How To Brand And Market Your Property Management Company

Marketing is essential to growing your property management business, but the ways you can market your company run the gambit from billboards to social media to postcard mailing. It can be overwhelming to get started, but attracting property owners and renters is dependent on a solid marketing plan.

When you’re starting out, make sure you’re intentionally choosing your marketing strategies and that they fit into your overall business plan. Every marketing dollar you spend should be targeted and focused on bringing in more business. You work hard for your money and want to make sure it’s working for you. It can be easy to throw a bunch of money at advertising without seeing a return, and, obviously, not all marketing efforts will work. But in my experience as the owner of a property management company, you can give them the best possible chance through careful planning and data tracking. Here’s how:

Plan ahead.

A well-thought-out business plan is crucial to effectively invest time and energy into marketing efforts. If your business doesn’t have a clear direction and goals, it is almost impossible to know how to start marketing your property management company. For branding and marketing efforts to be effective, they must be cohesive and directed at helping meet your business goals.

You don’t need to spend weeks developing complex, long-winded formal business plans of the past, but to create a marketing strategy that works, you will want to have your goals, mission statement, financial planning and competition research in writing. This will provide a guide and map that you can use to assure you stay true to your brand as you deploy your marketing efforts.

Develop your online presence.

In 2022, you must have a website for your business to be relevant. Potential clients are going to spend time on your site and will evaluate your company based on your website. As such, your website should be easy to use, focus on what you sell, and work on both phones and computers. Furthermore, because you’re working regularly with both property owners and renters, resources and information targeted at both of these groups should be front and center when they visit your site.

In order to be effective as part of your branding and marketing efforts, your website should also have high-quality imagery, listings of your current properties, interesting and attention-getting staff bios, well-written copy, contact forms on every page, testimonials and your company’s mission statement. Using good search engine optimization practices will allow both potential owners and interested renters to find your website easily, so any web design should be done with this in mind as well.

Create a blog.

It’s relatively easy to set up a blog on your website, and it can help with both your SEO and establishing authority in your space. Posts about real estate investing, how property management companies work, affordable ways to decorate your rental and anything else that you think visitors to your site would be interested in are effective. Blog posts don’t have to be written by professional writers; they just need to be helpful or interesting and give your readers the information for which they are looking.

Establish your social media accounts.

I’ve found social media is a relatively inexpensive way to market your business and, again, is necessary to create a brand-driven, cohesive online presence. Your social media platforms should align with your website and have similar messaging so that your entire online presence is connected and cohesive as people navigate among platforms.

It isn’t necessary to have a profile on every social media platform, but you need to be present somewhere. For your property management company, I recommend Facebook (to reach older customers), Instagram and TikTok (to target younger customers) and LinkedIn (for networking with potential owners). Remember that in all of these spaces, consistent posting is the key to success, and videos are king.

Develop a content strategy.

It cannot be emphasized enough: The best way to brand and market your property management company is with intentional content planning. Content should be targeted at your ideal audience and should be consistent across platforms. Regardless of where someone finds your business, they should recognize your branding and messaging.

Create a newsletter.

Once a property owner hires you, you want to continue to nurture the relationship. One relatively easy and effective method of staying connected to your property owners is to send a monthly newsletter. This can include business updates, real estate investment news, recommendations, facts or jokes.

Creating a newsletter can also help you establish authority in your space and remind owners why they trusted you to manage their investment. A newsletter also provides easily shareable content that can be forwarded to other people to get the word out about your business.

Measure, measure, measure.

Regardless of which of these strategies you employ, you have to measure the results of everything—every campaign, post and mailing. Knowing which strategies perform well will inform future content. Efforts on successful campaigns should be bolstered, while unsuccessful campaigns can be tweaked or abandoned. You want to be able to make data-driven decisions when it comes to spending marketing dollars. Social media platforms, Google and email marketing services provide robust reporting features that help target and track all of your marketing activity.

While branding and marketing might seem overwhelming at first, it’s important to stay strategic and consistent with every single marketing effort. The worst thing you can do is start deploying marketing strategies that are not consistent with your marketing plan and branding or that you can’t keep up with consistently.

