ApnaComplex Blog

A 4-Step Guide to Hiring Security Personnel

The security guard is an extended member of the apartment community.  Finding the right apartment security agency for your community is very important. There are many facets involved in filtering out the best apartment security agency, and these are quite easy to follow and implement. Once you properly list out and analyze your expectations from an apartment security agency, you will be well on your way to finding the right one.

1. Background Checks

A comprehensive background check is extremely important while selecting a security candidate. Candidates need to be well trained with all the necessary certification. Look for those with prior experience, especially in night shifts, patrolling and log maintenance. Retired policemen also make excellent security candidates. Also, remember to look out for past performance records and any possible criminal history. The safest way to hire good security personnel is through a security agency. Ask them to provide the records of your preferred candidates and remember to follow-up regularly.

2. Effective Equipment

An apartment security agency will provide all guards with a pager, but this will hardly be effective in helping the guard take immediate action. Your contract needs to include a section demanding that all guards from the agency should be properly equipped with radios, cell phones, flashlights, notebooks, pens and vehicles. Providing the security guard with a list of emergency contacts and a phone line will also prove useful. Dress code and attire/uniform are also extremely important.

3. Contractual Issues

It is important that the contract is drawn out carefully. The contract should make it clear that the guard and the agency will be held responsible for any damage due to negligence. Often security agencies include an indemnity clause in the contract that works in their favour. Read the contract carefully and keep an eye out for such hidden costs.

4. Log Maintenance

Log maintenance is an effective way to track the productivity of your security personnel. It should be included in your contract. The entries should be detailed and thorough. Instruct them to record everything; their patrol routes, the entry and exit of visitors or delivery agents, movement of items through the gate, etc. Not only is this helpful in case of an incident, but it also helps locate problems that may arise in the future and help avoid them.

Good security guards are a necessity for an apartment complex that touts of being a safe haven for its residents. Get the insights of every person from your apartment association while framing certain clauses of your contract, and once an agency has been selected, open all channels of communication between the residents and the guards in order to make things smoother and easier for both parties. You can search through the ApnaComplex database of security agencies and find the one that meets your requirements.


Pitfalls of Cash Transactions in an Apartment Complex

Maintenance collection is a task that recurs every month. Committee members need to ensure that each unit in the apartment complex pays what is due and is done so in a timely manner. This is a long undertaking in itself. However, in many cases, these transactions are made in cash. While this is convenient in many cases and helps clear any immediate payments that need to be made, cash transactions come with a few pitfalls that are not easy to ignore.

Inefficiency
The time of maintenance payment sees a lot of activity within an apartment complex. Often, the committee members have to knock on individual doors to collect the dues. In other cases, the residents flock to the committee office to make the payments. Payments also need to be eventually collected and recorded from the defaulters. This takes up a lot of time from the committee member’s schedule.

Safety concerns
One of the main concerns with cash transactions is safety. When there are multiple units within an apartment complex, the amount of cash that is exchanged is a considerable sum. This opens up the possibility of misplacing or miscounting the amount. It also makes it open to theft. Further, the cash collected needs to be physically deposited in a bank. Driving around the streets with a large amount of cash can even put you at risk.

Inaccuracy
With an influx of cash payments, it falls on the committee members to ensure that the amount is recorded and reconciled. In an absence of an automated system, it has to be done manually. This leaves room for human error. The issue further extends even to cheque payments. In case of a bounced cheque, bookkeeping becomes long and tedious and prone to errors.

With tools like ApnaComplex, maintenance collections can be made almost effortless. It also sends out reminders for payments and draws out a defaulters list. ApnaComplex also offers a one of a kind and convenient Collection Gateway where members can do a NEFT/IMPS transfer of their maintenance dues to a unique “Account Number” issued by ApnaComplex. With Collection Gateway, ledgers are updated automatically with details of the amount transferred by the member and payment receipts are issued automatically. This eliminates the need for cash transactions and manual effort by the treasurer or accounts office. Going cashless has never been easier!


