Last modified on June 20th, 2014
By Aimee Miller
“It’s such a shame to waste time. We always think we have so much of it.”
― Mitch Albom, For One More Day
When you’re running a business, wasting time means wasting money. For many property managers, daily mundane tasks can translate into big cost drivers. For example, if it takes five minutes to retrieve and replace a paper file and if an employee works with ten paper files each day, that’s five weeks of time just walking files around the office. At an average cost of $20 per hour, that’s $4,300 in wasted time.
Many owners and managers have trimmed that waste by using real estate property management tools. Those that are using such software and solutions have a huge advantage over those that aren’t.
According to a survey of property managers by Software Advice, almost two thirds of companies that grew their business used real estate property management tools. Those that did managed an average of 102 units per employee. Those that didn’t managed only 61 units per employee. That’s a 70% increase in efficiency for those using such software, enabling such firms to grow faster using fewer resources.
The cost savings and efficiencies gained through the use of such tools include:
- Websites with integrated vacancies that automatically connect to Craigslist and other online sites
- Easy and remote access to tenant data
- Elimination of resource draining data entry
- Easily produced reports without having to rely on accounting personnel to create them
- Ability to track online leads
- Ability to collect rents and interact with tenants electronically
If you use cloud-based property management tools, other benefits include:
- No need for costly servers and hardware infrastructure – all you need is your computer and access to the internet
- Software is upgraded automatically
- No hardware/software compatibility concerns
- Reliable, secure offsite storage
- Accessibility through multiple types of devices (laptops, tablets, smartphones) anywhere you have an internet connection
Growing your business while controlling costs is always a challenge. However by using these kinds of property management tools, you can make it much easier.
I think that if you can spend a little money to make more money then it is well worth it. Like the article says, if you spend 5 minutes per file, and you have 10 files, that is a lot of wasted time every year. That money could very easily be put towards a program or other effort that would make these tasks easier.
If you can show to your finance department that investing a little money to save a lot of money is feasible, then I think you have yourself a win/win situation.
In theory of course the thing to do; we went nearly paperless (even electronic signatures on the leases) some time ago which helped greatly. In most cases, though, we’ve had to develop our own tools (online accounts for tenants, automatic reminders, 7-day notices etc.) by hiring programmers. When I look at commercial or canned tools, they are generally disappointing. A few examples would be nice, like what sites integrate your vacancies with Craigslist, for instance.