Wondering how to start a property management company? Or looking to grow your property management business? Starting or growing your own property management company can be overwhelming. However, the right knowledge can make all the difference, and who better to ask than 10 industry experts.
That’s why we pulled aside 10 property management experts at a CALNARPM show to ask them “what are your top tips when you’re growing or starting a property management company?”
1. Kathleen, The Property Management Coach – on Starting Your Property Management Business:
From a coaching perspective, you need to know what kind of property management business you want to have. That way you can focus your priorities on how you want to build that business. If you accept anything that comes along, you’ll be all over the place. Have really clear roles, know where you want to go, be clear and then you can grow your business.
Fourandhalf Note: For example, if you accept a management contract for any house offered, in any area, you’ll work much harder than if you specialized in one area, client type, or property type. This will help you define yourself as a company, and make your path to growth and success much clearer. It’s often good to start out with a property management business plan, to keep your goals and priorities clear. Once your property management company focuses in on clear goals instead of taking on just any and all potential clients, you’ll be able to scale easier. For more information on choosing the right property owner clients for your own property management company, check out this blog.
2. Cheryl, Chase Pacific Property Management – on Perspective:
My father always said that if you’re going to start your own business, you need three things:
- Knowledge of your business
- Some financial backing
- A good home life
Specific to property management, you need to know the business and have some experience with a good mentor. It’s a great industry, and you have to understand that it’s competitive. Don’t think you need to go out there and get every transaction and win every appointment. There is enough business for everyone, so keep going and have a positive attitude. People will trust you and want to do business with you.
Fourandhalf Note: Cheryl is also the president-elect of CALNARPM.
3. Noel, YesVirtual – on Choosing a Property Management Company Name:
I think in the real estate business, it’s crucial to tell people in your name what you do. It’s hard in real estate to find names that are available that have “house,” “home,” “property” in it, but you have to be innovative and try to get a word in your business name so when people are searching around, they know exactly who you are.
If your business name sounds like an attorney, they’ll think you are lawyers. You want them to know you’re a real estate agent and in the business. They should be able to tell what business you’re in when they hear the name of your company.
Fourandhalf Note: This also pertains to Real Estate agencies getting into the Property Management business. It may be perfectly legal to manage properties under “Bob’s Real Estate,” but “Property Management Experts,” Executive Rental Homes,” or even, “SuperAwesomeHomes4Rent” immediately lets a lead know what your primary business focus is. See our blog on this very topic: Guide to Choosing a Property Management Company Name.
4. Lynn, Kimball, Tirey & St. John – on Legal Protection for Property Managers:
Document everything. From the first contact you have with an applicant all the way through to the termination of a tenancy. The more documentation you have,the better prepared you are to defend yourself if you are caught up in litigation or if you have to go after the tenant for the security deposit. Document, document, document.
Fourandhalf Note: In addition, store those documents securely, whether their paper or electronic. Have backups, store files in online servers like Dropbox or similar services.
5. Calvin, Tenant Turner – Leveraging Technology and Property Management Software:
Find ways to leverage technology and different tools in the industry to make your day to day more efficient. Many brokers and owners use the more traditional method of hiring more team members, but many times you can take the technology you have and manage more properties with it. There are many different types of property management software out there that may be able to do what you need without you having to hire an additional staff member. Use what you have to combine responsibilities for one person rather than just making additional hires.
6. Tory, Yardi Systems – on Tenants:
Take care of your tenants. In the eight years I’ve been at Yardi, my clients have liked being able to offer different tools for their tenants and keeping their tenants happy. That’s what has made them successful and given them the opportunity to grow. You need the right tool for the right job, so you can offer tenants mobile access and keep everything easy and on the go. They will stay in your apartment or community for longer. When the tenants are happy, your occupancy stays up and cash flow comes in.
