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How Do You Take Care of a Spotted Zebra? Ask The Anderson Group Property Management Co.

The Spotted Zebra wanted to run its center not worry about property management.

The Spotted Zebra Learning Center is a state-of-the-art, year-round, preschool program designed to prepare children of all abilities for kindergarten and the state’s high learning standards. The learning center and its programs, formerly located on Kross Keys Drive in Albany, became so popular that they simply ran out of room. So executive director, Sheri Townsend, began the search for a larger facility.

property management

Back: Jane Schulke, bookkeeper; Jason Ford, activities coordinator; Matthew Ryan, director of programs
Front: Sheri Townsend, executive director; Shannon Harmon, director of special education programs

In 2013, the organization found one, purchasing the building at 26 Computer Drive, just off of Wolf Road. In doing so, the learning center increased its usable space from 4,000 square feet to 12,000 square feet.

“Our new building is three times the size of our old one,” Townsend says. “It gives us an opportunity to grow our services and meet our families’ and community’s needs.”

She says their old space was near a very busy road. The new space, however, has a yard for children to play in and is located on a dead end that abuts a quiet, residential neighborhood. Townsend says she likes that their location on Computer Drive makes the facility more centrally located to major highways. The Spotted Zebra draws students from around the Capital Region, from a 25-mile radius throughout the Capital Region.

And although The Spotted Zebra owns their building, they turn to The Anderson Group to manage it. The Anderson Group provides The Spotted Zebra with everything from housekeeping services and grounds maintenance to HVAC, electrical and plumbing services.

“We shopped around when we were searching for a property management company. As an agency, we need to follow the three-bid rule,” Townsend explains. “We put out a request for proposals. The Anderson Group’s proposal was the most comprehensive, and all of their client feedback was positive.”

As property managers, Townsend says The Anderson Group goes above and beyond.

“The Anderson Group is responsive morning, noon and night. Whenever I send an email or text, they respond immediately. Whenever we have an emergency issue, they are here very quickly,” Townsend says. “They are very meticulous. We are never left un-served.”

For more information about The Spotted Zebra Learning Center, visit their website or call (518) 438-4800. For more information about The Anderson Group’s property management services, contact Susan Touhey at 518-458-7726 or




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Going up? Why elevator maintenance is important in your office building.

You’re in a hurry, and the elevator is slow. So you do what any normal person in a rush would do: You punch the up button repeatedly, hoping it will speed up the process. In your heart of hearts, you know it does nothing. But it sure feels good.

In the big scheme of first-world work problems, slow or out-of-order elevators rank pretty high. After all, time is money, and for better or for worse, today’s workforce expects instant gratification.elevator maintenance

So what’s a tenant to expect, and what’s a building owner to do? Routine maintenance and constant assessment.

“A healthy elevator system is critical to the safety and productivity of a building’s tenants, whether it’s a commercial building or a residential building,” says Dave Eck, maintenance manager at The Anderson Group. “We are vigilant about checking elevator function in our office buildings, and we know that sometimes the only option is full replacement of a system. It’s a big investment, but well worth it in terms of safety, efficiency, and peace of mind.”

The Anatomy of an Elevator

Like the human body, an elevator has hundreds of parts that must be maintained to prevent excessive wear and breakdown. Failure to do so can negatively impact everything from elevator response time and door operation to lighting, alarms and intercoms.

Although only properly trained and licensed elevator technicians should perform maintenance and tests on elevator equipment, good property managers and owners should periodically ride building elevators and compare their functions with manufacturer’s specifications to evaluate their performance. This is important not only to ensure tenant safety and satisfaction, but also because an elevator is one of the most expensive pieces of equipment in a building—at initial purchase and throughout the elevator’s lifespan.

