Being a property manager can be tough. Inspections, dealing with clients, contractors and tenants needs is draining, not to mention balancing the books, managing staff and growing your business.
So how do you become successful in an industry filled with competition?
It’s time to take a look at what you are doing and give old practices the flick so you can become a successful property manager.
Lengthy Communication Processes
Let's talk about emails...
You spend most of the morning getting up to date with them, you're feeling productive and think you will have no problem ticking off every task you need to do today. You then return from your brief inspection to find a flood of demanding emails requiring urgent attention. Towards the end of the day, you feel like you have spent most of your time in your inbox and have hardly made any progress with your list of tasks.
Time to flick this habit!
While communication with your clients effectively is important, there are ways to do it better while ensuring everyone gets the attention and service they deserve. One huge tip, detailed in the well-known book the 4 hour work week, is to only respond to emails on a schedule say around 10 am and 3 pm.
Since everyone thinks you are permanently sat at your computer waiting to immediately respond to their email, it might be a good idea to set an out of office message informing people that you have a heavy workload at present so you are only responding to emails at these times and if anything is urgent, they can call you on XYZ.
This way, everyone's expectations are managed so you retain your high level of customer service yet you also gain much more time to focus on more productive tasks. Of course, keep in mind that handling customer complaints quickly and effectively will always take priority.
Are you manually emailing your tenants, owners and suppliers one by one? Finding files to attach to the email, looking for contact details, writing the message you need to send is SO time-consuming. There are online property management software tools that can automate this process for you - of course, PropertyMe being one of them! Basically, it triggers automatically depending on things such as a request, due date, issue or statement generated so saves you typing these emails repeatedly.
Resistance to Change
Resistance to change can cause a significant impact on your work environment, and ultimately your overall success. In the ever-changing landscape of being online, it can seem daunting and scary, especially if you have been working with a particular system your whole working life.
Having said that, are there any property managers still using yellow handwritten cards for tenants, collecting the rent in person or standing next to a screaming dot matrix printer for 10 minutes while it struggles to print a single page?
As we all get older, fresh, young property managers and tenants will be entering into new relationships all around the country. This young, tech-savvy generation is used to having everything at their fingertips and instant gratification.
A post on REB also covers this topic of the modern day property manager and the new generations demands. If you haven't made use of newer technologies that better serve this need for instant gratification, then you can expect this customer segment to become frustrated and soon learn that a competitor can offer a more responsive service and look to go with them next time they move home or look for a job.
A resistance to changing from installed software where it is on your office desktop to an online system, which requires no installation can be very daunting if you are unfamiliar with the process. Although it’s easier to just put your head in the sand and not make the change, what you are actually doing is standing still while your competitors are moving forward.
Over the past ten years, there has been a huge growth in online transactions such as banking, paying bills and shopping, all designed to make life easier and accessible. So why wouldn’t you do the same for your work life too?
Not Questioning Old Practices
Poor processes and burnout are two common complaints of property managers, more so when property management is a department of a wider real estate company. If the main focus is just new business or property sales, this can often leave the property management department under-resourced. An under-resourced department will have out of date processes and technologies.
How often do you complete tasks such as reconciling and dispersing? Do you complete a huge end of month process that takes all day? We are creatures of habit, so if we are told by someone, or a program only allows you to do a task a certain way, you will do it and that’s that.
Of course, there is legislation that needs to be followed, however, have you ever researched or asked questions around your systems? Is what you are doing the most efficient way to complete a task? Are there alternate ways you could be doing it? Is there a better program that allows you to save time and work efficiently?
The way to go about this is often to present a business case for change. Ask yourself:
- If you were to invest in a new technology then how much time and/or money would be saved and what could this extra time be used for?
- What impact could this have on the business (try to look at this in terms of revenue)?
A strong business case can lead to change and change can lead to improved service, happier property managers and tenants and increased revenue for the business.
Hopefully you enjoyed this blog post! You might also be interested in PropertyMe Reviews: Hear it from these Property Managers, Best Real Estate Video Apps and 12 Ways to Attract Quality Tenants.
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