ApnaComplex and the end of door-to-door collections!

At the end of a working week, all everybody wants to do is relax and spend some time with family. However, every month there is one event that can get in the way of doing that: maintenance collection. A few years back, the vicious cycle of payment dues billing, reminders and door-to-door maintenance collections kept most of the apartment management associations on their toes. Add the issues of defaulters and manual bookkeeping, and the weekends could easily get as busy as the rest of the week.

Thanks to technology, the days when apartment management associations were reaching out to residents on a one-to-one basis to collect maintenance are long gone. Management associations now use sophisticated apartment management software, like ApnaComplex, to simplify their maintenance collection process to an extent of a single mouse click!

How has ApnaComplex helped the management associations in timely collections?

1. A timely reminder for payments:
Instead of sending reminders to each and every resident one by one,  the apartment management software empowers the management association to now send automatic reminders to all residents at one go via email/SMS. Residents don’t mean to default on maintenance payments, it’s their hectic schedules and absence of a timely reminder mechanism that makes them miss out on submitting the maintenance charges on time. A reminder system reduces the default rate up to a great extent.


2. Ease of paying maintenance charges:
The
ApnaComplex App comes with a collection gateway that automates monthly maintenance payments. This eases the residents from the whole ordeal of coming to the society office just to drop a cheque or pay in cash.

3. Saves Reconciliation Efforts:
Manually recording the amount received from the residents and reconciling all the payments can be quite a long process. With the advent of powerful tools like
ApnaComplex, the entire reconciliation is taken care by the App.  

4. Filter the list of defaulters:
The apartment management software enables the management association to filter the list of defaulters. The entire process gets automated and a list of residents whose maintenance payments are due can be easily drawn out along with the penalty to be charged from them. Emails/SMS to be sent out to defaulters is also automated through the software reducing the manual work up to a great extent.

One of the misconceptions was that apartment management solutions are very costly. In many cases, this misconception was cleared, when a lot of apartments started using ApnaComplex, a cost-effective subscription-based leading apartment management software with zero hardware costs and an ongoing support. The cost of the software is directly proportional to the number of units an apartment has, making it more economical than ever for the apartment management associations.


Improve your Apartment Security this Navratri

It’s that time of the year! For the next nine nights, most Apartment Complexes will be full of lights, colourful outfits and catchy beats that nobody can resist: it’s Navratri! Most people come out of their houses to participate in the Garba and Dandiya that’s held within the complex. Naturally, there are visitors from outside your immediate community who come to enjoy the festivities. So, during the Navratri festival, security measures need to be tightened in every housing society for internal safety.

Security Measures To Be Taken Before Navratri

Some common security measures need to be enforced during Navratri as a general resident movement with the housing society will be at an all-time high during this nine-day festival. A few security measures that can be taken up are:

  • Prior to the commencement of the Navratri festival, a complete identity check of all guards should be conducted.
  • A photograph of those working within the housing society should be recorded and kept handy.
  • Record the entry of every visitor along with the name of the people they are visiting.
  • Allow any visitor only after verifying with residents.
  • Cars allowed inside the gate should be given a parking sticker to be displayed the whole time it is within the complex.
  • Install CCTV cameras to monitor the entire complex thoroughly.
  • The names of all the caterers, technicians and entertainers hired for the event should be recorded and their identity, verified.

This dance event commences in the night and continues till the wee hours of the morning, so it is all the more necessary to provide proper security during this festival. ApnaComplex can help you ease your security concerns. With products like Gatekeeper and Vehicle Sentry at your disposal, you can make security during this Navratri easy and efficient.


Garage Sales: An event for the entire community

Garage sales are usually a great way to foster community bonding. Neighbours can get together to set up stalls and buy and sell household clutter that may be handy to someone else. Setting up stalls in the common areas or basements is a fun way to spend a weekend together.

