Preventing decay

Do you know what it takes to be a building maintenance person, both residential and commercial? Do you know how to tap into the industry?

Do you know what it takes to be a building maintenance person, both residential and commercial? Do you know how to tap into the industry?

Just like a car needs a regular service to remain in good condition, buildings also need maintenance to look good.

The building maintenance services business can be very rewarding if you know what you are doing.

With South Africa hosting the 2010 Soccer World Cup and the need to revive our cities to create more accommodation, this is an opportune time to convert your building maintenance skills and experience into cash.

Besides the world event, there is a need for housing for South Africans.

In an attempt to deal with overcrowding and homelessness, local governments have identified unused buildings as one of the solutions.

These buildings are renovated and converted into affordable residential areas. These buildings need maintenance to remain in good condition. This is where you come in with your expertise in building maintenance.

Owners pay for maintenance because they know that well-maintained properties yield better rentals.

Employers know that well maintained workplaces contribute to employee satisfaction because employees spend a lot of time at work.

If you are passionate about building maintenance and you have the relevant skills and experience, you can make a very comfortable living.

Clients will expect to receive expert building maintenance service when they hire you. Therefore you need the relevant technical skills to get into this business. You must meet their desired expectations.

The skills of the trade can be obtained by registering for relevant courses. Find out from the local technical college or technikon if they offer such courses.

For additional knowledge, you may also read books on this subject.

Being educated will help you to compete with the best, so the more knowledge you have, the more edge you have over your competition.

You need to be disciplined to succeed in this business. You must expect to work hard and long hours too.

Resist the temptation to slack off. Remember that your priority is your project and your client. Always aim to exceed expectations.

You must be a healthy person to do this kind of work.

Remember the bulk of the work that you will do in this business will be physically challenging.

Since you won't have all the required skills, you must have contacts of other tradesmen you can outsource some services to.

For example, some of the jobs you will do are window cleaning, carpet cleaning, lawn maintenance, etc.

Also expect to do the following odd jobs:

l Surface cleaning: Surfaces accumulate stains very easily, but they are not easy to remove. These stains can be anything from grease, oil, paint, etc. Stains can damage the image and appeal of the property.

l Think about driveways, walls, loading docks, parking structures, patios, roofs, pavements, trash bins and many more.

l Surface restoration and waterproofing. This is the process of trying to return structure material back to its original condition. Usually, restoration is the most cost-effective way of fixing damaged structures.

l Window cleaning is more complicated because of the much improved insulated glass and tempering process we have nowadays. Most of your clients for this service are retail storefronts, high-rise buildings, office and residential glass walls.

l Hard-water stains, graffiti, scratches and post-construction clean-up are some of the things you will have to do or deal with.

These are some of the things you have to consider when contemplating to start a building maintenance business.

There are start-up costs and other financial issues you have to deal with.

Just like in any other business, you will also have to comply with the legal requirements of your local government or municipality.

These encompass licences and registration of the business and paying taxes.

To find out more about building maintenance services, you may visit your local library and get books on this subject.

You will be surprised how much information you can find.