Some property managers get started in this industry just to make a little money on the side. But when work gets serious, professional tools are needed for marketing, accounting, screening and reporting. So, at what point should you consider property management software? We consulted with experts who say there are telltale signs it’s time to start the conversation:
- Your business tools don’t connect
- It’s getting difficult to scale your business
- Tenants are requesting online payments
- Maintenance tracking is getting cumbersome
Your property marketing, leasing & operations tools don’t connect
For a property manager with just a few doors, it’s probably not that difficult to list each home/unit manually and manage the books with basic spreadsheet software. At some point, though, frustrations begin to mount. Each property’s photos and information need to be updated as well, often across multiple listing sites. The spreadsheet accounting software needs to be manually updated, and with more properties to tend to, this becomes more of a hassle. Tenant screening is likewise managed on another system.
In a nutshell, few of these systems “talk” to each other, and interfacing problems are common for ones that claim to. As problems mount and busywork increases, you’ll sense that it may be time for property management software.
Many first-time property management software users make their move once repetitive tasks begin taking up a considerable amount of time. Some try to hold out until it’s virtually impossible to get things done on time, but needless to say, they’re much happier once they get a lot of that wasted time back.
Related reading: Owner Reporting Made Simple For Property Managers
It’s difficult to scale your business
Property management software is a way of future-proofing your business. Even if you’re a one-person management company, the right software makes it easier to scale up and seamlessly manage properties, tenants, owners and investors in a single system.
This is more than just a way to simplify your tasks and routines: Investors and owners want to know their property manager has everything covered, so impress them by becoming an expert on the latest software.
Tenants want to pay rent online
Electronic rent payments are now nearly as common as mobile phones. (Not quite, but we’re getting there!) We spoke with Yardi Breeze Sales Manager Dustin Dalee to find out what property managers are most interested in. He said, “Online payments are one of the biggest asks, especially from companies without software.”
If you’re really looking to go the extra mile for tenants, property management software is a much better choice than payment apps like PayPal and Venmo. While those apps make it easy to collect rent online, property management software will also:
- Automatically update your AR accounting
- Create a permanent record of each payment
- Streamline fee assessments, security deposits, follow-ups, etc.
Maintenance tracking is becoming a pain point
Small property management businesses might not need maintenance tracking software … at first. The tenant calls or emails with a complaint, the manager calls the vendor, the vendor does their work and it all happens quickly and to everyone’s great satisfaction.
But that scenario isn’t the case for many property managers.
The process of tracking work orders can break down in a heartbeat. If you’re tracking multiple vendors for a single job or dealing with several requests at once, property management software becomes a must-have tool to keep things organized.
When tenants can enter maintenance requests online, you get:
- Photos of every issue (which tenants can upload via smartphones)
- The ability to assign vendors within the platform
- Real-time status updates for every order
- Complete digital records kept in one place
So, when should you get property management software?
If any of the above conditions apply to you, property management software may be right for your business. There’s nothing to lose in asking software providers for a free demo! There are a lot of options out there, so consider the following factors before making a final decision:
- What is the company’s reputation?
- Do they offer support via live chat as well as online resources?
- Can you trust their accounting software?
- Are the features you want built in, or do they require third-party integration?
- Is the software cloud-based?
- Can you restrict user access to protect sensitive data?
- Are they able to help your business scale over time?
- Do they help with data transfers and setup?
- Is pricing competitive and appropriate for your needs?
We’ve given you a lot to think about, but it’s for a reason! Choosing property management software is one of the most important business decisions you’re going to make. Choose wisely and it can also be one of the best.