Property management businesses always want and need products and services to be profitable and grow doors. That’s why many of them choose the user-friendly residential rental property management software for single-family properties called, Propertyware.
Today, I am talking to Inaas Arabi, Vice President (VP) of Single Family Rental and General Manager (GM) of Propertyware. He understands the importance of developing new and innovative ways to help property managers attain profitability and growth.
[04:37] Past and Present Perception of Propertyware: Before becoming GM, Inaas was a customer because of ability to customize system based on business models.
[06:38] Who uses Propertyware? Typically, larger companies wanting to scale and grow.
[07:45] Room to Grow: Never buy a solution for where your business is today; always buy a solution for where you want it to be.
[09:50] Directions for Growth:
- Add units by differentiating services via customization and special offers.
- Increase revenue per door by offering add-on products and services.
- Reduce expenses via automation for manual and repetitive tasks.
[20:33] Propertyware stands behind its platform; serves as business advisor, not only technology provider, to solve pain points.
[23:54] Facilitating Future Integrations: Freedom to connect with third-party tools, vendors, and services.
[27:40] API Connections and Challenges: Propertyware provides two-way data exchange that’s maintained in one system.
[34:50] Status of Property Management Industry: Advocate, educate, and train others on legislation and awareness to protect tenants and landlords.
[45:38] Should you switch software? Break up dysfunctional system to experience freedom by having good data, building relationships, and improving processes.
Jason: Welcome DoorGrow hackers to the DoorGrow Show. If you are a property management entrepreneur that wants to add doors, make a difference, increase revenue, help others, impact lives, and you are interested in growing your business and life, and you are open to doing things a bit differently, then you are a DoorGrow hacker.
DoorGrow hackers love the opportunities, daily variety, unique challenges, and freedom that property management brings. Many in real estate think you’re crazy for doing it, you think they’re crazy for not because you realize that property management is the ultimate high trust gateway to real estate deals, relationships, and residual income. At DoorGrow, we are on a mission to transform property management businesses and their owners.
We want to transform the industry, eliminate the BS, build awareness, change the perception, expand the market and help the best property management entrepreneurs win. I’m your host property management growth expert, Jason Hull, the founder and CEO of DoorGrow. Now, let’s get into the show. Today’s guest, I’m hanging out with, Inaas Arabi.
Jason: Did I say it right?
Inaas: Yes, you sure did. Thank you.
Jason: All right. Inaas, I’m excited to have you on the show. We have not yet had Propertyware on the show and Inaas is from Propertyware.
Inaas: Yes I am.
Jason: Tell us a little bit about your background and how you got into the space of property manager first and then let’s get into maybe Propertyware a bit and talk about growth.
Inaas: Awesome. I do want to first of all say that I’m a door hacker as well, so thank you for having me on, I’m excited. I came in mostly from the operational background. I started a company from scratch, operated and built it a little bit to over 1700 doors and then I sold it to a national player, then I went to work for the second largest owner and operator in the single family industry, American Homes for Rent. I worked for them for a while. I was their Midwest regional director of ops. We’ve done a lot of great things there. We took the company public.
I left that and went to work for a company called the Altisource, which deals with banks and REITs and does a very similar thing to third party property management or property managers but on a different scale mostly for the banks and the financial industry. Operated a very large portfolio over 35 states and after that I got recruited by RealPage to be able to become the single family vice-president for them as well as general manager for Propertyware. Now, the reason why I think Propertyware would be a great choice for somebody like me and for a lot of operators is because you’re able to take somebody like me with my experience and put him into the seats where we can make decisions that would actually help the property managers with their day-to-day lives.
That’s the difference that we’re trying to go after compared to some of the other systems, is that we really want to build things that would be usable and would make an impact for people’s businesses. I know we are going to talk about growth here in a little bit, but that is really the approach that we’re going with Propertyware since I came in. We are building enhancements that allows people to grow in multiple different ways. They grow by adding units, which is what you talked about as far as being a door hacker. Number two, you grow by increasing your revenue by making more money per door. Then number three, you also went to grow financially by reducing expenses while keeping everything the same, so that would allow you to be able to have a much better financials or higher NOI’s for your property, since you’re an owner or operator.
That’s really the goal. That’s the approach that we’re taking upon with Propertyware since I’ve started to them. I started Propertyware late January of this year.
Jason: Okay. This is kind of new for you, the Propertyware thing.
Inaas: Yes, it is. I mean, you can say it’s new. I’ve been there since January so depending on how you take a look at it.
Jason: You’re halfway through…
Inaas: Yeah, you’re right. I’m definitely halfway through a year, yes, but I’m not new…
Jason: You’re 0.5 years at Propertyware right now.
Inaas: Yes, it is.
Jason: I mean that’s two quarters. That’s enough time to…
Inaas: Make a change, yes.
Jason: Make some changes. So, what was your perception of Propertyware before you came in versus now?
Inaas: I was a customer of Propertyware when I was working with Altisource. We ran a set of very complicated and very large portfolio, a little over 10,000 units over 35 states, and we did it through Propertyware. One thing that I always appreciated about Propertyware was the ability to customize and the ability to be able to build unique or redo the system around your uniqueness as a business model. Now, I think that also causes people to be more afraid of the technology because there is not a very easy systematic streamlined way of doing things on Propertyware. You have multiple ways of doing things.
