Property management growth expert, Jason Hull, has coached and helped hundreds of property management entrepreneurs change their businesses and lives. After all this time observing the industry, he offers an outside perspective on the kinds of software every PM entrepreneur needs.
In this episode, Jason Hull describes the ultimate stack of software for property management entrepreneurs, from the back office and maintenance to process documentation and hiring.
[03:00] The Best Back Office PM Software
[05:26] Managing Maintenence Requests
[08:11] Doing Showings with Tenant Turner, ShowMojo, and Rently
[10:00] Inspection Software and Sales CRMs
[12:08] What you Need for Processes, Task Management, and Hiring
[18:26] Why to Use the Profit First System
“I don’t use property management software because I don’t actually manage rental properties, right? But I have talked to thousands of property managers, and so I am kind of like the magic fly on the wall.”
“Leads are really only good for about the first five minutes.”
“I want to be able to pick the best tools because software’s way cheaper than people.”
“Shift away from one-off showings to open houses. This is going to be significant in collapsing time there. It creates a sense of false scarcity.”
[00:00:00] I want to be able to pick the best tools because software’s way cheaper than people, so even some of the most expensive software might only cost you maybe a thousand or 2000 bucks a month, right, if it were really expensive. People usually cost you more than a thousand or 2000 bucks a month.
[00:00:14] Welcome DoorGrow Hackers to the #DoorGrowShow. 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 in business and life, and you’re 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.
[00:00:51] At DoorGrow, we are on a mission to transform property management business owners and their businesses. We want to transform the industry, eliminate the BS, build awareness, change 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.
[00:01:14] So we’re going to talk about the ultimate property management software stack. I get this question all the time, property management software, “what’s the ultimate stack?” Or “what software should I use?” Or “I’ve heard about this,” or “we’re using this, is this the best?” And I don’t use property management software, right? I don’t use property management software because I don’t actually manage rental properties, right? But I have talked to thousands of property managers, and so I am kind of like the magic fly on the wall that’s gotten more info and I don’t think there’s any other coach, anybody else out there that has the insight or the views or knowledge that I have. And so let me share with you just based on the feedback that I’ve gotten from property management business owners, my nerdiness related to software (I’m kind of nerdy.) This is what if I were starting property management company, this is the stack that I would use. And I don’t think I have relationships with any of these, so they’re not paying me to say this. One of the vendors might give me some sort of incentive or something if I send them business, but I don’t even know if they’re sending me stuff. I don’t pay attention to it.
[00:02:25] So, here’s kind of the ultimate stack based on what I know right now. And somebody may be watching this and they might think, “there’s something better, Jason.” If you know that there’s something better, comment what you love and what you use and what you think is the ultimate stack. If you’re a software geek, if you’re a research geek, if you put in a lot of time and energy into this, I’d love to hear from you because I’m always looking for what’s best for my clients and for everybody in the industry at large. So for single family, residential property management companies, which is largely the target audience that I focus on, this is the ultimate stack.
[00:03:00] So first, basic, you need some sort of back office property management software. This is going to help you with the accounting piece and keeping track of all your rental properties. This is going to be the main sort of foundational piece in your business software- wise. , Usually I would recommend rentmanager.com. So Rent Manager… I just, I hear the most positive feedback on Rent Manager. And so I recommend that you take a look at that software. Now, I know it’s really hard to switch software, so if you are using AppFolio or Buildium or Rentec Direct or Propertyware, or– gosh, what else is out there? I don’t know– any of these tools, I’m not telling you, you should go switch software. Yeah. You know, it’s hard. It’s really hard to switch software, and usually people spend a lot of time, a lot of money, a lot of energy to switch software only to notice the other software is missing some things that they liked in the previous one or has some other problems.
[00:04:03] And so that’s not generally super effective to do that. So the reason I like Rent Manager, let me explain this and maybe a little bit about why I don’t like some of the others, right. Some of the challenges. One of the most common is AppFolio. So one of the reasons I wouldn’t choose AppFolio is because AppFolio does not have an open API. Now granted, they have a lot of tools, right? So maybe you don’t need it is the justification, but I like to pick the best tools. I don’t want one Jack of all trades master of none, maybe master of some, maybe master of a few. I want to build the ultimate stack, and if I’m going to build the ultimate stack, that means I need to be able to pick and choose and create my ultimate Swiss army knife, my ultimate multi-tool, the ultimate thing that I want. And so I want to be able to pick the best tools because software’s way cheaper than people, so if I can pick a software, even if it’s more expensive or it’s additional, instead of translating or transferring that cost onto the shoulders of humans and staffing costs, and I can just mitigate a little bit of staffing costs, it’s totally worth it to me. So even though some of the most expensive software might only cost you maybe a thousand or 2000 bucks a month, right, if it were really expensive, people usually cost you more than a thousand or 2000 bucks a month, unless you’re getting part-time people or people in the Philippines or something.