7. Nitu, Fourandhalf.com – on Marketing a Property Management Company:
My best tip for how to start a property management company is to embrace education as a marketing tool. A lot of times, property owners and landlords hesitate to hire a property manager because it’s someone they don’t know and they are handing over their most valuable asset. Embrace education through videos, blogs, or when someone calls in to ask a question about a specific situation. The more help you can provide, the more business you’ll get. You can sell to a client and get that client today, but if you help a client, you get them for life.
8. Dave, Kohva – on Your Property Management Website:
The best way to grow your business as a property manager is with a fantastic website. If your website is great and it gets found, you’ll have a lot of credibility and people will be willing to hire you. Within that website, have a property management specific landing page for whichever area or areas you do business in, and make sure it contains a lead form where a customer can contact you. So your site has to get found, it has to look awesome and it has to give your customers an easy way to contact you..
Fourandhalf Note: This is so important – remember, that in any location, there are a limited number of contracts to be had, so there are a limited number of leads to go around. Your website is your best and most cost-effective tool for closing business – as long as your website is designed attract views and quickly get leads to a page that speaks to them and makes it easy and desirable for them to contact you.
9. Jordan, LeadSimple – on Closing Owners:
My advice is to start with the building blocks of sales and marketing. Make sure you have a pitch and a good follow up process. Be able to explain how you stand out, and how you understand the needs of your potential clients and customers. Have a great discovery process, ask good questions, and really get to understand a person’s pain points. Address those pain points as well as possible, and after your initial conversation, have a scripted process that lays down how you will follow up – and what communication will look like. Instead of rewriting emails every time, work on having some well-crafted email templates and put your best foot forward every time.
Fourandhalf Note: Download The Art of Winning the Sale: A Sales Process for Property Managers and get your sales process squared away using vetted industry best practices.
10. Jock, Alliance Property Management – on Fast Growth:
Our company has grown 30 percent in the last two years by belonging to great property management associations like NARPM and investing in our property management marketing strategies. That means spending money on a great website, blogging, Google Ads, working with good marketing partners, and being quick to respond to leads. Building a reputation is really important; you want people to know about you before you talk to them. So, invest in creating a great brand for your property management company.
Bonus – Tony, Ground Floor Property Management – on Your Network:
[Excerpt from our interview with Tony LeBlanc] Tony called all the Realtor friends he worked with previously and used his relationships and connections to quickly establish himself. There was a snowball effect from picking up the phone and letting people know he was in business. The property management industry is a people and relationship business. It’s hard to earn new business sitting in the office. Go out and meet every Realtor in town and anyone associated with the rental business. Connect and create relationships to increase the amount of business you’re doing.
Fourandhalf note: We were at the recent Inman Connect San Francisco 2017 – Real Estate Conference, where high-powered real estate agents meet to stay ahead of the industry. Of the real estate agents we spoke to, the majority of them did not have a relationship with any of the property management companies in their community. It is important for property managers to be aggressive in conveying their value propositions to people like real estate agents, where there is a great opportunity for a mutual partnership.
Starting a property management company can be challenging, but with the help of expert tips, it can become less daunting and more manageable. The advice given by industry experts at the CALNARPM conference can help aspiring property managers establish and grow their property management businesses successfully. The key takeaways from these experts include having a clear vision of the type of property management business you want (we recommend formally writing this down in a business plan!), knowing the industry, documenting everything for legal protection, leveraging technology and property management software, taking care of tenants, embracing education as a marketing tool, having a great website, building relationships and networks, and investing in property management marketing strategies. By following these tips, property managers can create a successful business and establish themselves in the property management industry.
This is just some of the amazing advice we got from these 10 property management business owners. There’s plenty more to learn about how to start a property management company or grow your existing property management business, but following these tips should get you off to an amazing start.
Still have questions about how to start a property management company? Something to add? Or just any questions about marketing for your property management business, contact us at Fourandhalf – Digital Marketing for Property Managers.
Recommended Follow-Up Reading from Fourandhalf:
- 5 Best Cities to Start a Property Management Company in 2017
- Property Management Organizational Structures
- All You Need to Know About Property Management Marketing