- Get time back by balancing both onsite effectiveness (adequate staffing, customer service) and technology that makes the leasing process less complicated.
- Industry experts have found that the appetite for truly seamless, holistic solutions is growing and shows no sign of stopping in the near future.
- Time exercises can be a fun and collaborative way to see where you can make room in the leasing cycle.
Build more time into your property’s budget with strategies that eliminate technology overload and simplify your leasing process.
If you ask the average property manager what they want most for their workday—time is usually at the top of the list.
In this last part of our budget series, “Money, Effort, Time: Building a better property marketing budget,” we’ll walk through ways to make space in your schedule. This is possible by balancing both onsite effectiveness (adequate staffing, customer service) and technology that makes the leasing process less complicated.
Time is driving the next big shift in the rental industry
Prop tech has entered a new phase. Tech adoption is high and there’s an influx of point solutions available. Yet, managing multiple single-point technology tools can often mean added complications for property teams. Industry experts have found that the appetite for truly seamless, holistic solutions is growing.
The challenge facing the industry now is as more options are available and needs are identified, the complexity of administering all the "solutions" has increased. Much like the advent of computers didn't actually decrease the hours an average person worked per week, as had been forecasted in the 1950s, technology makes it possible to do far more in the same time and budget.
In his Entrepreneur article on the future of Prop Tech (property technology), Rent. CEO, Jon Ziglar commented on this trend. Multifamily technology leaders have opportunities to disrupt the industry by offering easier, better experiences for leasing teams. This will lead to fewer integrations needed, less complexity, and higher efficiency. There are a ton of available options that empower properties to do this.
Three quick wins for property teams:
1. Intuitive, organized communication
Digital communication tools (virtual assistants, email support, web chat) can instantly save time for your onsite teams. But centralized communication platforms take it a step further. They save time for your teams over the long term by keeping track of the many interactions you have with residents—over a variety of communication channels and throughout the entire leasing lifecycle. The key is finding platforms that can be used to communicate with renters from the time they submit a lead form to when they are ready to renew a lease. Look for solutions that offer virtual leasing services and also enable two-way text or email, and facilitate emergency maintenance requests all from one platform. You’ll also want simple setup options when it is time to actually create content. Many communication tools also offer templates and libraries to house your property’s branded materials.
2. New ways of audience targeting that are worth it
To stretch your marketing dollars as far as possible, you want to enlist as specific as targeting as possible. However, that can be tricky to do while maintaining FHA compliance. New methods of advertising like geofencing, and tapping into third-party data sources for ads for search and social help properties stretch their budgets further. With geofencing, you can reach people who are interested in your property’s location right when they enter the area. With targeted ads for search and social, you can reach renters who have actively searched on rental marketplaces. Many of these solutions can also be set up in as little as 24 hours, and integrate with your property listings.
3. Prioritize reporting and uncover areas of improvement
Avoid repeating the same mistakes and find out where you can improve performance with reporting. This can be helpful when reviewing your property’s marketing KPIs, maintenance analysis and other performance data. When looking to save time, seek out solutions that come with user-friendly reporting and performance dashboards if possible. You can also review your current tech stack to ensure you’re using the analysis tools available.
Gain control of your schedule with time exercises
Time exercises can be a fun and collaborative way to see where you can make room in the leasing cycle. Whether it’s a quick conversation or a more comprehensive review, looking at your schedule in a new light can help you coordinate next steps. You can do this individually or connect with your broader team. Here are a few exercises that can help:
A time audit: Think about the types of tasks you typically work on. For example, this can be broken down by marketing activities, resident requests, administrative work, and third-party vendor management. Write down the average time you (or your team) spend per day or per week in each category. Then, outline the ideal amount of time you would like to spend in each.
Categories that have the highest gaps are areas where you have the biggest opportunity. If you’re not sure or want a more accurate outlook, you can use time-tracking tools throughout the day to total up the hours you spend on certain tasks.
Team check-ins: While some property teams may divvy out a variety of tasks equally, others have more specific roles that each team member thrives in. When looking at time savings, a good first step is to simply know how your team is functioning. Whether individually or in a group, reflect on your team. Jot down a rough idea of what everyone’s roles are and how it plays into the schedule.
As a bonus (and if you feel comfortable discussing with your team), you can then brainstorm new ways to delegate. For example, you may prefer having dedicated time to work on administrative work in the morning while your coworker handles phones and emails. Or, one team member may be a rockstar with tours and resident requests but often loses time for other tasks that you are more interested in. If there are certain tasks that everyone has difficulty making time for, these may be areas where third-party resources could be a good next step.
As with all aspects of your property’s budget, balance is the key to success. Building the best budget is a process that can require a bit of reflection, research and new solutions. But saving valuable time, effort and money is worth it.
In parts one and two of the budget series, we talked about the importance of marketing spend and supporting your onsite teams. Be sure to check those out if you haven’t already, and happy savings.