In India, household items are often used to their absolute demise, at the end of which they are completely unusable. So, naturally, garage sales are typically not quite as popular. But with festivals like Dussehra and Diwali around the corner, most families should be gearing up for a home makeover. Typically this involves repainting the walls, changing the upholstery and a good top to bottom cleaning. This is the perfect time to fish out items that are not in use.

Setting up a Stall

1) Pick out things you want to sell
Garage Sales are built on the premise that one man’s trash is another man’s treasure. Anything from clothes, books, unused furniture, utensils, is fair game. This clutter can usually be found under beds, inside storage units, out on the balcony, in the storeroom, or on the terrace. The general rule of thumb of cleaning is to pick out things that have not been used in about three years.

2) Price everything fairly
Based on the condition and years of use, slash the prices of every item by 50 to 75%. Put price tags on all the products. It would also help if you put down the original price next to the selling price. Check online stores to check the current prices of similar products.

3) Set up your wares
Your customers are more likely to buy your products if you make them look presentable. Make sure all your items are clean and dust-free. Set up tables and stools to place your products on. If you’re selling clothes, put them on hangers or fold them up neatly. Make sure everything is visible and ready for easy perusal. Keep a register or notepad handy to track your sales easily. Also, remember to keep plenty of change on hand. This makes transactions simpler.

Garage Sale as a community event

Garage Sales are a fun way to bring the entire society together. It can be turned into a community event by setting up a number of stalls and turning it into a temporary mini market. Not only can you sell old used products, but artists and chefs can set up stalls for their homemade masterpieces. Involve children into the mix and help them set up a mini-games stall. It can be a fun learning experience in entrepreneurship and quite frankly, practical maths.

Make it for a good cause

Many of us usually donate used items to charity or to the needy. However, quite often these items go unused even in the charity. There are either no takers for that particular item or the product is totally unusable. Monetary donations are a preferred option. So take the money raised in your sale, (in part or whole) and donate it to a good cause of your choice. Not only will your apartment complex have fun, but you could bring a smile to somebody in need.

With the season of goodwill just around the bend, why not give this a go? ApnaComplex provides the perfect tools to help you organize the Garage Sales. Conduct a survey to gather other interested people, create a separate group and start a new discussion. Collaboration has never been simpler!


Community Collaboration: The Communication Tools on ApnaComplex.

ApnaComplex has always tried its best to offer the best possible facilities and tools to its users. Communication gap has always been a problem in most of the apartments. There is a lack of an effective communication system among the committee members or between the apartment management committee members and residents. Understanding this gap, ApnaComplex offers various communication tools to its users for their convenience.

As an ApnaComplex member (whether you are part of the apartment management committee or not) you may need to do one of the following at some point in time:  

a) Communicate with all residents

b) Send out personal or one-to-one messages

c) Communicate with Administrator of your portal

d) Communicate with Committee

e) Communicate with Registered Owners

f) Communicate with sub-groups of residents

When you need to send a message across to an individual or a group in your residential complex, there are different communication options to choose from for different communication scenarios. Here is everything you can do with the Communication feature on your ApnaComplex App

1. Notice Board

The notice board is a foolproof way to get a message across to all or particular residents. The message can be sent through the App, or even by email or SMS. It also reaches numbers that are on DND. While sending out the notice you can even attach relevant files or documents.

2. Discussion Forum

The forums allow you to start or join in discussions with fellow residents. You can access all the past and ongoing discussions easily. However, if you choose, you can restrict access to certain discussions to a few residents like committee members. All your society-related discussions will be easily available in one place.

3. Surveys & Polls

You can create polls and surveys to take the opinions of the residents. The polls can be customised to be accessible to either certain residents or all of them. You can customise it further to make it multiple choice, rating system, and with an option to respond anonymously! It is all up to you.

4. Groups

You can even create groups or clubs within the society. Start a discussion board for your sub-committee (or even hobby clubs!)  with all the relevant documents and a complete mailing list. Connecting with your neighbours has never been easier!

5. Photo Gallery

Share photos and create albums within your community. Photos of your community events should now be easily available to all the residents easily.