It’s built as such to be able to allow people the ability to customize based on the business model. Having that I’ve been working for Propertyware, before I found it to be a very interesting point as a customer, it was very good for me, but when I moved in to being in the seat of making changes, I didn’t realize that this is an intentional thing that we’re doing where we are able to keep the business and keep the platform customizable by the business model. Now, I would also say that that will make some people be very hesitant into looking into Propertyware because they’re afraid of how customizable the system could be.
That could also take you into a lot of what I would call rabbit holes, meaning, if you’ve got 20 ways to be able to do something, sometimes you give way too many options for some people that would allow you to take out the simplicity aspect of it or the easiness aspect of it. Overall, really what I appreciate the most as customization, if I want to have to sum it up down to one thing.
Jason: The perception that I’ve always had about Propertyware is I’ve noticed that a lot of the larger companies, the companies that really are folks on scale, that they tend to use Propertyware. Propertyware seems to be very scalable. It seems much more of an enterprise solution than a lot of the other property management software out there. That’s kind of the perception that I’ve noticed. I have lots of clients that have used Propertyware. I noticed usually the guys with thousands of doors are using Propertyware.
Inaas: We do have people from different levels of where they’re at. Now, to your point, sometimes it’s very difficult and I struggle with this myself as well, it’s really very difficult to be able to equate the number of units for your business to how complicated of a process you’re running. We come across some people that they maybe only running 200 units, but they have some of the most complex processes that I’ve seen and the opposite is very true. It’s really more about how customizable are you ready to look in to be able to build for your business. The one thing that I would always say, you never buy software for where you at today, you should always be buying software to where you want to be.
It’s almost like when you’re talking to trainers that they always say, “You don’t want to be the guy or the person who’s playing today. You really want to be playing to what you want yourself to look like after you win or at the winning table,” and that’s really where it comes in to be. If you’re thinking you want to grow and you want to have a system that grows with you, scales with you, that allows you to be able to do different things in many different ways, Propertyware certainly will be it. Now, I would also say, you do have to be willing to take on this opportunity to be able to build things that will be customizable for you, so you can get the best advantage.
Jason: This is the feedback that I’ve noticed about Propertyware. What he says is absolutely true. If you’re going to pick a property management software solution or any solution for your business, you want to pick a solution that is going to give you room to grow into for whatever size you imagine because it’s not easy to switch property management software. Anybody that’s done it that switched from one to the other because they thought the grass would be greener on the other side, usually regrets it and it’s not been so comfortable. I agree, pick a software that you feel like you can live with in the long term.
Inaas: What you’re saying is absolutely true. It’s really about jumping from one system to the next is not an easy task. I do recognize that you do have to put in a lot of effort into that, but you do need to find something that would scale with you for the long term, not for where you are today. That’s the beauty about finding that system and being able to grow with it as you go. We’ve seen a lot of great companies have grown with us over the years and have done wonderful things as far as that goes.
Jason:: Let’s get into growth. The topic is growth via Propertyware. How does Propertyware help somebody grow or what are we chatting about here?
Inaas: Like I said, the approach for us since I’ve got into Propertyware is the fact that we’re building enhancements that would allow people to grow in all of those three directions. I’m going to give you specific examples because I know you like that. Number one. Growth, in my opinion, is adding units. How do you add units? You help PMCs differentiate their services and do things where they can go out there and put themselves in front of the right people that they’re looking for their services.
As an example, I know you guys offer wonderful websites offering, which is great. One way that we can help is we do provide our clients what we call a listing widget that they can plug in anywhere on the website. This way, you as a website provider don’t have to build it for them. It defeats all the information directly from the Propertyware property management software. All of the vacancies, the rent price, the number of bedrooms, bathrooms, pictures and all that are all within that listing widget. Then we make it so customizable to the point where people are able to do some awesome things with it.
An awesome thing would be, for example, you can add on banners at their specific workflow. For example, you can put in a banner that says, “Only make that banner available over the weekend to make a weekend offer,” so you can say, “Come take a look at my house that I have for rent and you’re going to get $100 off if you look at it between Friday and Sunday,” or “If you look at it between the 1st and the 15th.”
You can do things like, “We’re looking for awesome owners like yourselves. Click on this link to be able to see our offering.” You could do things like the workflow, like once a property has an approved applicant for it, then you would automatically take it off the listing so this way you don’t have to do anything with that manually. You could also do it where you can add a lot of information in the description for that property and one thing I teach people to do and I’m sure you’d like that, Jason, is the fact that for every listing that you put in out there for rent at the bottom of the description for that listing, you should take a couple of lines and you should type in information about your services with the link to the website that will take people on to a full offering of those services.
Because we know when people go out to look for properties, rental properties on the market, majority of them will be renters, but some are not necessarily renters. Some of them might be owners that they’re looking to comp out their property to figure out what the other properties in the area are renting for or they might be asset managers that […] ability to put yourself in front of those guys while they’re searching for properties. It’s very unique. It doesn’t cost you any extra. It’s part of the listing widget that allows you to plug and play and do it as you go.
