ApnaComplex Blog

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.


Waste Management in an Apartment Complex

Waste management always comes with a golden rule: reduce, reuse, recycle. At first, this feels like a daunting prospect, like an excessive amount of effort. But in reality, this can be achieved if the issue is targeted at the root: the household.

Living in an apartment complex means living in close proximity to other. So naturally, we need to stay mindful of maintaining clean surroundings to keep it from being an inconvenience.  


Waste management in the household

Enforce a segregation rule in all the units of your apartment complex. Have every household maintain one dustbin for wet waste and one for dry waste. Make sure that the waste is also collected separately. This makes the waste easier to dispose of. Emphasize the need to drain the waste of liquids before throwing it in the bins. The liquid in the waste creates a breeding ground for pests and allows rot to settle in faster.


Waste management in the society

Once the household is taken care of, cleanliness has to be maintained in the common areas of the society. The most effective technique is to hire cleaning crews to sweep and clear the litter. It is also imperative to reduce little. install clearly marked dustbins all over your complex. Place them in all the convenient locations and spread the news urging your residents to use them. Also, urge your residents to clean up after their pets. Pet excreta should be picked up by the owners and disposed of responsibly. Disposables used for any community event should also be biodegradable. Hold regular cleaning drives and educational sessions to ensure that both children and adults are regularly reminded of the importance of clean surroundings.


Waste Management in the long run

While immediate steps ensure waste management, you need to install mechanisms that make the job easier in the long run. Educate your residents of the importance of recycling paper and plastic waste. If possible hire a service to come to the complex to collect the recyclables. Plant plenty of trees in your society. Not only does this help clean the air of pollutants, but it also helps slowly replenish the soil while making your society look aesthetically pleasing. Also, ensure that the drainage system of your society is in good working condition. Waterlogging causes problems with mosquitos, flies and other pests. Lastly, consider installing a compost pit in your society. This can help you dispose of the biodegradables right within your society. The compost can be used as manure for your trees and gardens. Any surplus can be sold to bring a good revenue for your society.

There are plenty of other techniques and real-life examples of good waste management. You can use the ApnaComplex noticeboard feature to educate and notify all your residents. Sharing them with others can only help generate awareness and possibly action towards a cleaner India.


Why ApnaComplex is the most preferred Apartment management solution all over India?

ApnaComplex is one among several available Apartment Management Apps. Our customers have many other options that provide similar services. But what makes ApnaComplex the most preferred apartment management service in India? Allow us to tell you:

Thought Leaders:

We believe in setting the benchmark for our field. Our innovation is nearly two years ahead of any other portal in Society Accounting and Social Management. We are the first to bring Society Management to the Smart Phone Generation. We introduced India’s first and only Collection Gateway for housing societies to solve the problem of NEFT reconciliations for every Housing Society. Using Collection Gateway residents can add the unique account number allocated to them as beneficiary and automate the monthly transfer of dues.

Super High Configurability:

Life in each apartment complex is different. The requirements and expectations from each one are unique to that complex. We understand this perfectly. As a consequence, our portal is super customizable. You can configure the plan to your requirements at prices that are pocket-friendly.

Data Security:

At ApnaComplex, we understand that cybersecurity is extremely important. Your personal information is kept extremely secure and access to it is limited. No information is divulged without your express permission. Beyond this, ApnaComplex is the first portal that offers secure browsing using SSL (Secure Socket Layer). Data Security is one of our primary aims.

Data Privacy:

ApnaComplex offers the most private portal in the industry. We do not bombard you to buy from various service providers to earn commissions. There are no ADs on either our portal or our App. We dislike ADs as much as you do.

Support for Federations:

ApnaComplex is the first portal that offers support for Federation of RWAs. Federation of RWAs can add member associations and easily communicate across all. Notices posted in Federation can reach all members of its member associations providing a unified platform for the entire neighborhood. This means that it is not just about your complex who can benefit- but about the entire neighborhood!

SMS to DND Numbers:

While we understand that residents don’t wish to receive constant notifications from the app, we also understand that certain messages are extremely important. So if a committee member decides that a certain message is too important to be missed, they have the option to send it even to those numbers registered under DND.

Easy to use:

ApnaComplex offers a “Complete Accounting Package” that can be used by Chartered Accountants and Treasurers with no accounting background with equal ease. In addition, ApnaComplex supports multiple roles like Accounting Admin, Accounting Assistant, Data Entry Operator, and Auditor to delegate accounting work. ApnaComplex Accounting is designed and developed by a team with real-life experience in social accounting as committee members and treasurers so we understand what you need.

