Last modified on March 28th, 2023
By Megan Eales Monroe
To ensure property management success, making data-driven decisions is essential. After all, the numbers don’t lie, and they can reveal new insights and uncover opportunities that can help teams fine-tune processes, enhance communication, improve marketing efforts, and much more.
In this episode of The Top Floor, we dive into the many ways organizations can solve their reporting dilemmas and better collect, interpret, and leverage data for their businesses’ benefit.
Joining this episode are AppFolio’s Matthew Kaddatz, Sr. Director, Product, SMB Market, and Neil Cadman, President of Cadman Group to share their insights and food for thought.
Tune in to the full podcast to hear more or keep reading.
Meet Our Guests:
Matthew Kaddatz is the Sr. Director of the SMB Market for AppFolio Property Manager. Matthew has spent the past 16 years working in the property management industry with experiences including founding and operating a property management company, as well as building technology for property management companies. In his current role, he is responsible for ensuring AppFolio is continually building innovative tools that help property management businesses grow and become more efficient.
Neil Cadman CPM® is a commercial real estate investor, consultant, and philanthropist. He is President of Cadman Group, a boutique full service commercial real estate firm and Urban Advisors, an investment consulting firm. He is 2023 Chair of the IREM DEI Advisory Committee, a Board Member of the IREM Foundation, member of the UCLA REAG group, and Chair of Universal Bank. He is a UCLA alumnus and lives in El Segundo, California.
Meagan Eales Monroe: Being able to access, interpret and act on data is essential for every property management business. However, findings from the 2023 AppFolio Property Manager benchmark report show that a significant number of property management businesses are not getting the data and insights they truly want.
In fact, among the nearly 5,000 property management professionals who were surveyed for their report, “greater report customization” was by far their biggest need. But even with access to deeper reports, property management businesses generate an incredible amount of data every single day. And the sheer volume of that data alone can generate some pretty big questions such as…
Is the data that’s been captured, complete, accurate and trustworthy?
Exactly which metrics should be reviewed and analyzed to measure success?
How often should different reports be generated?
And how do you ensure that you’re generating the right insights to make the most informed strategic decisions possible?
To help tackle some of property management’s biggest data dilemmas, we’re speaking with two very special guests today on The Top Floor. Although they each have slightly different experiences working with property management data and reporting. You’ll find that their perspectives and insights are very much in sync. Let’s get to know a bit about them before we officially dive into today’s episode.
Neil Cadman: Well sure, Meagan Eales Monroe. It’s great to see you again. So, excited to be back on here. I had such a great time last time. So hi everyone, my name is Neil Cadman. I am president of Cadman Group. We are, and I love the word boutique, we are a boutique full service commercial real estate company located in El Segundo, California with an office also in Long Beach, California. And for those of you who don’t know, that’s in southern California. And we are a beach city, and we primarily are a multi-family property management company. We manage about 1,200 doors. That roughly is about 80 to 85 buildings. And we also have a commercial portfolio of about a half million square feet of manufacturing industrial office and retail locations. But primarily, I would say about 85% of our portfolio is multi-family.
Meagan Eales Monroe: For long time listeners of The Top Floor, you’ll remember Neil from episode one of season two. We loved our conversations with him around human-centered leadership on that episode. But we specifically invited him back because of his and his team’s extensive use of data, which we’ll dive into in detail in just a bit. In addition to Neil, we also have a very special AppFolio guest joining us today.
Matthew Kaddatz: My name is Matthew Kaddatz. I am a Senior Director in our product organization here at AppFolio. Been here for ten years now. Just got my ten years on February 1st.
Meagan Eales Monroe: Not only does Matthew have more than ten years of experience building technology for property management companies during his time at AppFolio. He also has more than 15 years of hands-on industry experience, having founded and operated his own property management company.
Because we have Neil and Matthew with us today, we wanted to dive into all things property management data. Throughout the course of our conversations, we’ll explore a few different areas which include:
- What role data should play within your property management business
- How data can be used to improve every aspect of the business
- Where the industry stands today in terms of data and reporting maturity
- Which metrics are most important to look at, and
- How often to review them?