So, go slow and make sure you are confident with your strategy and marketing plan. If you are unsure of what to do or don’t feel like you have time or expertise for marketing, there are a lot of resources out there for you. Reach out to your connections for advice, recommendations and feedback, and you’ll start to build the confidence you need to grow your business through marketing.

Creating A Streamlined Eviction Process

When you start out as a rental property owner, landlord or property manager, you picture everything sailing along with relative ease. Tenants will move in, stay for a couple of years, and then move out to be replaced by new tenants to begin the cycle anew. Unfortunately, that’s not always how it works out and you may find yourself dealing with a situation in which you have to evict a tenant. In these difficult circumstances, the best practice is to have a well-planned, documented process in place before any issues arise.

Eviction Prevention

The best way to avoid the eviction process is to rent to the highest quality tenants you can. Though this isn’t always possible, you increase your chances of finding good tenants by having solid screening criteria and deposit requirements in place. A comprehensive lease that lays out expectations including duration of lease term, rent amount and due dates, occupancy rules and terms of use is a must. And always abide by all federal and local fair housing laws.

Requirements For Eviction

It is unlawful to evict a tenant without cause, so before initiating the eviction process make sure you have a clear legal reason to evict that abides by all fair housing guidelines, as well as ample evidence in writing, including pictures if applicable. In addition, you should make every reasonable attempt to work things out with the tenant before resorting to the legal system. If you do end up going to court for the eviction, all this will only help your case.

Here are some common reasons you may need to evict a tenant:

• Non-payment of rent

• Late rent payment on several occasions

• Keeping unauthorized pets

• Subleasing without permission

• Extra occupancy other than the listed occupants

• Illegal use of the premise

• Intentional damage to property

• Disrupting or threatening the safety of other renters, neighbors, or community

• Refusing to move out after the tenancy has ended

Negotiate Before Starting The Eviction Process

Even if you have a legal reason to evict, it may not be in your best interest to do so. This can be a frustrating and emotional time, but remember that you’re dealing with human beings, not just numbers on a page. The consequences of eviction for the tenant can be very serious, including possible homelessness. In addition, eviction proceedings take a long time and can become expensive so it is worth your time and effort to work with your tenant to see if you can come to an agreement before getting the courts involved.

This might include negotiating a payment plan, allowing the tenant to pay a lower rent for a period of months until they are able to move out or letting them stay in the property for a few extra weeks until a voluntary move-out date on which both parties agree.

Any time you talk with a tenant on the phone or in person, you should be sure to follow up with an email so that all discussions are summarized in writing, time-stamped and shared with the tenant.

General Eviction Process

At this point you’ve determined the reason for eviction, tried to work with the tenant and have reached the conclusion that eviction is the only way forward.

Here is a general outline of the eviction process. To adapt this set of guidelines to your specific needs, make sure to review the local laws in your area.

1. Formal Eviction Notice

Provide your tenant with a formal notice to inform them they are being evicted. Even if you have had conversations about eviction with them, you must provide them a written notice that includes why they are being evicted, what they can do to resolve the issue and the timeline they must follow for resolution (this timeline is usually mandated by local law).

Post the eviction notice on the tenant’s door and also send it to their address by certified mail. When you are presenting your evidence in court, you will have to prove that they received the notice.

2. File Eviction

An official document must be filed with your local court to start the legal proceedings (this document should also be mailed to the tenant’s address). This process is highly dependent on the rules of local courts, so consult your courts to determine the exact forms you will need.

Once the forms are submitted to the court, make sure you have gathered all of your evidence for the court proceeding. Always keep your paperwork and documentation organized in case a situation like this comes up.

3. Attend A Court Hearing

During the court hearing, you’ll present evidence as to why the tenant should be evicted. This can include the signed lease, email correspondence, payment records and declined payments, the formal eviction notice and proof that the tenant received these items. If you have kept detailed records and followed your eviction policy, it should be relatively easy to make the case for the eviction.

4. Evict The Tenant

The judge will make a ruling. If they rule in your favor, they will determine the date that the tenant must leave the property. If not, they will rule that the tenant can continue living in your property. If the judge provides a date the tenant must vacate, you can have law enforcement remove them if they stay beyond that date.

