Category: Apartment Management Software

Standard Domestic Help Rates: Can it be Achieved?

Domestic help/maids have now become a necessity for almost all households in India. Presently, with the average citizen working in the 9-5 shift or more, basic household chores need to be taken care of. It becomes essential that you hire the right person for all these activities that affect your day-to-day lives.

 

Some of the cities such as Delhi, Bangalore, Mumbai and Hyderabad have several high-rise apartments with 700+ people residing in the same. The amount of domestic help available in such apartments should also be abundant? But this is not the case and the simple rule of economics that demand generates supply fails here. Finding domestic help is not easy irrespective of where you stay or how much you can pay. Sooner or later you do go through the pain of finding the right domestic help and retaining the same. Essentially, the story remains the same whether you reside in a big apartment or small: demands by the domestic staff for salary hikes are too frequent and largely unaffordable.

How can you tackle this problem?

 

Tips to standardise domestic help rates:

  • Prepare a rate card for all the household activities and ask residents to pay only that much.
  • Every maid needs to carry a No-objection-certificate from her previous employer so that the prospective employer ensures she/he is not switching jobs for money.
  • Residents are requested not to deviate from the rate card.
  • Any domestic help asking for more than the agreed rates are penalized.

 

Pitfalls of standardised rates:

The question that arises from the above pointers is that how easy is it to apply these rules to housing societies. A lot of residents were happy with the above-mentioned resolutions, however, some disagreed to the resolutions claiming that they were quite capitalist in nature and if doctors/engineers can demand their price, why can’t the domestic help do the same? The whole demand and supply economics lies in the scenario that if you can afford a maid for Rs. 8,000 and can very well afford it, it doesn’t matter to you if others in the apartment are paying Rs. 3,000. The others sooner or later will have to succumb to the so-called “market rate” pressure and increase the salary bars.

 

The resolutions mentioned above can only work if people living in an apartment work as a team with their associations and come to a common resolution wherein neither the domestic help is exploited nor are the employers blackmailed for sudden pay hikes.

 

Until then people with maids/drivers working with you for more than a year, good luck in maintaining them. For people searching for a good domestic help, best of luck for your quest to find the right domestic help!


Ensure Vehicle Safety with Vehicle Sentry

Vehicle Tracking of is one of the key responsibilities for security guards of every apartment. In addition, Vehicle Security itself is a very important issue for every society. With theft of vehicles increasing, it has become an imperative for societies to address this issue. How would one know whether their vehicle is safe and is still at the same place they left it? Wouldn’t it be nice to be able to keep track of your vehicle’s movement whenever you are not using it?

 

The system in most housing societies:

“Parking lot stickers” are issued to vehicle owners. These are stuck to windshields. Vehicles are permitted entry into a complex after the sticker is verified by the security guard. However, since there is no way to “deactivate” the sticker the entry of unauthorized vehicles even after they left the society cannot be controlled. Further, there is no record or log of the entry or exit of vehicles of the residents. In case of a security issue, this can be a major shortcoming.

 

Our solution:

Vehicle Sentry is a Vehicle Tracking System that is RFID based and fully integrated with the ApnaComplex cloud. At a broad level, Vehicle Sentry includes RFID tags for all authorized vehicles and RFID readers at the gate. This allows you to track the movement of your vehicle when it exits or enters the apartment gate.

 

How does Vehicle Sentry work?

Authorized vehicles are first fitted with RFID tags. Next, RFID readers are installed at the gates. These Readers come with ApnaComplex’s own custom hardware called ‘Sentry Controller’ that acts as the gateway between ApnaComplex Cloud and the RFID Readers. Sentry Controller helps sync the vehicle entry, and exit information to the ApnaComplex cloud server in near real-time, and also keeps the reader in sync with tags issued for new vehicles and de-activated tag list.

 

Important features of Vehicle Sentry:

  • When a Vehicle with valid tag passes near the gate, the light/buzzer connected to the reader will buzz indicating the detection.
  • It can also be configured to hoot for invalid tags.
  • It can be hooked up with a boom barrier for automatic entry/exit.
  • Vehicle movement information will get automatically synced up with the ApnaComplex portal.
  • Admins can check the vehicle movement records any time in the portal.
  • Data of any new tags issues or old tags deactivated will automatically update the RFID reader (as long as it has internet connectivity)

 

Benefits of Vehicle Sentry:

  1. Increased security in your society:

The movement of every vehicle entering and leaving the campus can be tracked, making it more secure. Unwanted intrusion is avoided with the use of Vehicle Sentry.