This is one example of an enhancement that does help for the unit growth. There is plenty more, I don’t think I have enough time to be able to share all of them because I want to talk about other items that are important.
The second element we talked about, which is adding revenue or increasing your revenue, making it where instead of making $1000 per door, you go up to $1500 per door, you go up to $2000, $3000, whatever you feel like it’s the right level that you want to go to. How do we do that? We do that by offering ancillary products that could make sense for the property managers but they’re also integrated within the system so this way, they don’t have to do anything offsite the system.
The beauty about that is you get the beauty of getting something that is offered, make some money on it without adding too much expenses on your end from an HR or an employee perspective. Some examples with that would be asset protection or our renter’s insurance. I know some other software do offer that. The reason why I mentioned it is because between Propertyware and some of the other systems is the fact that we really want to make sure that it’s fully integrated within our system. The tenant will have a very seamless experience when they’re selecting the process or selecting the product and they were going through it, and then also the PMC will have a very seamless experience. Last but not the least, if there is an owner involved, that owner will also have a very seamless experience.
As an example of the asset protection, it’s a checkbox and then you can select whether it’s paid for by the owner or paid for by the tenant. You can put in whatever extra fee that you would want to add on as a PMC as your profit margin, and then you can apply either to a tenant ledger or to an owner ledger depending on who’s paying for it, and you do all of that very seamlessly with a couple of clicks.
If you do enough of those, you start seeing a little bit of an increase of revenue in per door that you’re having. Some of the other products that were also migrating or integrating within our system would be things like utility management which is I think we’re one of the only system that I know of that offer something like that. Utility management in single family has not been a revenue center for a long time, but I think that is changing with all of the legalities where it’s forcing either the owner or the property management company to keep a lot of utilities in their names so you don’t have any off and on for all the tenants when they leave or when you have a new tenant moving in.
If you are a PMC and you’re going to have to manage that for the owner, we believe you do it with ease, but you should charge a fee to be able to do that and you can apply for that again either on the tenant ledger or on the owner ledger—depending on who’s paying for it—and you make a little bit of money on it. That’s the examples of how do we help increase revenue for our PMCs.
The last type of growth that I want to talk about which is very near and dear to my heart is the profit growth by reducing your expenses. In my opinion, you reduce your expenses by doing automation. Now automation, certainly I’m not suggesting that you exchange relationships or conversations with owners and tenants with technology, but what you do, if you take a look at a lot of repetitive elements that we do every day in property management, you should automate those or you should look into making them systematic, so this way you’re not spending a lot of time doing what […] specific example here.
Since I came in to Propertyware, we sat down and we looked at all the processes that our PMCs go through. From renewals, to leasing, to signing of a lease, to maintenance, to all of the big processes. Our goal was to be able to build or educate our PMCs on the best automated way to be able to do a process from A-Z, for the best results, for the cheapest cost as far as HR, and for the highest profit margin.
I can tell you, we’ve gotten rave reviews from our clients when they’ve seen what we’ve put together. We have what we call road shows which is more of events that we put out in some certain cities in the United States and we invite our clients and prospects to come out to see us and see what we have going and what we’re working on. We share with them for example the renewal process that we build together for them. Now, the beauty about why this is important, why I talk about it, we actually talk about both sides of the spectrum here. We talk about the setup, how you can setup Propertyware for full automation, as well as the actual process of how you run it from a systematic perspective and from an operational perspective.
By the time you leave, if you have been a little bit hesitant about how do I work Propertyware to my advantage, you already know how you set it up, and you already know how to work the process itself. We’ve had customers where they came back and they reported that their renewal rate was at 60%-70%, now they are close to 80%. As a matter of fact, I was talking to a client a little bit earlier today and they quoted 79.83% renewal rate from, I think it was close to 71% or 72%. That’s a huge movement.
Now, why that’s important for PMCs, that’s a differentiator for you as well as a service. When you go talk to owners and you say, “I am able to get 80% of people to renew, that speaks volumes to the owners and allows them to see the benefit of working with you compared to working with somebody else who does not have a high renewal rate. Did I explain it to you well as far as all the different types of growth and how we calculate what kind of enhancements we use for each one of them?
Jason: Yeah, absolutely. All of these things make sense and I love the idea that you’re taking a look at the challenges that the property managers are facing internally when it comes to their operations to facilitate that with the software, to make that faster, to make that more simple versus all the manual stuff. Property managers do a lot of manual stuff.
Inaas: They sure do.
Jason: The more that you can pull into that software, the better. A lot of people a lot of times, they’re turning to lots of different systems to try and systemize their business outside of their accounting solution and that can get cumbersome at times.
Inaas: Yeah and the renewal process that we put together for full automation, we’ve got a little over 20 contact steps, where if you’re doing this manually, you would need about 20, a little bit over 20 steps to be able to go through the entire process. We’re talking steps from talking to the tenants and making sure that they want to renew, then again talking to the owner is making sure you agree on pricing, making sure you come back and you talk to the tenant and you send them a lease and you follow up on the lease and you do all of that back and forth. We changed that down to the point where we’re able to do the entire thing with about six or seven touches. Six to seven touches in my opinion compared to over 20, does saves you so much time and so much effort that allows you to really concentrate on building the relationship instead of losing the time doing mundane task that you should be automating.
