Best Practices for Managing Commercial Properties

Overseeing commercial real estate properties like office buildings, retail spaces and industrial facilities presents unique challenges and obligations for property owners/managers. Not only are there legal responsibilities around tenant safety and building code compliance, but there are also requirements to maintain the property’s condition, amenities, and operational efficiency.

Develop a Preventative Maintenance Plan

One of the biggest mistakes property managers make is operating reactively, only addressing issues after problems become glaring or tenants complain. This inevitably leads to unexpected downtime, unnecessary costs, and unhappy occupants.

Instead, implement a comprehensive preventative maintenance program by laying out scheduled inspections, servicing, repairs and replacements for all major building systems, equipment, and assets before they fail. This includes:

  • Heating/cooling systems.
  • Plumbing and electrical systems.
  • Fire/security systems.
  • Elevators/escalators.
  • Parking garages/lots.
  • Roofing and exterior finishes.

Proper preventative maintenance maximizes the longevity and reliability of your most expensive capital assets while minimizing tenant disruptions through planned, budgeted projects rather than frantic emergencies.

Leverage Facility Management Companies

According to the experts over at All Pro Cleaning Systems, successfully executing that preventative maintenance plan often requires the expertise of outside facility management companies offering specialized trades like HVAC technicians, plumbers, electricians, landscapers and parking attendants.

Rather than juggling dozens of separate vendor contracts and service calls yourself, reputable facility management companies provide turnkey solutions and a single point of contact for attending to all maintenance, repairs and compliance needs at your properties. For most commercial property owners/managers, the convenience and cost savings make these specialty firms well worth the investment.

Prioritize Energy Efficiency & Sustainability

Along with properly maintaining building systems, optimizing their energy and resource efficiency is critical for sustainability and controlling operating costs long term. Search for opportunities like: 

  • Upgrading to high-efficiency HVAC, lighting, insulation, and fixtures.
  • Automating systems with smart controls and timers.
  • Monitoring and repairing leaks in plumbing/HVAC systems.
  • Switching to renewable energy sources like solar, where feasible.
  • Implementing robust recycling/composting programs.
  • Leveraging technology for remote monitoring of energy usage.

Depending on your property’s size and systems, engaging an energy auditing firm may highlight areas for significant savings and available rebates/incentives to offset improvement costs.

Additionally, meeting modern energy/environmental standards enhances your reputation and makes your properties more attractive to tenants – especially those prioritizing their own sustainability goals.

Create Positive Tenant Experiences

At the end of the day, keeping both current tenants happy and attracting new high-quality tenants is the driving force behind superior property management. Maintain regular communication and be highly responsive to their needs.

Offer convenient amenities that enhance their experience, like well-maintained common areas, secure entry systems, professional cleaning/landscaping, and customer service that makes them feel valued. You may even work with tenants to provide customized fit-out, branding or technology upgrades.

Ask for and apply tenant feedback regarding potential improvements. Implement digital inspection tools so occupants can easily submit maintenance requests. Be proactive about issues so that tenants never feel their needs are being neglected or the property is mismanaged.

The Foundations of Success

While there are many nuances and complexities involved, effective commercial property management truly comes down to balancing three core objectives:

  1. Preserving the long-term condition and value of your assets through preventative maintenance and sustainability.
  2. Controlling operating expenses through efficiency, smart investments, and preferred vendor relationships. 
  3. Maintaining high tenant satisfaction that retains occupancy and enhances your reputation.

Following best practices around maintenance planning, leveraging facility management companies, prioritizing sustainability/efficiency, and creating positive tenant experiences lays the groundwork for achieving all those goals.


It takes diligence, organization, and the right strategic partnerships, but consistently executing on the fundamentals positions your commercial properties for enduring performance and profitability. Vigilance and tenant-centric operations are keys to success in this competitive arena.

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