- And much, much more
So let’s get into the conversation with Neil and Matthew. As mentioned before, your portfolio generates an incredible amount of data every single day. But even with all of that potential data, it helps to first understand exactly what role it can play within your organization. That’s why we asked Neil and Matthew what data means to them, and how others in property management can look at their data too. First up is Matthew’s take.
Matthew Kaddatz: Yeah, it’s a good topic. The data is definitely the buzz in the industry now, and there’s so much of it. So you can have too much data, you can have too little data, and it’s really hard to get the right amount of data.
So from my perspective and based on the customers I talk to, data should play a very central role in how you’re running your business because it’s a really good way of knowing what’s working and what’s not. It can help you set goals, it can help you move the business forward if you’re measuring the right things, and it can help you devise the appropriate strategy. So it’s all about first understanding what makes your business work and then what data is going to answer some questions about how successful it’s working.
Neil Cadman: Well, data is everything. When I think of data, I think of information. And when I was trained in this business back in the early prehistoric days of the early ’90s, back then, even before our computers and our smartphones, I was trained that information in our business, which I think translates to most businesses, is king and queen. Data is everything that we should be looking at that drives everything that we do. We are a service organization, and we need to know our constituents. And our constituents are our clients. It’s our tenants, it’s our vendors. And data just tells us exactly what we need to do in order to provide better services to them.
Meagan Eales Monroe: As Neil mentioned, data for Cadman Group is everything and he’s not exaggerating. They truly use data across every aspect of their organization. To help illustrate just how deep data runs at Cadman Group, and to show how he and his team find insights that improve business outcomes, we asked him for some specific examples. Thankfully, he had plenty to share. First, Neil explains how Cadman Group uses data to improve operational performance.
Neil Cadman: My mind immediately goes to leasing. We have been in what I would call an unprecedented time over the past 10 to 12 years where, at least in southern California, you didn’t have to be very good at what you did in order to keep your units full. Basically, we’ve been in a market where if you have a rental, it’s going to lease. It’s going to be exposed to multiple people in a variety of ways. But now that we’re going back into a little bit of a different dynamic and market, we use data in order to drive our customers or our prospective tenants to our buildings.
And basically, the first line of defense that we use is actually our guest cards and that is all data-driven. And I would say that that is probably the single most space that we use the data for.
It first starts in a simple form, which is are we getting prospects looking at our units? And so, we view leasing as starting 30 days prior to getting a vacancy. Your tenants give you a notice of vacate, it’s a 30-day notice, and right then our marketing starts. And so, we will post the vacancy, do our market research to decide what we think is market rent, and we will start posting. And that posting will tell us within the next seven days if we have nobody looking at it or nobody inquiring, we’ve done something wrong. We’ve either missed the market and we need to adjust. What we don’t want to do is we don’t want to wait 30 days, 60 days, 90 days, let something sit vacant because then we’re not servicing our clients. So, that data is something that we want immediately. And that’s very simple.
Are we getting people driving and looking at our vacancies? And then once we get that, if it’s still not leasing, we dig a little bit deeper. We start looking at the responses from people. Why are they not applying, or why are they not accepting if we want them to live in one of our communities? And so, we will actually reach out to prospects, and we will say, “Hey, if you’re not looking anymore, tell us what you thought about our unit.” And we’ll start using that data. “It was on the third floor. We didn’t like it was on the first floor.” So, that’s all data that we look at very seriously all the time.
Meagan Eales Monroe: It’s clear that Neil and his team at Cadman Group are using data-driven insights to improve operational performance, especially when it comes to driving leases and reducing vacancies but that’s just the first of many opportunities. What about using data to improve the resident experience? Let’s hear what Neil has to say in his second example.
Neil Cadman: Well, yes. Primarily we look at leveraging our maintenance and our tenant portals. There’s always an opportunity for our customer service moment. And unfortunately, some of those moments in our business, as all of us now can either be somewhat confrontational or at least stem from a negative experience. Tenants who have something that breaks in their unit obviously are not going to call us and be happy about something. The garbage disposal is jammed, or a cabinet or fell off, or those types of things. But it gives us an opportunity to analyze how we’re performing in terms of the amount of time that it takes from someone putting in a work order to us replying, the amount of time that it takes for us to actually fix it. And then going back, and going back to the tenant and asking how did we do? I view all of that as data.
