Enabling growth by increasing efficiency

"We were hitting a growth ceiling. We came to a realization that we needed to increase efficiency in operations in order to reach more investors. That’s when we began to look into LeadSimple."

~ Paige Van Wagoner, Process Manager & Integrator @ Jacob Grant

About Paige & Jacob Grant

Jacob Grant Property Management was founded about 10 years ago by the owner, Jake Durtschi. Now, it's run with 20 employees and about 775 properties.

They have a heavy emphasis on investors who are looking to expand their rental portfolios, as opposed to one-off landlords. The company runs on EOS, and Paige is the integrator and dedicated process manager.

They began using LeadSimple for process management 3 months ago. Now they are running 300-350 active processes at a time, and complete around 100 processes every week.

The Problem & Goals

"We needed to grow, and we couldn't."

~ Paige

They hit the point where they could not grow any more unless they added more staff members. This often occurs in property management companies, almost always because the operations of the business are not organized or efficient. A property management company that runs on streamlined processes is able to scale their quality of service to even more customers as they grow, without adding more team members or throwing more money at the problem.

That was the big picture goal Jacob Grant set out to reach and that's what lead them to look at LeadSimple for process & workflow management.

They also wanted to discover where the bottle necks were in the business, so they could identify what was and wasn't working and adjust accordingly.

False starts (e.g. Process.st)

"There were absolutely some false starts! We were trying to make Process Street work for 18 months at first... Process street was good getting our feet wet, but didn’t meet the demands of what we needed."

While Process Street provided something better than paper, it didn't go all the way.

Since Process Street isn't built for property management, their support team didn't understand property management terminology or use cases.

Also, Process Street's required a lot of extra busy work to make the processes operation properly, the main problem being no integration with Appfolio. This increased data entry and required their team to switch between systems looking for information much more often.

"...We struggled to get support from the other softwares we tried."

The Solution

Their number #1 selling point

"LeadSimple's customer support has been amazing. That was one of the biggest selling points for us. The other avenues we had tried we were just struggling to get support. My expectation was that we were just going to muddle along and get a little help here and there, but it was totally different!

You need at least these three things to successfully change the way your run your property management business:

  1. Time - the time to dedicate to learning and implementing
  2. Desire - the understanding of your need to change and what you need to do
  3. Knowledge - the skills and knowledge of the problem to effectively make the transition

LeadSimple's support team fills numbers 1 and 2 in this list depending on what our clients need most, adding those CRUCIAL ingredients to make sure our clients successfully cross the finish line. Learn more about LeadSimple's process consulting.

"It was far more of a success than I have ever hoped for. I cannot stop talking about LeadSimple. It is amazing and has really changed our lives."

The implementation process

Jacob Grant started by implementing the Lease Renewal process cycle with LeadSimple's help. This includes not just lease renewals, but all the processes that flow from that (e.g. move outs, marketing, applications, move ins, etc...).

Goal setting, weekly meetings, implementation work, and team training were all influential in building out their processes to the point where their team was ready to use them.

But one of the greatest challenges was getting the team to buy into the new way of doing things.

"I can’t say enough about how great your customer service has been. That is a huge deal to us. In property management sometimes things need to happen quickly and you've made it extremely easy to get answers fast. That is the #1 thing I love about your company."

Getting team buy-in

"Going into it, I was a little bit worried about a few of our team members because some of them aren't too tech savvy. Because you need at least some level of tech savviness to use software."

Their leadership team knew it was CRITICAL that the team bought into the new way of doing things if it was going to have a shot at working.

A few tricks they applied were:

  1. Asking the team for input- getting the team involved helped them feel invested in the new processes, not put off
  2. Recognizing the processes were for their team - their team are the ones doing the work every day, so they need to be involved
  3. Keeping up the excitement - constantly communicating the vision with the team to keep them on board.

This had the side effect of helping Paige get in closer touch with their processes and how their business worked at a very in-depth level.

"There was lots of team involvement. We wanted them to be excited, in the loop, and invested in the change."

Their team's biggest “aha!” moment was when they learned they could send emails automatically as part of the process.

"They didn't have to send emails manually all the time any more... Other members on the team are asking 'when do we get to start using LeadSimple'!"

  • Making conversations with clients much more smooth, we’re able to give them better customer experience
  • Can refer to conversations in the past
  • Helped the staff to not be searching for emails they sent, 
  • Able to go directly to LeadSimple, there it is. It’s a fantastic tool for the team and for our tenants and owners

Favorite features of LeadSimple

Data sync with Appfolio
"The integration with Appfolio sold me on LeadSimple. Process Street doesn't have that."

The integration with your property management software (Appfolio, Propertyware, Buildium, and Rent Manager) means you don't have to enter data manually to run your processes AND you can initiate more automations in each process because the customer and property data is already there.

Communication tracking & automation
"LeadSimple makes conversations with clients much more smooth. We’re able to give them better customer experience. It's a fantastic tool for our team AND our tenants and owners."

LeadSimple's communication tracking allows their team to:

  • Reference conversations they had with clients in the past
  • Not waste time searching for emails, calls, or texts they sent because they're all tracked in one place

Also, calls, emails, and texts can be built into every process and automated if you choose to do so. Their team doesn't have to send emails manually, or spend extra time writing messages that can be turned into reusable templates.

We do lots of communication every day, so templates help a lot. But you can always customize the templates, you aren't stuck with them. Process.st makes you stuck with your templates."

Conditional logic
"Lots of processes need conditional logic. Applications can take several paths. Conditional logic helps us filter through quality tenants and not proceed if the tenant isn’t qualified."

Any time a process can go multiple directions that require different tasks in each situation, conditional logic allows you to document exactly what should happen in those cases, AND automate specific communications and other actions when it's helpful.

"It takes the guesswork out of each process. Makes it easy to just follow the directions."

Advice to other property managers who want to improve how they work

We asked Paige if what advice she would give to other property managers who want to improve the efficiency of their business. Her advice is spot on.

"Set aside plenty of time to work on this; it takes lots of time! Don’t be afraid to make mistakes & don’t be afraid to get your hands dirty. Dig into it - test out all the capabilities of the software and get maximum benefit."
"Be patient. Things aren’t going to change overnight."

For getting team buy-in, Paige recommended:

"Get feedback from team because they are the people using the processes every day. The process is for them."

And lastly, there is a strong desire for some to chase perfection. "I want my processes to be perfect and not require any tweaking!". From our consulting experience, and from Paige's experience along with so many other property managers, this approach never yields good results.

"Be ready for constant change. There is no end point to a project like this. Processes are always changing and evolving. Chasing perfection won’t get you where you want to go."

Do you want to see change in your business?

Jacob Grant Property Management is pursuing even more efficiency in their business so they can expand to other markets in Idaho, and even other states! We've seen so many property managers who want this change, but often they don't have the type or expertise to get there.

Do you want to streamline your business but aren't sure you can dedicate the time and resources to do so? LeadSimple's consulting team is here to fill in these gaps for you so your business can grow and scale and be differentiated from your competition through excellent customer service.

Schedule a free consultation with us to help you create a plan for success.

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