While I usually like to highlight the positives about being a strata manager, I would be remiss not to mention some of the downsides to the job every now and again.
Like any job, it’s still a job, and not everything is always as rosy as it may appear.
Turnover, particularly amongst new licensees, can be very high in the Strata Management industry. Many newer Strata agents simply burnout and quit after a few years, despite the flexible schedule, job stability, and relatively good pay. There are many reasons for this, but here are some of the major ones;
The main reasons Strata Managers burn out and quit the industry
- The volume of units and buildings under management
Due to the relatively underfunded budgets of most BC strata corporations, management companies use a “portfolio” approach to maintain profitability, whereby the particular agent will be managing anywhere between 10 and 20 buildings, depending on the size and complexity of the Strata building. This can range from 500 units, up to 1000 units under management. This means that agents can have 70 to 140 Council members giving them (sometimes) different direction, and potentially hundreds of owners emailing and calling endlessly with their complaints and concerns.
- The volume of meetings
Most agents are expected to manage around 50-100 meetings per year. This works out to 1-2 per week. While this may not sound like a lot, these meetings take up a tremendous amount of time and energy to plan the agendas, run the meetings, minute them, and enact upon the endless list of directives that come from the meetings.
Most of these meetings will be held in the evening, which makes it even more difficult, and can quickly lead to agent burnout. The one positive here is that most Council meetings have moved online, which certainly helps reduce the hours spent commuting to and from buildings during rush hour traffic.
- The volume of emails
As our society has moved away from phone calls and snail mail, most communication now comes in the form of email. While it’s great to have records of all conversations, emails are easy for owners to abuse, and it’s not uncommon for an agent to receive 200-300 emails in a given day. Just responding to the volume of emails can be a full time job, never mind trying to actually get your planned work done during a given day.
- Expectation management
Many owners don’t understand that their Strata Agent is a “portfolio agent”, and that he doesn’t only work for them. They don’t understand that the agent may only have 1-2 hours per week to work on their particular building, and thus simply cannot attend to their needs in a timely manner. It is critical that the Agent explain this to the owners so that they understand this.
- Lack of eduction from the public
The general public really doesn’t understand how their strata is run. They get invited to an AGM once a year, do their best to keep their strata fees as low possible when it comes time to reviewing the budget, and then complain when things aren’t done to their satisfaction.
- Everything is an emergency!
We get it! To a strata owner, everything is an emergency and should be dealt with immediately. Unfortunately that isn’t reality, and most things are NOT an emergency. Unfortunately most agents are receiving 10-20 “emergency” calls or emails on a daily basis, which can be extremely stressful, and quickly lead to burnout!
- Owner abuse
Unfortunately every building tends to have one or two owners who feel that it’s OK to assault their Strata Agent with continual phone calls and emails about different issues. They can sometimes rude, and even verbally abusive. No one should have to deal with this type of abuse, but unfortunately many Strata Agents do, and this can lead to them wanting to quit and leave the industry for greener pastures.
As you can see, these are just some of the issues that plague Strata Managers, and some of the reasons why many fizzle out quit within the first few years of being licensed. Education of the public, and expectation management are keys to being successful in this industry! If you want to be a Strata Manager with longevity, you’ll have to have thick skin and the ability to set expectations for your clients.
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