It’s opportunities for us to improve our services. And so, we can do that. We can also use some of our other leverage, some of our other things in our software. It was just the other day when I noticed when tenants’ birthdays are. So, we had a meeting and talked about it, and said, “Hey guys, what are we doing about it?” And I view that as data. So, I think we can enhance tenants’ experiences by knowing something about them, actually performing some customer service when they have an issue, and we track all of this. We track all of that time to see how we’re doing.
Meagan Eales Monroe: As Neil shared, data is used at the operational level and at the resident level to measure the Cadman Group’s success, and find new opportunities to improve. But what about Improving one of the most critical yet often overlooked areas of data and reporting, the employee experience? Neil also thinks there are ways to use data to improve his team’s experience. And here’s what he has to say for his third and final example.
Neil Cadman: Well, I think so. And something that’s been really interesting about property management and about technology, and this might be something that we talked about before on the other episode, is the role of technology in our industry. And it kind of is a double-edged sword though. We are asking so much of our staff, and what seems to have happened with technology, it’s like the same thing with social media. It’s how we’re connected with so many more people just at a moment’s notice.
Well, with technology it allows us to actually get more accomplished. Now, it always comes back to the human factor though, and that human factor is how much can one staff member realistically perform in order to perform effectively and perform well, but also be happy about doing it and not feel overwhelmed? And so, you have to be careful not to just keep adding layers, and layers, and layers.
So, what data does for us is that we feel as though if we’re organized and we know the processes, and we’re able to analyze this, that we can make employees and staff members, or team members, more effective with less time. If they’re more effective with less time, they get more done, they don’t feel overwhelmed, they do a great job, they’re smiling, and we’re supporting them in providing those tools.
So, I’m all about analysis, and if I had my staff members sitting here on this podcast right now, or if you saw their faces, they would probably roll their eyes and say, “There goes Neil again, on analysis, analysis, analysis.” It’s the analysis and the analytical part of it that we try to leverage to make sure that our employees have all the tools that they need in order to be effective. We just got to make sure that they’re happy doing it and that they’re able to understand how to use the data and to make their lives more efficient.
Meagan Eales Monroe: In addition to Neil’s example of looking at employee efficiency, and how it impacts their happiness and satisfaction at work, Matthew also recommends the tried-and-true method of using employee satisfaction surveys to gather data.
Matthew Kaddatz: Turnover and just overall employee satisfaction is another big topic in this industry. I’ve seen a lot of organizations roll out employee engagement surveys, trying to understand what employees like about their job, what they don’t like, and benchmarking that across their company, making sure that they’re using that data to build the right types of initiatives to improve employees’ contentment and happiness at their job. Obviously, you also need to be looking at what the market’s paying for top talent and paying attention to that market data so that you can put together comp packages that make sense for your business, but also make sense for your employees and the market so you’re pricing those things right.
Meagan Eales Monroe: Although data can help to improve day-to-day business operations, provide a better resident experience and help reduce employee turnover, not every property management company is able to collect and gain insights from that data in the same ways as Cadman group. To better understand the many reasons why property management data isn’t always used to its fullest potential, we asked Matthew and Neil to explain what they’re seeing across the industry today.
Matthew Kaddatz: I think property management is still fairly early in terms of data maturity. Obviously, the very large operators have done this for a while. They have in-house tech staff that are piping data from multiple different systems into a data warehouse and putting BI tools on top of it. That’s obviously a much more mature operation, but your typical operator doesn’t necessarily have a CTO on staff. And so, they’re working out of Excel often to pull insights together, they’re dumping reports from various different software into Excel sheets and manipulating it.
I’ve seen companies try to do this with just out of the box. They’ll plug into a couple different property management software in the market and try to give out-of-the-box reporting, which is a huge step in the right direction. But we’re still, I would say, early innings and I think the industry’s super hungry to leverage data as much as they can to improve how they’re running their businesses.
There are gaps in getting data into a usable format without needing a complete technical staff to do so. That’s really where the gap is. So the data exists. Getting it out of the software you want to get it out of and into a place on a routine schedule in an automated way and then visualized, that’s a little bit challenging today.