[00:05:26] Then usually you need something on the maintenance side, and this is usually maybe once you’re at maybe 50 to maybe 150 doors, somewhere in that range. But at some point, you want some leverage when it comes to maintenance coordination. I hear great feedback from Property Meld. Now, these guys, when I did a podcast episode with them, we set up some sort of thing. I think it’s still active. It’ll send them a lead. They might give me a kickback on it. I can’t remember. Property Meld, if you’re listening, you should be giving me kickback for this still, but I don’t even pay attention to it. But if you go to doorgrow.com/maintenance, long time ago, I set up a quiz. So if you go to this website, I set up a little quiz that you can take, and it will give you, I believe a 10% discount if you fill that out with Property Meld. But Property Meld, what’s really cool about Property Meld is basically it’s a three-way text message system between you, the tenant, and the vendor.
[00:06:26] And so this allows all three of you to be communicating, and it allows you to see the communication between the tenant and the vendor, which them communicating directly speeds things up like dramatically. There’s that transparency that you can see how they’re doing and see how it’s going. So that’s on the maintenance side. Now with Property Meld, they have a relationship, I believe still that if you get their full service, then also that’s pairing it with EZ– spelled E and then Z, which is sort of a cute, clever name that they probably should rebrand, but EZ Repair Hotline. I don’t know if it’s ezrepair.com or easyrepairhotline.com. Hopefully my team could figure that out when they do the show notes, (it’s https://www.ezrepairhotlinellc.com) but EZ Repair and if you talk to Property Meld and get their full service, I guess that’s who they use and that’s what’s included–
[00:07:18] EZ Repair is a call center service. It was founded by Andy Shin. He’s been on the podcast before. He used to manage the call center for AAA, so he knows what he’s doing. His team’s based out of Vegas. And my understanding is they’ve really improved since he started the business, and they were a lot more affordable than Night Tenders, which became Super Tenders, which I think became Abodea or something like that. So my understanding is that they’re are a lot more affordable, and they’re comparable. They’re pretty decent and pretty good at what they do, and that they made a lot of strides to get even better over time. So I would check out EZ Repair along with that, and what they do is they handle the calls. So they handle your maintenance calls. So then you’ll have that for your maintenance calls, and that’s going to take a load off of your plate as well. So, that’s on the maintenance side.
[00:08:11] The other tool in my ultimate stack if I were making a property management business is: I would get Tenant Turner, and that is just at tenantturner.com. You’ve got some competitors in this space. You’ve got Rently, you’ve got ShowMojo. I’ve heard good feedback recently on ShowMojo from some people. It seems like they do a pretty decent job. They’ve also got a call center where they’ll field, I think the phone calls, I don’t know, related to the rental properties, but Tenant Turner is probably the tool that I would go with as of right now. I’ve met some of the principals at that business. I like them. I feel like they’re stand up guys and ethical. I believe I’ve had them on my podcast, but I like Tenant Turner, and that’s probably what I would go with. So, that would be on the leasing side, and the smart thing to do on the leasing side, quick bone I’ll throw out to everybody there is to shift away from one-off showings to open houses.
[00:09:05] This is going to be significant in collapsing time there. It creates a sense of false scarcity, I guess, you know, lots of tenants coming at the same time. Do a 30 minute window. Just do it one weekday in the evening and one weekend day, and do it for a 30 minute window for each and everybody that wants to see that property goes to that, and Tenant Turner can help make sure people are reminded, they show, it can pre-screen, um, allows people to book that time and that sort of stuff, so I would go with Tenant Turner.
