plumber400Tenant: “I have an emergency. I know its 3 AM but my kitchen faucet is leaking.  When do you think you’ll be able to come fix it?”

Super: “I’ll be there in two months at the earliest.”

The illustration above is obviously an exaggeration, meant to highlight the assumed stereotypes from both tenants and supers alike.  Tenants expect supers to be available whenever needed and perform any tasks upon request no matter the severity.  If supers aren’t available or take forever to do maintenance and repairs, tenants will attribute this to poor management and lazy supers.  On the other hand, supers have many responsibilities and often will delay or ignore “unimportant” requests. 

To start your relationship off right with your super, follow these simple tips: 

  • Upon moving in, find out what kind of beer your super likes to drink and buy him a six pack.  The super is a human being and likes to be treated right and feel appreciated just like you.  This is a good icebreaker and starts the relationship off right. 
  • Find out about his family and how long he has been a super for the building. Use this time to see how the super works.  Find out the hours he is available, when his busiest time of the day is, and when it’s the slowest.  Just because the super is on call for work doesn’t mean he will be available to service you. If it’s not a major issue, delay it until its a slower part of his day. 

After moving in it’s important to maintain the relationship with your super. 

  • Find out what sport team he likes and buy him clothing from that team as a birthday or Christmas gift.  I met a super once who was wearing a Pittsburgh Pirates hat, t-shirt, jacket and flip flops courtesy of a tenant that lived in the building he maintains. 
  • If he has young kids, buy them Mister Softee every once in awhile. When he does a good job, give him a tip. Separate garbage from recycling.  If you bake a cake, offer him a slice.  Say “Hi” and talk to the super even when you don’t need him for anything. 

Some may say “My super is a total %&#$*!@ and being nice is a waste of time.” But being nice loosens even the most rigid individuals.  If you’re courteous and respectful of your super’s time, you’ll be in better favor with him when you need his assistance.