You also have to know what you want to see, data’s great if you ask it the right questions. If you don’t know what questions to ask, it’s not very helpful. It can be more confusing in some ways. So I see operators knowing they need data but not always knowing what they want. And then that, combined with the ease in setting up the right type of data reporting and insights can be a little bit challenging.
Neil Cadman: I actually think that many companies in our industry fail at providing the type of service that they should do, because they don’t access data or use the data and leverage it to their advantage. They just go the old-fashioned way, sticking a sign out, waiting for the phone to ring, having a phone number, having a website, and they don’t dig into this and figure out why are we not leasing this? It’s the why. It’s always sort of the why that I think a lot of companies are failing at.
Meagan Eales Monroe: As we’ve explored so far, it’s clear that regular insightful reporting on data is vital for all property management organizations. Without it, you won’t be able to assess with any real accuracy, how your business is actually performing. You also won’t be able to properly monitor portfolio performance, spot leasing funnel trends, accurately track unit turn expenses, and much, much more. But with seemingly endless amounts of data that could be analyzed and numbers to crunch, what metrics should property management businesses be looking at regularly and why?
Matthew Kaddatz: Yeah, good question. So in multi-family, you need to obviously understand that operating income, it’s really important. But what goes into that and what are the different levers to pull are also really important. You need to understand your leasing funnel, conversion rates, how are leads converting to showings and showings converting to applications and applications converting to move-ins. You need to understand turn time because turn time, longer turn times mean less rent coming in the door. I think those leasing metrics impact NOI quite significantly.
The other things that are going to really tie it down to NOI are your operating expenses. What does maintenance look like? Are you over budget, under budget on maintenance? And then why? Is the same issue coming up over and over and over again where maybe a capital improvement is a wiser decision than sending the maintenance tech out 10 times a week for the same type of issue? So those are the types of things that you’re going to be paying attention to just running multi-family building. Heavy on leasing.
And then the next thing would be maintenance operation to all come out to, what’s the net operating income of the community? If you’re looking from a fee management perspective, you’re starting to see a lot more operators looking at how much revenue are they earning per unit. And what they’re trying to do is maximize the amount of revenue they’re earning per unit because that’s going to help with their own internal profitability and ability to continue to grow and grow successfully. Surprisingly, there’s operators that have operated at a loss on certain communities for periods of time because they haven’t been tracking their own profitability. They’re too focused on looking at the profitability of the communities that they’re running.
So I think another thing that you’re seeing a lot more on is how do we improve our own fee management business by focusing on unit profitability as well as cost of labor, because that’s their biggest expense, is headcount.
Neil Cadman: Number of days of vacancy is on the market. It’s critical, absolutely critical. Number of days it’s on the market, number of hits or inquiries that you’re getting almost on a daily basis. As I said, we look at it at seven-day cycles. Number of days that it takes you to reply to maintenance work requests. Obviously, there are going to be things that it’s reasonable to get something fixed within four or five days, but in certain things it has to be fixed within hours or a day. Analyze your response time. Those are very specific things. And I could talk, as you already see, I could talk about leasing, I could take up five hours and talk about leasing and about how the data must be analyzed and acted upon.
If you have data right in front of you and you don’t take a look at it, it’s human error. And so, you need to look at this stuff and determine where you can actually change. We will look at these things and say, “Hey, our last unit, this unit that’s now coming vacant, was renting for $1,500 a month. We see comps that show that maybe we can get $1,900 now. Let’s advertise it at $1,975. Let’s give it seven days. After seven days, if we don’t get any hits out of our AI, we don’t get any hits out of our signs, we have a functional problem. Nobody’s interested in paying $1,975 on that street.”
Don’t wait 14 days to make a change. Now analyze it and say, “We missed the market $1,975. Let’s maybe put it down to $1,900, or $1,895, leave it another seven days.” If all of a sudden, after those seven days, we have 37 people who want to see it, we’ve now just met the market. So, this is the analysis that we continually go through is looking at this stuff and acting upon this stuff. And so, those are just kind of a few specific things that we look at.
Meagan Eales Monroe: In addition to looking at property management data for Cadman Group, Neil also has a unique perspective on what it’s like to look at KPIs as a property owner. Here, he explains his unique position and experience with seeing both sides of the same property management coin.
