Posts Tagged ‘Going Green’
Just reaching your prospective renters through targeted marketing isn’t enough anymore. Without a full toolbox of digital tools you might be missing out on golden opportunities to close more sales. If you are straddling the fence between a paper leasing processes and a digital automated leasing system, here are a few details to help you get off the fence.
The Problem with Paper Trails
The paper application process isn’t efficient, it’s fragmented. Tenants look for a property online (or during a drive-by), pick up an application, mail it back, fax it in or hand deliver it to the leasing office, and wait for a leasing agent to manually key in the information. Depending on how motivated the prospect is, he may or may not view other properties while waiting for notice of approval.
At every point in the process, property managers risk losing the prospect’s interest. He or she might take the application, but get distracted by other properties before filling out the application. He could fill out the application, but fail to return it. Maybe, another property using digital processing reaches a decision faster and closes the deal while your team is evaluating the paper application.
Digital (Mobile) Lease Flow
Mobile lease flow systems close those gaps. When an apartment seeker locates a property that piques his interest, he can complete an application from any mobile device, get an answer from management, and sign the lease – all digitally and without leaving your property. No loss of momentum and no interference from other properties vying for attention. This also means prospective tenants doing a drive-by don’t have to wait for open office hours to apply.
Supporting a Green Lifestyle
Digital lease flow systems support an eco-friendly lifestyle. Managing guest cards, non-paper applications and online virtual tour brochures drastically reduce paper waste and shrinks your property’s carbon footprint. An environmentally responsible, low-impact management style is very appealing to many urban apartment dwellers who look for sustainability-centered properties to call home.
Digital applications are efficient and cost-effective. Property owners and managers find that digital leasing systems reduce staff hours, while increasing closing ratios. Cost of printing and file maintenance also falls. Integrative, seamless paperless leasing options require fewer staff hours, but allow for more customer contact. It is like having a virtual leasing agent on call to keep your prospects engaged throughout the process from the point of interest to a signed lease.
Still Not Ready to Switch?
Beside appealing to today’s savvy, digital consumers, saving money on supplies and labor costs, and reducing your carbon footprint, there are a few more advantages for digitally integrated systems.
- Speed up background check processing times.
- Electronic payments reduce NSF chargebacks and late payments.
- Paperless applications reduce turn-around time.
- Electronic files are secure and archived for future retrieval without taking up file space in the office.
Changing the way you do business can be stressful. Switching to a system that saves you money and boosts efficiency relieves stress though, and is a great option for tenants and property managers.
|Appfolio | Company Website | LinkedIn Connect |
AppFolio, Inc. develops Property Management Software that helps businesses improve their workflow so they save time and make more money. Appfolio submits articles & blogs including topics of Resident Retention, Improved Owner Communication, Time Management, and more.
After reports surfaced that the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs was having logistical problems processing claims due to the literal piles of paperwork they had accumulated, it became apparent to the rest of the world who hadn’t begun the process of going paperless, that it was time to get serious.
For those in the multifamily industry, the idea of going paperless not only means a chance to reduce overall expenses, but once established, can mean both time saved and a boost in the overall quality of work produced.
From clearing of the office clutter to the fact that going paperless can be a great marketing message, we have some great tips for promoting a paper-free zone in your work-zone.
Why should management companies eliminate paper leases?
When it comes to the business of leasing, going paperless can present a whole new series of benefits. One of the foremost benefits is the ability to execute leases anywhere in the field. Since you’re digitally transmitting everything, only a wireless internet connection and connectable device are needed to present, sign, and distribute those documents to the tenants email and a virtual office file that your staff shares access to.
Agents will spend less time and money traveling and even less energy consuming detailed audits of all the properties in your portfolio when all the documents are electronically accessible.
Industry professionals estimate that up to 40% of the time in leasing offices is spent dealing with paper to make copies, set up files, to send faxes, or simply just searching through existing files to find need documents.
In the long run, it’s time that could be spent being proactive and accomplishing tasks that affect the bottom-line.
How can management companies get e-signatures on their leases when they are paperless?
If you’re just looking to store and share documents online with your users/agents, then Google Docs is a simple, no-cost solution. If you need to take it a step further, Adobe EchoSign is a free e-signature app that allows you to both sign documents digitally and send those documents via email or Google Docs/Drive.
If you are looking to have that same power of Drive/Docs while also adding the ability to capture actual legal signatures on your leasing documents in an all-in-one environment, however, then you’ll need to enlist the services of a company like DocuSign, Lease Runner, SyndicIT Services, or On-Site.
