10 Industry Experts on How to Start a Property Management Company

10 Industry Experts on How to Start a Property Management Company

What are the top tips when you’re growing or starting a property management company? We pulled aside 10 industry experts at the recent CALNARPM show and this is what they told us:

1. Kathleen, The Property Management Coach – on Starting Out:

From a coaching perspective, you need to know what kind of 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.

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, HQVirtualU.com – on Choosing a Property Management 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.

How To Start a Property Management Company4. Lynn, Kimball, Tirey & St. John – on Legal Protection:

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:

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. 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:

My best tip for starting a property management company is to embrace education as a marketing tool. A lot of times, 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 is with a fantastic website and an awesome Google+ page. 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 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 the Sale: A 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.

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. Property management is a people business and a 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 management owners to be aggressive in conveying their value propositions to people like real estate agents, where there is a great opportunity for a mutual partnership.

This is what successful leaders have to say about starting and growing a property management business. If you have any questions, or something to add, contact us at Fourandhalf – Internet Marketing for Property Managers.

 Recommended Follow-Up Reading from Fourandhalf:

Alex Osenenko

About Alex Osenenko

Alex’s professional mission in life is to help small businesses grow and thrive. Alex is the President and CEO of Fourandhalf.com and a Co-Founder of the PM Grow, Inc. His business philosophy is simple: Happy Customers are created by Happy Employees, which results in Happy Shareholders. Alex's deep commitment to entrepreneurship and improving the lives of small business owners everywhere empower him to host “The Property Management Show” bi-weekly Podcast and speak internationally on the subjects of Growth, Marketing, Sales, and Entrepreneurship.


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Alex Osenenko
President and CEO

Alex’s professional mission in life is to help small businesses grow and thrive. He is the President and CEO of Fourandhalf.com and is serving his 5th year on the Board of Directors for CALNARPM.

After spending 9 years in the trenches with his property management clients, Alex draws on his experience to host “The Property Management Show” Podcast and co-authors a weekly Property Management Blog on Fourandhalf.com. Alex has extensive experience speaking for various NARPM events at the local, state, regional and national level.

Alex is a graduate of San Francisco State University with an Electronic Commerce Systems Degree. His business philosophy is simple: Happy Customers are created by Happy Employees, which results in Happy Shareholders. Alex serves on the Board of Directors of CALNARPM (California Chapter of National Association of Residential Property Managers) and hosts a Podcast “The Property Management Show“, available on iTunes.


John Bykowski
Chief Operating Officer

After graduating from the University of Michigan with a film degree, John proceeded to do everything but. During his career, John has specialized in operations and has developed processes for small companies in diverse industries, such as bleeding-edge marketing technology, social networking, trade shows and exhibitions, and cloud software. John and Alex had worked together previously, and when he needed someone to help take Fourandhalf to the next level and beyond, Alex brought in John as his first employee, and later, business partner.

In addition, now that he’s using his film school know-how to help property managers look their best in their blogs, his mom no longer feels his degree was a complete waste of time.

Danny Morris
Director of Account Management

Born in Australia and growing up in Israel, Danny has spent a lot of time traveling the world between those two places. After completing his military service in Israel, Danny began following his biggest passion, writing, which he discovered while backpacking South America and publishing his first book.

When it was time to unpack, he returned to Australia to complete his Journalism studies amongst the beaches of sunny Perth. Danny is a huge online fan and after working in a number of related jobs, he finally gets to combine his two favorite things, working with media and people.

Marina Osenenko
Product Manager

Marina draws upon her real estate, business operations and customer service expertise for Fourandhalf. Her favorite part of being with Fourandhalf is the opportunity she has to really get to know our clients, build professional customer relationships and truly be part of a team that assists in their success.

Her time away from work is happily spent watching her children grow up and attempting to keep up with them! Any spare moments beyond nurturing her children are filled with hiking, spending time with friends, exploring the Bay Area and squeezing in a non G-rated movie every now and then.

