Derek Dawson founded Dawson Property Management in Charlotte, N.C. in Oct. 2011. The company manages just under 100 properties in the state, including single-family homes, townhomes, condos and several multi-family properties.
“Knowing you have a solid website,
good online payments accessibility, simple screening functions,” he says. “All these things… will allow me to differentiate myself from my competition, and it’s because I have AppFolio on my side.”
This wide range of property and resident types requires highly-efficient, easy-to-use property management software that enables it to oversee all necessary operations.
Hunting down application fees and rent payments the old-fashioned way through phone calls and waiting for checks in the mail continued to take an exorbitant amount of time every month.
When checking the background information of prospective residents, his old software would take nearly 20 minutes to return a report—creating an awkward wait when those potential residents were in the office.
Creating and delivering owner accounting statements and rental application reports unnecessarily cumbersome and time-consuming.
All these tedious processes prevented him from focusing on other aspects of his growing business, such as acquiring new properties to add to his portfolio.
In Sept. 2013, Dawson decided to make the switch to AppFolio. With AppFolio, Dawson was immediately able to see results as he saved hours each day by simplifying and streamlining all his regular responsibilities.
Switching from one property management system to another can be a taxing and complicated process, but with AppFolio’s fine tuned and comprehensive transition process migrating data and training staff was quick and efficient.
“It can be very difficult any time you make a change of that nature, but [AppFolio] had a process in place to help make it as smooth as possible.” Notes Dawson
Before, Dawson’s residents had to mail rent checks or drop them off at the office. With AppFolio, residents can log in to the Dawson Property Management website from any Internet-connected device, 24/7, to make maintenance requests, view and pay bills, view payment history and set up automatic payments through an encrypted, password-protected online portal.
“The conversion to AppFolio just really made sense to get us more efficient in our payment collections,” he says. “It’s been a huge time-saver.”
With built-in tenant screening functions Dawson can choose the type of background check to run—either credit and eviction or credit, eviction and criminal—and results are returned within 15-30 seconds. That’s almost 4,000 percent faster than his last software.
Dawson also noted the clean interface and easy-to-understand reporting platform:
"Many times, unless you have some kind of ‘doctorate degree in reports,’ you won’t have any idea of what you’re looking at,” Dawson says. “[AppFolio helps] highlight certain aspect of the reports, which makes it very easy to read and understand so we can make a decision swiftly.”
Another big part of Dawson’s responsibilities is preparing statements and reports for his clients. Before AppFolio, he would spend time creating and sending each individual report to the appropriate client. Now he is able to generate reports more quickly, with a cleaner format, and send a batch of reports all at once.
These reports are saved in the AppFolio system and made available to clients through the company’s website. This adds an extra level of access to important documents, should a client accidentally delete an email from Dawson on a Saturday evening, for example.
For a small but growing property management company, Dawson says these types of operational enhancements free him up to spend more time on the road building his business: in fact, he’s been able to increase his property portfolio by 22 percent in the last five months alone.
“Knowing you have a solid website, good online payments accessibility, simple screening functions,” he says. “All these things… will allow me to differentiate myself from my competition, and it’s because I have AppFolio on my side.”
Thanks to Software Advice, for helping us put this case study together.