Many Managing Agents today try to overcome day-to-day challenges and issues by using typical property management tools to manage and grow their businesses. It is becoming increasingly difficult and almost impossible. This world is changing fast and property managers are waking up to the fact that technology can enhance their services, value offering, and save them time and money. But which tech-solution is the right one? There are many property management software solutions to choose from, but most of them are not 100% built and developed for the purpose of end-to-end property management. Many of the current solutions available still require the property manager to find alternative systems to manage compliance, or finances or operations on a global level and across all communities. Here’s the thing: If you really want to grow and scale your business this year, overcome these 12 daily challenges with the right tools:
1. You struggle to track important KPIs because you are using multiple tools and solutions
While financial services are the backbone of Property Management, there’s a lot more to successfully managing a community than just keeping record of the books. From compliance, to maintenance, to rule enforcement, to issuing transfer clearance certificates, etc., Managing Agents are responsible for a whole range of processes. As a result, most Property Management businesses are having to use a range of different – and often costly – solutions in addition to their financial software packages. Unfortunately, using multiple disparate solutions makes accurately tracking KPIs across workflows nearly impossible, and keeping tabs on the health and growth of your business and portfolios is extremely difficult as a result.
2. It’s almost impossible to see global overviews of monthly tasks because your tools are unintegrated and offline
How often do you find yourself curious to know how far your team is on completing month-end processes, interest runs, arrears admin, billing, transfers, meeting minutes, cash book uploads and communications? We hope you have a few hours to spare, because unless you’re using the right system, your best chance of success is going to be speaking to each and every stakeholder for a personal update. Needless to say this makes it difficult to monitor staff performance without micro-managing, and keeping an eye on the kind of service your customers are getting. So, by using multiple, incompatible, offline solutions, it will very difficult to get any kind of overview.
3. Lack of accessible data makes it impossible for you to spot trend-based community issues or opportunities
A good property manager can use information and data pulled from communities to spot trends, issues and opportunities. Trustees and directors value this feedback and guidance. While most property have great intentions to do so, they simply don’t have the tools to give them insight into what happening in their world, and report on it. Not having a central solution used by all departments or stakeholders makes it very difficult to get information on community trends like the number of transfers taking place, sales price movements, warnings issued, and repeat maintenance tasks. Without this data, it’s impossible to spot the underlying problems or opportunities These insights are often the difference between adding real value, or not.
4. You’re struggling to adapt to the ever-changing regulatory environment
As we’ve all seen over the last couple of years, Property Management industry regulations are subject to changes that can involve some significant adjustments to normal workflows. This can really mess with productivity when the tools you’re using don’t accommodate these adjustments – something a lot of businesses learned when they found their generic financial packages couldn’t handle the new reserve fund requirement, for example. There are, of course, workarounds that can be implemented, but when changes occur on a regular basis, these workarounds are seldom effective.
5. You spend an enormous amount of time and resources booking meetings with trustees
Anyone who has ever had to coordinate a meeting between multiple, busy professionals in a variety of industries will tell you that it’s a lot like herding cats. The same is true of organising meetings with trustees to get sign-off on important tasks. This typically takes hours of back-and-forth emails and almost invariably includes accidental double-bookings, miscommunications, and mis-assigned resources like meeting venues. This is a huge source of frustration for everyone involved, and only gets worse when meetings are booked last minute in response to emergency situations or urgent deadlines. The time consuming nature of these simple tasks are often the reason why many property managers cannot scale their business.
6. You find it extremely time-consuming to keep trustees adequately informed
Keeping trustees fully informed of all community-management related events, tasks and responsibilities is extremely time intensive and most Managing agents struggle to do so. Trustees expect feedback and struggle to value your services if you don’t give adequate feedback. Because traditional Property Management reports are typically limited to financials only, that often leaves a host of other details to catch up on during trustee meetings, which often balloon to several hours as a result.
7. Many of the minuted action points often fall through the cracks after meetings and don’t get done at all
An important part of taking meeting minutes is recording the action points decided by the parties present. Sadly, these action points often get forgotten and gather dust in a filing cabinet somewhere after the minutes have been sent to and approved by the trustees. This almost always leads to a last minute scramble before meetings to try and save some face and come up with quick fix answers.
8. Getting formal payment signoff from trustees is time- and labour-intensive
Getting formal supplier payment approval from trustees is a vital part of any Managing Agent’s role, but few would argue that the “compile > email > print > sign > scan > email back > process > file” procedure is efficient in any way. In fact, it’s so time-consuming and fiddly (particularly if additional queries are involved) that many trustees are tempted to skip the process altogether, opting for verbal approvals that leave them vulnerable to fraud and auditing discrepancies.
9. There is very little or poor inter-departmental collaboration and it creates bottlenecks and potential compliance gaps
To deal with the increased workload and regulations, most Property Management businesses have had to separate their workflows into various departments. These departments need to work together seamlessly to ensure communities are properly managed and portfolio managers can effectively oversee their teams. However, a lack of transparency between departments – usually caused by poor communications and incompatible systems – makes effective collaboration nearly impossible for most teams. This inevitably creates bottlenecks as departments wait for information from one-another, and can result in missed deadlines and important actions slipping through the cracks.
10. Staff turnover is extremely disruptive and vital information is often lost
With workloads spread across various departments and multiple tools, the majority of community and progress information in a typical Property Management company resides inside the heads of the employees doing the work. When one of those employees decides to move on to greener pastures, that information is very often lost the moment they walk out the door.
Needless to say, that makes it very difficult (and time-consuming) for new employees to pick up where others left off, and can create serious compliance gaps, and continuity issues for clients. This can result in clients leaving based on the incorrect assumption that previous service excellence originated from the departing agent, rather than your business as a whole.
11. You over rely on accurate staff feedback to spot problems and issues
Humans are not the most reliable of sources – not only are we prone to accidental errors, we also tend to fudge the truth a little to make ourselves look good. That’s a big problem for managers who have to rely on reports from staff to spot problems (both internally and within communities). It also forces a reactive management style that limits their ability to add value
12. You’re really struggle to attract top quality staff due to poor profit margins
Let’s face it: profit margins in traditional Property Management businesses are slim, and there’s not much salary opportunity for managers given the amount of work they do to earn their monthly pay. In an ideal world, trustees would help shoulder the daily management burden, but without access to operational and financial information, this is rarely practical.
As a result, talented staff are often difficult to attract and retain without sufficient financial incentives.
Are you struggling with any or all of these areas? Are you tired of the pressure and stress these are causing you and our staff. Are you clients expecting more from you and questioning your value? Are you perhaps using the wrong solution, but expecting better results? Perhaps is time to upgrade to the most advanced end-to-end property management solution in South Africa.
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