6. Repository

Keep your important documents handy. Upload and share useful documents like bye-laws, dos and don’ts, lease agreements under tags and categories. Again, this too is customizable to who can view and access each of the documents.

7. Community Wiki

Create a hub for your society. Share information, publish articles and tips, collaborate with other residents and much, much more. allow all your residents to contribute to the same. Create a one-stop information centre for all things related to your society.

Here at ApnaComplex, we understand that a housing society is a close-knit community. What is a community without communication? As such, these tools are always at your disposal. Now you can know and collaborate with all your neighbours with ease!


3 Easy Steps to start using ApnaComplex Gatekeeper

With gated societies becoming the new norm for community living, security at the gates is of utmost importance. While security cameras and pen-and-paper visitor logs have always been a go-to solution, they often fall short in tracking the traffic in and out of the gate.

Why ApnaComplex Gatekeeper?

Gatekeeper by ApnaComplex is a proven technological solution to the security needs in your Apartment Complex. Not only is it convenient, but it also provides the best value-for-money. Gatekeeper is part of the integrated ApnaComplex mobile App that also provides other apartment management solutions. It is a complete package for all your apartment management needs.

Gatekeeper tackles several security concerns that may arise in a gated community. A simple mobile application will allow you to track visitors, delivery agents, domestic staff and even your vehicle. Gatekeeper provides not just app-based security but is also easy to integrate with hardware installations like RFID or Biometric devices. We also have a unique feature that provides real-time notification when your child’s school bus is at the gate!

What is more, at ApnaComplex, we take Data Privacy very seriously. Your information is saved on our database with several layers of security. Access to this data is unavailable to anybody without your express permission.

How to join ApnaComplex Gatekeeper?

You can join ApnaComplex in three easy steps:

1) Create an online portal.
If you are a member of the management committee, all you have to do is fill out the form. We have a step-by-step guide to get you through the verification process.

2) Provide details
Log in and enter the details about your complex like the number of blocks, apartments and residents. Gatekeeper is now at your service! We also provide a free demo on demand to familiarize you with the app.

3) Download the app
Download the Gatekeeper app for your security staff and start using it. Gatekeeper is also available in regional languages like Marathi, Hindi and Tamil. Language is no longer a problem!

It is that simple! Security for you and your family made hassle-free. You can now manage your entire apartment complex with just a smartphone! ApnaComplex is available on both Android and IOS.


Dos and Don’ts of Road Maintenance within your Society Gate

Roads are absolutely necessary for every apartment complex. They are used for easy commuting and also add an element of beauty to the society. But all of it becomes null if the roads are damaged or unusable. It is important to keep the roads in top condition so as to not hamper the daily life within your gates.

What is the need for maintenance?

Roads that are in regular use often end up riddled with potholes and wear-and-tear. This can be avoided if they are subjected to regular maintenance. Not only is it more cost efficient, but well-maintained roads also increase the property value of the entire complex.

In order to ensure that the roads are properly maintained, take up the issue with the apartment association during resident body meetings. While residents can take small steps in order to contribute, the apartment association can get the maintenance team to do the difficult tasks.

What are the types of problems?

1) Cracks: Cracks may form on the surface either due to repeated use or due to environmental degradation. Fatigue cracks occur due to the added effects of wheel loads. Environmental cracking develops in asphalt as it ages and is subjected to everyday temperature changes. These cracks are very small when compared to fatigue cracks  Water and dirt should be prevented from entering cracks as they might grow worse this way.

2) Surface Wear: Wear on the surface mainly occurs due to tire wear and material degradation (ravelling). Its maintenance includes removing the surface and/or covering up the surface which is worn. Surface treatment depends on the severity of the surface wear.

3) Rutting: This signifies permanent degradation in the layers of the road. This can happen if the structure design is improper or if the roads are overloaded. It can also happen if the surface layer is of poor quality.

4) Potholes: Pits or holes produced by wear or weathering on the road surfaces can be fixed through surface treatments.

What are the maintenance measures?

