Last modified on March 19th, 2021
By Brittany Benz
Association management businesses have had to pivot many of their processes in order to keep their operations running and serve their homeowners this past year. From transitioning to remote work to having to lean on technology to facilitate many daily tasks, these changes haven’t been easy, however they have also uncovered new opportunities for growth and efficiency.
To better understand how businesses have adapted, we recently sat down with Jordan Levine, Co-Founder of Pelican Property Management to hear how his association management business managed to not only survive the chaos of 2020, but actually grow. Read on to see which of the short-term adaptations they benefited from most, so you can leverage the learnings to ensure your association management business can grow and thrive in any economy.
Using Digital Accounting to Maintain Operations From Afar
One of the top concerns heading into the first few weeks of the pandemic for Pelican Property Management was making sure their owners and vendors still got paid and that their accounting operations were not impacted. Levine expressed that having a suite of built-in accounting features was their saving grace in those early days, because they knew they could still get work done even if they were not in the office, “We were so much more prepared than we knew… we had everything there, we just needed to use it. So we started using everything. Particularly, the Smart Bill Entry, e-check, and Online Payments features enabled our accountants and financial analysts to work from home effectively.”
By moving all of their accounting operations fully online they were also able to boost efficiency. Vendors who would typically mail their invoice to the office, now had to send it electronically, which increased the speed at which the invoice was processed and made it easier for his team to keep track of all payments.
Increasing Employee Oversight with the Help of Online Work Orders
After a few weeks of working from home, Levine said it became harder and harder to keep track of what his team was doing and how work was being completed. To combat this, his team transitioned to internal work orders, so everyone had visibility into what everyone was doing, “We took work orders and made them internal,” says Levine, “So if someone needed help with a violation letter, they just put the community name at the top of the letter and requested help. We then had a gatekeeper that we assigned each work order to who would then assign them out to the administrative staff. This way we could all have more oversight into what everyone was doing.”
Putting Mobile Tools to Work to Strengthen Communication
Another area Levine says that his team had to really focus on was maintaining clear and consistent communication with homeowners, “In the beginning we had to be upfront with everyone in the community that we were going through a transition with remote work, but digitally we were just the same.”
He said during this time he stressed to homeowners the importance of the online portal, and if they signed up they were going to know everything that was going on in their community, be able to pay their dues, communicate with management, and complete many other association tasks with ease. Throughout the last year he noted they have had a large increase in portal adoption from homeowners, and as a result, have been able to keep communications transparent and better meet their needs. Levine believes this change was a great opportunity, in that now that so many homeowners are using and enjoying the portal, they will never go back to manually calling in for information or paying dues by check.
In addition to utilizing an online portal for communications, Levine says his team has also transitioned to online association meetings, which have made it easier for him to hop into meetings to get to know boards throughout his company and to stay connected to his team.
Leading the Way in Association Management
Technology has always been the foundation of Pelican Property Management and it really set them up to stay ahead of the curve this past year. “Surprisingly we have grown significantly, mostly because these other companies just didn’t have the systems in place to get work done and communicate… you see how the ball can get dropped,” says Levine, “What seems incredible and innovating to me is scary to some other people.”
By diving headfirst into technology and truly utilizing all of the features available within their association management software, Levine says he has been able to be the partner his customers really want and to help their associations stay more connected. “With every crisis there are opportunities,” says Levine, “We found those opportunities and made the most of them.”
Business growth may seem impossible during times of uncertainty, but Pelican Property Management’s success story proves that if you have the right tools and strategies in place, you can overcome obstacles faster and stand out of the crowd. To learn more about how you can ensure the growth of your association management business, take a look at this article.