 

  1. Easy and quick Updates:

All the data for your entire apartment complex is stored in a single database. Any other RFID solution you implement will force you to maintain separate databases for vehicles and apartment units. This means you need to manually update the same information over and over again. Vehicle Sentry is an integrated solution and redundant efforts do not come into the picture.

 

  1. Cost Effective:

No extra hardware is needed apart from RFID reader installed at the gate. All functionalities are driven from the ApnaComplex portal. Your estate manager can issue and deactivate tags to be updated to the portal. In addition, you could just deploy the vehicle movement tracking with our boom barrier, making it very cost effective for the housing society.

 

This is yet another innovative approach by ApnaComplex to keep your mind free from worry while providing you with the best services possible. To know more about Vehicle Sentry and to implement it in your society, kindly submit a sales request at the Contact Us page and we will get back to you with the details.


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.


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.


ApnaComplex Gatekeeper now available in Hindi, Tamil, and Marathi!

Right at this very moment, as you read this post, there are thousands of security guards across India using ApnaComplex Gatekeeper to keep the gates of their respective apartment complexes secure. This new update is for all the security staff members!

We are extremely proud to release ApnaComplex Gatekeeper in Hindi, Tamil, and Marathi (in addition to English). Security staff can now switch to their preferred language at any point.

With the app being available in multiple languages, we aim to make the life of security guards a little easier. We hope that it makes the use of ApnaComplex Gatekeeper effortless and user-friendly with a language they are more familiar with.

Made in India, Made for India!


Featured Society: Purva Highland

Just off Nice Road, in Mallasandra, lies one of Bangalore’s well-known high rise apartments – Purva Highland. Perched on a hillock, this apartment complex boasts breathtaking views and a list of luxuries for both, body and mind. This society has 13 towers, each 20 stories high and a one-of-a-kind 3-tiered pool.

The apartment complex stretches over a huge plot of land and hosts more than a 1500 flats. This society provides a number of amenities and luxuries – a tennis court, a basketball court, a three-tier swimming pool, a medical store, a cafeteria, a supermarket, are just a few of the many, that are housed inside the gates of this society. Couples, children, bachelors, elderly, this community has a bit of everything. With so many people living in one place, using all these facilities, naturally, the managing committee has its work cut out.

Managing an apartment complex is just like managing a mini-city

So how does the committee manage everything? According to Mr. Ravi Shripathi, Secretary, the managing committee was founded in 2015. “There are three principal office bearers president, secretary, treasurer. Apart from this, there are nine blocks in the complex. Each block has its own Vice President. Besides this, we have many sub-committees like the Green Committee, Library Committee, Sports Committee, Evacuation Committee, and more, who work closely with our office bearers.”

All these committees comprise of volunteers who have decided to work in their free time towards making their communities run smoothly. But it is easier said than done. A big apartment complex is like a mini-city. And like any mini-city, there are problems that keep cropping up, decisions that have to be made, plans that have to be executed. This requires time from each committee member which, sometimes,  is more than they can spare.

Using ApnaComplex as a force multiplier

This is where newer technologies come to the rescue of managing committees. Being a fully integrated apartment management platform, ApnaComplex uses technology to reduce the workload of both residents and managing committee members.

Take billing, collections and accounting as an example. According to the Estate Manager, Mr. Shaman Joshi, “Previously, we had to rely on accountants who came in. I had no control over it at all. I was completely dependent on the accountant. Now, using the ApnaComplex App, I can generate our invoices myself. There is no more dependency.

When asked how this has made things easier he replied,Everything is faster and more convenient now. Earlier we had a big ledger we had to go through to list out all our defaulters for the month. Now it is no longer manual. The app automatically generates a defaulter list that we just need to send.

Or security, another big challenge for the size of a community like Purva Highland.As just a resident, I thought of ApnaComplex as just an accounting software,says Mr. Shripathi,Now as a Secretary, I saw all the other options available. We have been using ApnaComplex Gatekeeper for almost a month now. The response has been positive. We are planning on introducing biometrics soon.

