Propertyware had a strong presence as usual at the recent NARPM conference for single family brokers and owners. This year’s theme was “Rehab Your Business,” covering three major subjects in property management: Technology, Risk Management and Making Money.
The biggest buzz this year was around workflow automation—replacing labor-intensive manual processes with automated, computer-driven ones. Attendees were actively seeking ways to limit the need for increased staff by enabling existing staff to accomplish their day-to-day activities more easily and efficiently. (Of course that’s been the core of Propertyware’s mission since our inception.)
Exhibiting vendors promoted everything from call centers, virtual assistants and pet screening to a broad array of software solutions addressing virtually every aspect of profitably owning and managing single family properties. Propertyware touted its new user interface and listing widget in addition to our open API that allows customization.
Here were some of the high points of the conference that elucidate what single family property brokers and owners are talking about these days. It can serve as a sort of checklist of subjects you might want to tackle with your management team as we move into this year’s busy leasing season.
Part 1: Technology
The first segment of the conference focused on technology, and the initial speaker covered how virtual assistants are increasingly able to provide many of the services employees do, without the costs and headaches—potentially helping you reduce the need to continually add more staff as you grow.
The next presenter spoke about the often overlooked but critical importance of answering phone calls rather than having them go unanswered or to voice mail because staff are busy (a contact center is a great remedy for this). She was followed by two presenters praising the benefits of outsourcing various functions and streamlining processes to allow you to handle more doors with fewer people. This segment was wrapped up with a presentation about attracting and retaining the best people by motivating them, setting clear expectations and measuring performance.
Part 2: Risk Management
Kicking off the Risk Management segment of the conference was a session on developing a relationship with everyone you consider renting a home to and learning to judge their trustworthiness as renters—but without risking discrimination against protected classes.
A session on screening followed, stressing the need to look at the whole person and extenuating circumstances in deciding whether or not to rent. After this were presentations about managing the risks of internal embezzlement and data breaches.
Part 3: Making Money
The final segment, about making money and growing your business, began with ideas on making your company an enjoyable place to work—thereby boosting employee motivation, productivity and retention.
Next came a session on creating relationships with realtors and other industry professionals to increase lead flow. The use of social media and blogging to promote your business followed, addressing how to stand out in these critical disciplines amidst the glut of information on the Internet.
The property-manager-led sessions were finished out with a final one on the importance of having a comprehensive, proactive plan for handling maintenance issues, rather than taking a haphazard, reactive approach.
Industry experts shared a broad range of tips and best practices during the remainder of the conference.
A detailed session on social media echoed the earlier broker/owner session on the importance of mastering the use of social media to “turn owners and residents into customers, and customers into your sales force.” The speaker stressed the importance of appearing on the first page of Google rankings, and having a plan to respond to negative reviews as reviews increasingly become the top criterion in making a choice of a product or service.
Following the social media session was a discussion of how technology is freeing property managers from busy work to concentrate on resident satisfaction, marketing and growing their businesses. Propertyware’s James Wagley sat on the panel for an open discussion associated with this session. Afterwards a management expert shared tips on how to be a great leader, and an accomplished property manager spoke about the possibility of hiring a business development manager to grow your business.
Workshops covered making compelling videos, workflow automation, fiduciary responsibilities, hiring strategies and company brand-building. James Wagley discussed where to draw the line between technology and a human touch.
There were also sessions on acquisitions, valuation of your company and disaster preparedness.
We encourage you to attend future NARPM Broker/Owner conferences, since it always pays to learn from industry experts and network with peers as you seek to squeeze more profit out of your business and add more doors. In the meantime, we’re always here to guide you in making software solutions a critical force in this endeavor!