Marie Liamzon
Product and Marketing Manager

Before joining Fourandhalf, Marie worked for one of the largest banks in the world. She took on different roles, but couldn’t find what she was looking for. She pursued a variety of side projects until she finally decided it was time for a career change.

Marie is very passionate about helping people and learning new things. In her spare time, you might catch her exploring new places and taking far too many pictures.

Kyle McLean
Customer Success

Born in San Diego County, Kyle McLean has since migrated to the Oakland woods. A fan of tall trees and tall tales, he holds a bachelor’s degree from the creative writing program at the University of California, Riverside and is a licensed California Certified Shorthand Reporter.

After a few years as a freelance court reporter, Kyle has joined Fourandhalf for an opportunity in sales and digital marketing. In addition to reading and writing, his hobbies and interests include gardening, hiking, soccer, coffee brewing, and craft beers.

Karen Wyle
Account Management

Originally from the Philadelphia area, Karen moved eight times in seventeen years all over the East Coast and to the Midwest before settling here in Northern California six years ago. She is an alumna of Brandeis University with a BA in American Studies and earned a MBA in Marketing Management from Indiana University in Bloomington. Karen’s business career has been well-rounded, with experience including advertising, direct marketing, corporate retail, product management, new product development, and new customer generation. Beyond an office setting, she has been thrilled to volunteer her time giving back to the community with KPMG’s Family for Literacy, at her daughter’s school, and as a Girl Scout Troop Leader. Karen enjoys music, good food, traveling to new places, completing jigsaw puzzles, meeting people and making connections.

Karen became a part of Fourandhalf’s Account Management team in 2016, relaunching her marketing management career after a pause to raise her family. She is excited to rejoin the business world and to work with such a strong marketing management team.

Paige DeRuyter
Account Management

Paige graduated from Chico State University with a degree in Journalism. Her favorite part of working at Fourandhalf is helping clients create and produce educational blog content to grow their business. She is an avid sushi enthusiast who enjoys riding her bike and watching college football and in her free time.

Nissim Boozaglo
Web Hosting Support

After working as a Radioshack store manager, Nissim decided to change his career path and pursue his passion for music production by getting his B.A.S. from Expression College for the Digital Arts. Nissim has a beautiful 8-year-old girl and loves cooking delicious homemade food and going camping with her! At Fourandhalf, Nissim is responsible for the implementation of the clients’ Landing Pages and Google Adwords campaigns.

Theresa Barnes
Campaign Director

Theresa Barnes was born and raised in the Bay Area and graduated with her Bachelors Degree in Communications Studies at San Francisco State University. She worked in aviation at a private FBO for 3 years, and other industries, before joining the Fourandhalf team. She finds a balance between being a young mother, work, and living a healthy lifestyle outside of work by staying as active as possible. She is dedicated to customer satisfaction and having a great work ethic.

Brittany Stephens
Campaign Director

Brittany recently moved to the Bay area after graduating from California State University Chico with a degree in Business Marketing. She is known for her excellent communication, customer service skills, and shameless nerdyness. Her passions include: music, tabasco, Lord of the Rings, and the Golden State Warriors.

Logan Jones
Business Development

After graduating from CSU Chico with a Degree in Business Marketing, Logan moved back to the East Bay and pursued a career in sales. With an attention to detail and a relentless drive, he strives to improve himself and his passions each day. When not at work Logan enjoys playing guitar and writing songs, and occasionally performing around the Bay Area. He is an avid sports fan keeping up with everything SF Giants, 49ers, Cal Bears, and Golden State Warriors.

Hope Lumbley
Account Management

Hope recently moved to the Bay Area after graduating from Chico State University with a degree in Journalism. She is coffee crazed, dog obsessed and hopes to visit all National Parks. One of the greatest times in her life was when she lived abroad in Costa Rica and hopes to travel more of Central America in the future. She feels blessed to work for a company who supports her love for travel and the need to learn more about what the world has to offer.

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