How many doors does it take to reach the center of the hiring process? As it turns out, it's less than the number of licks for a Tootsie pop!
The Rent Bridge team polled our clients and friends to discover the answer to age-old questions:
- At what point does external growth lead to internal growth?
- How many doors can you add before adding another staff member to your team?
Our respondents were from companies that ranged from small family businesses to large, established operations. The average answer was between 100 and 150 doors before more staff is required—though a select few felt they could push it to 200 doors before needing to call in the cavalry.
Why is this important? It gives you a point to start thinking about your growth and planning for the future—while still providing excellent service to your owners and tenants so you can continue to grow and thrive.
Planning for Growth
More doors mean more headaches. When you consider that each new property brings multiple recurring processes—communications, document management, accounting, collections—you can see that growing too fast may mean your current staff has to shoulder more work before you get to the point where you can afford the additional support staff to manage the growth.
It is essential to plan for growth so that it doesn't blindside you. Taking notes as you grow your business—so you notice your bottlenecks—will help you avoid them in the future and plan for specific difficulties that are inevitable. Some examples of this might be software upgrades as technology changes over time, or new processes. Understanding bottlenecks will allow you to plan your growth to work around them.
Growing Successfully—or Not
Unfortunately, it has become a bit of an industry stereotype that property managers are very hard to contact from time to time. This is due, in part, to the bustling nature of a business model that relies on growing your doors before increasing your staff. While your intentions might not be to provide poor customer service, it can be an unintended consequence of meeting growth goals if you are not prepared.
In addition to customer service issues, if you are not prepared for growth, there are numerous other ways that it is all too easy to drop the ball. Missing paperwork, overlooking inspections, and letting inefficiencies spiral out of control can make growth more difficult than it should be.
So, How Do I Grow Well?
While this depends on your company and your level of preparedness, there are still some simple steps you can take to help you grow without—the pain.
Plan for Growth
You've probably done this before, so put those lessons to good use. Look back on past growing pains and plan solutions to them—just on a slightly larger scale this time.
Incentivize Your Weaknesses
If customer service falls short during times of growth, offer your employees a cash bonus for having their name mentioned in a positive review. Think of ways to keep the parts of your business most likely to fall behind at the top of everyone's mind. this will keep your service mentality strong and your reputation stronger.
"What Gets Measured, Gets Managed"
This adage is in plenty of business books for a reason.
- Set up and start measuring metrics now.
- Learn what your current numbers look like.
- Continue to measure as you grow: wild variations from your average can signal trouble and show you where you need to spend more resources.
- Don't only focus on fixing things that go terribly wrong: learn your data well enough to predict when things are going to go wrong. This gives you a chance to get out in front of it.
There are plenty of proactive ways to create efficiencies within your technology. We usually don't look to solve problems when all is well—but that is precisely when we should! The best time to upgrade systems and processes with property management automation is when you aren't as busy. Use your downtime wisely so that when things get busy, you're prepared.
The ultimate solution to grow without the need to hire staff is to adopt property management automation. There are so many tasks that don't need the element of a "human touch." Bypassing these tasks to technology gives your staff more time to focus on what matters to your long term success—creating lasting relationships with owners by providing better property management.
Automation is more than a solution to growing pains—it is rapidly becoming a necessary part of the property management landscape. Huge property management companies continue to buy smaller startups, consolidating the market like never before. Smaller companies will have to adapt and be agile enough to compete with the efficiencies larger businesses can create.
Rent Bridge can help: our mission is to make working in property management better for everyone through the versatility of technology. Technology allows smaller operations to play competitively in the big leagues, and it helps larger companies streamline and organize "bulk" into management muscle. Regardless of the scale of your business, contact us if you would like to learn more about our property management automation services!