by Elaine Williams
Time and money are everything to a property manager. So when there’s a chance to save it, or make it, you take it. Especially when it comes to time consuming tasks like pricing and sending renewal offers, follow-up and tracking down a resident to determine if he or she will give notice, go to MTM or is actually going to sign a lease renewal at the last minute!. But with a good template and automation system, there are plenty of tips and tricks you can use to make the lives of your property teams easier while making more money.
Phase 1: Templates
With templates you no longer need to scramble when you remember something like “today is the day I need to send offers!” By creating standard templates you can strategically price, send offers and remind residents to renew, you’re good to go whenever the day arrives. All that might be required is a quick review of the template and if it still fits your needs. Then you can plug in dates and times for when a message needs to go out, weeks or months in advance.
Templates can also save a lot of time through email automation. It’s a huge relief, especially when it comes to the monthly renewal process. Let’s face it; property managers and leasing teams can spend a significant amount of time and energy chasing after and talking to residents about renewing, but everyone seems to want to wait until the last minute before they actually sign their lease. You can also use the templates to create different renewal/follow up notifications that, through email automation, can be sent out anytime and multiple times during the monthly renewal process.
Phase 2: Automation
Delving deeper into the uses of automation, we see that it can be used not only to remind renters to renew, but to incentivise them to renew through tiered renewals. If a resident doesn’t renew in a timely fashion with the first renewal notification sent, the offer will auto-expire and through automation the system will send the next offer you created in the template to the resident. With each regenerated offer, you can increase the rate so residents realize they’re missing the best offers by pushing off renewing and you have successfully created a sense of urgency for residents to renew (more on this in a bit). You can also add in specials or concessions, like a free carpet cleaning or a gift card, for those who renew earlier on or for units that are hard to lease. This helps properties be more strategic and detailed when managing renewal increases.
You might be thinking “I feel the need to review offers before they auto-generate. I want to be sure there are no mistakes.” Depending on the software you use, setting up several templates does not mean that the system will auto-generate offers blindly. To continue to keep you in control, settings options will allow you to choose the option of one approval review and/or a second review/approval before sending offers to residents. Once these approvals are executed, the offer will generate to the residents right from the dashboard. So, in essence, it works as not only a reminder that messages need to be sent out to residents, but it’s already put together and only requires a quick minute of review.
Phase 3: Tiered Pricing
Let’s add to something I touched on earlier: Templates can save a lot of time through automation, as well as help properties be more strategic and detailed when pricing and managing renewal increases. Utilizing your template means prices on your automated offers can be generated at a starting point of market rates, current rates (what the resident is paying now), or “fixed rates.” Keep in mind when pricing that the smart thing to do is anticipate where your prices will be in 75 days to maximize the full potential of the leasing activity that will happen in the next 2-3 months. But the beauty of the templates is that you can always update it as well as set minimum and maximum ranges for price increases.
If you haven’t started using software that allows you to create templates and do automated follow up emails, you’re missing out. There’s a great deal of fear when it comes to change in the industry, when what we really need to do is embrace the change and experiment with the new technologies. Trial and error leads to some amazing results that can save all of us a few headaches in the long run.
Elaine Williams is an industry executive that develops new technology systems and implements programs that create operating efficiencies directly increasing operating margins. As an expert in technology she provides consulting services to organizations by Connecting People, Through Processes and Technologies. http://www.