Learn from Property Management Consultant Terri Handy on the power of processes.
When I was an agency owner, I really enjoyed hearing about and seeing what other businesses were doing in their Property Management Department. Just like most of us, I love a good success story and I found it easier to implement change in my agency after witnessing it in another. It didn’t mean I was exactly replicating the process but the knowledge of how someone else had done it would often give me the start I needed, enabling me to visualize how it would look in my business.
About 8 years ago I remember visiting an office with a much larger rent roll than mine and noticed they had neatly organised filing cabinets. I made a passing comment about these and the Business Owner said: “We’ve just purchased them as we have started using Filesmart and have reduced the amount of space we need”. That comment was all it took for me to start rolling out a filing cabinet free office. I could suddenly see how it would work. Interestingly enough, I didn’t use Filesmart or purchase different storage for our files. What I did do though, was take the concept and tweak it to suit my business. The flow on effect was incredible around efficiencies, cost savings and even how the office was laid out - all due to a simple conversation.
As a Consultant, I get to see and hear what is happening in other agencies around the place and I see my ability to share this knowledge as a really valuable part of what I do.
An example of this is when a business owner can see the benefits of introducing a Virtual Assistant to the team, but can’t quite figure out how it would work. Or they have introduced VA’s but they are not being utilized properly. I will often use another office’s experience to show how they overcame similar issues and how it works for them. Suddenly, the path seems easier and the agency is moving ahead at speed.
This doesn’t mean that everyone I work with is doing things the same way, it is actually quite the opposite.
Service delivery is a hot topic at the moment and a personal favorite of mine. We have always talked about service as being the way we differentiate ourselves from our competitors and as an industry, we recognize the experience our clients have with us is being compared to their last online shopping transaction. So, how do we do that? What does that look like? Believe me, it is not enough to have your routine inspections conducted on time and arrears below the industry average.
Start with consistency.
Without consistency in how we do things, we will never be able to provide a high level of service. For consistency, you need processes. Once a process is in place, it is easy to identify where improvements can be made and a simple tweak here and there will help to maintain the flexibility required to adapt to our ever-changing market. Oh, by the way, processes also contribute to your bottom line.
This is one of my favorite examples to use to show the benefits of a good process putting more money in your pocket.
An office I work with - a lot of my sentences start off that way - I am a little self-conscious about sounding like the character in American Pie that says “This one time in Band Camp” 😬. Hopefully, I am the only one that notices.
Anyway, these guys were recovering around $2,000 - $3,000 per month in advertising. Not bad for the size of their rent roll, but definitely not close to their actual expenditure. They now consistently achieve close to $10,000 per month in recoverable advertising and this is simply due to the processes they have in place and a little script and dialogue training. Every property has a signboard, every property has professional photos and every owner pays. Even their accountant is impressed and that is not easy to do.
As an industry, I would love more people to think about how they can transfer the amazing experience traditionally provided to our sales clients across to the PM space. It might be just me, but I kinda think that the experience should feel the same to the client.
We talk about developing clients for life, but again, how does this look? It may be as simple as asking ourselves “If we treated our owners and tenants, like vendors and buyers, how would this process look?”
Can you tell I love a good process?
Terri Handy Lean Property Management Solutions