Neil Cadman: We are a little bit unique in that out of the 1,200 units, we own those buildings. We own half of the units. And I sometimes joke with people and say if someone met me at a social event or at a trade event, and they said, “Hey, what do you do for a business? What do you do for a living?” I may not actually say that I own a commercial real estate company. I might actually say, “I’m a property investor.” “Oh, you are?” “Yeah, and I also own a property management company.” And they’ll say, “Oh, okay. That’s interesting because that’s a really difficult business.” And I’ll say, “No, I own a property management company because we self-manage our buildings.”
So, some of the most important things that we look at is a loss to market. And the loss to market are things like number of days that a vacancy sits vacant, or the amount of time that it takes us to deal with a tenant that’s not paying rent. So, you can take every single piece of information and break it down into a dollar amount. It’s that whole same philosophy about the number of days that the vacancy sits off market, and Venmo-ing someone and saying, “Hey, my rental is $42 a day. I’m going to Venmo someone $42 a day and know that I will never make it up.” If you can quantify that to yourself and quantify it to your owners, I’m able to make arguments to owners that say things like, “Look, I know that you want to get $1,950 for that rent, for that vacant unit. I’m telling you you’re going to get $1,875 and I’m going to make you more money, because I can get it rented faster.”
Now, there’s an investment. Someone might be listening to us and saying, “Oh Neil, there’s a major problem with what you just said.” Yes, there is one major problem with what I just said. And that is, is that we also manage for clients that are syndicators looking to turn buildings. A syndicator is much more involved in what does the rent roll say? What is the scheduled gross income of that building so that you can sell it for a particular cap rate or a gross rent multiplier? And you can maximize the value of your building by showing a higher rent roll. We will actually have clients that say, “Neil, I get it. But we got to wait until we get the $1,950 because I have to justify my cap rate. I’m selling the building.”
And so, you just need to understand, and that’s what we do as well is we tailor our management to what our clients and investors’ needs are. I’m the kind of person that will never sell a building. I have owned most of my buildings for a number of years, and I’m more interested in long-term income rather than showing a higher rent roll and a scheduled gross income. We use cap rates and gross rate multipliers and get a higher value for the building. So long as I understand that, but I can use that data and I can use that information, and tell a client how I can get a better return by using this data and possibly altering our strategy.
Meagan Eales Monroe: As Neil has mentioned many times, data is everything for Cadman Group. But looking at data can be deep time-consuming work. So, we were curious, just how often should property management companies be looking at their data and using it to inform business decisions? Here’s what both Neil and Matthew had to say.
Neil Cadman: How many minutes do you have in a day? I mean, really the data should always be analyzed. And something that I said before is in terms of leasing, we look at seven-day cycles. We want to let things mature and see trends over seven days. We will take a look at the number of phone calls, the number of inquiries, and we will analyze how many phone calls do we get in the previous seven days as opposed to the seven days prior to that, what is our trend? And that’s kind of what you’re looking at with the data is you’re looking at trends for that. And so, different data should be looked at different times. I mean, data is also how many work orders did you get yesterday? Well, you don’t want to look at work orders every seven days. You want to look at work orders every single day.
So, it depends on the type of data it is. If it’s tenant retention, which by the way, that’s all maintenance is. Maintenance is tenant retention. Happy tenants pay rent, happy tenants keep living in your units, and we fix things in order to keep tenants happy. So, you want to take a look at that type of data daily, almost maybe twice a day, to make sure that you’re catching everything from that customer service point of view. So, it really depends on the type of data that you’re looking at is to how it really should be analyzed. But the answer is – analyze it more than less.
Matthew Kaddatz: So it depends, is my answer. There are some data you need to look at daily. There’s some that you need to look at weekly, some monthly and some quarterly.
Every business, in my opinion that’s leveraging data successfully, is doing some sort of quarterly goal setting. Whether that be via OKRs, EOS, other types of ways of setting goals. They’re setting measurable goals that are expected to be achieved on a quarterly basis. And so, they’re looking at what are the key problems in our business and then how do we want to move them and how do we know we’re doing that and what data will prove that we’re doing that well or not.