Elevator Care and Maintenance

Here are a few important things to keep in mind when you own or lease a building with elevators:

  1. Plan ahead. Elevator maintenance is governed by the American Society of Mechanical Engineers, which requires facilities to have a written maintenance control program for its elevator systems. The point? To help ensure that building owners and managers create a regular maintenance schedule and stick to it to avoid preventable accidents. Check with your building owner and make sure he or she has a plan in place. If you own a building, be sure to get your plan in place before you need it.
  1. Be proactive. When you inspect and service your elevators on an ongoing basis, you run less risk of breakdowns and tenant complaints. Moving into an office building with elevators? Ask your property manager or landlord how old your elevators are and how often they are inspected. If you can, ask other building tenants how they’d rate the building’s elevator service and maintenance. Out-of-service elevators inconvenience tenants. Proactive maintenance can increase tenant satisfaction and extend the lifespan of your investment.
  1. Hire qualified contractors. Elevator repair is among the most dangerous jobs in the construction industry. Make sure that anyone and everyone servicing your elevators is educated and licensed in elevator repair. Having trouble finding certified elevator technicians in your area? The National Association of Elevator Contractors can help you find reliable elevator contractors in your area.
  1. Know the signs. Many building owners and managers don’t know or recognize the symptoms of an aging or malfunctioning elevator system early enough to avoid disruptive and expensive issues. Some issues are obvious, such as elevator downtime, increased service calls, and slow operation chief among them. Other issues, such as inefficient/high energy use, inconsistent power quality, and overheating, aren’t so obvious. And remember: Even well maintained elevators eventually need to be updated or replaced.
  1. Listen to your tenants. If you own or manage a building with an elevator, there’s one foolproof way to know if something is wrong with it: Your tenants will complain. And then their customers will complain. And when a poorly maintained elevator impacts their bottom line, it will impact yours, as well. Take tenant complaints seriously, and contact your contractor if you see, hear, or feel anything suspicious outside of your regular maintenance schedule. A service call is always cheaper than an accident.

Extending Your Elevator’s Useful Life

Elevators are standard in nearly every office building in the United States, and unless they’re malfunctioning, the millions of people who use them every day don’t give them a thought. Building owners and managers can help keep it that way—and save the headache and expense of repeat service calls or accidents—by establishing and executing a care and maintenance plan that doesn’t just address problems as they happen, but keeps things running smoothly between checkups.

The Anderson Group helps keep your small business running. For information about available commercial properties in our portfolio, contact Susan Touhey at 518-458-7726 or




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What Are People Saying About Your Company’s Restroom?

Maintaining Your Company’s Restroom.

It’s everyone’s business.

Let’s say your family is expecting company. You’ve probably cleaned the living room and kitchen. Maybe you’ve even asked the kids to tidy their bedrooms. But there’s no doubt you spent a lot of time scrubbing the bathroom—from floor-to-nearly-ceiling. After all, the state of your bathroom leaves a lasting impression on your guests and, like it or not, says a lot about you as a person.

But many business owners don’t pay attention to their company’s restrooms. They fuss over the reception area, the office layout, and the artwork on the walls. But the restroom doesn’t hit their radar unless, well, unless they’re in it.

Here’s the thing: The state of your corporate bathroom leaves a lasting impression on your customers and says a lot about you as a company.

The Problem

Had a bad experience in a public restroom? You’re not alone. According to this year’s Healthy Hand Washing
Survey, conducted by Bradley Corporation, almost 70% of Americans say they’ve had “a particularly unpleasant experience in a public restroom due to the condition of the facilities.” Oft cited complaints included clogged toilets, bad ventilation, dirty and/or old appearance, and partition doors that don’t latch. The survey also confirmed what most of us already know: Consumers equate dirty restrooms with poor management.

The Solution

The good news is that better restrooms don’t have to be pipe dreams. A pleasant corporate restroom experience doesn’t have to be a luxury experience, and it doesn’t need to cost tens of thousands of dollars. In many cases, a good restroom experience comes down to simple things, like cleaning floors and surfaces, emptying wastebaskets, making sure hardware and fixtures are functioning, and restocking supplies on a daily basis. Adding small, inexpensive convenience features, such as full-length mirrors, hooks and shelves can also make a big difference.

Ty Woodard, who heads up The Anderson Group’s housekeeping department, says that continual maintenance of commercial restrooms isn’t just important for building aesthetics, but also for the health and wellbeing of tenants and their visitors.

