Exactly WHAT are your property managers doing as part of your “fully managed” service?
It’s a serious question… what are they doing? And is it what you think it is?
Last year, one of my property managers was complaining they were sooo busy and couldn’t get through their daily tasks, so I asked them what was taking up all of their time. I must admit, the response shocked me! He said “I have been working through a post conversion builders snagging list on a property one of our landlords has just converted into apartments…”!
Have we let this property I asked? “No” was the response… “Have we even got this property on the books to let”? “NO”, “Have you ever been to the property?” “NO…!”
How on earth could we be expected to do this (for free as well) and how could this office based property manager, perform such a task? And yet he had taken on the job, because he was asked to by one of our long term clients and he was “trying to help” oh my!
So this put me on a mission to find out… What are my property managers doing…
So I implemented the “traffic light system”… each PM was given a piece of paper with Red/Yellow and Green columns. Throughout the days that followed, I asked each team member to write down every 15 minutes exactly where they saw each task they were performing sat… Green meant they knew this was a contracted function and one they should be doing, yellow was I’m not sure and Red was definitely NOT… and the results will shock you!
A whopping 46% of the tasks listed were in the yellow and red!
Theoretically this meant that 50% of my staff members time was potentially being utilised on stuff we were not being paid for, contracted to do and I may not have even trained them for it either!
Ouch! Houston we have a problem!
So things had to change and fast! The first thing that had to change was my terms and conditions, they were far too vague it stated that we would do the “property management” function, for our fee, but the problem with that description was, what does “property management” mean exactly? And where does it end?
So we had to start to define the role of the property manager… I got cracking with that…
Meanwhile, shortly afterwards I found one of my property managers spending hours trying to identify, who the owner was, of a tree that was overhanging one of our properties gardens… this made me think… “WHY? is this part of the role?”
Then it was like a lightbulb moment… the problem is in the title! Are we employed to “manage the property”? NO we are employed to “manage the tenancy” with the tenancy “relevant” maintenance included… that’s it!
Certainly if you read the functions that the call centre Agents perform they are all “Tenancy related” NOT sorting out tree rights or snagging lists that’s for sure… I think I’m in to something here.
So I decided to rename all property managers to “Tenancy Managers” rename the “property management hub to the “Tenancy Management Hub” and also define all the roles as such, to manage the Tenancy NOT the nuances of the property (except those areas that effect the tenancy or are required under Tenancy Law from a landlord) so the staff have a question if ever they are unsure “Is a tenant or the landlords obligations affected by this?” before performing a task. This was a great step forward in my teams understanding of their role definitions.
This made the job sooo much easier, and as a result we have become so much more streamlined and effective, allowing more time for our tenancy managers to look for opportunities and develop their knowledge.
I’ll be honest, it’s a much nicer place to work now!
So top tips on running your property management team?
Rename the PM’s to Tenancy Managers
Define your terms to cover EXACTLY what you do
Impose the traffic light system immediately
Let me know your results
To find out more about how you can systemise and streamline your back end visit: www.propertyagentscircle.co.uk/Intensive