Meagan Eales Monroe: Although it depends on what metrics you’re looking at and why, both Neil and Matthew agree that data should be analyzed regularly. But it’s also important to keep in mind what Neil said, if you analyze some data too soon, you run the risk of missing out on capturing trends and patterns. On the other hand, if you review some sets of data too late, you could miss out on the opportunity to take meaningful action. So really, it’s all about understanding what you’re looking for in the data and why and developing an analysis cadence based on what you want to achieve. But reviewing and analyzing your own data is one thing. What about pulling that data into reports for others, like your internal teams to review?
Neil Cadman: I have a great Director of Property Management, and she runs the property management coordinator staff. But one thing that they’ve learned from me is that when you walk into work every day, you should pull various reports that are active on your screen. And when I look at it from my perspective, leasing is the most important thing that we do, is you should have a vacancy report and you should have guest card reports on your screen. Maintenance is something that you do every day. Have your maintenance work order reports, things that are open, scheduled, new, have those on your screen as well. And so, rent due reports.
And so, each one of our staff members should have a delinquency or rent due report on their screens, data that they have to know because us as property managers basically we’re tasked with, in this order, we’re tasked with leasing and rent collection. Those are the two most important things that we do, and in that order. And so, these reports that we have on our screen is the data that tells us what we need to do today and what we need to accomplish.
We have property management coordinators who have their own portfolios. And so, we memorize reports for each staff member so that they can look at delinquencies for just their portfolio, vacancies for just their portfolio, delinquency reports just for their portfolio. And then as you get to the Director of Property Management Services, or me, for my analysis, I’m looking at the entire company. And so, I’ll look at it from a macro, but each person is able to look just at their own data just for their own portfolios.
We do have regular meetings, by the way, just so that our property management coordinators can share their own data with their peers because we believe in that team approach where somebody may say, “Hey, I’m having some problems with this property at 123 Main Street, it’s been vacant for 14 days and I’m not getting enough hits on it, and I’ve done my market research. I think I’m at the place I should be. And another staff member may say, “Oh my gosh, I know exactly what you’re going through and this is what solved it for me. Try it out as well.” So, people have their own reports and then we also look at it on a macro level.
Meagan Eales Monroe: And what about pulling reports for external stakeholders like your owners, especially those with very specific and different needs? Here’s Matthews advice.
Matthew Kaddatz: When you’re preparing a report, what you really want to focus on is what does that person want to know? Who are they and what do they want to know? And the best thing to do is start with what are the different personalities or personas that you’re aware of and build things for and then see if it works, build the reports for that group cohort, maybe it’s owners that are in a growth phase and they need these types of things because it supports their goals. Maybe it’s repeat vendors, vendors that are constantly doing business with you. There’s probably a lot of commonalities amongst that cohort.
And you want to build something that you think is meeting their needs and then you test it out, see if it is. What you don’t want to do is have unique custom reports for every individual that is a stakeholder that needs reports. So just trying to think through how many different audiences are you creating reports for and what are their primary challenges, what are the key data that’s going to help them make better decisions? That’s what I would suggest you spend time really understanding before you start building the report. And then once you understand that, build the report, see how it works, iterate from there.
Meagan Eales Monroe: As we mentioned at the top of the episode, the 2023 AppFolio Property Manager benchmark report revealed that a significant number of organizations today aren’t getting the level of data and insights they truly need or want. In fact, almost 40% of respondents said they don’t feel like they have enough flexibility to customize the reports from their property management system. Unfortunately, Matthew isn’t surprised by these findings.
Matthew Kaddatz: It all goes down to you want to ask specific questions to your data, and if you can’t customize reports appropriately, you can’t get the answers that you want to ask the data. And so because there’s an infinite amount of questions that you could ask a set of data, it’s very, very hard to solve for that in report customization, you can only get so far. So I’m not surprised at all by that stat. Long term though, if you’re a serious operator, what you need is clear access to the database so you can more flexibly ask those questions rather than needing to work through a reporting interface that’s built by someone else.
Meagan Eales Monroe: As you can imagine from the conversation so far, Neil and his team are not part of that 40% of our survey respondents who feel they’re not able to customize reports. In fact, Cadman Group does quite the opposite. They’re not just customizing their own internal reports. They’re also pairing automation with online owner portals to provide customized and tailored reports to their property owners.
