Having standardized systems is important for your property management business whether you’re just starting, expanding or looking to get out of the business. These systems will help keep your business organized, answer you staff’s questions, and ensure your business runs smoothly with minimal day to day work from you.
At PM Made Easy, we’ve been focusing on standardized systems for decades. We’ve looked into everything from your Policy and Procedures manual to training your employees to buying and selling property management businesses. Now, you might be wondering why you need these forms and manuals. They help organize your business and prevent small problems now that would have grown in the future.
Plus, you will never be the CEO of your business if you are doing all the work and acting like an employee. Systems are the secret sauce to having a business and life you love. A few months ago, my friend Dave Gorham did a podcast with FourAndHalf talking about the importance of having standardized systems in property management. We couldn’t agree more with his assessment. ( https://fourandhalf.com/standardized-systems-property-management/?jujrtyghfud456a493617a121a2623a4998a2351 )
What is a Standardized System?
A standardized system is any system that makes your work repeatable and easy to track. This could be a as complex as a detailed calendar or as simple as a handwritten list on paper. A standardized system is NOT an exact set of step-by-step instructions— it should be a guide that allows for creativity.
Your system should be rigid enough to alert you if you are doing something wrong but flexible enough to allow for people to do their job better. Finding this balance is one of the most important parts of standardized systems
Believe it or not, you are already using systems in your business daily. It might not be standardized yet, but you have a general set of steps you follow in your head when doing repeatable tasks such as: bringing on property owners, renting to tenants and doing maintenance.
The benefits of making your systems standardized is that it makes your business scalable because these systems will keep your employees on track without your supervision.
Creating these standardized systems allows you to grow your business faster and easier than before. As you hire new people, you can use your systems to train them and evaluate them on their performance. Training employees with standardized systems also gives you an opportunity to improve your systems and make them clearer. If your system doesn’t make sense to who you are training, you can update your system to answer their questions.
Keep Your Systems Working Smoothly
Once you put in the effort to create a standardized system you might expect to see results immediately, but this is rarely the case. Once you implement your systems, give them some space, and allow your team to learn to trust them. If you are looking for immediate results and fight the system when you don’t see them, it will take much longer for the system to become effective.
Once the whole team understands the importance and effectiveness of the system you will start to see results. Don’t shy away from the effort of training your team and breaking bad habits because the result is well worth it.
Getting your Employees and Standardized Systems Working Together
In addition to giving the systems some time to kick in, your team needs to communicate for these systems to be effective. It doesn’t matter how much seniority each employee has; their voice needs to be heard when developing these systems. If you want everyone to buy in, they all need to have some input. People are more dedicated to rules and systems that they helped create instead of something fully imposed by their boss.
In addition to communication, you need to make sure your employees are adopting your system of doing things. This can be a difficult transition if they let fear and ego get in the way of switching form their old systems.
The most important thing in these discussions is transparency. If your employee doesn’t like a certain way things are done, they should feel comfortable bringing it up and vice versa. Clear communication will make this process go much smoother and quickly. If you pretend that everything is great after a brief conversation, it could lead to bigger problems down the road.
Improvements from Standardized Systems
Before standardized systems, you might know that you have income but not know if you are profitable. With standardized systems in place you can track everything. Show profits with documentation to support it. You may not bring in as much money as you expected but now you can track it, know what you are making and know what to improve to make more profit next year.
With the right systems in place you can scale your business much larger and faster than before. You can quickly identify bottlenecks in your business and adjust operations to compensate.
How do I Create My Own Systems?
The foundation to any successful property management business can be found in our Core Essentials bundle. This includes documents like your Policy and Procedures which helps provide consistent processes, train staff, and reduce risk. In addition, the Core Essentials includes forms letters and agreements which helps you maintain strong documentation at every point in the owner/tenant relationship cycle. Lastly, it includes the Stop the Fires Checklist System, a set of 49 checklists that help you track multi-step processes and stop the fires before they happen.
As you start to scale your property management business, the Staffing Essentials is the place to go. This includes Building an Effective Property Management Team taking you from one person to a cohesive team. It also includes the Employee Manual/System which creates consistent processes for hiring, training, managing, and terminating staff. This is perfect for training employees, setting expectations, and managing risk.
Once you’ve built a team of effective employees you should take some time to fine tune the systems in your business. You may find that some processes work well while others don’t. Look at what doesn’t work well and look for ways to improve them. Our Office and Organizing Essentials are perfect for this stage.
Prepare your business for anything with the Red Flags Office Policy and Emergency Readiness manual. These help you comply with the FTC, safely manage customers personal information and be the rock in the storm for your owners, renters, and employees when everything goes wrong – think pandemic…no one saw this one coming.
Finally, our Organizing Essentials help you set, manage, and meet expectations with your Owners, Tenants and Vendors. You can ensure that you are providing consistent service to all your customers and have a system in place to set and track expectations.
At PM Made Easy, we specialize in creating these systems for running your business. We’ve created systems for everything from policy & procedures to building an effective team to setting expectations with your owners, tenants and vendors and everything in between.
We genuinely believe that Property Management can be Easy with systems in place. People start property management companies to solve problems and provide a service not to spend their days creating operation documents, policies and procedures, forms, and checklists but this is the foundation for a successful and thriving company. We have done the hard work so that you can focus on what you do best – serve your clients and community, feel valued and appreciated for what you do and to make a profit.
Kathleen Richards, is the owner of PM Made Easy and The Property Management Coach. With her 13 years as a broker/owner of a property management company she speaks from experience. Kathleen authored, Property Management A-Z and teaches regularly at community colleges and conferences on property management topics. She is active in her field and holds professional designations as Master Property Manager (MPM®) and Residential Management Professional (RMP®) and her company held the coveted, Certified Residential Management Company (CRMC®) designation from NARPM®. She is currently a National Instructor for NARPM® and is honored to be sharing best practices with other NARPM® professionals. Kathleen has served at the local and state level on the boards for NARPM® (National Association of Residential Property Managers)