“A routine restroom maintenance schedule is not just about germs, something we certainly try hard to eliminate as much as is possible, but keeping restrooms in good shape is also important to ensure that people don’t slip or get hurt in other ways,” Woodard says. “Well-maintained restrooms show that we care about our tenants and have the added benefit of helping make their businesses look as professional as possible.”

The Next Step

If your company owns the building and has authority to make changes to it, consider ramping up the quality of your restrooms. It will be well worth the investment. Don’t own your own building? Talk to your landlord or your building’s property management company about your concerns and wish list. Good landlords don’t let bad bathrooms happen to their tenants—or their tenants’ customers.

company's restroom
Infographic: Bradley Corporation
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Building a Case for Building Maintenance

5 Reasons to Create a Building Maintenance Plan Today

Think for a moment about owning a building the way you think about owning a car. To get the most mileage out of your vehicle, you must rotate and replace your tires, check and change your oil, and take it in for regular tune-ups. Owning a commercial office building works much the same way. To keep your building a safe, attractive and comfortable place to work, maintenance is key.

So how often should a building owner think about building maintenance? All the time. The fact is, resale values are typically higher for buildings that have been well maintained. And building owners who want to attract and keep long-term tenants invest in building maintenance. Need more reasons to take building maintenance seriously? Here are five:

  1. You can fix minor problems before they become major ones.

This applies to everything from keeping on top of pest control to regularly cleaning roof drains. Neglected drains can clog and lead to costly damage to landscaping, roofs, and interior ceilings and walls. And although insects and rodents may be small, they can affect your bottom line in a big way. The longer you wait to fix small problems, the higher the cost of repairs.

  1. You can extend the life of your property.

Building owners and managers who don’t pay careful attention to ongoing property maintenance risk the premature failing of materials and equipment—from drywall and ceiling tiles to parking lot asphalt and HVAC units. That means inconveniencing tenants by posting “out of order” signs, compromising tenant comfort and productivity, and spending money on avoidable, costly, and disruptive repairs.

  1. You can avoid flushing money down the toilet.

You know that perpetually leaky faucet in the office restroom? It’s costing you money. According to data compiled by the United States Environmental Protection Agency, a leaky faucet that drips at the rate of one drip per second wastes more than 3,000 gallons of water per year—water you’re paying for. Common, easily correctable leak culprits include worn toilet flappers, dripping faucets, and leaking valves.

  1. You will put safety first.

As a building owner, keeping your tenants and employees protected and happy is your first priority. That means ensuring that your electrical circuits are safe and unexposed, staying on top of fire alarm and fire extinguisher performance, and making sure your elevators, doors, windows, and ventilation systems are operating efficiently and effectively. It also means providing and maintaining sufficient indoor and outdoor lighting and taking care of building grounds, especially following severe weather.

  1. You’ll start viewing maintenance as a way of life.

To keep on top of building maintenance, prepare a maintenance schedule (for both the exterior and interior of your building), along with a record of building problems and fixes—from repainted walls to repaired electrical circuits. Knowing what’s ahead of—and behind—you will help keep maintenance top of mind and keep your bottom line in tip-top shape.

Don’t have the time to think about building maintenance all the time? Hire a professional building management company. When you do, you’ll have constant access to an in-house point of contact and a company backed by qualified professionals—from electricians and plumbers to painters and landscapers. It’s their job to ensure regular inspection and maintenance of your property to your workplace is always up and running.

Good operational planning and a regular investment in building maintenance are far less expensive and inconvenient than dealing with the consequences of neglect.

Andy Anderson is a partner at The Anderson Group in Albany, NY. To learn about The Anderson Group’s property management services, which include housekeeping, landscaping and grounds maintenance, HVAC services, electrical and plumbing services, and life safety, call Susan Touhey at 518-458-7726 or email


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When to outsource your property management services

Don’t go it alone: The Anderson Group explains when to outsource your property management services

You own a commercial property. Maybe you even run your business from it. It’s a full-time endeavor, and some days, it’s more than that. Between managing employees, meeting with clients, and balancing your bottom line, the last thing you want to worry about is coordinating contractors and fixing leaky faucets. That’s time – and money – down the drain. So when does outsourcing your property management services make good business sense? And is the investment worth it?

property management services albany ny

The Anderson Group offers extensive property management services including building maintenance, landscaping, housekeeping, energy, security, leasing, budgeting and more.

