The Census Bureau counted nearly 20 million rental properties, with 48.2 million individual units, in its 2018 Rental Housing Finance Survey, the most recent one conducted. Individual investors owned nearly 14.3 million of those properties (71.6%), comprising almost 19.9 million units (41.2%). Of those individual investors 71% self-manage and 29% use professional property management. This tells me there is great opportunity for growth in the professional property management area. So how do we capture the opportunity and grow our business?
1. Become an Advisor Not a Paper Shuffler
Many in property management don’t understand what their role is as a professional property manager and how to run a business. They believe their role is to be a call taker, paper shuffler for the owner or tenant. Instead elevate what you offer to an advisor role. You are the expert in property management and should be proactive with clients to have a plan for their property. Depending upon where in the country you are managing, one rental could be worth one million or more. You are an asset manager. Professional property managers get higher rents, lower maintenance expenses, lease up properties quicker, manage the risk for clients better than the landlord who does it themselves.
2. Develop a Business Mindset
If you don’t value what you do, how can you expect your clients to value you? The words you use are powerful and convey your experience and confidence in what you are providing. For example, maintenance manager vs handyman, portfolio of properties vs doors. Elevate the words you use.
Many property managers are fearful of raising their rates or offering additional services because they aren’t confident in what they are doing and don’t know how to respond to the owner when they have questions. They are afraid of losing clients or they feel they are nickel and diming them if they offer additional services with fees attached. I know from experience that my clients never felt nickeled and dimed. They saw the value in what they were paying for, and the services provided.
Why would someone put their largest asset both financially and possibly emotionally (if it was grandma’s house) in your hands if you can’t confidently speak to their needs and how you serve them?
It is important to not only see yourself as a professional but to show up and act as a professional. The best place to start is get educated. This will give you the confidence to grow in your profession.
3. Get Educated
Property Management is a field that is constantly changing not only with the tools available to streamline operations but with regulatory compliance and Federal, State, and Local laws. Join trade groups such as NARPM, get involved in local chapters, take classes, work toward designations, network with others and attend conferences to stay on top of the industry and best practices. Listen to podcasts by industry experts who share their experience and knowledge. This sharing of information is what will keep you going when the going gets tough. You aren’t alone. When educated you gain confidence which allows you to make decisions without second guessing yourself. It sets you up as the expert.
4. Be A Professional
Whatever your career path is, be a professional at it. Take what you do seriously. If you are just working for the paycheck then you have a job not a career. I am often astounded at how many property managers don’t return calls from prospects. The Yelp reviews are horrendous with no response to the feedback good or bad. Being a professional means being active in your field. Be proactive in how you do business. Don’t just react to everything coming your way. Have a plan to implement best practices to be more effective, streamlined, and able to consistently offer excellent service. Being a professional also means sharing what you have learned…the good, bad, and ugly with others. It is about elevating the profession from being that responder to being a professional who leads others and is an advisor.
Elevate what it means to be a professional property manager by becoming an advisor to clients, having a business mindset about what you offer and how you deliver your services. Get educated and contribute to your field and as you grow in your confidence, expertise, and leadership skills you will look in the mirror one day and see a Professional Property Manager that is at the top of their game.