Do you think most successful people are just lucky? Do you believe when something goes right you chuck it up to luck and when something goes wrong you say it’s because of bad luck? I will be the first to admit that luck or coincidence or my guardian angel has created opportunities for me but I still had to do the work to make it happen.
It takes work to turn that lucky break into results and success. Along the way successful people will tell you that they put in place as many systems as possible to leverage their time and tasks.
LandlordSource is all about Systems these have been the most useful for me.
- Templates – Tenant, Owner, Vendor. I use template emails and letters for all my communication. Templates are great because it allows you to be consistent in your message, address the same issues that come up or the same tasks that we perform again and again. It keeps us in compliance with Fair Housing since we are treating everyone the same and communicating the same information over and over.
- Employee Systems – I use set systems to advertise and hire new employees, perform reviews, and to close out the personnel file when the time comes. I have all my job descriptions and just modify them as necessary. My employee handbook allows me to set expectations such as: the dress policy, attendance requirements, and vacation policy, etc.
- Policy & Procedures – this allows me to set standards for the company and get new employees up to speed. It is a living document, which means it needs to be updated at least annually as things change. Currently, I am working on Procedures for each position which will turn into a training manual for that position.
- Calendar everything. My life does not move without my calendar. I put everything in it including time off, personal tasks etc. This way I can see my day, week, and month. I don’t get over booked or stressed. I would also suggest that you put into your calendar open times to allow for the unexpected, which always happens. If nothing happens you can always find ways to use that time.
- Blocking time and tasks. This goes hand-in-hand with my calendar. Time blocking allows for me and my staff to be focused and efficient. From experience I can say that if I block 2 hours in most cases I finish in an hour. Why? Well, there are no interruptions so the task gets done quicker. When everyone calendars and communicates their time block, we can all be respectful of the time and support each other. The outcome is everyone is highly productive, moral goes up and people feel the momentum shift in the office.
- Checklists – I use these for everything but I keep them simple and to the point. Checklists allow for interruptions because you can turn right back to the checklist and continue on with the task at hand versus spending 20 minutes trying to refocus. Checklists also allow for you to save brain power and to ensure that important tasks such as turning on the utilities after the tenant vacates isn’t forgotten. Checklists provide for consistency.
By having systems in place I feel like I run a professional company. I am able to project to new clients that we have our act together and it allows for me to have employees know what is expected of them and how they can be successful. These systems create a way for me to hold everyone accountable for their actions and there are no surprises about who does what and when.
So yes, I feel very lucky to be in property management considering this is not where I started. It is a profession that uses all my skills, allows me to have pride in what I do for my company and my community and allows me to share what I have learned with others who are just as passionate about property management.
Kathleen Richards, is the owner of LandlordSource, The Property Management Coach, and Portola Property Management. She has authored Property Management A-Z, and teaches regularly at community colleges and conferences about property management. She has been active in her field and holds professional designations as Master Property Manager (MPM®) and Residential Management Professional (RMP®) from NARPM®. Kathleen has served at the local and state level on the boards for NARPM® (National Association of Residential Property Managers).
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