4 Steps to Escape the “Cycle of Suck” Plaguing Property Managers Get Out Of Property Management Hell & Love Your Job

More often than not property managers are stuck in a terrible cycle I call the “cycle of suck”, which could also easily be called “PM Hell”. They struggle to get good properties, deal with too many tenant issues, have clients that are difficult to work with, and have a low review rating or poor reputation online. Sound familiar at all? Then you will love this simple idea…

The Cycle of Suck

This is property management hell. If you are living, breathing, and working in property management hell every day, your life will suck… Well… it will suck more than it should. The cycle that is all-to-common, is this…

The Property Management Cycle of Suck

1. You Take On a Crappy Client

It is very tempting, whenever you get a lead, to do whatever it takes to get their business on. Don’t be desperate to take any client on.

2. You Get a Crappy Property

These might be properties in bad areas, or just properties owned by clients that refuse to spend money on improvements.

3. You Get Crappy Tenants

Every property manager tries to screen tenants to the best of their ability, but the real way to attract better tenants is to have better properties, in better areas. The way to keep good tenants and keep them happy is to place them in good properties that are owned by good owners that are willing to meet your (and the tenant’s) level of expectation.

4. You Get Crappy Reviews

If you don’t have good owners, good properties, & good tenants, then you won’t have a good reputation. Even if you do amazing screening and then place good tenants in a bad property, that is just a recipe for disaster.


Why Escape?

The cycle of suck is costly.

It costs lots of time and resources. 1 bad property can take 10 times the amount of work & effort and cost you more overhead than one awesome property.

The cycle of suck is stressful.

Do you really get excited to wake up in the morning and hop in front of angry tenants as a shit-shield for a bunch of slum lords, & dealing with lowlife’s and jerks all day long? Do you think your employees do? No… So work will suck and you will only retain employees that can’t find something better, so they will likely suck too.

The cycle of suck is competitive.

If you have a poor reputation online, then you will have to compete with all the other sucky property management companies, because the good ones are taking all the best clients and you are stuck at the bottom of the barrel, competing on price.

How To Escape

So how do you avoid getting trapped in this cycle? You need a solution to each stage in the cycle.

1. Qualify Clients

Be selective of the types of clients you are willing to take on. This is the major takeaway, but there is so much more that property managers need to do to improve their sales process.

2. Qualify Properties

Have a set of criteria and expectations that must be met before taking a property on. Make sure owners/clients understand your requirements & expectations.

3. Qualify Tenants

You are likely already doing this step. This will be much easier though, now that you are being a bit choosier of the properties and owners that you take on.

4. Implement a Review Strategy

If you don’t have a strategy for getting more positive reviews, and eliminating negative reviews, then you will only usually get negative reviews. Why? Because happy customers aren’t nearly as motivated as upset reviewers. Check out GatherKudos.com as a quick fix to this issue.

Moving Forward

So imagine… once you are free from the “Cycle of Suck”… how much more would you love your job – working with great clients, good properties, and wonderful tenants? Unless you hate humans… then you might want to get into another business. Property management can be an enjoyable business, dealing with great clients & easy tenants, and managing great properties. I know it is not as easy as it sounds, but we have several tips, ideas, and tools we consult property managers on to improve each stage. If you are frustrated… or not enjoying your property management business, then give us a call and we’ll help you to transform your business.

Jason Hull

Jason's mission is "to inspire others to love true principles." This means he enjoys digging up gold nuggets of wisdom & sharing them with property managers to help them improve their business. He founded OpenPotion, DoorGrow, & GatherKudos.

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  1. Dean Simmons on May 18, 2016 at 1:50 pm

    While this article was written in 2015, I would still like to disagree. So, the conclusion here is that all properties must be in pristine condition and in the nicest areas. What the heck would anyone need a property manager for then? I’m hiring someone to deal with the headaches, I’m not going to pay you to be a house sitter.

    It is exactly people like you that have destroyed the property management field. The barrier to entry is low, most working in this field are not very intelligent and you want 10% of rent to sometimes answer phone calls and use repairs and tenant turnover as a secondary income stream.

    • Jason Hull on August 19, 2016 at 11:28 am

      Thanks for chiming in Dean. As with any business, you have to be selective of the clients you take on, if you want to have a sustainable business. If there isn’t enough revenue – the business fails. As with anything there are two extremes… having criteria so strict you lack customers, or having criteria so loose you have no revenue/profit. The savvy course is to find the middle-way, however most PM’s I deal with have far too many properties on the low end of the extreme and get trapped at under 80 doors – and then can’t afford to properly manage or to hire anyone… so they get painfully stuck. Some properties just aren’t worth managing… but don’t worry, there will always be plenty of PM’s willing to manage anything or deal with an asshole client.