What Makes a Good Property Management Company?
The modern commercial real estate (CRE) market has gone through unprecedented technological change. With the value equation shifting from buildings themselves to the people who occupy them, tenant experience and engagement technologies are helping CRE leaders determine what makes a good property management company by adopting a consumer-first model and embracing the most recent digital advances.
With these technologies — which range from standard property management apps to more holistic solutions such as HqO’s end-to-end operating system — property teams can blend the physical and digital workplaces to ensure innovative, engaging, and memorable experiences that streamline even the most challenging interactions. Thus, tackling the obstacles of attraction, fragmentation, and differentiation for any portfolio has never been easier; by giving CRE teams a custom toolkit for their portfolio to execute strategies, streamline processes, increase communication, and collect meaningful data, teams can be brought closer than ever before to the employees who work in their buildings.
Defining Commercial Property Maintenance
A property manager is defined as an individual or company that is hired to oversee the day-to-day operations of a unit of real estate. Property management services might include being in charge of supervising and coordinating building maintenance and work orders, collecting and depositing rent, resolving tenant concerns, and more.
The types of property maintenance functionalities may range from marketing for one’s portfolio, to lease management, to measuring and maintaining portfolio performance, and to tenant retention and customer satisfaction. In today’s world, property management companies need to automate these processes to keep up with rapid changes to the commercial real estate industry.
Fortunately, property management software, or software that helps streamline and automate the day-to-day responsibilities for property maintenance teams, has been around for the past several years. Property management software ensures that owners, managers, and operators can succeed in the evolving markets, by helping them gather meaningful data about their buildings and end-users to strengthen their connections with tenants, refine their asset strategies, and automate building processes to help create modern, frictionless workplace experiences.
In the next section, we’ll dive more into this concept.
The Modern Function of Property Management
When it comes to figuring out the modern function of property management for offices, one first must truly understand the traditional property management model. The role of a property manager used to be focused on solely building management (security/safety, utilities/energy, reception, and building certifications) and property-level administration (rent collection, ensuring compliance with lease terms, and CapEx administration).
Now, property management teams are being asked to play a significant role in tenant retention. Essentially, in order to generate value for building tenants and investors, they need to improve the tenant experience. Such responsibilities include all the aspects of a traditional property management model, as well as amenity management (parking, catering, food/beverage, transportation), services management (concierge, networking, programming, health and fitness), and technology services (apps, internet connection, data collection, content generation).
These combined efforts have a huge impact on the performance of an asset. For example, according to CBRE data, 88% of tenants say that the quality of property management has a strong to very strong impact on their decision to renew a lease. Additionally, 87% of tenants say that good building management plays an important or very important role in employee retention. Increasing this customer retention by just 5% alone can increase overall profits by 25 to 95%.
In today’s world, when it comes to what to look for in a property management company, tenants will want to work with someone who can combine the more antiquated property management duties and responsibilities with those that are customer-centric and tech-enabled. Though the modern role of a property manager is certainly challenging, it can produce great value and ensure the success of modern commercial real estate portfolios.
How to Start a Property Management Company
According to Buildium.com, the property management industry is projected to reach about $22 billion by 2023. With this much opportunity in the industry, there are bound to be many CRE professionals looking to start their own business. So, where does one begin? Here are just a few of Buildium’s tips and tricks on how to start a property management company:
- Make Sure You’re Set Up: Buildium shares that before you begin, you’ll need to be properly licensed and to create a business plan that serves as the framework for your entire property management business: “Per the Small Business Administration (SBA), a formal business plan has these things: Executive Summary, Company Description, Market Analysis, Organization and Management, Service or Product Outline, Marketing and Sales, Funding Request, Financial Projections, and Appendix.”
- Organize Your Finances: How to organize a property management company starts with your finances. Building suggests you should think about the following questions: “Do you have a revenue goal in mind for your first fiscal year? If not, start thinking about one—it should be in your business plan. How much income do you expect? What are your expenses going to be? How much should you put aside for the unexpected? Keep all of this in mind as you start planning out the financial future of your company.”
