Property management is a small term for a profession that is comprised of a huge range of different tasks in many areas of expertise.
Property managers need to be able to handle customer service, legal disputes, collections, tenant complaints, neighbor conflicts, repairs, maintenance personnel, vendors, inspectors, emergencies and more! Considering the demands placed on a rental property management company, it is easy to see why most would greatly benefit from improving their business processes.
A strong focus on constant improvement and efficiency is a key factor in how Nexus Property Management, a Propertyware user, went from startup to a top-rated property management company in Rhode Island and is now a National Property Management Franchise.
[Learn More: How To Start a Property Management Company]
The common areas that rental property management companies can improve in are communication, travel, automation, and cost:
Communication can easily become chaos if not handled correctly. Between phone calls, text messages, emails, and walk-in traffic, it can be hard to keep tenants, owners, and staff on the same page. Documentation is very important to avoid miscommunication.
Nexus has found great success in having a 24/7 live answered emergency line and ensuring all owners, tenants, and staff communicates within our tenant and owner portal software. This serves as documentation for all correspondence, reduces phone calls to the minimum and eliminates scattered information between locations. With this setup, you can provide exceptional customer service while at the same time reducing miscommunication. Once your communication policies are established and efficient you will want to reduce travel for your staff.
Travel can be a big issue for leasing agents, maintenance technicians or sales staff (if you visit owner prospects properties before signing up). It is important to establish a service area and stick to it. It's always tempting to accept new clients to add units under management but if you keep spreading your staff thin with long commutes, your customer service and emergency response will suffer.
Nexus leasing agents have had great success by utilizing video walkthroughs for every vacancy. They can send a prospective tenant a YouTube link instead of scheduling a showing for each inquiry. Then, if the prospect feels the property fits their needs, they can view it. This has reduced our average showings to less than 2 per lease! In order to reduce maintenance staff travel time, we have our maintenance technicians speak directly with tenants for potential troubleshooting and appointments as needed. In regards to sales staff, we will view a property using online mapping software and review property tax cards for square footage and features. This allows us to give prospective owners accurate market rents based on real-time data without visiting the property.
You can reduce the time you and your staff commute, but if you still have inefficient office processes, there is big room for improvement.
Automation is possible in many areas and should be explored for all repetitive tasks. Software specifically designed for property managers is a must. Many of these will streamline accounting, rent collection, maintenance, statements and more. With high-speed scanners and cloud storage providers like Dropbox, you can have a paperless office with remote access to all files from any device at all times. Going paperless frees up office space and reduces time searching for specific documents. Utilizing cloud storage options allows files to be secure and access is not lost if a specific computer, hard drive, or server goes down. Any repetitive task should be examined with an eye towards automation. Saving email templates in drafts, hotkey shortcuts for common typed responses, email filters and forwarding to appropriate staff.
Cost savings and becoming more efficient with tasks are an overall result you'll have from improving your business processes. To be a top property manager, you need to constantly be looking to improve. Never take two steps to perform a function or task that can be done in one!
Nick D'Agnillo is the CEO & Founder of Nexus Property Management™, A National Property Management Franchise that manages all types of rental property, from single family homes or condos to large apartment buildings and complexes.