Like just about every other industry, property management has seen major technological advancements in recent years, and it’s crucial for us to make sure our service adopts the most efficient tools available to it. But in truth, the quality of a property management company doesn’t hinge on technology—it comes down to principle. Much of what I recommend for property management professionals revolves around the simple, old-fashioned concept of going above and beyond for clients, not just meeting expectations but exceeding them. So I decided to put that idea front-and-center in this article, collecting a few of the practices I’ve highlighted before and detailing new ones to show five ways to go above and beyond for clients.
1. Walk Every Unit with the Owner
In my article on transitioning new clients successfully, I stressed the importance of this practice with an anecdote about walking a unit whose balcony door actually opened to a three-story drop, because they’d removed the balcony but left the door. This is, by no means, the only outrageous thing I’ve found in my routine inspections. I’ve come across smoke detectors dangling from wires, bathtubs filling and draining continuously because of unmentioned leaks, and tenants heating their entire apartments with lit stove burners because they didn’t want to go to the trouble of reporting a broken heater. Walk each unit every six months and document it for proof.
2. Review the Owner’s Insurance
In another article on winning strategies for managers, I mentioned looking at all clients’ insurance policies for them, to make sure that they’re getting the right insurance at the best possible price. Check to see if the owner has the correct insurance for their property type. This is one unconventional way to protect clients’ profits and increase their peace of mind.
3. Pick Up the Phone Live 24/7
We all know how tedious and frustrating it can be to call a phone number repeatedly and receive no answer. That’s because companies across all industries have come to accept this low standard of customer service. To spare clients and tenants the frustration of a message machine, be sure that all calls get answered live, even after business hours. Hire somebody in-office whose main job is to answer phones and even consider hiring a service for after-hours emergencies. You should never manage more clients than you can serve at the highest level.
4. Review the Owner’s Statement with Them
Set an appointment with all new owners to review their statement. For property owners, transitioning rental units into new management may seem like a daunting and disorienting task. One way to go above and beyond and ease their concerns is to welcome them into your company family by personally reviewing their first statement with them, detailing all of the items on it one at a time. They deserve to know exactly what they’re paying for, and this process helps foster an atmosphere of open communication with them.
5. Learn the Owner’s Ideal Level of Involvement
One hallmark of uncommon quality in a property management company is the willingness to personalize management services to meet and exceed a client’s needs. One-size-fits-all really fits none, so find out exactly what level of involvement the client wants and fit your service to them. Every property owner is different – we’ve found that some take particular pride in the design of their units, and others want to keep one individual point of contact for all their dealings with your company. Some want nothing to do with the day-to-day minutiae of managing their property, while others want to choose the color of every tile installed. Show your clients that you value their individual input by catering your service to involve them as they wish to be involved.
If you’re a property manager, you’ll find in time that consistently going above and beyond for your clients leads to the most beneficial long-term professional relationships. If you take pride in your work, implement these practices to elevate it.
David Crown is the C.E.O. of Los Angeles Property Management Group, and has over twenty-five years of experience managing all types of income properties. A hands-on leader who has managed properties in 16 states, Mr. Crown has been asked to serve as an expert witness in property management matters, and currently serves on the Forbes Real Estate Council. He can be reached directly at (818) 646-8151.