In my opinion, that’s how you grow, you grow by taking all of those mundane tasks, automate them, take those out of your way, and then concentrate on building the relationship, whether it’s with the owners or with tenants themselves.
Jason: Yeah, makes sense. All right, cool. Is there anything else that you want people to know about Propertyware while I’ve got you here?
Inaas: Absolutely. There is a lot of things that I want to people to know about Propertyware but few things come to mind right off the bat. One, that we do stand behind all of our clients and we do appreciate the relationships that we have with them. Also, if you can imagine, we’re taking a different approach by becoming more of our business advisors to our PMCs, not just a technology provider. A lot of times, you come across a lot of great technologies, but if you don’t know how to take that technology and apply it into your day-to-day operations, that technology really failed because it’s not really allowing you to get what you’d want out of it.
Think about text messaging when it came out, for example. If people didn’t try it, didn’t perfected it, didn’t figure out what to do with it, we wouldn’t have had such a great success with it today. The same effort would be with our platform. We wanted to educate people. We want to make a business partnership with them, to be able to tell him how to do it, what do they do with it, and how they can use it to be able to get best results from all the aspects that we talked about. That’s one.
Number two, I also want them to know that we are property managers, building stuff for property managers. We’re not technologists, we’re just building things in a vacuum, and really building it from the perspective of we know where their pain points are, we’ve been through it, whether it’s myself or somebody on my staff, we know what your folks, the people that’s hearing us today are going through and because of that, my goal is to be able to build things to solve those issues for them, to solve those pain points.
Now, sometimes we have to take them in steps, but at the end of the day we are solving those pain points. For example, we rolled out our text messaging feature earlier this year and for fairness sake it was what I would call the basic features of being able to communicate back and forth via text messaging. In order for us to take that to the next level, we’re also working on enhancements now that would allow us to do the multi-level, the multimedia, as well as the group texting, and things like categorize station for all of the text. This way, our PMCs could take a text and apply it toward somebody specific, whether it’s an owner or tenant.
They can also do group texting. They can also do multimedia, so they can send a picture, send a file, and do all of that all within one centralized communication command, if you call it that, within the system, so it’s not anywhere off the system.
Then, last but not least, I think we’ve talked very greatly about growth, but what I really want people to know, your listeners, is that if you’re looking for a scalable system that has a lot of potential for you, that would allow you to be able to do a lot of customization for your business based on your business needs, then you should look into Propertyware and you should evaluate it as an opportunity as an option for you. Now, it may fit then that’s fantastic, it may not and that’s okay, but at the end of the day you should really evaluate it to figure out if it’s a good fit for you or not.
Jason: You’re talking about what you guys are doing internally. One of the big questions I know a lot of my clients have, a lot of listeners have that’s really hot on the tip of the tongue of most property managers nowadays is integrations. That’s freedom to connect with third party tools, vendors, different services. Maybe you can touch on an API, what you guys have maybe going on there, and how you guys are kind of facilitating integrations with third parties.
Inaas: Yeah. That’s such a fantastic point, I’m so glad that you actually brought that up. Propertyware’s current approach is that we are offering a two-way data exchange […] an API that allows people to be able to connect to their property management software. They can connect almost anything and everything that they would like to do.
In my view, we want to provide people the opportunities to make a choice or pick the right option that fits for their business model. There is a lot of great things that we offer. If it fits your business model, if it fits your needs fantastic, use it. If you have something else that you’d like to use, connect it to property management software so you don’t have to double entry anything.
To me, the kiss of death is double entry and the kiss of death is any manual input that you put into either your staff or yourself, because somebody’s going to make a mistake with that manual entry and somebody’s going to cause you havoc later, even if it’s not happening today. That’s as far as the API. Now, I know on other webcast, Jason, you did ask about things like I think the place was, remind me again, was HubSpot or something like that, where you’re able to connect Propertyware to everything else that it’s out there as far as softwares…
Jason: That was Zapier.
Inaas: …yes, Zapier, thank you. I appreciate that. We actually looked into that and we’re talking to them now about getting our platform on their site to be able to have full integrations with everything that they’ve done. You could do this yourself today, meaning if you have access to the API, you can take API, you can plug it into whatever other software that you’d want to plug it into, whether it’s CRM, whether it’s an inspection product, whether it’s a […] product, typically anything and everything that has got API, you can connect it to do.
Jason: If you’re nerdy enough or you pay enough money to get somebody nerdy enough to do it.
Inaas: True. I mean, you do have to have a developer to be able to take a look at it. This is not something that’s geared toward a property manager to be doing it themselves, that’s for sure.
Jason: That’s why there’s Zapier. The Zapier is very cool because it allows a somewhat normal person—you have to be a little bit nerdy, let’s be honest—to do it without having to know code. You can create connections between tools and systems, so if you guys are working on that, I’ll be really excited to hear when you guys have that ready.
