Category: Apartment Management

4 Guidelines For Choosing An Interior Designer

An interior designer works closely with you on the project and sees to it that your vision is given shape in the most effective way. Choosing an interior designer is highly subjective as the project involves personal taste and preferences. Here are a few things to consider before you select the right candidate for the job.

 

  1. Verify Their Credentials

Before you hire an interior designer, verify his or her credentials. Check if they the prerequisite license to work as an interior designer. Ask about the designer’s education, training, work experience and other credentials. A good interior designer will have had comprehensive training that includes flame-spread ratings, space planning, AutoCAD, 3-D modelling, and lighting.

 

  1. Be Clear About What You Want

You need to be sure about what you want before you can start calling prospects. Assess the level of your involvement in the creative process and the amount of guidance you need. Know whether you are open to suggestions from the designer, or if you are firm about what you have come up with. Having a clear picture of your needs will ensure that you hire the right person.

 

  1. Scrutinize Their Portfolio

Studying a designer’s portfolio will give you an idea about his or her style and working methods in similar projects.  If you can arrange for a visit to one of the designer’s completed works, you can get an up-close and personal taste of their finished project.

 

  1. Choose A Designer With Transparent Billing Methods

Understand the fee structure of your prospects in order to know if their billing methods are transparent. Find out if the designer is going to charge you a flat fee or by the hour.  Make sure you let your prospective designer know about your predetermined budget. Having a clear understanding of what you are paying for will ensure that the work is not compromised by any financial disagreement that may come up later.

Interviewing and choosing an interior designer for your project can take anywhere from a couple of weeks to months. Do not hurry, as picking the right designer is critical to the long-term success of your project. Try using the ApnaComplex database to find a verified designer to suit your needs. Selecting the wrong designer, no matter how experienced or qualified he or she may be, can lead to a décor disaster.


Why Chartered Accountants prefer ApnaComplex

Presently, the number of apartment complexes in India is growing exponentially. With the growing number of apartment sizes, management committees are looking for some active help from chartered accountants or auditing firms to manage their accounting operations. This scenario offers a huge potential to accountants to grow their business.

 

ApnaComplex, a mobile and web-based apartment management service is a one-stop solution for all housing society requirements. The Billing and Accounting module is now being increasingly trusted by chartered accountants (CAs) as their technology partner for offering premium service. In this digital era, CAs who have adopted ApnaComplex achieved multi-fold growth in their business along with reducing their manual work.

 

Top reasons Chartered Accountants prefer ApnaComplex over other software:

 

  1. Best accounting software across India:

ApnaComplex offers online services, integrated with emails, SMS and online payments providing a clear edge over other players.

  1. Helps in saving time and money:

The accounting software helps in easing the accounting effort drastically and automates a lot of accounting process. Even non-accountants can be employed for data-entry.

  1. Supports a growing business:

Not only do the accountants use ApnaComplex for their existing customers but also acquire customers referred by ApnaComplex. As a result, the customer base of accountants grows in size.

  1. Offers convenience to work from anywhere and everywhere:

ApnaComplex accounting software enables accountants to enter and access data digitally. One does not need to carry all data to a centralized location. Moreover, multiple people can work on entering data simultaneously, further speeding up the work.

  1. Provides training and support:

ApnaComplex offers regular training and support on the product and conducts periodic refresher courses. This allows our customers to master using it.

 

The ApnaComplex accounting software is specially designed for a housing society

 

ApnaComplex automates the following housing society requirements for the accountants and management associations:

  • Offers readymade flat-wise sub-ledger
  • Automates unit-wise due generation
  • Provides flat-wise account statement
  • Automates calculation of late payment interest
  • Automates allocation of a collection to invoices
  • Generates reports

 

So, partner with ApnaComplex today to create synergy. Get powered with technology to offer superior accounting services and maximize your revenue.


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.


Keeping Your Residents Happy

Ask anyone in the managing committee of an apartment complex or a residential layout, and most of them will confess that it’s the most thankless job one can think of. What makes the job a challenge is the brickbats that follow even after having worked in the best interest of all. “You can never please everyone” is a truism that every apartment managing committee member learns early enough in their tenure!

But all’s not lost! If you’re a managing committee member, we are glad to reveal that there is a way you can actually reduce your work and even win some praise for the efforts you put in.

