Time management is a key component of any successful business. Because property managers are usually identified as a ‘jack-of-all-trades’, it’s easy to get wrapped in the more time-consuming, detail-oriented parts of daily operations. There are ways to automate or outsource certain processes, but some tasks can’t be avoided or simplified.
Improving time-management and increasing productivity usually revolves around rethinking, rearranging, and reworking existing processes. Here are a few things to consider if you are trying to get more done in the same amount of time.
Include utilities in your rent
Every property management company has a specific way of handling tenant utilities. They either leave the tenants responsible for signing up, pay for utilities and bill it back to tenants (either themselves or a third party company), or include utilities in their monthly rent. Adding utilities to the price of monthly rent can be helpful in several ways.
- You only have to set up utilities once for every property.
- You’ll get fewer calls/emails from tenants with questions on how to properly set up utilities.
- You can ensure that everything is running when you need to do property rehab between tenants or when you have vacant properties during the winter.
- You can take the monthly average of utilities over the years and charge a higher rate. Tenants are usually willing to pay more per month in rent than they would in utilities merely for the convenience.
- ‘Utilities included’ is an attractive benefit to most potential tenants. This gives tenants peace of mind knowing that their living expenses will be the same every month.
- You’ll never have to spend time or resources dealing with utility invoicing to your tenants or to the utility company. Just set each account to auto-pay and forget about it.
Find vendors with widespread service areas
Keep your vendor list as consolidated as possible. Vendor management is one of the most time-consuming parts of property management.
- Find vendors that have widespread, if not national, areas of service. Working with fewer vendors who perform more work will improve your communication and decrease the amount of time and attention needed for vendor management.
- Consolidating vendors means consolidating communication, billing, scheduling, and quality consistency, leaving you with more time to focus on the profit-driving parts of your business.
Use multiple tools for rent collection
Most tenants have a preferred method of communication, and it’s likely that it isn’t the same as yours.
- Set up accounts with multiple tools to make it easier to collect rent.
- Consider Venmo, PayPal, Square, checks, cash, online payments, etc. If you can, include the option for digital autopay. Autopay options will save you time and effort with rent collection.
Include everything in your listing
Make sure to include all photos, amenities, features, and preferred lease terms in your ad. This will eliminate some back and forth communications between potential tenants.
- Include occupancy specifications in regard to tenants, pets, support animals, guests, smoking, parking, etc.
- Include an estimate of monthly utility costs during the summer and winter so potential tenants can get a better idea of what their monthly expenses would look like. Eliminate the need for preemptive phone calls and emails by providing all details up front.
Use a third party software or a simple Google survey to weed out unqualified candidates. This step is pretty straight forward: Include all of your requirements and dealbreakers in the form and sort them accordingly.
Use digital lease signing technology
Skip the Word Docs, PDFs, and printed papers. Using digital signature tools will reduce the time it takes to get leases signed and get your tenants moved in faster.
Keep hyper-specific notes on each property
Notate common problems, quirks, and other specifications for each property. Track the complete maintenance history of each property, what was wrong, and how it was fixed. This will make it faster to communicate with tenants and easier to work with vendors if necessary.
- Keep detailed notes on when certain fixtures were inspected, repaired, or replaced and make a note of when the next service should be. This will keep your properties in working order, eliminate any frantic searches for past documentation during emergencies, and keep your properties on schedule when you have employee turnover. Leave a copy of these notes with your tenants for reference.
- You’ll be able to identify the problem quickly and resolve it faster than you would otherwise.
Take a close look at the way your operations are running. Odds are there are several processes that can be tweaked to save you time and energy. When you have new employees, ask them to make notes about the new processes they are learning. A fresh pair of eyes can be extremely valuable and point out obvious flaws that come to be the norm. Encourage cross-training in your employees and ask them to look for inefficiencies in other departments. Have yearly efficiency audits on the software and systems that you’re using. Technology is always improving, and there may be a better alternative to what you’re currently doing.
Time is the most valuable asset for a property manager. Consider the steps above, see what works for you, and make the changes necessary for your company to thrive with fewer resources.