Inaas: Yeah, absolutely. You’re definitely correct, it does need a little bit of development resources to be able to do the API, that’s for sure, but remember though, Jason, once you do it once, you’ve got it, meaning you don’t have…
Jason: You don’t have to do it over again.
Inaas: Exactly. You don’t have to go do connection every day, meaning if you’ve got five products that you’re working on plus your property management software, you connect them all at once and you’re done.
You may have to do maintenance every once in awhile like if something is changed on your property management software or if you change your business model, if you do different things, you make maintenance changes, but it’s not as big of a change once you’ve done it once. It’s really more of an initial step and once you go through that initial step, you’re good to go.
However, I would also say, we’re also one of the very few systems that offer two-way data exchange. Some other systems would offer data out and they call that API, but that’s really not an API. An API should be a two-way data exchange, where you can take data out of your system and you can put data back into your system. If you can’t do that, you can’t really call it API but that’s again […] view at this point.
I have seen some of our customers do some awesome things with the API connections. Those API’s might have where they take information out of Propertyware, they go do something else with it and then go back and feed it back into Propertyware to be able to have one system through which is Propertyware for them. At the end of the day, you would want to connect everything you’re working on with your property management software, so you’re not having to enter anything manually.
Jason: One of the challenges with API’s is that you’ve got two pieces a software there communicating and if either one of them makes changes it can break that connection like something happens, that’s what’s I think is really important for the different vendors and property management software to create relationships where somebody’s maintaining this.
For example, if Tenant Turner was working with Propertyware or if Property Meld was working the Propertyware, if one of these vendors a lot of people are really enjoying, if they’re helping to maintain that connection, then the business owner doesn’t have to keep that working or make sure that it’s working.
Inaas: It’s also fair and I’m again […] and we have a list of companies that we’re actually working with to be able to have direct integrations with, you’ve mentioned Property Meld for example, that’s one of our success stories with the API. We have a full integration with them, they’ll tell you the same thing as well.
The beauty about that is somebody could do the maintenance within Property Meld and then they can make the payment out of their Propertyware system with ease without any complications. It also allows you to do back and forth between the two systems, so if you have a work order that came in from a tenant, you can feed into Property Meld and vice versa as well.
Having that we have the API, that’s what allowed us to be able to do that. There is a list of companies that we’re going through to be able to do direct integration with. I think RentersInc is one of the people here, they’re putting in chats. We’ve been working with them on a direct integration of the API. I think they’re almost there, they’re about 95% there to it. To me, it’s all about providing opportunities for our PMCs to be able to take advantage of what the technology could do for them. That’s what we’re embarking upon. That’s what we are going to do. And if you stay tuned, you’re going to get a lot of great news about us connected with a lot of different vendors that does different things for our PMCs.
The idea is, again to your point, we maintain the connection, so the PMC doesn’t have to. If they wanted to go elsewhere like for example somebody wants to go to a different maintenance provider Property Meld is not what they want to use, they can still use the API to be able to make the exact same connection the Property Meld is made with Propertyware, if they have an access to the API.
Jason: Yeah, makes sense. I love the idea of direct integrations. I love the idea of having an open API. I love the idea of you helping them to systemize your business internally, leveraging your software. These are all powerful tools for them.
One of the main things you have mentioned at the beginning, is to lower expenses and all of these things is going to lower the level of communication, which lessens the amount of time in man-hours and manual stuff that has to happen. That’s the biggest expense in property management is staff, it’s people, it’s those resources and that allows them greater leverage so that they can get more done without having to throw money at bodies constantly in order to get everything done. Property management is not a cheap business to run for a lot of people, so margins matter quite a bit.
Inaas: It was quite interesting to me once I came on to work for Propertyware because I went out and talked to a lot of clients and again I’m an operator, so I understand what people are going through and I remember when I ran my own company, it was really more throwing bodies at it all the time. The difference though in today’s world that is very different than when I ran my own company, is today you have options for technologies that could fulfill those tasks that people were doing for you before.
Back when I ran my own company, those options were not even available. For example, if you recall back in the day when we were doing inspections on pen and paper or via pen and paper, everybody would take a piece of paper and a list of items or questions and you just fill amount while you’re going through the property doing inspection.
Today, you do most of your inspections via mobile technology on mobile devices and with mobile templates. The beauty about that is that saved you the ability or the need to have someone that is actually sitting down and writing down information on a piece of paper and they’re transcribing them back into your property management software.
If you have the integration correctly, you go from mobile inspection tool to the inspection report directly into your property management. We’re working on something that we’re just actually going to roll out here tomorrow, which is enhancements for our evaluation module. It allows people to be able to do multiple inspections and then match them column by column for every time you’ve done inspection.
Think of when you go out and you do a move in inspection, you do a midyear inspection, you do a move out inspection, and then you’re seeing all of those inspections in front of you matched line item by line item, so you know what the kitchen looked like when you did the move-in, you know what the kitchen looks like when you did a midyear inspection and you absolutely you know what the kitchen looks like when somebody moved out
If you can show some damages that the tenant have caused that home, there is never a question anymore about who caused it because you have such an access to data and information that is beyond anyone’s ability to be able to dispute it in court. Again, that’s the beauty about the technology and the use of technology in today’s market compared to what was before.
