Recently, I sat down with J. Daniel Greenberg, Vice President, Director of Investment at Compten Management Inc. to talk to him about some of the key elements in running a successful property management business as well as industry trends.
LD: Tell me a little bit about Compten Management Inc.
JDG: Compten Management was founded 35 years ago in Toronto. We are an owner-manager property management company specializing in the multi-residential field. We constantly strive to achieve both a good bottom line for the owner and a positive living experience for our residents.
LD: To achieve those goals, what do you think are some of the key factors in running a successful property management business?
JDG: I would say that one of the most important factors are hard working individuals, on-site and off-site, who are properly trained and encouraged to perform their duties as efficiently as possible. We put a lot of time and effort into our staff, to ensure they have all the tools they need for success. We pride ourselves on providing a positive atmosphere to work. Most of our staff stay with us for 7+ years. They get to know the property and the residents very well and are able to address problems promptly while maintaining a high level of customer service.
Our employees get to know the residents, and establish a positive relationship with them. As a company we are very hands-on and strive to maintain a high level of communication with our tenants. When you are active as a property management company you are able to provide a superior customer experience which translates into less collection issues, less turnover and therefore improves the bottom line.
Another key asset are our contractors who can be relied on to perform prompt maintenance and repairs. For example, if there’s a flood, you need to react swiftly in order to reduce damage caused by the overflow of water. Our contractors are available for emergencies or jobs with significant time constraints and are able to perform high quality services under these circumstances.
LD: When you were researching a property management solution what things were you looking for?
JDG: One of the key things we were looking for was the ability to accept online payments and to be able to provide a more web-based, virtual experience for our residents. As an organization, we are moving toward a paperless strategy.
Millennials want to do things online or through their phones and simply do not like using cheques. Property Vista allows us to accept payment online, process work orders online and increase our communication with residents. Banks are phasing out cheques by 2017, so we want to be ahead of the game and prepare for our residents to be able to pay through other methods that are more convenient and cheaper.
LD: How has Property Vista played a role in protecting or improving your operations?
JDG: Property Vista has streamlined our processes. The great thing is that it makes the communication between resident and site staff much quicker and much simpler. Through the resident portal, we can answer questions or respond to requests faster which is important in providing a high level of customer service. For maintenance requests, our residents can simply submit their ticket and track its progress.
In both cases, the query is sent to the correct person immediately. There is no need for a resident to write a letter, hand it to the super who will then fax it over to head office, then have it sorted at the office and given to the correct person. In order to respond to that same request, we then go through the same process backwards to give the response letter to the resident. With Property Vista, the time saved on responding to a letter is tremendous.
As well, the online application and credit check tools have been beneficial. The credit check we receive through Property Vista is more in-depth, and slightly less expensive than what we had previously. Having the application and credit check all in one place has also been very helpful.
Going paperless means there are no more paper applications or credit checks that you have to print out and attach and then file away. It’s all online, and we can easily reference items without having to flip through tons of paper and files.
LD: So, it sounds like Property Vista’s solution has improved the customer experience.
JDG: Yes, for sure.
LD: What trends do you see in the property management business in the coming year or two?
JDG: One of the major trends is the movement toward virtual applications to help manage properties. I think you are going to see a lot of property management companies starting to accept online payment due to banks phasing out cheques as well as the cost benefit from reducing the amount of time it takes to process a payment. You will see more resident portals, more e-transfers, more online applications, and so on. There are too many benefits from a resident and property management perspective. It stream lines the process to apply for an apartment as well as the process to approve that same application.
LD: Thanks for the interview, Daniel!
JDG: Thank you.