If you looked back at the property management industry over the last decade with skepticism, you might think that many things haven’t changed. We still rent properties, collect rent, chase up tenant debt, and organize maintenance. But in fact, we do this now with much more precision, approaching it from many different angles, that all work in synergy to deliver a quality service to our clients and build ongoing relationships with both our tenants and our clients.
I walked into a property management business in Sydney Australia, only last year to find what looked like a regional document archive facility. Property managers had piles of paper on their desks that were higher than their heads. They had a large compactus that stored years of property files that was so full they were now stacking the files in boxes on top of the compactus. Digging around further, I found a paper dairy on the front counter that was used to record phone messages, complete with the pen attached to a piece of string. It was like I had stepped back in time. Mostly this is an isolated case but what it does emphasize is the need for a property management business to embrace change, introduce technology and allow systems to evolve as the industry matures.
I’ve always been pro-technology. I’m not exactly an early adopter though. However, once I see how technology can improve the efficiency in business, I’m usually quick on the uptake. Technology has had a significant impact on the property management industry, creating efficiency in just about all areas. Tenant booking systems, electronic delivery, and signing of documents, automatic rent management, tenant maintenance apps and online portals for our clients to be continuously up to date on their investment.
Like with many of my blogs, what I’m delivering here is not new information. I guess the context on which I am offering it is more the challenge. We owe it to ourselves to ensure that our business continues to evolve with new technology. It’s not enough to introduce a new inspection app or maintenance app. We need to consider how these new technologies impact our business. Do they increase work efficiency? Do they increase profit? Do they allow our team to work in a safer environment and do we allow these new tools to produce a better quality transparent service to our client? One can be too liberal with technology and you find team members are having to re-enter data numerous times into varying different database or the app takes longer to do the job than doing it by hand. A property management business needs to seek change while being sensitive to its impact.
Look back over the last five years that you have been doing business. Has it changed? Are you now offering new services because of access to improved technologies? Have you achieved a profitability and efficiency increase with these technologies and have you considered the effect, both positive and negative, that these new technologies are having on your team and your clients?