Jason: Yeah. Technology certainly is changing quite a bit. I think here in the US, we’re in the forefront of what’s happening technologically in property management, even if we are maybe behind other countries in terms of how well-developed or how familiar people are with property management. It’s exciting to see what you guys are doing. Before we wrap this up is there anything else anybody should know about Propertyware and how can they get in touch with you guys?
Inaas: I appreciate that. What I would like to do though is I do want to talk a little bit about the industry in general because I want to take this platform as a way for us to be able to educate and train. I do believe that our industry and to your point earlier some other countries have this property management business defined a little bit better and it’s a little bit more integrated within day in and day out lives of people, so it’s looked at a very different.
Jason: There’s probably two things, maybe just more legislation surrounding it and maybe just more awareness in those markets.
Inaas: Awareness is really a good word. Thank you. The reason why I mentioned that is I truly believe that our industry has been under attack this year and is probably going to be continuing on ongoing under attack from almost everywhere. Whether it states that they’re changing the rules, whether it’s businesses that they’re changing the rules, whether it’s somebody else is changing the rules.
The problem with it is I think we’re so defragmented to the point that we lost the ability to stand up for ourselves as an industry. […] I can give you of states changing the rules on the fly and make it miserable for our PMCs to be able to operate. Not to single them out, but I’m going to make an example of the State of New York. They just rolled out a brand new law about that the tenant protection law, that’s what they call it. The effect of those things that they put into the…
Jason: Protecting the tenants from the big bad evil landlord.
Inaas: Yes, exactly. Part of it, for example, you can’t charge more than $20 for application fee. You can’t even call it an application fee, you have to call it something else. If the customer or if the tenant brings you a copy of an old credit report, you typically have to accept it and not charge him anything if you’re going to go screen them through your ways. You can imagine the complexity that this is putting on our PMCs in the State of New York and they’re not the only state. I know some other states and they’re changing things, changing rules. The reason why I say all of this is I do have an ask for all of us as property managers and the ask is, let’s really get together. Let’s support the organizations that support us.
I don’t want to make this a pitch for any specific organizations that are very well known in our industry, that are usually a couple, two or three, but let’s support them to be able to have a voice, so they can stand on our behalf against some of these things that are happening to our industry. Let’s really truly do a good job making sure that we’re providing the utmost best customer experience, the best customer service that we can provide, because that is the only savior for us to where the public is going to realize that we have value and what we do has value and they’re going to continue on working with us and our business is going to continue to grow.
That’s as far as the industry. I really wanted to make sure that I put that plug in there. You asked me about Propertyware, I think we’ve talked…
Jason: To touch on that I want to agree with you on that. Property management is really in its infancy I think here in the US in terms of awareness and perception. Every property management business owner is either an advocate for the industry or they’re hurting the industry. We all need to be advocates for the industry and we also need to educate. We need to educate because I think if a lot of these laws wouldn’t exist or they would be very different if property managers had input, because they know what works in the real world. They know what needs to happen. They do want to protect the interests of the tenant and the owner.
When things get skewed, when the pendulum swings all the way away from the owner’s interests or the landlord’s interest just towards what serves the needs and interests of the tenants, eventually it’s not really going to end up serving the needs of the tenants. It creates some sort of imbalance that is going to hurt tenants in the long run. That’s generally just always going to be true when something isn’t right, or isn’t fair, or isn’t just.
Inaas: I totally agree 100% and I think you hit the nail on its head with the education. I do also feel that we should educate everybody that we come across with. Whether it’s our tenants, whether it’s our owners, whether it’s somebody else that we’re dealing with our vendors.
One thing that I was very advocate for when I ran either of my company or other companies, is the fact that you have to have an onboarding experience for everybody you’re dealing with. An onboarding experience with your tenant, an onboarding experience with your owner, an onboarding experience for your vendor. And guess what? Also an onboarding experience for the HOAs that you’re dealing with, an onboarding experience for the politicians that are responsible for your area as well because if you don’t educate all of those people on what we and how we do it well, there is also not going to be something you’re going to like.
To your point, Jason, I think if the property managers were involved in some of these laws that they were written, I’m sure they would have been written differently. It’s not because we don’t want to protect the public. We actually have the utmost respect for the public, but we know what works, and we know what works well.
If the idea is to make sure that a tenant has the opportunity to not being overly charged for a particular application fee or something like that, you could have written that in as a rule but a little bit differently than just making it where it’s mandated, it’s one fee, and you’re minimizing the ability for somebody to be able to do the right screening for their tenant and putting the right people in place.
Jason: Even in contracts and everything else, we need a little bit of educated language to explain the why behind things.
Inaas: Yes, absolutely, 100%.
Jason: It’s like that spoonful of sugar that Mary Poppins says makes the medicine go down. There needs to be a little bit of education added to some of the stuff rather than just throwing out, “This is how we’re going to do it,” and you have to just take it.
