Last modified on January 2nd, 2024
By Brittany Benz
Modern property management requires modern property management solutions. Are you using tools like QuickBooks or Excel to run your property management business? If it has been a while since you’ve analyzed and optimized your day-to-day operations, you could face significant inefficiencies (and lost time and money).
Keeping up with your property management business’ changing needs and evolving business best practices is important. Thankfully, there is a checklist and subsequent solutions for identifying and fixing common sources of inefficiencies.
Six Hidden Property Management Inefficiencies
If you’re still “doing things the old way” and relying on solutions that were not created specifically for property management, then you could be (unintentionally) wasting time and (unfortunately) costing your business a lot of time and money.
Read on to discover six hidden inefficiencies that may be caused by using the wrong tool for the job and how you can overcome them by adopting property management solutions built specifically with organizations like yours in mind.
1.) Hidden Property Management Inefficiency: Double data entry
Are you entering data two or three times over?
If so, you are–unfortunately– wasting time. There are modern property management tools for automating this type of task. By manually entering information into multiple systems that would otherwise be automated, such as online rental applications, you are allocating time and team member resources to double data entries instead of other, higher-value areas of focus.
This is inefficient and prone to error and could cause bigger problems if information is ever entered incorrectly.
2.) Hidden Property Management Inefficiency: Lack of visibility
You may not realize it, but if you continue to utilize “old-school” methods instead of property management software, you may lack visibility into key areas of your business.
Without more advanced solutions in place, you don’t have a way to get the data you need, like the status of your vacancies or overdue rent payments. These data points can show you how your properties are performing holistically and help you make smarter decisions more quickly.
Along with the inability to make better-informed decisions, when you don’t have instant access to your data, you’re likely spending more time communicating and relaying information to team members. All this opens up room for more error, negatively impacting your property management business.
3.) Hidden Property Management Inefficiency: Lack of owners and resident self-service Tasks
Without modern property management self-service tools, such as online payments or online maintenance requests, residents and owners cannot access information or complete tasks themselves.
As a result, your team has to spend hours manually collecting information, facilitating tasks, and returning phone calls rather than focusing on providing great customer service.
Putting self-service tools in place will not only free up your team members’ time, it can also improve user experience and overall resident satisfaction as higher percentages of younger generations show strong preferences for completing business transactions without the need for human interaction.
“In fact, 60% of Gen Z respondents said they prefer to solve their own problems using self-service options, such as FAQs or knowledge bases, before reaching out to a customer service representative. This trend has led to a surge in the use of chatbots and other self-service tools as businesses strive to meet the demands of this tech-savvy generation. Gen Z’s impact on the customer service industry has been significant and far-reaching.” —Adebukola Ajayi of Hubspot
4.) Hidden Property Management Inefficiency: Vendor management
If you’re juggling different vendors for multiple services like renter background checks and maintenance, it can take a lot of time for your team to coordinate, track, and manage. With all of the moving parts, it’s difficult to maintain visibility, and things can end up falling through the cracks.
5.) Hidden Property Management Inefficiency: No mobility
If you do not have modern property management software in place, you might lack access and the ability to complete tasks when you’re visiting sites or on the go.
Instead, you have to be in the office to work and cannot access your data or complete workflows in the field or at home, so less work gets done, and it takes longer to make decisions.
This not only negatively impacts your business performance but also means your team has less flexibility, which can hamper employee satisfaction. Providing a secure way to achieve hybrid work flexibility has become table stakes for business best practices.
6.) Hidden Property Management Inefficiency: Disorganized training process
You don’t have a standardized training process for new hires, so they take longer and more of your resources to get up to speed.
Without consistent onboarding that is tailored to each role, new hires may miss key steps or information specific to their position, causing issues down the road.
How Property Management Software Can Streamline Your Business
Many of the inefficiencies listed above can be solved by switching to a modern property management solution that provides a single system of record to store all of your business information and data in one place, accessible from anywhere instantly.
Below are a few stories of smaller property management businesses that previously had no solution or relied on limited technology solutions, like QuickBooks or Excel, to run their business. With AppFolio, they have had great success. Here are their experiences in their own words:
Since implementing AppFolio, Rachel Presley of S.F. Shannon Real Estate Management, says she and her team have been able to streamline their maintenance operations and focus on providing better service to their residents and owners:
“AppFolio has allowed me to serve my customers better, my management team better, and my maintenance staff better.”
The team at Rainier Properties was experiencing pain points across nearly all features of their previous software, from accounting to leasing and more. Invoices got lost in their system, they experienced communication issues with residents in their portal, and overall, they experienced a lack of customer service support from their previous property management software provider.
Anne Peterson, Asset Manager of Operations, shared:
“Every click took time away. While looking up data for one property, it would take us 10 clicks to get to where we needed to go, which slowed us down.”
They then began to uncover new efficiencies in their day-to-day operations and duties once they switched to AppFolio.
“AppFolio really did everything they could to make it as smooth as possible, and they made it clear that they were here to help us. That alone solidified our decision…One thing that’s really made a difference is being able to travel without feeling like I’m missing something at work. Our previous solution created a sense of anxiety that things weren’t going to be done right, but AppFolio creates more peace of mind.”
Holly Wyse of Wyse Properties LLC switched to AppFolio after using QuickBooks for three decades. While initially it wasn’t an easy decision to make the leap, now they are more confident and have been able to unlock new opportunities, especially when it comes to growth:
“We’d been using QuickBooks for 30 years and I was reluctant to switch. Since transitioning to AppFolio our growth has gone through the roof!”
Michelle Flores of Sundance Property Management says they have also experienced similar benefits after transitioning to AppFolio. By automating many of their routine tasks, they have been able to cut costs and spend more time focusing on higher-level initiatives, such as scaling the business:
“It’s like we just shot into the future by light years in one week! We have more time to devote to expanding our business and are spending much less money running our company.”
Previous property management software solutions were not cutting for innovative business Strive Realty. Switching to an all-in-one platform helped streamline and automate every part of their business.
“Before my business started using AppFolio, we were really old school and used Excel. For marketing purposes, we were either posting on Craigslist or using social media to advertise available units. As we grew, a lot of things just became challenging, and I knew I needed a program that helped my business stay organized…With AppFolio, my bookkeeper and accountant have saved a tremendous amount of hours using the different features and functions that streamline things like the rent collection process.”
Robert Kenz, Owner of Sharp Properties LLC, never imagined he would relinquish QuickBooks and Excel, however, since moving to AppFolio, he has never looked back:
“I transitioned our business off QuickBooks and Excel, and I was skeptical at first. I can’t begin to tell you how much we rely and depend on AppFolio for our business! We are leaning very heavily on the software to help us manage every aspect of our business, even our financial operations.”
AppFolio customer Carmella Curitti of Dickson Realty shared that the time saved on processing bills went from days to hours. She explained how manually processing hundreds of bills one by one was an overwhelming feeling and how AppFolio eliminates that entirely, giving her team back their most valuable asset: time.
“I saw how many invoices we receive from City of Reno Sewer. I was shocked — ‘you guys enter this one at a time?’ Then I stumbled upon AppFolio Smart Bill Entry. As you scan in 200 invoices, the system starts to memorize some of the entries, like the vendor name, the amount, invoice numbers, even GL accounts. It was a game-changer.”
Change can be scary but can lead to new efficiencies and opportunities. Modern property management software does a lot more than just accounting. It can help you better meet your residents’ and owners’ needs while also streamlining your maintenance and leasing operations.
If you’re considering adopting new technology and implementing more current property management solutions, download our free guide below for expert strategies for choosing the right solution.