Neil Cadman: The important thing is to understand who your client is. You might have a client who is a long-term owner who isn’t interested in a lot of really detailed financial diagnostics. You might have a client who is a syndicate or real estate professional who is interested in particular things. And then you might have your client who you quite frankly never hear from because they’re happy with what you do, and you actually have to reach out to them to say hi so that they can know and remember who you are that you’re doing. And so, the example would be I have clients who are CPAs by trade. Those clients want to see things like ledgers, and trial balances, and financial diagnostics that an individual, or what we say in the business a mom and pop investor, have no interest in seeing.
So, the advice is to know your client. You can customize your sets of reports to any particular client so that your reporting is done automatic and easily every single month. It’s very simple to do in good software. It’s basically when you onboard a client or a current client, you actually set up the reports that you want them to get every month into their owner portal. And so, that it’s completely automated. And you can choose, as I said, you can send that client 47 reports in their portal. You could send that client five reports. There are the easy ones that are right off the bat that we use – cash flow, cash flow 12 month running, rent roll, expense distribution report, and balance sheet. Those are the givens, those we know every single client wants to know. They want to know who lives in their building, they want to know how much money they brought in, they want to know their net cash on return, they want to know how much money is in the bank.
Then you can tailor those reports for every individual client. There is not just one set of reporting that you send to every client. You go in and you take your client, and you can change any report that they want at any time.
Meagan Eales Monroe: While taking control of your property management data and using it to gain a deeper understanding of how your business performs is important, it’s also essential to follow through and act on those insights. Only then, will your business become truly data-driven, as Neil explains.
Neil Cadman: I think that we’ve had a great conversation about data and technology, and about how all of this information is really at our fingertips. We just need to know to access it. We also need to understand it though. It’s always good to be able to teach and train, continually train our staff on newer things to look at, new trends, and analyze this data so that it really does make us a better company. I think that this industry has come so far in just a short period of time that technology has really dedicated itself to these things. I know that it’s made us a better company. I think it can make every property management company a better company. It’s all provided to us. You just need to learn how to analyze the data.
But other than that, you have to use the data. And honestly, like we said before, I’m a company that’s a boutique-style company. We’ve got 25 amazing staff members. We like to call them Cadman Groupies. And we will provide the same services, if not better, than companies that have 100 staff members, 200 staff members, because we have access to the same information and we can provide it in a more personal way. And so, embrace the technology and embrace the data, and it’ll just make you a better company.
Meagan Eales Monroe: But taking action requires a plan. Here’s Matthews final thoughts on how property management companies can effectively use their data to drive business decisions for long-term success.
Matthew Kaddatz: So I think what I’ve seen is a huge trend in property managers setting goals, and that doesn’t directly answer reporting and data, but I think it’s the most important thing that they can be doing with their data. It’s just setting goals because what do you need data for unless you’re using it to improve something? And I’ve seen a lot of people adopt quarterly goals that they’re challenging their teams with and going after. And I think even if those are simple, they’re absolutely better than nothing. And having a structured set of goals that hold teams accountable and help them feel focused on achieving specific outcomes, it is not just about holding them accountable, it’s also setting a challenge and saying like, hey, let’s go rally behind this cause and go win. Let’s go achieve our goals. But it’s very helpful to get the organization rowing the same direction and moving towards more and more success.
Meagan Eales Monroe: In our discussions with Neil and Matthew, we’ve learned a lot about why data is the ultimate key to property management success.
It can help reduce resident turnover and revenue loss, improve employee engagement, help you make better decisions and much more. By reporting on that data and acting on the insights it provides, property management companies can keep their finger on the pulse and be ready for anything – whether it’s troubleshooting slow-to-rent units, resolving resident issues faster, ensuring maintenance issues are completed on time, alleviating owner concerns about performance and everything in between.
Truly tapping into and using property management data gives businesses the ability to uncover brand new insights that can transform their entire approach and reveal new paths to success. We’d like to thank Matthew and Neil for joining this episode of The Top Floor. We’ll be back again soon with more great conversations about all things property management.