend the time and energy hiring your own temp or let an employment agency do the work for you. While it’s easiest to using an agency to hire backend staff, such as for bookkeeping or accounts payable where multifamily housing knowledge is not required, some larger cities have employment agencies specifically geared to the needs of the apartment complex industry with already-vetted workers – criminal background and credit checks, social security verification etc. Plus, the agency handles all payroll and insurance for their workers.
Fees for temp workers are higher through an agency, but the savings in time and benefit costs may be worth it. These multifamily housing employment agencies can verify licensing and certifications, property management software knowledge, and may have their own fair housing or other pertinent trainings.
From Temp to Permanent
Whether you hire your own workers or go through an employment agency, temps are a viable solution to your staffing needs, especially if you value their work enough to hire them on permanently. Weight the pros and cons next time you find your apartment office short-staffed and decide if a temp worker might be the right fit.