Communication is Key – Javier Sanchez!

One of my best communication experiences at Maxons was managing a large fire loss in a residential tower on the upper east side. The building had over 200 apartments which were  affected by the fire in addition to the public spaces. The building has many long term tenants, as well as elderly or sick tenants.  They were very nervous about experiencing a second fire (a previous, smaller fire occurred in 2010).  Residents wanted to know what the next steps in the remediation process were, so the building’s management and I set up a time to meet with some of the tenants and listen to their questions and/or concerns.

Once we met with the tenants, the property manager, the superintendent and myself put together a plan to assist with the concerns of the elderly tenants and making sure that our 4 crew chiefs were on the same page.  The property manager, the superintendent, the crew chiefs and myself  set up a 2nd meeting with the elderly tenants and many of the questions asked this time around were about security and concerns with theft. I re-assured them not to worry and we also told them that only one crew will be responsible for the cleaning of their apartment and that I and/or the crew chief would be present during the cleaning process.

After this meeting, the crew chief and I approached 3 board members with affected apartments and asked them if we could have access to clean their apartments first, they all agreed and we jumped at the moment right away to get the crews ready to start this process. Each of their apartments took about a full day to clean (floors, walls and ceilings only) but during the cleaning process, the crews worked diligently while the crew chief and I were pulled away to meet with the NYC fire marshal and insurance inspectors.  They worked quickly and respectfully and it put the 3 board members at ease that theft would be the least of their worries. The following day, the 3 board members set up their own meeting with the elderly tenants of the building and re-assured them that they had nothing to worry about, that Maxons was the one for this job.

So after a few weeks, the time came around to bill the 1st phase of the loss, I called the property manager before sending the invoice to give her an idea of the amount and her response was “send it over.” There was an awkward silent moment on the phone before I asked,  “Is everything OK?”  She said yes and that she expected it to be more than it was.

Not only did she expect a larger bill but she then told me that during our cleaning process of some of the apartments, our crews found a few expensive items (rings, bracelets, etc) behind furniture, which some of the tenants had thought they lost for good. Upon mentioning this, the property manager said to m,e “Javier please hurry up and bill the remaining phase of the cleaning of the apartments and I will get you paid right away. The tenants love the crews and you could not have made my job easier during this time.”  It was a great way to end the job, and we were paid in full in less than 60 days of billing a very large job.

~ Javier Sanchez, Project Manager

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