Last modified on May 28th, 2021
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 Outdated, inefficient systems are usually the culprit of these kinds of mistakes, and can end up costing your business.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, that can be a lot to keep organized, 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 comprehensive property management system 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 can eat up a lot of your team’s time, stunt business growth, and lead to employee burnout. Automation can drive efficiency and free your team to focus on what matters most, like growing your business and providing top notch service.
President of eHomes of Bakersfield, Jameson Shepherd, says automation has been his secret weapon when it comes to success, “We used to do everything by hand, so going to an automated system has been a lot easier. We went from 350 units to 1,100 units in two years. It’s made a huge difference in efficiency of the company and the overall maintenance of the properties. I can’t imagine getting to 1,100 units without it.”
The types of digital tools Shepherd has implemented to digitize and automate tasks include online payments, an owner’s portal, and a paperless accounting system, among others. “The owners portal, online payments, and statements — they make a huge difference and save a lot of time. We have a third of our residents paying online, so it’s just that many less checks to enter – every owner is paperless, so we don’t have to mail out 1,100 statements and checks, “ says Shepherd. “We can also set up automatic paydays for vendors. So you’re never getting an invoice and writing a check, and possibly forgetting to pay somebody,” he says.
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.
Kevin Knight, President and Broker of Liberty Management, Inc. believes communication is one of the biggest factors when it comes to better meeting his customers’ needs. With over 800 single-family and multifamily properties spread out across the San Antonio, Texas area, it’s not always easy. However, by adopting modern, mobile communication tools he and his team have been able to provide a better owner and resident experience. “Text messaging and emailing features within our property management software have helped us communicate with customers more efficiently. If we need to reach a customer, texting is the easiest and fastest way to communicate,” he says. “The time savings and knowledge this provides is so valuable. If you’re a sizable business, keeping track of all communication and being able to contact customers quickly is an absolute necessity,” says Knight
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 like QuickBooks and Excel, along with cumbersome, paper-based processes, make it nearly impossible to conduct business if you’re not in the office — all of which makes 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 they’re at the office, in the field, or at home.
Sylvia Hill of H.M.S Development, who manages over 450 single-family and multifamily rentals says having a 100% mobile property management system has been a real game changer for her business when it comes to standing out from the competition, and even more importantly, provided more flexibility and a better work/life balance for her team. “My staff is just a click away from our data. This differentiates our company from our competitors. The best part is I can access our data from anywhere, anytime on the Internet — even when I’m on the road visiting my grandkids.”
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, take a look at this article.