4 Helpful Tips for Checking in on Property Owners
How Often Should You Check in with Property Owners?
Many property managers tend to only reach out to owners when there is a problem — we use the cover of being “busy” to justify this awful customer service. This is unfortunately a very reactionary business by default, so managers need to take every opportunity they can to be proactive. Control the things you can while you can to limit unnecessary problems from adding to your unpredictable work load. Keep in mind that this strategy is different for everyone, but it is essential to reach out, in some form, at least once a month. With several properties to manage, it is not uncommon for us to completely forget to contact our clients. However, it is crucial to focus on each of your business relationships so that the owners have security in knowing you have not forgotten them. It’s easy to forget this when you’re busy managing the property, but owners have no idea how hard you’re working if you do not let them know. There is a difference between visible work and invisible work — you must take every opportunity you can to make your efforts visible. Otherwise, your clients will come into town and find a few issues and assume you aren’t doing a good job for them in all other areas.
How Often Should I Reach Out?
As always, staying organized is key. Maintain a simple database of each of the properties you manage along with the owner’s contact information, notes about the owner, and the last time you had contact with that owner. Set a regular reminder to review your list and ensure that you’re making at least one phone call to every owner each month. For many owners, this is sufficient, but your business and clients will be unique, so build your process around what each owner expects or desires to maximize retention. We’re all used to the saying “less is more,” but that does not apply to this case. More communication is always better than less with absentee property owners. If you get to that point where your client is telling you to stop calling so often, that’s when you know you’ve done a good job with communication. Feel free to back it off a little from there, but don’t get too lax! Experience has shown that when owners do not hear from you, they start getting nervous. Don’t neglect them or they will think something is wrong. Remember that text or email messages are also acceptable, even when they seem OK. Send them a quick text or email informing them that you took care of issues recently, or just let them know all is well and you’ve been by to check on their property. Shoot them an email stating that future bookings are looking good.
Turn the Tables
For those who only call their owners when there is an issue, be aware that every time you call, they’re probably thinking “Oh great, what’s wrong now?” Turn the tables so that owners want to answer your calls. Try giving them a call when there is no hidden agenda or bad news — you’re just calling to check in with them. Simply call to say hi, see how their summer is going, etc. This signals to them that you’ve got the property well under control and still have ample free time — that makes owners feel safe under your care!
Consistency is the Key
Most importantly, always stay consistent. However often you reach out, make sure it’s consistent each month. This way, you always stay on their mind. There is no benefit in starting strong and trailing off as you wear yourself out. Instead, only implement exactly what you can commit to for the life of the business and build on it from there as you gain more experience and confidence. Keeping yourself fresh on their mind will reduce complaints, increase owner retention rates and reduce your own stress level. When done consistently, referrals will come your way and your business will grow passively over time.
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