Inaas: Agreed. Now, you did ask me about property. I do want to say a couple things here. It is a system that I’d like people to take a look into as an opportunity for them to understand what the system could do for them, what are we doing as far as these processes, these automations, the opportunities for the two-way API for them to be able to connect their system to everything else that they’re working on.
We understand that people have to have options and we’re supporting that and we’re going to go with it. I just want people to take a look at what we’ve got to offer and if it’s fitting to what they need and what their business model is, fantastic. We can work together. If it’s not, it’s no big deal. We will continue on staying part of the same industry and we’ll support each other, but I do feel that people are missing quite a lot by not checking out what the opportunities look like and what the options are with Propertyware.
As far as connecting with us what I would recommend, if people go on to our website Propertyware.com, we’ve just finalized a new experience for what I’m going to call here the free trial where you can go in, login, take a look at a little bit of the system, figure out what’s going on. You’re certainly not going to be able to do every single thing in the system. I’m not going to allow you to be able to take a payment in the system or put a tenant in there and kind of have them pay you through it, but the beauty of that is at least, it gives you an insider look of what we have available to you. I would also invite you to have a conversation with our sales staff to really truly understand what we have to offer and then go through a demo. If it works, great. If it doesn’t, no big deal.
Jason: I want to point this out because I’m an advocate for the industry. I’m not a property manager. I want to see the industry shift towards more openness, more freedom. I love what you’re saying. We’ve had other property management software on the past and the general message of one of the big players out there who I won’t mention by name was just, we’re going to just create everything internally. We’re going to just try and give our customers everything that they need rather than giving them what they really are asking for.
The general feedback I hear from everybody is they want freedom. They want freaking freedom to be able to make choices, to make the best choices for the business, to choose the best tools and vendors. They want freedom. As entrepreneurs, that’s why we are doing what we are doing. We don’t give up the 9-5 job so that we can work even more hours a lot of times initially and have a lot more stress and a lot more pain just because we’re crazy. We do it because we want more freedom. We want to be choosing what we’re doing.
What you’re saying I think is in alignment with entrepreneurs. It’s in alignment with entrepreneurs that are running these property management businesses. They want the freedom to be able to choose the vendors, choose the third party tools that they’re going to be using, and they want that stuff to work with their property management software. I appreciate that that is a focus of what Propertyware is doing. I wanted to point that out because I think it’s important to highlight those in the industry that are doing that. I see you guys doing it. I see Rent Manager doing that, the open API thing.
We’ve come a long way since then, every everybody has. Now they’re using tools like maybe Tenant Turner, ShowMojo, or Rently, and some of these sorts of integrations. I’ve always appreciated those aspects of Propertyware.
Question. Most people have a property management software. I would imagine most people listening to this show are not just startups that are like, “Which software should I pick?” Say they’re using AppFolio, they’re using Buildium, they’re using Rent Manager, they’re using Rentec Direct, they’re using something already. What would you say as far as switching? We mentioned already. It’s painful usually to switch. How do you help facilitate this if you’re going to get customers on? They’re going to have to make the switch. Right now, they’re probably not even listening because they’re like, “There’s no way I can switch. I’m married and I’m married for eternity.” I’m going to give you an opportunity to help them break up that marriage if it’s dysfunctional.
Inaas: I am so appreciative of you bringing this on as well. I do want to go back though. Freedom, I love that. I’m actually going to use it because you are correct in making sure that you highlight the fact that it’s all about freedom. Yes, we do have offerings. Yes, we do have products, but at the same token, I am personally a believer. In Propertyware, we’re believing that we have to provide options for people. You pick whatever makes sense for you as a property management company, if you have a different vendor that is offering something that is more unique to your business model and you like to use that versus using something that we have, great. Go for it.
Now as far as the implementation—obviously you can use the API two-way data exchange to be able to connect them so you don’t have to double entry anything—the implementation is such an important piece. When you talk to technologist and you talk to them about implementation, they just don’t realize the amount of hassles that a PMC will have to go through when they’re jumping from one system to another system. To them, it’s more of a 1+1=2. Once I came in to Propertyware, the first thing that I have to tackle was our implementation. What we did with it is a couple of folds.
One, we broke it down to where we provide now tools for ability to be able to have clean data that gets into your system. Having clean data is half the battle for your implementation because if you have a good, clean data coming into your system, it makes your life so much easier to be able to operate.
What we found, a lot of PMCs may not have realized some of the, I’m going to use the word “garbage” that they may have had in their systems. When we go through our checks, we come back to our PMCs and we say, “You told us you managed 200, 300, 1000 doors but when we’re looking at your data here, we’re seeing 1033, so what’s going on with those additional 33 units? Are they truly for rent? Are they truly something you don’t use? What’s going on with them?” and they’re coming back saying, “You know what? You’re right. Those are people that we lost two years ago and the person who was working on the system never deactivated the units.” Having good data is half the battle.
Second is the partnership between the PMCs as well as a good implementation team that allows them to go through the experience one step at a time. What that means, when they’re coming in to us to be able to work with Propertyware, they’re going to be assigned a particular team with one project manager who is driving the entire implementation from A-Z. They have calls, they have specific asks, there is a specific journey that they’re going through step-by-step.
