I just returned from the Property Management Grow Summit Conference in West Palm Beach Florida. The event was hosted by FourandHalf.com and LeadSimple.com. The conference had 170 business owners in attendance and the theme was “Growing Your Business by Meeting Your Client’s Needs.”
So what does this mean? Aren’t we all customer centered? I would challenge many of you on this.
Do you list your prices and services on your website? No, why? Oh, the competition will know…well they already know your prices. Let me ask you if you were to go on to Amazon and search for a product and found it but couldn’t find the price for the product would you then call the company to ask for the price? No, you would click out of that page and find another company that does provide the price.
- Do you write articles of educational value that answers questions your clients would have such as: Who are the top property management companies in your area? Did your property manager give a full refund to the tenant when they caused damage? Should the property manager be blamed for placing a bad tenant? Why aren’t property managers honest with their clients? Today, the internet has changed how we get information so to be credible to our clients Owners and Tenants we need to be Transparent.
- Is your business part of the Community? Do you volunteer, shop local, attend local events? Do you support local causes in your community? Tenants today are participatory and values driven. So what are your values and are they communicated on your website?
- Do you make it easy to apply, lease and pay rent online?
Millennials have surpassed Baby Boomers as the nation’s largest living generation, according to population estimates released this month by the U.S. Census Bureau. Millennials, whom we define as those ages 18-34 in 2015, now number 75.4 million, surpassing the 74.9 million Baby Boomers (ages 51-69).
So what does this mean for your property management business and how you rent properties?
Millennials are mobile and use mobile devices. Does your website function on a mobile device? Can prospects view and apply for a rental thru their smart phone? Or, do you make your prospects download an application and fill it out by hand and provide a check with it in order for them to apply. Now, maybe that is the way you have always done it but I can assure you the Millennials have an expectation to do everything online. The technology is there so why wouldn’t you use it.
Do you create your leases online and have the tenant sign the lease on line or do you make them print it and sign it? Printing paper is a waste and if you make your prospects jump through the hoops of the old way you will begin to lose business. Applicants will not even bother applying to rent your properties. They will find someone or a company that meets their needs.
Millennials are ok with renting since it gives them the most flexible lifestyle and allows them to focus on life experiences. Many of them saw their parents lose everything in the downturn of the market so they are less likely to purchase a home. But they expect that home to have internet connectivity.
Millennials although technology driven have a strong propensity to want to make a difference, to be part of something greater than themselves and to feel part of a community. So is your business community driven? Are your rentals “green” meaning that you provide a property that takes advantage of products that are produced in alignment with the environment. Some such things could be Paint with no chemical smells, carpet that is from natural sources vs synthetic, a yard to do gardening, dual pane windows to conserve on energy or better yet do you have solar panels on the house or apartment building. Do you provide recycling cans and the list goes on.
Property Managers and Property Owners have been known to say, “This is how we have always done it”, and are not always focused on the client.
So are we the Taxi business or like Uber? Are we so set in our ways that we won’t even explore how we can better serve our clients and meet their needs? Are we open to using technology to streamline how we do business and support our Clients both Owners and Tenants?
Below is a list of some things you might want to consider:
- Online applications and leases
- Online maintenance reporting
- Online rent payment
- Professional photos of your rental – isn’t this what the sales side has done for years
- Use texting to communicate with prospects and tenants
- Video is huge. Use video for property tours, move in and move out reports, application and lease instructions the list is endless for video
As Property Managers and business owners we got into the business for a reason. Why? Have we forgotten our Why and now just settle for how things have always been done? If that is your choice I am not going to say it is wrong because maybe you are nearing the end of your career and you will just close your doors when the last client has closed out their contract with you. It is ok being the taxi as long as you realize that it is a slow death.
On the other hand if you want to be like Uber, and serve your clients and have a product that someday you would like to sell and retire and actually get paid for all your hard work then you need to start looking closely at what your client and future clients want and start providing it to them. If you do you will be ahead of the game and will have a growing successful business.
The Choice is Yours.
Kathleen Richards, is the owner of LandlordSource, The Property Management Coach, and Portola Property Management. She has authored Property Management A-Z, and teaches regularly at community colleges and conferences about property management. She has been active in her field and holds professional designations as Master Property Manager (MPM®) and Residential Management Professional (RMP®) from NARPM®. Kathleen has served at the local and state level on the boards for NARPM® (National Association of Residential Property Managers).
Disclaimer: LandlordSource does not represent the article content in this website as legal advice. It is shared information only and up to the reader to use this information responsibly, seeking legal advice as necessary to their business.