Breaking the mold to find the best way to do property management

“With property management, so much of what we do is checklists. And it’s details after details after details. And so the more you can either basically put in a checklist or automate some of those steps along the way, the more efficient you can be.”

~ Trevor Garrett, Founder of The Property Management Connection

Trevor Garrett founded The Property Management Connection in 2015 after he struggled as a real estate investor to find a property manager who sought to utilize modern technology in the Nashville, TN area. 

Kyle Lehning joined the team a year later and together their team has grown the company to 535 doors.

Trevor’s goal was to step away from the mold of traditional property management and create something new. 

Every year we were trying to find a new and different way to do something … looking at why we were doing things the way we were doing them but then be quick to change when you start to realize that it’s probably not the best way to do it.” ~ Kyle Lehning

With their unique view of property management, they knew that they needed processes in place to help streamline their workflows and improve their efficiencies.

“With property management, so much of what we do is checklists. And its details after details after details. And so the more you can either basically put in a checklist or automate some of those steps along the way, the more efficient you can be.”

This approach has transformed every part of their company, from sales, to training, to keeping track of every property and task that needs attention.

“When you’re trying to manage 500 doors and you’re not physically visiting every property anymore but you’re trying to still manage a team of people and make sure that we’re staying on track to do everything that needs to be done … [LeadSimple] keeps things in order, without me having to think, ‘Where are all these moving pieces?’ or trying to schedule all those weekly meetings to review everything … I can go in and see where the team is, and who’s got overdue tasks right now and who’s been completing what throughout the course of the week.” ~ Kyle

“But even beyond that, it works as a training manual. I mean, you get a new employee that comes in and if you have a clearly written process, that person can start day one. You put them on a process; and if it’s well written with instructions, they’re able to complete that process just like anybody else.” ~ Kyle

“On the sales side, when a call comes in, it’s easy to talk to somebody. But is it easy to remember to send them a copy of your management agreement like they asked you to? No, because then the phone rings again … [Also, oftentimes], if you’re not following up later you’re not getting the business, because they could easily go elsewhere, so you have to have the followup side.” ~ Trevor

This process documentation has also helped the team identify areas of opportunity. 

“So a lot of that has been huge for me to be able to keep up with where we’re getting behind, where we’re on track, where we might be able to clean up some of the things that are getting missed, and adding in touch points of communication with people. [Such as] trying to have that high level of communication with a new tenant who doesn’t know our property management company. We want to set the example for that person to have a great experience moving in.” ~ Kyle

“We were having failure after failure of signing of owners and owners expectations not matching up … So that’s when we came up with the onboarding process in LeadSimple, with 30 touch points, including videos from various team members, automated text messages and emails, sending them a gift, etc., and let it run 180 days long. It seemed like we put that in place and our problem basically resolved nearly immediately. It went from being priority number one for the company down to not an issue.” ~ Trevor

Looking back, both Kyle and Trevor had advice for those looking to implement systems and processes in their company.

“If you just see it as one big process, then you are going to end up over complicating things by not having the detail in what you’re trying to actually accomplish there … My biggest suggestion would be making sure you know where you want [each process] to start and where you want to finish, because if you don’t accept those boundaries, you’re just going to end up with a long list of something that’s then hard to tweak and make it fit to where it makes sense to your actual business.” ~ Kyle

Buy-in from the team was challenging while the processes were still being built out, but once the team saw the value and its impacts, they were all in. 

“The first six months were very difficult to get the buy-in because there was a lot of, ‘This doesn’t make any sense, why am I doing this? This isn’t what I need to do right now, it’s actually supposed to be this step. This is out of order and why is it telling me to do this on this date?” That’s the reality of what you’re going to run into. But what I’ve learned is once the team has started to see when we do make the changes and have things like the email templates pre-written and I can auto-fill the tenant’s name and I can auto-fill the property address and their move in date, that’s when it starts to catch on with the team members to be like, ‘Okay, now I see where this is going.’” ~ Kyle

Now that their processes are in LeadSimple, they are easily editable and can be tweaked as needed.

“In my position, I probably spent less time creating the actual processes, but a lot more time editing them once we got them on the system, which has been, yes, time-consuming, but the system does allow for that and it’s honestly very simple … So it’s going to be ever-evolving in the sense that you might have to make tweaks, but if you get your process right, you should be pretty well set up to build them out to make sense for the long run, in my opinion and how most of our processes have gone.” ~ Kyle

When asked what Trevor thought the future of property management would be, he answered:

“So, I am a big believer that over the next 10 years, your middle market property manager is going to die off. That the days of property management companies with 2, 3, 4, 500 doors, are just going away. And it is going to go away quickly, 5 to 10 years from now … Overall, the more doors we can add, the cheaper we can manage for … The only way I can do that is scale in volume. And process automation is a big portion of being able to manage at a good scale.” ~ Trevor

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