By: Laurie Mega
Managing multiple locations can be a constant juggling act, particularly if you have locations that fall across city, county, or state lines. You may be using different marketing strategies to reach different audiences and there are more than likely to be tax, security deposit, eviction, and even waste disposal laws that are unique to each of your locations.
Using the right software can solve many of the most common problems larger property management firms face.
A purpose-built property management software solution can help multi-location property managers handle all locations at a high level within a single platform while letting individual offices to get granular with the details that matter in their locations.
In this article, we’ve outlined five of the biggest problems multi-location property management firms face that can be solved with a customizable property management platform.
Problem 1: No Clear View of All Locations at the Corporate Level
Meeting with location managers on a regular basis can mean a huge time commitment. You lose time scheduling a monthly or quarterly meeting where you have to listen to every presentation from each manager. Your managers spend time putting those presentations together, too. But what’s the issue with that, you ask?
You’re not getting a full picture of your locations’ performance, just the highlights your managers pass on to you — and you’re certainly not getting any of that information in real time.
Solution: A Corporate-Level Dashboard and Consolidated Reporting
Instead of regular meetings that cover only some of the aspects of each location, you can introduce software with a dashboard that pulls in everything you need to know for each location onto one screen. This feature lets you look up turnover rates, rent collected, maintenance issues, or anything else you need to drill down into.
Instead of managers spending time putting together presentations, they can simply enter in the correct data and move on with more pressing tasks that better serve their owners and tenants.
A flexible solution will also allow you to create customized reports that give you key data for all, as well as individual, properties. You can even use that information to compare properties in the same or similar areas to analyze KPIs such as rental rates.
Problem 2: Inconsistent Processes Across Locations
Even for properties in different towns, regions, or states, there are some processes that will look pretty much the same. For example, listings and other marketing tools, as well as the rental application process will most likely follow a fairly similar format.
Because those processes are so similar, there’s little point in having every location come up with their own documentation for each action.
You want a consistent process that’s in line with your brand. And you want all of your locations reporting the same KPIs back to you so you can compare their performance and identify opportunities for improvement.
Solution: Templated Processes
Create templates you can share with all of your locations to keep rental applications, marketing, maintenance ticketing, and other redundant processes in line with your company’s goals.
By implementing a software solution with those capabilities, you save your location managers time and money. When it comes time to check up on a location or handle a specific issue, you’ll be able to work effectively together because you’re all using the same templates.
Problem 3: Cookie-Cutter Processes Don’t Meet the Needs of Unique Locations
We know what you’re thinking. Templates don’t take into account unique situations at certain locations, forcing property managers to look for work-arounds. And that’s true. There’s no point in using templates to save time if you’re just going to have to spend that time finding a work-around.
A good property management software solution will still allow individual locations to make tweaks to templates to account for location-specific differences in some processes. If, for example, one location has a different time limit on sending back security deposits, property managers can adjust for that in their move-out templates.
Problem 4: Employees Have Too Much or Too Little Access
Okay, now you’re thinking, “What’s the point of templates if employees can go in and change them?” In any software solution, you don’t want certain employees to move carte blanche through the system. Deleted files, rearranged templates, and revised reports can cause a huge headache for you and your team.
Solution: User Profiles
That’s where user profiles come in. Your property management software solution should let you set up user profiles that allow you to restrict access to certain functions. It will also let you lock down certain aspects of your templated processes and documents.
Property managers can set up user profiles for vendors, as well. Cleaning and maintenance crews with restricted access can log in to check for new work orders and update existing ones. They can even use it to submit invoices for completed work.
Problem 5: Reinventing the Wheel Every Time a New Location Opens
When you open an office in a new location, do you find yourself starting from scratch? You know what needs setting up and how to do it, but does your team rebuild all the processes and docs from the ground up?
Even if you’re revising from your existing model, that’s a lot of time hunting down every tool, doc, spreadsheet, and app you need, then copying and revising them for the new location.
The Solution: Business Model Cloning
What if you could clone your business model and all that goes with it every time you open a new location? Think of the time and effort saved setting up your new office. Instead of focusing on processes and documentation, your team could focus on bringing in more doors and delivering the best possible service to existing ones.
As the owner of a multi-location property management firm, you have to stay high level and focus on the health and trajectory of the business. While it’s important to keep your eye on your locations, you can’t get bogged down in minutia.
That’s why it’s important to set up documentation and processes that allow you to manage individual locations quickly and effectively. Best-in-class property management software can help you cut down on time, money, and staff by automating and customizing every part of your property management business—no matter where your portfolio takes you.
Explore the benefits of an all-in-one, open-platform property management solution, built specifically for multi-location property management companies.