Last modified on October 19th, 2023
By Brittany Benz
Effectively managing a growing property management business requires a lot of patience, flexibility, and perseverance. With dispersed properties and staff, it can be difficult to maintain transparency and keep up with everyday tasks and responsibilities while continuing to scale your organization.
To help you more efficiently manage your properties, daily to-dos, and customer relationships, we reached out to four property management companies to find out their secrets to success. Read on to discover their stories.
Secret #1: Stay organized
While it may seem obvious, organization plays a huge role in the success of your property management business. Disorganization can manifest in many forms, whether it’s a misplaced paper vendor invoice that led to a vendor not getting paid on time or a voicemail from a resident regarding a maintenance issue that fell through the cracks. Outdated, inefficient systems are usually the culprit of these kinds of mistakes, and can end up costing your business.
Thomas Toye, Owner of Arthur Thomas Properties, manages over 820 single-family and multifamily rentals. He says having a systemic approach can help you to overcome persistent organizational challenges:
“There are so many facets to property management it can be overwhelming and complex to keep up with everything. Each property is like a separate business with its own accounting, tenants, and contractors… and of course owners, too. For a property management company, keeping organized can be a lot, so a systematic approach with full integration is critical.”
One way Toye has been able to stay organized is by going fully paperless and switching from QuickBooks and Excel to a single property management platform to run his business:
“…we transitioned to property management software to ensure we had a centralized, cloud-based and paperless system that interlinked residents, contractors, owners, leasing agents, maintenance staff, and administration.”
Secret #2: Automate routine tasks
Manual, repetitive tasks — like collecting rent payments and responding to maintenance requests — can waste your team’s time, stunt business growth, and lead to employee burnout. Automation and AI tools can drive efficiency and free your team to focus on what matters most, like growing your business and providing top-notch service.
Founder and CEO of Evernest, Matthew Whitaker, says automation and ease of use have been critical to their success and enabled them to scale to over 32,000 units:
“When we thought about growing and scaling our property management company, we thought of our people. Our previous provider’s user interface wasn’t very intuitive or easy to use, and there was a lack of automation. That became the biggest blocker, but knowing that AppFolio can be a true partner and understand our business is why we wanted to make and extend our commitment with them… When you’re growing your business, you need software that’s easy to integrate and can automate as many processes as possible.”
Secret #3: Put your customers first
Property management is not just about being a good salesperson. While you do have to have the skills to attract owners and residents, it’s the strong relationships you build with them that make lifelong customers. The best way to foster these relationships is by putting your residents’ and owners’ needs first and delivering an outstanding customer experience.
Mark Browning Jr., Co-Founder of Stone & Browning Property Management, believes communication is one of the biggest factors for better meeting his customers’ needs. With over 1,000 units spread out across the Barre and Burlington, Vermont area, it’s not always easy. However, by adopting modern mobile and on-demand tools, he and his team have been able to provide a better owner experience:
“From our owners’ point of view, having the ability to access information relatively quickly is amazing. When we send out owner reports, it’s super easy for them to log into the app and get day-to-day updates. We also use AppFolio Investment Management. A lot of our existing clients are also investors and they’re already familiar with AppFolio. For them to be able to log in and have everything look the same makes it much easier for them to find what they are looking for.”
Secret #4: Prioritize mobility
In today’s digital world, it’s expected that you should be able to get work done from anywhere. Relying on software with limited mobility and cumbersome, paper-based processes make it nearly impossible to conduct business if you’re not in the office, making it harder for you to do your job effectively and serve your customers.
By prioritizing mobility and embracing new technologies, you can handle any request and keep a pulse on your business, whether you’re at the office, in the field, or at home.
Bradley Jackson, Director of Operations at Byers & Harvey manages over 4,200 units. Having a 100% mobile property management system has been a real game changer for their business when it comes to boosting efficiency and providing more flexibility:
“The ability to be mobile has been huge for us. We can do inspections in the field now. We used to have to write inspections down, take pictures on a digital camera, bring them back, upload them, do all these different moving pieces. When our HOA division is in the field doing violation drives, they can take pictures and before they even pull out of the community, they’re pushing buttons. It’s real-time execution.”
Success comes to those who plan and strive to achieve new efficiencies and opportunities. By making the most of the secrets shared above and stepping out of your comfort zone, you can take your property management business to new heights. If you’re ready to embrace modern tools and put technology to work to streamline and grow your business, download the free guide below.