Pacific Capital Management

Automating Business Processes to Save Time and Increase NOI

UNITS MANAGED

2000+

NOI INCREASE

$60,000

ASSET VALUE INCREASE

1.2M

TIME SAVED / MONTH WITH UTILITY MANAGEMENT

150+ hrs

Company

Pacific Capital Management
Roseville, CA

Portfolio Type

Multifamily Residential, Single-family Residential, Mixed-use, Commercial

Previous Solution

Yardi

A Bit of Backstory

Pacific Capital Management is a full-service property management firm managing mixed-use, commercial, and residential properties in California, Idaho, and Arizona. They use AppFolio Property Manager to streamline operations and increase their net operating income (NOI) across their sprawling portfolio of over 2,000 units across the West Coast.

Interview with Pacific Capital Management

We spoke to Portfolio Accountant, Megan Constancio, and Property Manager, Brandi Brophy, to learn about how AppFolio Property Manager has enabled them to save time and boost business efficiency with AppFolio’s Utility Management service.

Cambridge Management Group Case Study

How has AppFolio Property Manager enabled you to automate key processes in order to streamline your business?

With AppFolio, we save the most time with automated payables especially with the utility billing capabilities that we use on a lot of our larger properties. On the accounting side, entering payables can be a slow, time-consuming process. Now that the process is automated, we save at least three hours a week.

We have also been able to automate our receivables. By getting residents to pay online instead of with a check, we save even more time not having to process paper checks. Our property managers love it and are constantly encouraging residents to sign up to pay online.

How has having Utility Management integrated with AppFolio Property Manager impacted your processes?

It all goes back to the automation of the accounts payable. AppFolio processes the bills, creates the payables, and automatically cuts checks for the utility companies in one batch. We simply approve the batch and the checks are sent to the vendors. It saves quite a bit of time throughout the whole process.

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Using AppFolio’s Utility Management, we’re already saving nearly a month of work and as we continue to roll this out across our portfolio, our time savings will only continue to grow.”

BRANDI BROPHY
Property Manager, Pacific Capital Management

What were some of the challenges around utilities you experienced before adopting AppFolio’s Utility Management solution?

With our previous software, one of the biggest issues was the data input on the property level. It was extremely time consuming and we had to do some data manipulating as well. The biggest hurdle was during the move-in and move-out processes when we would have to enter the utility charges, regenerate the ledger and make sure we uploaded all of the invoices. Then in the corporate office, we also had to do a billing upload, so getting this done before the end of the month was always a challenge.

With AppFolio, we were really excited to have that process completed in the software for us. The move-out process with utility billing is so much more seamless and we’ve seen a big improvement in our recovery of utility charges as well. The whole process is much easier and less time-consuming.

How much time have you saved by switching to using Utility Management with AppFolio?

Within the move-in and move-out processes specifically, we save about 30 minutes on each of those tasks, which is huge. The primary property we are using this feature on is a larger property and we had 173 move-ins this year. The time that we are now saving has been a game-changer and that is just on one of our properties. Using AppFolio’s Utility Management service, we’re already saving nearly a month of work and as we continue to roll this out across our portfolio, our time savings will only continue to grow.

What impact has this had on your payables and receivables with respect to your residents?

We initiated our new utility billing process last year, but some of the residents were not switched over immediately and this allowed some leases to be renewed without this provision and some residents to not even be charged. There wasn’t a proper procedure in place at the time and all of the charges would have to be manually entered. Now that these charges are being automatically captured by AppFolio, we never miss a charge and it’s clearer for the residents. It makes it so much easier on our accounting staff in our corporate office and because it is all integrated, it protects us against human error.

Before, the charges could be added at different times, which was difficult to understand for renters who were paying their rent in the first week of the month. It was unclear to them what these charges were and when they would be added. If a resident didn’t understand a charge, we would get a lot of pushback or negative reviews because of the confusion. Now, with AppFolio, the whole process is much easier and they find it easier to understand and pay all together when they are paying their rent.

We are also able to require charges to be paid in full with AppFolio each month, so instead of having these small outstanding balances, everything is paid when an online payment is made and we have 80% less delinquency on utility charges overall.

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Now that we have the whole process in AppFolio, we have improved our NOI by billing the utilities back to the tenants, never missing a charge… We’re earning over a thousand dollars a month of additional income, $12,000 per year, which has had a significant impact on our asset value.”

BRANDI BROPHY
Property Manager, Pacific Capital Management

Why are utilities a focus for you and your business?

For a couple of our buildings, ratio-utility billing was written into the leases when we took over management. It can be a very complicated process for one person to track using spreadsheets and we were using an outside company that wasn’t cutting it.

Now that we have the whole process in AppFolio, we have improved our NOI by billing the utilities back to the tenants, never missing a charge. With flat fees, they can often be a lower charge than actual utility amounts so by using RUBS, we are covering a higher percentage of utility cost on these properties and it’s having a greater impact on our bottom line. We’re earning over a thousand dollars a month of additional income, $12,000 per year, which has had a significant impact on our asset value.

What is your experience with AppFolio’s service and support teams?

When we first started using AppFolio, we were pleasantly surprised at how easy it was to get answers to our questions. That has been one of the greatest aspects of AppFolio for us. Our account manager, Sean, or another person on his team responds right away. Even if something needs to be done on AppFolio’s end, we always get a response letting us know what is happening.

With our business model, we acquire new properties, which means new people are coming into the mix and may not have experience with AppFolio. We find that for most people, it’s really easy to pick up how to navigate the software. We are able to train them on it in about a day, and then they have all the resources AppFolio has provided for on-going training. They can search the Help Center or submit a support request to get help and it’s been great for them to have this self-service option.

How do you feel like AppFolio is a partner to your business?

We have full trust that AppFolio is constantly working to meet the needs of the industry. We know that they will continue to come out with features that make our lives easier and we love to see the “What’s New” pop up with new feature enhancements. It’s very exciting to see all of the things that are being added. It’s a great program.