An App For Your Building: HqO vs. Hiring A Development Shop

Reading Time: 4 minutes

As demand for office amenities and improved workplace experiences continues to increase, property owners and managers have been forced to dedicate more and more of their portfolio’s space to amenities.


According to Colliers, owners should expect to dedicate from 10-12% of their space to amenities if they wish to attract top-tier tenants – a significant leap from the 3% traditionally dedicated to things like gyms and on-site dining.


There are plenty of benefits that come with building out on-site amenity space – increased rents, higher quality tenants, deal velocity, improved retention, and higher listing prices – but sacrificing another 7-9% of your portfolio’s square footage and taking on the upfront cost associated with buildouts requires a significant leap of faith (and $).


So how can property owners and asset managers get the rent boosts and better tenants associated with a fully amenitized space? Enter: technology. More specifically, mobile technology.


Mobile technology and mobile applications combined with community management services can make any property feel like a Class A, fully amenitized space. HqO’s app, for example, provides all the habitual, helpful, and fun experiences tenants need to feel pampered in their day-to-day grind.


You don’t even need to take my word for it: the little known business rag The Wall Street Journal seems to have spotted a similar trend in corporate real estate: “Landlords are realizing that apps for employees are the hubs of the new workplace ecosystem.”


Because of this, the demand for tenant apps in office buildings has increased significantly. Still, CRE companies building buildings – not apps – so they have started to look for help from companies with strong technology competency and capability.


As a company right at the vanguard of this movement, we at HqO have heard this in our conversations with landlords a few times: “we’re also thinking of working with a dev shop to build our own app”.


We get it. Your building needs an app – they make apps. Match made in heaven, right? Well, before any decisions like this are made, it is paramount to understand the difference between leveraging a SaaS platform like HqO and hiring an agency/development shop for a project.


Here’s a quick graphic that makes some of the major differences clear:


Screen Shot 2018-06-04 at 6.43.25 PM


As you can see, some of the major differences here center around industry knowledge, implementation, ongoing services, and cost.


Simply put, tenant experience is the only thing we do and the only thing we build for. We have launched apps, surveyed tenants, and provided amenities to buildings of varying sizes, locations, and tenant populations. We understand the unique challenges within this industry and are capable of customizing our offerings and services to maximize benefits to specific tenants in unique locations.


With respect to implementation, we have our processes built out to the point where we can create the app, procure amenities, plan the launch, and get the app onto the phones of tenants in a span of 3 weeks.


We succeed when you succeed, so we give you a dedicated account manager and tenant concierge to make sure we are delivering for you and your tenants week-after-week. Our ongoing services center around collecting data about tenants, procuring and providing experiences that matter for those specific tenants, and then iterating on these services to drive lasting engagement. We’ve actually got it down to a science:


Screen Shot 2018-06-04 at 1.47.11 PM


The building programming and amenity procurement services are well outside the scope of a traditional dev shop. HqO has partnered with over 100 workplace experience service providers that will bring their business right to an office and delight your tenants.


There is an entire industry blossoming out of the on-demand needs of tenants. There’s literally a bus filled with spin bikes that will come to your office and pick up employees and drive around town while teaching a spin class… a bus, folks.


We already have established relationships with these providers – no, seriously, we knew everyone at the PERKS Conference this year – and we handle the planning and execution of those services (with approval from the landlord or property manager, of course!).


Along with the steady flow of new features we’re always rolling out (like shuttle integrations, eCommerce integrations, building access, etc) this programming keeps users engaged with your application and happy at the office.


With respect to cost, the price range we provided for development shops/agencies is just what the app will cost you to develop upfront. Dev shops are almost never incentivized by the success of the applications they build, so many of these businesses make a lot of their money by charging for ongoing maintenance and improvements over time.


Every tenant population is different and cares about different things. HqO allows you to measure this over time and iterate. Accordingly, when launching an app for your building, the most important thing is to get an application in tenant’s hands ASAP, collect data from them, then go back and make the experience better based on that data.


This is not what a dev shop wants. Dev shops want billable hours. They are incentivized to build the biggest, fanciest, most feature-filled apps that they can – even if those features won’t make tenant’s lives any better. That means big, bloated apps that no one wants to use.


Don’t be bloated.

Enjoy the article? Feel free to share it.