Increasing profitability by improving systems

“The reason I’m the systems expert is because 5 years ago, my systems sucked. They were horrible, they were bad, and they were losing me money. They were making my company less efficient…I will tell you right now, my profitability went up dramatically as my systems got better…I like the way we work better each day now that we have great systems.”  

~ Paul Kankowski, Owner of House Match and PM Solutions Pro

Paul Kankowski, founder of House Match and PM Solutions Pro, is often called the systems expert in the Property Management industry.

“The reason I’m the systems expert is because 5 years ago, my systems sucked. They were horrible, they were bad, and they were losing me money. They were making my company less efficient … I will tell you right now, my profitability went up dramatically as my systems got better … I like the way we work better each day now that we have great systems.”  ~ Paul Kankowski

Having experienced so many of the problems and frustrations that bad systems can cause, Paul went on the hunt to find out how to improve his processes and increase his profitability. This led him to spearhead the PM Systems Conference and dive deep into understanding the problem.

“A lot of people, they do everything in their head … [Without processes], they’ve got to find a unicorn - a unicorn is someone who can think what’s in your head, get things done, and basically do what you want them to do without it being written down, without processes being in place. So they try to grow and they try to add people. And when they add people, [it doesn’t] work.” ~ Paul
“When you have repetitive tasks that you have to get done, you’ve got to find people that can do repetitive tasks, that will do it right; but you also have to create a way that they can follow it. We get upset when people make mistakes, but we don’t give good guidance and direction. You’re not profitable because people can’t read what’s in your brain. You’ve got to take what’s in your brain, you’ve got to make it a clear process, then you can hire the normal person, they can do a good job every single time.” ~ Paul

In discussing how systems affect your customer experience and churn rate, Paul used the analogy of a bowl and a colander. 

“The biggest problem for property managers is most of us know how to sell - we know how to go out and get new owners on. But we have a hole in our colander - we have the same amount of owners we are bringing on going out the back door.” ~ Paul
“When you get to over 100 or 150 doors, you can’t do it yourself. You’re going to do a bad job because you have a lot of properties; so then you hire people, and then you’re going to make mistakes. The more you grow, the more holes that come in the bowl, and the better you need your processes. As your systems get better, you start closing up all the holes, eventually you have a bowl again. And when the owners go in there, they don’t fall out [anymore].” ~ Paul

Being an entrepreneur with an entrepreneurial mindset, Paul needed to find someone who could help him pull his vision out of his head and put it down on paper and in a system. That is when he hired David Flores. 

“I know Paul had a bunch of great ideas when we started out, but a lot of them, I didn’t know what they were and the rest of the team didn’t know what they were. So with him just having that helicopter view of what he wanted and where we were headed and being able to dedicate the time to tell me, ‘Hey, we need to make this work, we need to make that work, and this needs to happen.’ Once we started creating it, it’s like a snowball effect, things started falling into place. We started finding where the gaps were in our customer service, where the gaps were in making money, things like that.” ~ David Flores

An incredibly important part of the project was to include the team members in the building and improving process, to ensure that the processes would be accurate and to help them buy into the vision and love using the processes.

“The biggest thing is to keep the people on the bus; let them be involved in driving the bus. So, if you’re doing a renewal process, and Linda’s in charge of the renewal process, she’d better be at all the meetings while you’re doing the renewal process.” ~ Paul
“Most employees want consistency. If the process makes their job easier, they don’t mind it. The problem is, we give them crap processes, and their job is harder. So what we do is we spend six hours making a process and it’s total garbage, and then you say, ‘Well, why didn’t you do it right?’ - it’s because you gave them garbage.” ~ Paul
“Having a good process tells your team you care about them, that you care about their job and that you’re going to do what you can to make their job easier.” ~ Paul

Building the processes as training manuals is important as well. This enables team members to step in and help when someone is out sick, but it also helps with those processes that aren’t done often - providing a refresher to ensure the process is done correctly every time.

“If you don’t have a process for it, every 3 or 4 years you’re going to have to create the process again. You can’t remember what you did three years ago; I can’t remember what I did two weeks ago! … If you have a process for it, then you’re not going to be stressed about how you did it.” ~ Paul

Paul had started with Process Street as the software tool to support his systems. What made him decide to switch to LeadSimple?

“There were so many different things that created a difference. For us to spend that money to go from one software to another, it had to have a really big effect. …There’s no software that’s perfect, [but] LeadSimple’s pretty damn awesome. I mean, what we were missing with Process Street is there with LeadSimple, and LeadSimple is made for property management and property management only.”

Some of the features that influenced Paul’s switch to LeadSimple from Process Street was LeadSimple’s:

✅ Conditional Logic

✅ Data sync with Appfolio

✅ Simple handoff from sales to operations

✅ Unique focus specifically on the property management industry

And David agrees: 

“I think one of the big things that was a game changer for me was the way the conditional logic is set up. … And the other big thing is the data sync - that all the information is there, I don’t have to bring it from somewhere else. … So I think those were the big things for me, that kinda got me, and now I love them.” ~ David
“When you created this product, it was not a product that you just threw out there and that you guys did in a month. It was a product you spent years to build and you spent it with a lot of input from property managers.” ~ Paul

Now, Paul has founded PM Solutions Pro to help property managers create their processes and help them with hiring remote team members. David now works there as a consultant, ready to help you pull your vision out of your head and get it down on paper.

“What PM Solutions does is we help people with processes and we help people with remote team member hiring: those are the two things we do. So, not only can we help you build your processes out, we can help you get remote team members. … Eventually you will find out how David does it and you can either hire someone to do what David does, or you can do it yourself, or you can continue to use David.” ~ Paul

Then you can get your LeadSimple account, build your processes into the system, and begin to feel the benefits of streamlined systems.

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