Final Thoughts

No one wants to have to evict a tenant, but sometimes it’s unavoidable. Knowing the laws and having a reliable process in place can ensure that everything goes as smoothly as possible. The most important thing to remember is to document every part of the process from beginning to end. This will help ensure that the court ruling is in your favor and will also help to prepare you if this comes up again in the future.

Hiring For Success In Property Management

In all industries, one of the greatest challenges employers face is hiring the right staff members. If not done properly, it can end up wasting your company’s time and money through things like onboarding and training and even drain momentum for projects, especially if turnover is high. In the property management industry, this is no different, and it actually may be even more of a challenge in some regards. The reason, in my experience, involves several factors, the most prominent being that the job requires a careful combination of people skills, customer service, organization and a team-based mentality, all within a high-pressure and fast-paced environment.

As a former chef, I think a great comparison of a similar industry would be the restaurant business — with the other common denominator being that neither industry typically requires a higher education or degree, making the pay rate for most new property managers not much higher than minimum wage. In some cases, salaries, retirement benefits and insurance may be offered, but typically, only after many years does a decent living wage for the more experienced become available. Posed with these issues, the turnover rate tends to be high in the property management industry, and property management is viewed by many as a temporary job versus a stable career.

With this in mind, here are some suggestions when hiring compatible staff who are crucial to maintaining quality and consistency in property management.

Offer a higher amount.

It may seem obvious, but money talks, and in the property management industry, raising your rates by $2 to $5 more an hour can be the difference between a good and great employee. It’s likely that a new hire will be well aware of the higher amount you can offer because they are looking for and comparing jobs. In the long run, a higher pay rate can be beneficial for the company and you will probably spend less time onboarding. It also enables the company to sets higher standards, such as requiring staff to get their real estate license or other specific designations.

Raise company culture.  

The simple truth is, the better you treat your employees, the better the operation will run. It is also critical that you are aware of an individual’s strengths and weaknesses and are able and willing to make shifts in departments if that person is not performing at their highest ability. This is even more crucial if the person has shown great moral character and a desire to learn and grow with the company. The only thing preventing them from thriving could be something as simple as a move from accounting to leasing. It’s much easier to train a new task versus going through the process of onboarding a new employee — who will not only have to learn a new task but embrace the company culture.

It’s also important to acknowledge your team regularly, with short daily huddles (quick 5- to ten-minute meetings), fun educational events with food and annual holiday parties to show the gratitude you have for what your staff does for you. When you bring a great feel to the company and empower your team, versus micromanaging, you provide them with a sense of responsibility, which often leads to better results and less oversight.

Hire slow, fire fast.

Although an age-old adage, the wisdom in hiring slow and firing fast, especially in property management, has never been sounder advice. That is why you should make sure you have a comprehensive hiring process in place and enable individuals with a sound structure upon hiring.

Just as important is terminating a toxic employee as quickly as possible, especially if you see behaviors and habits that are not in line with the company culture. Failing to do so can cause irreversible damage to the core staff and culture and will require time and energy in order to rebuild trust and stability. Some great tools to implement for hiring are personality tests, tiered interview processes and, of course, checking up on references. Putting these all together can help funnel the more appropriate candidate for the open position.

Train, educate, evolve and repeat.

There can never be enough education and training in the property management industry, and as the trade continues to grow, it behooves you to stay on top of the best trends that make the most sense for your market. This is not to say that every new thing that hits should be immediately embraced, but’s it’s smart to make sure you have a handle on as much of your industry as possible and are open to fresh new ideas. Having mandatory trainings throughout the year, as well as educational seminars, is highly suggested and will naturally bring about helpful ideas and insights to the business that can potentially add more value and returns.

Hiring is more of an art than science. 

Ultimately, hiring and training staff is more of an art than a science, and what worked well in the past may need to be adjusted as the industry evolves. The key to sustained success is to ensure that everyone in the company has fully bought in and is confident in your goals and objectives. This will typically lead to a much more consistent flow and the ability to evolve with the times. Through continued training, education and a unified vision, you can create a successful and healthy work environment.