[00:09:38] Let me think if there’s anything else I would use. I mean, this is kind of the core stack. You’ve got the main leasing side thing, which would be Tenant Turner and then you’ve got the maintenance, which are the two big sort of wings of the property management business or challenges. And then you’ve got your PM back office, which would be Rent Manager. So that would be kind of the core what I would do. Then you need some sort of inspection software. I don’t get a lot of feedback on that, but I know there’s zInspector I’ve heard good things about. There’s Happy Inspector. There’s Inspect & Cloud, and I’m sure all of those integrate with Rent Manager and probably all the other software out there, so I would pick one of those. I would take a look at those, and I would probably have some sort of inspection software as well. And that’s going to be a pretty good stack for your business.
[00:10:27] Oh, there’s one other software here I would probably recommend as of right now, that would be a sales CRM. As of right now, that would be LeadSimple. So LeadSimple is, as far as I know, the only property management sales CRM. There might be some others that can pull in leads and are okay, but LeadSimple’s claim to fame is that if a lead comes in through your web form or your website, you can set up to parse the email, pull the phone number, out and initiate a phone call right away, because leads are really only good for about the first five minutes really, maybe the first 10, but you need to follow up within the first five minutes and then people are impressed. The lead’s still hot, it’s fresh, and it’s not gone stale, to give you some other analogies here, but you want to follow up right away because otherwise, they’re going to move on to the next company, and the first property manager that they talk to or that talks to them is more likely to get the deal.
[00:11:19] So, And if you’re spending money on lead generation, which I don’t recommend, but if you’re spending money on like advertising, which I don’t recommend there’s better ways to grow your business, but if you’re spending a bunch of money on advertising, you are wasting a massive amount of money into a leaky sales funnel if you don’t have something like LeadSimple, or you aren’t following up on leads within the first five to 10 minutes. So that can be effective as well. I send them so much business, they should be sending me some sort of kickback. So LeadSimple, if you hear this, you should be sending me some money, people, ’cause I send you a lot of business. All right. But yeah, I would check out LeadSimple. They have also a workflow built into their platform. That’s kind of a, I guess, a competitor to Process Street. Personally, I don’t know, Lead Simple’s tools, so I can’t recommend it, but internally we use Process Street.
[00:12:08] I really like Process Street for processes. This is their website: it’s process.st. I’ve had them on the podcast as well, but I really like Process Street. We use it internally. It’s great for creating process documentation, but also for using as a checklist to run through that process, and it records an instance for each checklist every time somebody runs through that and uses that process. And so it’s like having a clipboard with check boxes they have to go through each time they do that particular task. Except it’s not a clipboard, it’s digital. So I like Process Street a lot. You can get really complex with it or you can get really simple. And so we use Process Street internally. I highly recommend it. I like it. Now, I’m hearing some really good feedback lately.
[00:12:55] You also need some sort of task management system just for one off tasks. So there’s a lot of people that will use something like Asana. Now, some people are, instead of using Process Street, which is really robust. They’ll use something that’s maybe not as robust, but has similar functionality to that and Asana, and that’s Monday. So I’m hearing some really great things about monday.com for basically largely task management and maybe repetitive processes. Okay, so you may want to check out monday.com for your internal processes. Asana does have repeating tasks and has templates, so you can have sort of formulas of things, but I don’t think it has the functionality of people following through a process and being able to show like screen recordings and screen captures and screenshots and steps and Process Street, you can build all that stuff in.
[00:13:49] I don’t know if Monday can do that also, but Monday does allow you to kind of see where things are in a stage in a workflow and have stages and stuff. So for you know, really large pools of processes that are being worked on, like maybe you have like 20 properties you’re onboarding, you can have an instance of Monday of each, similar in Process Street. In Asana, you would just build out like clone templates, probably. So these are these are some of the tools that I would be taking a look at seriously. If I were to start a property management biz.
[00:14:23] And now the other thing that I would recommend that a property management business is eventually once you have a team, you’re going to need some sort of planning system, and we’ve built what I believe is the ultimate software planning system. We call that DoorGrow OS. OS stands for ‘operating systems.’ So there’s a lot of talk about like EOS which is from like Traction or Rocket Fuel, these books. And, these are good books. It’s a good system. These are good ideas. I really feel though that the flaw in this is It’s built too much around the entrepreneur is what they claim, but it’s not actually built around the entrepreneur. EOS is really built around the idea of the integrator, and the integrator is like the most critical piece in this system. And an integrator really is a glorified operations person that they’re also putting over and it should be running your cadence and running your planning, but they’re putting over sales and marketing and usually operators should not be over sales and marketing. It’s a big tactical mistake in business. And it also is a very top-down system instead of the team kind of, it’s, it it plays into the ego of most entrepreneurs thinking they’re the visionary and everybody has to do things that they want. And it’s very top down.