Continuous Upgrades:

Despite having the most comprehensive set of features already, we are continuously working to enhance and update our services. Quite a few enhancements are the result of customer requests for new features. So, all our customers benefit from the collective wisdom of hundreds of societies. Also, this allows you to streamline the experience to your needs.

Excellent Support:

We strive to delight our customers, period. You have live chat, email-based support, phone-based support, online help, and manuals to take care of your needs.

ApnaComplex is dedicated to making the management of your apartment complex a well-oiled machine. For that, we believe that convenience is key. To bring this convenience to your apartment complex click here to create a free portal.


New enhancements in the Accounting Module

Managing Committees take note!

In our aim to serve you better, we have released new enhancements on ApnaComplex Accounting Module.

Penalty Calculation Engine:

The Apnacomplex Penalty Calculation Engine is a powerful tool that calculates penalties in case of late payments. It can be configured to support the rules against late payments in any society. However, the interplay of factors can often make it difficult to explain the final amount to the members. With our new enhancement, you can now view the detailed calculations by the engine. The user can simply click the link that is next to the penalty charge to receive a full statement. Admins can also access this during the process. The icon is available against each penalty calculation. When clicked, it opens a new window to show you the full break-up.

A new way of penalty calculation:

ApnaComplex has always supported factors like a fixed penalty or penalties based on outstanding dues. With the new enhancement, you can now charge penalties based on area (plot area, super built-up area or terrace area). This allows you more flexibility. Once you save the penalty scheme this option is also available for recurring invoices.

To experience this new option:

  1. Please go to Income ->Member Income -> Penalty link
  2. Here you can create a new penalty scheme. Identify the charge heads to which penalty becomes applicable.
  3. In Penalty Type field – select “Per sqft” – update the penalty amount for defaulters / late paying units.
  4. Update rest of the fields and save.
  5. Run the same manually (or configure recurring invoice) to calculate penalty amounts that can be directly invoiced.

These enhancements are available at no additional cost with the new update. If you have any queries on the above, please contact us at support@apnacomplex.com


Diwali Celebrations: Keep your society fireproof

It’s that time of the year again. The whole country reverberates to the joy of celebrations over a five-day period. There’s music, food, light and an air of prosperity all around! Yes, we’ll soon be celebrating Diwali, the festival of light that marks the victory of good over evil.

Celebrated with great joy and festivities in most parts of India, it is marked by the lighting of lamps, crackers, exchange of greetings and gifts, buying gold, decorating of home and sharing sweets with family and friends.

Along with all the above, the festival of Diwali has also become associated with firecrackers that cause injuries and leave people with burns, loss of eyesight, damage to the ears and to property if adequate care is not taken. Every year, there is a significant number of burns and other injuries that are reported during the festival.

Dos and Don’ts:

It is therefore important that each one of us who is celebrating with firecrackers follow a few Dos and Don’ts to ensure that Diwali ends as a happy festival for one and all. If you are a member of the Managing Committee in your residential complex, make sure you list down your Dos and Don’ts so that every resident is aware of what they should and should not do to make it a festival that everyone enjoys.

We provide a list of Dos and Don’ts that you can use as it as is or as a guideline for your apartment complex. You can download the Diwali Do’s and Dont’s poster, print it and post it in your society notice board as is or under your official letterhead.

diwali dos and donts

 

Designate areas to light firecrackers:

Another important thing that is mandatory in a gated community is to light firecrackers only in designated areas. Some people love to light crackers in their balconies or just outside their flat. This is a breach of fire safety and can lead to serious accidents. It is imperative that the designated spots for lighting firecrackers are clearly marked and the entire community adheres to it.

Firecrackers should not be lit in closed rooms or balconies of the buildings. They also shouldn’t be lit in an area covered with foliage. It is also important to make to make sure that a strict time limit is maintained. Nobody should be allowed to burst crackers beyond a predetermined hour. According to a recent order by the supreme court, this limit is until 10 pm.

Beyond crackers, make sure the open flames of the diyas are not a fire hazard. Make sure they are far away from curtains, open wires, electronics, plastic or paper decoration or any other flammable materials. Teach your children basic fire safety too. It is always better to be safe than sorry.

We offer here a template that your association can customize updating the designated timings, designated areas to light crackers and also update emergency contact numbers. You can share the notice with your residents, print the same on your society’s letterhead and put it up in all notice boards. Download the Diwali Notice template to customize it for your complex.

With a little bit of care and caution, Diwali can be enjoyed by one and all. Take that few additional steps to make sure that the festival leaves only pleasant memories for all involved. We wish you a very happy and safe Diwali!


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.


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!