Surprisingly enough, many businesses have never examined their daily work tasks and created formal business workflow processes for each of these tasks. This is shocking, since the most successful businesses typically have well-documented business practices to guarantee that their business is operating at the maximum level of efficiency. The creation of business workflow processes is of the utmost importance because it can help management to identify their company’s strengths and weaknesses.
A property management business can have hundreds of tasks that need to be documented in a systematic manner. Tasks that might need to be documented include showing a property, inspecting a property, producing payment for services rendered, handling maintenance requests and initiating a background check on an applicant.
Here are five reasons why formal workflow processes are important for your business:
1. Save time and money
Well-documented business workflow processes can save a property management company from dealing with the same exact task in multiple different ways. Handling common issues that arise in multiple different ways is wasteful. By determining how much time is necessary for a task, you can allocate a cost to that effort and determine possible improvements.
2. Business owners can be in multiple places at the same time
When building a business, the quality and consistency of decisions are critical factors in its success or failure.
Typically, there are one or a few passionate stakeholders in a small business who are the most invested in working hard to ensure success. Business success and growth is the desired outcome; however, a natural consequence of growth is for you, the business owner, to take on additional tasks and then you run out of the only asset that you cannot get more of: time.
There must be a framework in place that guarantees that your staff will operate and make decisions in the same way as you would. Documented workflow processes is the framework needed to ensure that business continuity and quality continues, even when you're not present.
3. Simplify choices and important business decisions
A documented workflow process will relieve your staff of the burden of possibly making an incorrect decision. Instead, they can refer to the established workflow process and let the process make the decision. An established and documented workflow process enforces policy, creates structure and drives efficiency.
4. Increase employee, owner and customer satisfaction
Your employees will be far more satisfied and less worried if they know they can look to a written process to obtain instructions for a task. They will also feel confident the right workflow process is being followed and tasks are being accomplished in the correct way.
You, as an owner of a small business, will be much happier because your day now also has fewer interruptions. Your customers will be happier because they will always get consistency from your business and in turn, they will tell others.
5. Business workflow processes have ROI
Documented business workflow processes have operational value, but they also have an easily identified monetary value as well. Think of some of the tedious tasks that exist in your business, ones that require very little real skill to complete, yet you often handle them.
Many small business owners strive to keep everything in-house; this is not a productive use of your time. A failure to delegate or outsource some of the repetitive humdrum tasks in your business will cost your business money. If you select the right third-party business partners, you can outsource parts of your business and enable your business to run more efficiently.
Some of the common tasks within a property management company that should have a documented workflow process can include:
- Marketing vacant properties
- Managing advertising campaigns and resources
- Processing rental applications
- Showing vacant properties to potential tenants
- How to qualify rental applicants
- Collecting and refunding security deposits
- Coordinating property make ready and move outs
- Enforcing lease agreements
- Creating and distributing monthly financial statements
- Managing eviction proceedings
- Preparing business financial reports
- Conducting property inspections
- Managing and paying outside vendors
This is not an all-inclusive list of possible tasks for a rental property management company. However, it can serve as a starting point for you to create workflow process for important tasks involved in your business. Creating business workflow processes can help your business achieve lower operating costs, while at the same time attaining higher profits.
Formal workflow processes are an invaluable asset to any company committed to their business thriving in 2018.
Jimmy Warlick works in the sales department at Propertyware and has been with RealPage for seven years. He has worked in the property management industry for 12 years. Before joining Propertyware, Jimmy served in the United States Air Force in Europe and also worked for the U.S. Justice Department. Jimmy is a University of Texas at Dallas graduate and calls the DFW area his home, where he lives with his wife and two daughters.