[00:15:45] DoorGrow OS is more bottom up. It allows you to have your entire team focused on the goals of the business based on what the biggest needs of the business are and the biggest needs of the entrepreneur are. And so, DoorGrow OS is really entrepreneur centric, visionary centric, which it’s your business, and then we build the ultimate team and planning and cadence around you so you’re going to have a business that actually gives you more freedom, more fulfillment, more contribution, and more support the bigger it gets instead of the reverse. There’s some other flaws with EOS, like I don’t like their accountability chart where they’ve got visionary and then integrator, and then the entire team answers to the integrator. I think that’s the most dangerous business model ever. You’re putting somebody in a position of power in which the entire team are loyal and connected to them. And they’re probably not good at being over all of these different department. They basically, if they were or could be, they don’t need you. ‘Cause they could just chop off that top layer off the accountability chart, which is just a fancy word for an org chart in EOS and eliminate you and they can start their own business, right, if they really are that good.
[00:16:50] So you need a really good planning system. I recommend DoorGrow OS it’s really cool system. And then the other thing is you need eventually if you’re really wanting to scale and grow your business and you’re growing quickly, like a lot of our clients do, you will need an ATS or an applicant tracking system. And so we have our system, which is DoorGrow ATS. And so, this is the ultimate hiring system for a business. We have some really cool stuff coming related to this, but this allows you to basically get really great people and get what I call the three fits, which is having the ultimate hire where they match all three fits, where they’re a culture fit, skill fit, and personality fit for your team, and usually the most important of those three is cultural fit. Most people hire just based on what the business needs and based on skill that is needed, so they get a skill fit. But they’re not the right personality sometimes for the position, so they’re not going to actually be great at it.
[00:17:51] They’re maybe not a good culture fit, which means they don’t share your values and won’t do things in a way that you would feel safe with. And so you’ll never fully trust them. And so right now, if you have a team member that’s just not great, I guarantee, they’re probably not a culture fit or they’re probably not a personality fit. Skill fit or intelligence, they just, maybe they’re too dumb to do it. Most likely not. They might just not be the right personality and might not be the right cultural fit. So DoorGrow ATS is another system that would need to be built out in the business. And there’s several other systems I’ve talked about on previous episodes that a business might need in the business.
[00:18:26] And I’ll throw out one other system that we use in our business that I’m a big fan of, and that is Profit First. We have some other tools like my CEO metrics and some other stuff that my team report in, but I really like, you know, as a basic level, really healthy accounting system, I like the Profit First system. I’ve had mike Michalowicz the author of the book Profit First on a previous podcast episode. I recommend you check that out if you’re running into cashflow issues, if you’re having trouble paying your team, if you’ve run into any of these problems that are very typical in early stage businesses or with entrepreneurs. I’ve been there. You’ve probably been there. I highly recommend implementing the Profit First system in your business. It’s really simple to implement. It’s just getting some additional bank accounts set up and then as money comes in, divvying it up into these different bank accounts based on percentages and making sure that you’re taking out a percentage for profits so that you are profitable first and then what’s left over one of those will be expenses. And so I recommend taking a look at that. So these are some of the systems that I think would help too.
[00:19:31] If I were building the ultimate stack for the ultimate problem management business, these are the things that I would take a look at. And then really, it’s about getting really great people and building a really great team so that you have awesome team members. Yeah. So that’s going to create the ultimate business and that we want to build the ultimate business around you. So if you’re struggling or trying to figure out how to grow your business, you are running into the bottleneck where you feel like you are the biggest bottleneck in the business, you feel like you’re always having to micromanage your team, you’re trying to get them motivated, trying to get them to do the right things. I really think you could use our scale program in our DoorGrow and Scale Mastermind, and we would love to talk with you. We easily will help pay for the program just by helping you to cut costs, increase the efficiency of your team. Usually, I can get people three times the output from their team or cut their staffing costs in half or by a third, depending on what your goal is, we can increase that. And then we also want to increase your level of what I call the four reasons. You’re getting more freedom, more fulfillment, more contribution, and more support.
[00:20:36] So we will realign the business around you and realign the team. So anyway, reach out to us at DoorGrow. Check us out at doorgrow.com and until next time everybody to our mutual growth. I hope you crush it. Take care, everyone.
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