To begin, we’ll have to first understand where most managing committees stumble in getting along with the members/residents of the apartment complex or layout. Broadly, the issues that residents have with their managing committees can be classified under the following heads:

  1. Communication
  2. Complaint Resolution
  3. Transparency in Expenses

We are sure you’ll agree that almost 90% of the criticism that members of owners association have against their managing committees fall under these three heads. When it comes to communication, the most common grouse is that the managing committee didn’t communicate early enough or clearly enough. When it comes to the complaint resolution, there are always comments saying that no complaint gets attended in time. The same issues keep recurring. As for expenses, the lesser said the better. Members will always claim that they do not know where the money is being spent or that the expenses are too high.  

Now, if an association can “manage” to get these three aspects of their functioning in control then you could have a satisfied society.

So how do we go about doing it?

The answer is simple: use tools that help your association become efficient and thus more effective! At ApnaComplex we offer online technology solutions that help Managing Committees streamline their workflow and create better synergies with residents of the apartment. The Single Directory View of Members allows managing committee to view details of each owner and tenant in the apartment complex or layout. The powerful Notification features that we have ensures that you can use the power of SMS and emails to communicate with every member of your society – or broadcast to only specific segments of your members – like residents and tenants.

The online Complaint Box feature of ApnaComplex registers, tracks, and closes complaints from all apartment members in a central place. Complaints shall be filed under various categories and tracked till closure. Residents can know the status of a complaint anytime and also how many complaints are attended to by the maintenance staff. Sure, that makes the residents happier.

Apart from these, ApnaComplex offers rich features to support your billing and expenses. The Maintenance Charge Tracking feature allows the Treasurer to raise invoices for various charges and tracks payments made against them. To make the life of a Treasurer even simpler, the Income Tracking feature captures the details of income from maintenance collection and other revenue heads. The Instant Receipts Issuance feature not only enables the speedy creation of receipts but also enables members to view/download the receipts at any time. In addition, the Expense Tracking feature tracks expenses incurred under various heads and the Publish Accounts Statement publishes statements at the push of a button to all members and on to the notice board. Now, that’s total transparency.

Finally, the Metered Billing feature ensures that invoices are generated for various metered utilities such as a piped gas or water meter against each house and their respective payments are tracked within ApnaComplex!

If that covers 90% of all issues, we are glad to inform you that we haven’t missed out on the remaining 10% either. ApnaComplex has an Online Notice Board that ensures everyone can post their needs to all members. Online Notice Board can be used by the Managing Committee to ensure meetings and other events are known to everyone. To ensure that only authorized personnel can access the Management Committee features, ApnaComplex has an effective Role-Based access control system. So while ApnaComplex can be used by all, the right to information and features is rigidly controlled.


5 Tips for Effective Home Renovation

Renovating a house can be quite demanding in terms of money, time, and effort. There are a few common mistakes that most renovators make, that can prove very costly at the end of the day. Here is how you can avoid these mistakes.

1. Prepare Well

Plan well before you begin the project. Do a lot of research, read plenty of books, and talk to people who have already renovated their houses. You might end up spending hours chalking out the last detail of the plan, but it’ll be worth the time and effort. If you do not have the time or interest to get things done yourself, hiring a professional would be a smart choice.

2. Take accurate Measurements

One of the most basic home renovation tips is to make sure that you take accurate measurements. You spend a lot of money, time, and effort on a home renovation project. Invest in quality measuring tools in order to avoid mistakes that will make you hate your renovated house. Also, be serious about taking accurate measurements, as even small discrepancies can result in drastic changes in the final outcome.

3. Obtain Prerequisite Permissions

While interiors are free from legal scrutiny, huge external projects often require legal permission.  Be on the safe side and avoid unnecessary fines and legal fees by getting all the necessary permissions for the renovation plan. Do keep in mind that your house insurance will not cover damages or injury if you go ahead without required permissions.

4. Invest in Quality

Although it might be very tempting, cutting corners to save money may put your home and yourself at serious risk. High-quality materials are more durable, and hence more expensive. Save yourself the trouble and future expense of frequent repairs by going for good quality products.  The same applies to the labour, interior designer, or engineer you’ll be hiring. Go for the best that you can afford at the moment. If not, wait until you have enough funds.

5. Biting More Than You Can Chew

A common mistake that most renovators make is to plan big and go over the top in their home renovation efforts. Be realistic and factor in your finances, abilities, and resources. It might be a better idea to work on smaller sections than to renovate the entire house at once. Running out of cash, time or interest midway will only leave you with a poorly renovated house.

Make sure you follow these basic home renovation tips to avoid costly mistakes. The golden rule is to plan well and know what you are getting into before you pick up that hammer or paint brush.


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.


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!