Data is usually number one issue that we all come across. Number two would be all your accounting setups. Number three would be all you process setups. Number four would be more of your training and your customization. Number five kind of bringing it all together with KPIs, reports, and dashboards.
Now, after you’ve done all of this implementation, then you’re also going to get the training team to come in and do full training with you for all these processes. That training is part of the implementation. It’s not something specific that you got to pay for. It also allows you to be able to customize to what your business model needs.
Let’s say you have a specific way of doing move-ins, that trainer is going to learn that from you before they come out to train you and your staff. When they come out to train you and your staff, they’re training you on the system to the best business model, to the best business process that you told him you want to do for that move-in. They’re not going to tell you, “Propertyware does it this way,” they’re going to say, “This is how you told me you want to do move-ins and this is how you could do the same thing in Propertyware for the best of all the results, whether it’s for you or for us.”
Last but not the least, what I would also mention is the fact that we provide our PMCs timelines for their integration. We point it out. We basically say you have, I think the timeline is about 90 days for you to be able to be integrated. You’re not paying for the systems during those 90 days until you fully integrated. Once you are fully integrated, then you start paying for it. That allows us to both be on the same footing saying, “We’re going to work with you to be able to get you implemented because you’re not paying us, so we’re not making any money. At the same token, it’s in our best interest to help you through this process so we can get you to that finalized implementation piece so you can start using your system.”
Now, what we’ve seen is a huge reduction in the days of implementation for Propertyware in particular. We’ve also seen a very high number of what I would say happy customers that they came on our new plan for implementation. We’ve also seen a lot less issues with data when data comes in through the system and we’re finding a lot of ahas from our clients similar to what I described to you saying, “Hey, I didn’t know that I had 1033 units. I thought I was only managing 1000 so now I got to deal with those 33 units,” or, “I didn’t know that I could do move-ins this way or move-outs that way, or do a process of secure deposit, and refunds this way to be able to make it easier for me and more streamlined.” It’s less touches, less communications, less points of friction between the teams, and then obviously what gives you the best results at the end of the day. We’ve seen very good results from our new approach with the implementation.
Jason: People are a little frustrated with their existing property management software. It sounds like you guys have made a lot of changes, as well as the API stuff you’ve been talking about, direct integrations. It’s probably worth to them to take a new fresh look at Propertyware.
Inaas: Absolutely, yes. If you looked at it before, I do invite you to take a look at it again. I promise you, we’ve made a lot of changes. And we are continually making changes. We do this every day. When I say changes, it’s really more of enhancements that really makes sense for all of what we talked about. You’ve mentioned the listing, how easy it is. One thing we just rolled out recently is the watermarking for photos in listing widget. It’s a small thing but it’s an awesome thing to have.
Jason: It protects the photos.
Inaas: It protects the photos. Especially if you’re in areas where you’re hit a lot by scams. When I went operating, I’m not singling them out but just a case of the matter. Florida was one of those states that had a lot of scams. By watermarking your photos at ease without a lot of work, it helps you to be able to protect them and making sure that no one is going to steal those photos to be able to scam you or your owners out of the property. Again, we’re making enhancements that make sense and we’re making enhancements that is allowing people to grow. Either by adding units, increasing their revenue, and/or reducing their expenses, and increasing their profits.
Jason: Cool. Inaas, I appreciate you coming on the show and sharing some ideas about Propertyware, letting us know where everything’s at with it. Again, people can get in touch by going to propertyware.com and check you guys out.
Inaas: I appreciate that. Thank you very much, Jason. I’m really glad that I got a chance to be on the webcast with you. Thank you very much. You guys do a fine job. Please continue on these webcasts. Please continue educating our PMCs and just know that we’re going to be supporting you all the way. If there is anything we can do for you and your listeners to be able to support them in their businesses, and in their endeavors, please reach out to us. We’d love to be your business partners.
Jason: Awesome. Yeah, I would love to. That would be great. It would be cool. Maybe we’ll do something to your audience at some point. That will be fun.
Inaas: Absolutely. We welcome that.
Jason: All right, cool. I love sharing the message that we share. I’ll let you go Inaas. Thanks again for being on the show.
Inaas: Thank you very much. I appreciate it. Thank you.
Jason: As everybody knows, I love sharing the message that I think property management, there is a bigger vision for property managers than just getting mired in toilets, tenants, and termites. I do believe good property management can change the world. There is a massive ripple effect. There are thousands and thousands of families that can be affected by good management. There’s a lot of situations in which families should be underneath good management instead of a crappy landlord situation.
I do believe good property management can have a massive ripple effect that can change the world and hopefully that all of you get a little bit inspired or excited about that. You are having an impact. You get to make a difference. I am honored that through you my listeners, through our clients that we get to work with, that we’re able to get that message out, and that we’re able to have some small impact in the industry and have a ripple effect. I appreciate Inaas pointing that out.
If you are a property management entrepreneur that wants to add doors, make a difference, then please reach out. We’d love to have you and maybe work with you, and see if you’d be a good fit for the type of client that we’re looking to work with, and make a difference in this industry. Check us out at doorgrow.com. Until next time everybody, to our mutual growth. Bye everyone.