- Which standard operating procedures are inefficient?
- Are our inspection routines giving us the data we need to improve our preventative maintenance plan?
- Can we make changes to our move-in process in a way that will benefit our tenants?
- Why have tenants been leaving this building at a higher rate than the others in our portfolio?
- By how much could we increase rent if we allowed pets?
The most successful property managers are those who can create time to look at the big picture. So, here are 4 habits you can adopt to generate more time for brainstorming, planning, and implementing changes that will take your business and your career, to the next level.
#1 - Create Standard Operating Procedures for Routine Tasks
Have you noticed that no matter which Starbucks you visit you always have the same pleasant experience? That is because the company creates and enforces its Standard Operating Procedures: step-by-step processes outlining how to do each task.
To give your clients and tenants the best experiences possible, document thorough explanations of how to handle your most common property management tasks, such as the following:
- Inspecting equipment.
- Listing a rental unit.
- Posting vacancies.
- Moving in new tenants.
- Processing applications.
When you define repeatable processes for your tasks and document them in a centralized and accessible location, 3 things happen:
- It is easier to onboard and train new property managers: That means less back and forth communication between you and the new-hire, which is better for both parties.
- You know exactly what you need to do to most effectively and efficiently complete a task, thereby saving you time.
- You can analyze your processes and find areas for improvement: When everyone on your team is using the same process you have reliable data from which to draw conclusions.
Action Item: Do a 1-month audit of your activities. At the end of the month, find every activity that you did 3 times or more. Then, create standard operating procedures for each of them and store them in a central, online location.
#2 - Explore New Technology
The best Property Managers take time to explore and evaluate new property management technologies. With an unquenchable thirst for ways to increase both their efficiency and their bottom line, they routinely survey this field of ingenuity and read up on ways in which their peers are using these tools to improve their operations.
Most of these technologies are designed to help you and your team complete a wide array of tasks more quickly. There are tools that help you market rentals, screen potential tenants, perform and track inspections and maintenance tasks, and even monitor compliance with government regulations.
Action Item: Each month, try to sit in on at least one web-demo with a PropTech company. Even if the software isn’t a good fit, you will at least still come away with new ideas and a better understanding of the tools used by your industry peers.
#3 - Streamline Communication
Property Managers, whether they like it or not, sit at the center of communication between the various people — the vendors, tenants, owners, building engineers, inspectors — involved in operating a property. This communication is time-consuming, so the most successful property managers find ways to streamline and automate it.
For instance, are there certain types of emails you find yourself sending over and over again? Perhaps you often craft emails describing the move-in process to new tenants. Or maybe you spend a lot of mental energy thinking up friendly yet assertive ways to ask for late rent payments.
If so, create and save templates for those emails. That way, you only have to make slight edits, like a name or an address change, to each email before clicking send. This will both save you time and increase the consistency of your messaging.
Natalí Rodriguez, former Property Manager and current VP of Compliance, says she created email templates for the following:
- Late rent payment notices.
- Apartment access notices.
- Mechanical shutdown notices. (elevator, water, boiler, etc.)
#4 - Never Argue
Tom Melton, Chief Engineer and Property Manager, has a list of 25 rules for property managers, the first being, “Don’t argue, it’s a waste of time, and just gets your blood pressure up.” Well said, Tom.
Adding support to this rule is famous management consultant, Dale Carnegie, who writes in his classic book “How to Win Friends and Influence People”, “If you argue and rankle and contradict, you may achieve a victory sometimes; but it will be an empty victory because you will never get your opponent's good will.”
Property Management can be stressful. Instead of falling into arguments, whether it’s with tenant or a colleague, it’s best to leave the situation and return when the tension has died down. Arguing will just be a drag on your time and your mood. No one wins in an argument.
Make Time for Big Picture Work
When you integrate these habits into your work life, you make time for big picture work, which will not only help you increase your bottom line and retain clients but will also lead to a more satisfying and fulfilling career. It is an electrifying feeling to watch your own big plans be put into action.
Going forward, if you need help streamlining your day to day facility operations and daily rounds, check out how Vitralogy can assist.