Even if you’ve contracted with several local businesses for these services, you’re still expending your own time and energy managing and coordinating schedules, payments, and personnel. But it’s another day at the office for a property management company.

The benefits of hiring a property management company

A good property management company will have the procedures and resources in place to keep your property in tip-top shape so you can focus on what you do best – running and growing your business. If you own and manage your own property, hiring a professional property management company could save you:

  • Time. Let the experts address employee and/or tenant needs and complaints, routine and large-scale maintenance, and marketing vacancies in your properties. Good property management companies have skilled contractors and consultants at the ready to support your business.
  • Liability. A seasoned property manager stays on top of things like keeping sidewalks and parking lots free from of snow and ice. They know when to use “wet floor” signs, fix loose handrails and repair uneven walking surfaces – saving your company from insurance payouts and lawsuits. Reputable property managers know the risks and how to avoid them.
  • Money. Yes, you’ll invest some money to outsource your property management services, but a seasoned property management company will save you money in the long run. Many offer value-added services, such as energy efficiency consulting and space and workflow planning to minimize your cost and maximize your productivity. They also know your local real estate market and can help you market and fill vacancies.
  • Expert advice. Property managers should be able to offer you informed advice on everything from the best environmentally friendly towel dispenser to the ideal unoccupied office temperature. This know-how can enhance your property in little ways that add up to big savings and happy tenants.

Find your perfect match

Not all property management companies are created equally. Services, prices, policies, and expertise vary widely from company to company. So where do you begin your search? Start by asking for recommendations from business colleagues or your local chamber of commerce. You can also turn to an industry service council, such as the Building Owners and Managers Association (BOMA), a reputable source of information about building management and operations.

When you’ve compiled a short list of prospects, request their references and substantiation of claims of insurance and licenses. Then schedule a meeting with representatives from the companies’ management teams, and don’t be afraid to approach the meeting as if you’re interviewing them for a position in your company. Because you are.

Helpful questions to ask a potential property management company might include:

  • How often will you inspect my property? The more often your property management company is on site, the more attention your property receives, and the better it looks and functions. In one capacity or another, a full-service management company should be on-site daily, performing landscaping, housekeeping, maintenance, leasing and supervisory duties.
  • How do you handle repairs and maintenance?Ask each company to list the repairs and maintenance they can and cannot do. It’s also a good idea to ask whether the companies rely on subcontractors (ask for a list) or have their own staff handle routine repairs and maintenance. Ask them to explain their spending and expense-report procedures. And negotiate terms and conditions for spending money on your property.
  • What are your fees, what are they based upon, and what do they include? Management fees can range from 4% to 10% of the base rent, depending upon the facility size and the scope of duties performed. Make sure to ask exactly what services are included, and make sure everything you need and want is listed, from housekeeping services and HVAC services to financial reporting and rent collection.
  • How do you handle building vacancies?If you have extra space in your commercial property, how does your prospective property management company propose to fill them? At a minimum, vacancies should be addressed with on-site signage, multiple listing services (MLS), Web saturation and a dedicated leasing agent.
  • Will I receive reports about my property, what will they include, and how often? A good property manager will issue monthly reports, which may include rent roll, vacancies, financials/receivables, preventive maintenance schedule and capital improvements.

An experienced property management company should be staffed with experienced real estate, management and housekeeping professionals who are ready, willing, and able to respond to your requests efficiently and effectively so you can get down to business—your business.

For information about how The Anderson Group can meet your company’s property management needs, contact Susan Anderson Touhey at 518.458.7726 or


More About The Anderson Group – The Property Management Experts

The Anderson Group’s experienced professionals are ready and able to respond to tenant requests 24/7. Value-added services include:

  • General facility management and maintenance
  • Housekeeping services
  • Landscaping and grounds maintenance
  • Financial reporting
  • HVAC services
  • Electrical and plumbing services
  • Life safety
  • Space planning and interior design
  • Construction management
  • Leasing
  • Rent collection
  • Budgeting



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