ApnaComplex Gatekeeper @ Purva Highland, Bangalore

When asked what the ultimate goal of this was, he replied, “We have tons of manual registers that have been maintained over the years. Eventually, I want to get rid of it all and move to a strictly electronic records.”

From a library to a health spa, Purva Highland has a little bit for everyone. This society and its committee strive to make its residents happy, comfortable and safe. ApnaComplex commends the committee on their work and hopes our service continues to aid them.

Gym in Purva HighlandGym

Indoor Games @ Purva HighlandIndoor Games

Tennis Courts @ Purva HighlandTennis Court

Children @ Play @ Purva Highland Children at Play

Library @ Purva HighlandLibrary

Squash Court  @ Purva HighlandSquash Court

 


ApnaComplex: The 3 Ways To Manage Your Staff

Have you checked out our Staff Management Features yet?

Do you remember the 90s classic, “Chachi 420?” This movie about a nanny in disguise tickled everybody’s funny bone. But in real life, wouldn’t this situation be a tad alarming?

Almost every Indian household employs a household staff. Their presence is a part of our daily routine. The day they fail to show up, is the day, the entire household often screeches to a standstill. Now wouldn’t it be easier if we could track the attendance of our staff on a day-to-day basis?

ApnaComplex offers a unique and detailed feature to enable you to do just that! With our Staff Management Feature, you can track and maintain a log of the staff employed in your apartment complex.

The Staff in a Gated Community

Most societies have three categories of staff members employed within its gates.

  1. Domestic Staff: These are the staff members employed by the families, like, maids, cooks, drivers, and so on.
  1. Maintenance Staff: These are the staff members employed by the community like security staff, landscapers, plumbers, etc.
  1. Temporary Staff: This is the staff that is hired for a temporary period like carpenters or painters.

With so many people employed in one location, the movement in and out of the main gate poses a significant security concern. How do you know who has come in, and who has already left? This is where we can assist you.

Three Ways to Verify Attendance

In the current market, there are many apps that allow you to track staff attendance. While any of them can provide the basics, The ApnaComplex Staff Management Feature offers you a little bit more! With our fully integrated systems, residents receive an instant notification on their ApnaComplex app the minute a member of their household staff enters or exits the society gate. We offer you three ways to do this-

  1. By a picture

When the member of the staff is entering your society, the security guard can use this feature to click a picture. This enables the resident to know that their employee has entered the society complex and will report for duty soon. If the staff is hired in multiple households, the notification will be sent to each of one. This allows you to maintain an attendance log. This is especially beneficial if your employee is on a payroll.

  1. By RFID

This is a step-up from merely clicking a picture. Every member of the staff is issued an RFID card. A reader is installed at the main gate. When the member of the staff enters the gate, they are directed to scan their IDs. What is more, limited-period access can be given to staff hired for a temporary job. The resident can specify the duration for which the employee is permitted within the campus. When the validity expires, that staff member is debarred from entering the gate.

  1. By Biometrics

This is a foolproof security system. If you opt for biometrics, we provide you with a fingerprint reader or facial recognition software that is fully integrated with your ApnaComplex app. This enables the app to send you an instant notification when the staff member scans their finger at the gate.

Attendance vs Authentication

While pictures and RFID allow you to track attendance, they have their own drawbacks. Picture verification can help you create a log and track attendance. Incase of a security breach this log can help in an investigation. However, this is not a foolproof security system. The same applies to RFIDs. If the IDs exchange hands, security can take a serious hit. To make your apartment complex truly secure ApnaComplex recommends Biometrics. This system makes it impossible for a person to impersonate someone else. This means no more Chachi 420 moments in your society! Employers know exactly who is in, and who is out.

Bonus:

The ApnaComplex app allows you to create a database of staff members employed throughout your society. This database can be fed by both residents, as well as the security guard. This feature also provides a rating system for your staff. So if there are any other residents searching for new employees, they can skim through the existing database of staff employed within the same society. They can then hire a person based on their rating.

The life of an Indian household typically revolves around the household staff. The schedule of the entire family is built around their comings and goings. So allow us to make it a little easier!

Check out our Staff Management features here: https://www.apnacomplex.com/gatekeeper