"I knew I needed to get everything out of my head into some kind of process or structure in order to accomplish my goal of getting out of the day-to-day."
~ Aaron Cooper, Broker/Owner Innovative Property Solutions
Aaron started as a DIY real estate investor, purchasing properties and hiring management companies to manage them. Eventually, he had enough properties and was frustrated enough with the management companies he was using, it was time to start a business that would do a better job.
Currenly, Innovative manages 340 properties.
"With under 200 properties, having processes in our head was manageable... but when you get big enough it becomes more of a challenge to train staff, bring new people on and manage it all."
As the owner of the company, Aaron knew that the business could not grow unless he was able to step back from the day-to-day and delegate to his team.
Having processes in Aaron's head was not going to cut it. The processes needed to be documented and automated in a way that his team could understand, utilize, and build upon before their business could scale.
"We tried Trello, Podio and other systems, with casual attempts to try to make them work. We just didn't find anything that would stick or that we were really committed to."
"It is a really powerful system, but one of those that is almost too complex... it’s not quite computer programming but for me and my staff it was too much... Setting up processes was really involved but too time consuming."
"Also, the user interface is not friendly to working on and training our team."
"Trello works and we still use it for a few things. We started with task lists... but more complex tasks and processes were not able to be built out in Trello. It was a stop gap until we could find a better option."
"I was familiar with [LeadSimple]. When I got to play with it and see how it worked, and I had an understanding of processes... It made sense for what we do because it’s focused on property management and everything we do."
Aaron and his team started working with LeadSimple to implement the Lease Renewal process first.
Getting the team to buy into the value of a streamlined system of processes was the first step in the process though.
Taylor was the main team member Aaron needed to get buy-in from.
"A pain point for Taylor was Lease Renewals, and it always has been...We focused on how LeadSimple was going to solve Taylor's pain points in Lease Renewals and once she saw that, it was a done deal for her."
Getting your team to see the value a new system will bring to THEIR DAY-TO-DAY PROBLEMS is the key to getting them to adopt it.
"We've found [LeadSimple] very easy to use, learn, and train new team members on."
“My team doesn’t have to have any knowledge of what a process is about to be able to complete the tasks. Remote team members might have no experience in property management… these processes make it lot easier to get them up to speed."
PropertyWare Integration - "This was the number one feature we like because we don't have to do duplicate data entry". LeadSimple automatically pulls their property, owner, tenant and vendor data from their PM software to eliminate double data entry and automate more.
Emailing, Texting & Calling - "LeadSimple's text messaging system was very nice... Tenants respond to texts faster making processes move forward more quickly. LeadSimple tracks and automates emails and texts and allows you to make tracked phone calls, giving you a record of communications and saving you time."
Stages & Tracking Outcomes to Processes - Stages allow Aaron's team to build out all the possible outcomes in the process along with the tasks that need to happen in those outcomes so the process runs smoothly no matter what happens.
"Owner and Tenant Non-renewal can be built into the [Lease Renewal] process as well. Tasks indicate which outcome to move the process into."
Conditional Branching Logic - Conditional logic allows the process to adapt based on information about the property, tenant, owner, or other criteria, so if the tenant has pets the Application process will auto-schedule steps related to handling tenants with pets.
Task Instructions - Aaron uses Task Instructions to document exactly what needs to happen in each step of the process.
“Task Instructions make it so no task is forgotten... You have to deliberately forget to miss it.”
We asked Aaron what advice he would give to other property managers pursuing the problem of streamlining processes and implementing systems in their businesses.
"The set up process is intimidating; I like to build processes, but the nice thing was that LeadSimple set up some processes with us weekly which was enough for me to get involved enough to learn how to do it…"
Getting someone who knows processes and knows property management to help implement and train you to build processes will go a long way to making you successful.
"The team training component was important to us too."
Instead of handing over a finished system to you that you weren't involved in building, LeadSimple helped Aaron and Innovative to learn the processes themselves so they are equipped to use, change, and build processes in the future. This empowered their team to work without relying on a third party to make changes and updates.
"Scaling comes from a team that is inspired and knows how to use and build the system. That is what will make you successful."
"In most PM businesses, the owner is also heavily relied upon. This has made things less reliant on me making judgement calls on things… not only are we not relying on a consultant, the staff isn’t relying on me to make the vision happen."
If so, it's time to get systems in place in your business and a team that is equipped to use, improve and build more of them.
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