Article Credit- this article is based on The 5 S’s by Bob Walters.
As a national property management consultant, you have the privilege to visit and be part of fantastic and powerful property management departments all over the country.
One thing I noticed very early is that a great department doesn’t just happen- it’s deliberate! No department has ever been successful by chance! No department has ever evolved into anything really worthwhile without key strategies in place to make it happen!
The essential keys
So what are these essential keys of a great property management department? Let’s take a look:
Leadership – Every great property management department is driven by a leader who is passionate about property management, imparts quality time into their team and inspires and trains each member to succeed. This leader does not spend all their time resourcing and driving their sales department at the expense of their rental department. Though I believe property management departments can be run by principals and managers overseeing sales and property management, great departments are run by managers and principals with their main focus on property management.
On the other hand, principals with little to no interest in their departments will never have property management success! Their departments will simply exist from crisis to crisis and be painfully unprofitable! If the head is not connected to the body, the body cannot survive or function!
Systemisation – Every procedure is recorded in detail in checklists and a step-by-step format, and each procedure has policies or rules that each department member must abide by. Everyone is trained and kept accountable for these processes. Everything revolves around procedures, checklists and policies. The better the department, the more stringent they are with the keeping of these procedures and policies.
This is also closely shadowed by stringent time management systems. Following a finely tuned ideal week structure, working days are broken into time blocks that perform just one major procedure like repairs, application processing and rent arrears etc. Only these processes are done in this allocated time block bringing greater productivity and efficiency.
Strategies – Every great department has a plan and strategy on how they will go to the next level. Careful planning and strategy in key areas like systems, technology, training, staffing, business development, and profitability are factored so that no part of the department is neglected.
Standards – like following ‘the ten commandments’ all processes have standards written and recorded, given to clients in writing and has also a guarantee hinged on its performance. Covering application processing, repairs handling, communication, office hours etc standards are set. For example, stating to clients that their calls will be returned within 4 hours, or that their property will be uploaded onto the internet within 24 hours of the management agreement sign up and applications will be processed within a 24 hour period etc
Further standards are set with each team member having strict key performance indicators or KPI’s that outline what exactly they must do to have achieved their role. For example, they must not have any more than 5% of tenants in rent arrears 3 days or more, or all lease renewals to be renewed 4 weeks prior to expiry etc. KPI’s must cover every major process.
Service – Every great department lives and breathes a culture of great service. Going further than just stating ‘we offer great service’, the whole heartbeat of the department lives to offer fantastic service far superior to their competition.
It is not hard to shine!
The unbelievable fact is that it is not hard for these departments to shine as just about every competing department you have in your marketplace is run by a principal who just cares about and focuses on their sales department! It is not hard to do better than your competition!
Great departments don’t just happen. They are deliberately and intentionally created by a passion for excellence, the right leadership, and direction. Be sure your department is driven for success- it’s worth it!