- Get Up and Running: To get your business off the ground, you’ll need to figure out how to structure your team, and then hire the right people. This, of course, comes hand in hand with networking and building relationships with property owners in your community to set expectations, keep lines of communication open, and identify opportunities.
For more information on goals for a commercial property manager who is new to the industry, check out the full guide here.
What Makes a Good Property Manager: A CRE Operating System
Now that we know the state of the industry, and what is required to get started in property management for landlords, we now need to consider: What makes a good property manager?
It starts with basic industry needs. In order to truly focus on a more customer-centric property management model, property teams need a platform that makes it easy for them to deliver exceptional experiences, as well as face the three major business challenges in commercial real estate: attracting and retaining tenants, managing fragmentation of technology systems and partners, and differentiating their assets. To address all of these issues simultaneously — and to provide tenants with the customer-first, tech-enabled experiences they seek in the workplace — any full property management solution requires a full end-to-end platform for your building.
There is a ubiquitous concept in computing that speaks directly to this goal: the operating system (OS). Whether it’s powering a mobile device, a laptop, or a server, the prime directive of any OS is to abstract away the enormous complexities of the underlying system and provide standard and streamlined methods of the user experience. The HqO platform — called HqOS™ — is created around this very concept, and has always guided our approach to tenant experience. We know that the best property management companies leverage our technology to enhance workplace environments and make them more desirable for building occupants, while also resolving the aforementioned business challenges for landlords in an ever-complex market. Here’s why.
As is the case with any OS, a CRE operating system requires layers to successfully address the industry’s varying needs. The combination of a universal remote for your assets, a marketplace where you can find and manage pre-vetted systems and amenity providers, and tools that can capture and structure all data on how people use your buildings helps property teams in several ways. The OS manages all customer-facing technology tools within a building, while empowering teams to activate real connections between people and their properties through digital-to-physical experiences, data-driven decision making, and the fast implementation of innovative asset strategies. Tenants will never again have to wonder how to find the property manager of a building, and landlords and property teams can take all the guesswork out of improving their assets.
Additionally, CRE’s operating system needs a single source of truth — a place where these layers can connect seamlessly for easy use. Having a command center allows property teams to do everything from daily content creation to strategic technology planning, as well as to rapidly deploy and configure tenant engagement strategies across their portfolio with absolutely no coding required. Now, property managers can have an intuitive portal for the management of their platforms across their portfolio’ insights into building amenities, users, and vendors; and much, much more.
Best practices also involve adopting a data-driven approach. With the industry’s transition to a more consumer-first model, the most insightful property management tips for landlords come from what property owners can’t see about their buildings. What do tenants really want, and how do they really use a given space?
If you’re actively collecting data from multiple sources about the needs of your tenants and their employees, you’ll be able to keep pace with the market and adapt to significant disruptors in your industry while simultaneously making your workplace more attractive to its communities.
So, how exactly can you collect these insights?
Property owners now need access to multiple granular data points across their buildings to bring themselves closer to their end-users than ever before. Fortunately, the HqO platform includes a robust tool that can analyze multiple human behaviors throughout any asset, then help determine what the data can tell owners and tenants about employee needs. Owners can then compare these insights to other similar and nearby buildings, helping inform decisions that previously had to be made with little or no data. While these capabilities may only sound like something from the future, through the HqOS Digital Grid™ they are now entirely possible.
This type of engagement establishes what we refer to as a virtuous feedback loop. Having such significant intelligence on the end-user of your product helps create a better user experience, which in turn increases customer engagement and continues to provide you with more useful data. What makes a good landlord is real-time feedback, which ensures the longevity of office buildings by giving market leaders the informed, competitive edge they need to make turnkey decisions and guarantee tenant satisfaction.
For more information on how to find a trusted property management company who uses technology to enhance their building experiences, visit the HqO customer page. If you’re looking for how to improve property management business strategies, schedule a free demo of our operating system today.
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