Today I want to talk to you about the number one complaint that people have about property management companies, whether it’s a property owner or a resident, they share this common complaint and frustration. I’m going to share with you some thoughts on it and how can be avoided and what you should look for if you are looking for a property management partner.
Communication is an issue that many residents, many property owners complain about. And we hear these complaints as people are looking at our services and they’re trying to find solutions because they’ve hired someone that wasn’t taking it seriously, or they had someone that was doing as a side hustle or whatever it was, or they just had someone that was struggling to communicate with them and to respond to their emails and their calls.
You may even know people who have had these same complaints and we hear that they’ll call and they won’t answer their phone, or they won’t get a return call for several days, several weeks emails go in and it’s almost like they’re getting emailed into a black hole. They go in and nothing comes out, but also, there are other ripple effects or related issues such as things falling through the cracks, things not getting done properly. We hear things like the property management team saying that they’ll do something they don’t and the owners having to feel like they have to follow up a hundred times, residents putting in work orders, and not having things getting done.
That’s a big problem in this business. We recognize that property owners and residents need our best and we need to be better for them; then why is this a problem? Well, there are a few reasons for that. The number one reason is that a lot of property management companies are lacking infrastructure and systems to help them with their communication and the technology to back it up and to be able to provide a scalable solution as they grow. A lot of people get into property management and they start managing five, 10, 15 properties and you can do that on some scratch paper and you figure it out. It’s not ideal, but once you get into the hundreds of units or properties, you’ve got to have a really serious system to help keep track of things and a team to support it.
The second reason is leadership, a lack of leadership and a lack of vision, which creates employees who are not bought in and on the same page and not aligned with the leader. It makes it so that employees just stop caring and they stop being diligent about responding and doing those things that are important.
There’s also another reason and that is the one I want to talk about, which is being understaffed. A lot of property management companies are understaffed, even though this is a business that’s very people-centric, it’s a business that’s you built on and created by relationships, both, relationships with property owners, relationships with residents and vendors, and all kinds of people that are coming to property management companies for help and solutions.
A lot of companies think that this communication or the relationships can be automated and it just can’t. Of course, there are tools, systems to automate a lot of things in the property management business, however, what happens to those relationships over time is a struggle because there’s less interaction, there’s less actual human connection. A lot of people will get into the property management business and heavily discount their services in order to grow their business and be it to be able to compete and have some sort of value offering, and rather than creating value by having a great service or having different programs that people can sign up for, they create value by discounting their differentiators and discounting their service.
The problem that creates is when they discount their service and they start scaling and needing to hire people, they don’t have the revenue to support the people that they need to bring into the business. So what ends up happening as they start growing this business, where there are too many properties for the people in the business to manage, and they start having this really heavy workload. So the staff can’t return calls cause there are too many, they can’t return emails because there’s too many and the staff will actually get so burnt out because of that, that they’ll quit. Creating a turnover, which means that the property management company owner has to start over again and they have to start recruiting because they have such high turnover.
This is one of the biggest problems that we have in the property management industry: employee turnover. And it’s solvable if the business owner simply looks at what are the fees they need to charge to support a scalable business and a sustainable business over time.
So how does this differ for Keyrenter? in our business model at Keyrenter Salt Lake? the one thing that we start with is we charge reasonable value-based fees that are not the most expensive and we’re not price gouging by any means, but we’re also not discounting because we need to make sure that we can hire the people we need to hire to have a sustainable business model because the property owners who sign up for our services, they’re not looking to have a company in place only for six months or a year that just doesn’t make sense for them. It’s a bigger decision than that. They want to have a partner that they can grow their portfolio with so that’s what we strive to be. We charge reasonable fees that help us sustain the business and allows us to hire the people we need to have.
Most property management companies have anywhere between 85 to 125 units under management for every person in their company. So say there’s a company of 500 properties or units under management. It’s not uncommon to have a company staffed with only four or five people to manage those 500 properties. The challenge is: you might have two of those people being leasing agents. And then one of those people being an accounting or billing person who is not actually directly managing the properties, same with the leasing people, that leaves you with only one property manager, maybe two that are actually managing those 500 properties. Managing the maintenance requests, the calls, the emails, it’s just too much to sustain a business, but that’s the norm in our industry.
We’ve strived to change that by having no more than 40 to 50 units and properties under management for every person on the team, that way we’ve got enough bandwidth within the team to handle things as they come up. To communicate, call, schedule meetings and give adequate time and attention to property owners and to residents. It also allows them to take vacations, take a day off, not get burned out so that they want to quit because they’re doing too much work and are not able to have any sort of relief.
That is the number one reason for the number one complaint and it’s solvable. So if you’re in property management and you want to hop on the phone with me to talk about how we structure the business, or if you’re a property owner or resident, we’re happy to talk to you. We can see how we can provide solutions for any issues you have. We’d love to have you get to know our team and what makes us different by clicking here and you can learn about what we’re all about.