The roads in an apartment complex undergo a lot of destructive changes. The apartment association will have to take on different approaches based on the problem involved. Firstly,  residents should be constantly updated about the need to maintain roads by the apartment association. Littering on roads should be strictly prohibited and waste bins should be provided for this purpose. Stagnant bodies of water should be immediately cleared, especially after rain and the roads should be swept regularly by the maintenance crew.

Crack sealing is a process that’s followed in order to maintain roads and surface treatment can be done in order to prolong the life of the particular road. This treatment measures should be taken up by professionals, who can be hired by the apartment association.

A lot of factors affect the type of maintenance undertaken within the housing complex. These include the type of distress, vehicle loading, the general climate in the region, the cost of treatment; the roads expected life, the existing road type, and availability of good materials.

Residents can help maintain the quality of roads within the apartment complex by giving regular feedback on their defects to the management as well as bearing with the inconvenience caused during the repair of the roads.

Thankfully technology can add a touch of convenience while undertaking this task. ApnaComplex provides an integrated society management solution that can help you easily communicate with your fellow residents. Residents can use the Helpdesk feature to notify the committee of any defects that may need attention. On the other hand, committee members can use the ApnaComplex forums to raise notices that can be sent out to all the residents to keep them well-informed of the progress.


Ganesh Chaturthi Celebrations: 7 Vastu Rules to Prosperity

Planning an auspicious beginning in your life or any new business?

This 13th September bring Lord Ganesha home!

It is believed, if you place Lord Ganesha in the right place, he takes away all your problems in life. Instead as a blessing, he gives you good luck, wisdom and prosperity!

Learn the correct and auspicious pooja time, date, rules and right placement of Lord Ganesha.

 

Courtesy of: Vastu Dekho 

 


7 Easy Tips To Improve Your Home Office

Almost every home has an area designated as “the home office” or simply, “the study.” Often these areas double as storerooms. However, with the recent rise in usage of work-from-home (WFH) option, it has become extremely important to have a workspace that is comfortable and free from distractions.

So if you are looking to redo your study to enable productive WFH, here are 7 tips to help improve the space. Whether you’re working from home, or simply a student, we hope these tips help create a stress-free environment.

1) De-clutter your workspace

The first thing that needs to go is unnecessary clutter that you may have lying around. Your office space should follow the minimal style for interior decor. Anything that doesn’t directly contribute to your work needs to go. Also, remember to keep a dustbin next to your desk for all those balled up papers or pencil shavings.

2) Let the light in

Remember to keep your workspace well lit and ventilated. Whenever possible, let the daylight stream in.  However, if this is not an available option, make sure you have a bright table lamp.

3) Don’t compromise on comfort

If you spend a lot of time at your desk, uncomfortable furniture is a big no-no as this puts a lot of strain on your back muscles. Invest in a good chair which supports your back adequately. Supplement it with cushions and a footrest. When you’re sitting at the desk, make sure the height of the desk reaches your chest.  This will reduce the strain on your body.

4) Make it easy to track time

Make sure there is a clock that is easily visible from your seat. Not only will this help you manage your time, it also will remind you to take breaks while you work. According to psychology, it is important to take a short 5-10 minute break after every 40 minutes of continuous mental effort.

5) Get some greenery

Consider placing a potted plant nearby. Plants make a room look welcoming. They also have a mild detoxification effect on the room. Consider placing sweet-smelling herbs around the room. This can also help reduce stress.

6) Make it quiet

It may be a good idea to soundproof the room. Background noise, by common knowledge, hampers performance. So if you live in a very noisy neighbourhood, it may help to block it all out.

7) Put a dash of Colour Psychology  

Colours have a way of influencing our mind and body. For a study, always go for light, cool colours. These colours and soothing and stimulating to the brain. Hang up artwork that uses blues, greens and purples. As for the furniture, opt for light wood. This too helps to reduce stress.

A home office should ideally, help you feel relaxed and yet motivated to work. This space should also improve your efficiency rather than hamper it. We hope these tips help you do just that! Happy redecorating!