DocuSign has been endorsed by NAR as their official electronic signature provider and boasts that over 115,000 real estate professionals are currently using the program to manage everything from residential and commercial real estate, property management, mortgage, escrow and more
LeaseRunner, like On-Site, is a 100% paperless, time saving application that maintains editable lease documents that comply with all 50 states and a variety of property types. The documents have the ability to capture electronic signatures and store everything digitally.
What do the statistics say about companies who go paperless?
When you look at the sheer impact the paper and ink industry has on the environment, paper consumption in America has generated approximately 85 million tons of paper waste. The pulp and paper industry in the United States is actually the 2nd largest consumer of energy.
According to the statistics gathered by GoPaperless.com, the average office worker prints around 10,000 pages per year. That’s equivalent to two-and-a-half fully grown trees and 56 gallons of oil per office worker, per year.
By going paperless, the study shows that the average multifamily real estate office can see benefits that extend into not only a reduction in the business costs associated with paper, printers, and ink and toner cartridges, but a reduction in physical filing cabinets and the time it takes associates to search for and retrieve documents.
Going paperless can also mean that a business can begin to employ services in a mobile environment that will promote a professional image and a more customer service oriented way of conducting day-to-day business.
The protocols set in place by a paperless office management system have been shown to have the added benefits of providing the company a secure way of backing up all documents, granting better access to real time updates and document delivery, as well as creating a marketing message that lets the business promote the fact that it is environmentally friendly.
As far as managing statements and paying bills goes, the more you do online the less time and energy you’ll spend managing this part of your business. When it comes to going paperless, it’s a trend that is not going away and one that makes the kind of good “sense” that can be seen in your bottom-line.
|Justin Alanis | Company Website | LinkedIn Connect |Justin Alanis is the Co-Founder and CEO of Rentlytics Inc. Rentlytics is based in San Francisco, CA providing deep analytics for apartment property owners and managers. View and analyze property operational and financial metrics more effectively and identify issues.|
By: Nick Frantz
It seems that everyone is taking steps to go a little green. So what’s it mean for property managers? Is it worth your time and effort to promote a green agenda?
For individuals, going green is a personal choice. For some it comes down to situational decisions, “Should I buy my regular detergent or this green one?” For those more committed to the cause it’s a lifestyle choice. And still for others, the choices are financially driven, “I’ll buy my regular cleaning products because they cost less and this hybrid car because it uses less gas.” Participation spans all ages. But the 20–35 year age group is the most committed… and it strongly influences their decision making.
To Play or Not to Play?
It all shakes out to this: yes, the green movement is a trend. It’s a cause. But it’s not a fad. Businesses have seized the opportunity by producing fit-the-need products. Federal, state and local governments are responding with increasing regulatory requirements and restrictions. Green is a factor that affects purchase decisions… so it stands to reason that it plays a role in rental and retention decisions, too.
Here are five practical ideas to put a little green to work on your property.
1. Decide on your light bulbs. In 2014 you will be forced to make a light bulb decision. That’s when the federal government’s ban on incandescent bulbs goes into effect. For standard fixtures, your new choices are CFL (compact fluorescent) bulbs or LED (light-emitting diode) bulbs. Both deliver huge energy savings over their old fashioned predecessor. LEDs are superior in energy usage and quality of light, but are much more expensive to purchase.
2. Expand on recycling opportunities. In most municipalities, recyclable trash is picked up separately from regular trash. Although often voluntary, in some areas it’s mandatory. You may already have separate bins for recyclable trash. Are there enough of them? Are they convenient?
I know a managed community whose residents have curb-side pickup, but they take their paper products and aluminum cans to centrally-located bins for pick up. The vendor pays for the recyclable paper and cans and the funds go into the HOA. . It’s a voluntary program and nearly everyone participates.
3. Ask your utility companies to help. Contact all your utility companies and ask for onsite assessments. Some may charge for the service. However fees are usually reasonable and may qualify you for discounts on upgrades or repairs. They also should have energy-saving tips they can pass on to you, or available on their websites. Pull the ones that apply to your property and publish your own tip list.
4. Increase communications, but conserve your paper. It’s time—past time—to make a serious reduction in your paper communications. A message notification service can do the job better and save you loads of time and money, too. Look for one that sends voice and text messages to cell phones and also to email.
5. Foster a green perception. Lots of brands tout green qualities. But the ones that carry strong green reputations do a better job at fostering the perception. Make that work for you. Whenever appropriate, communicate your green efforts.
- “When you’re in the common areas, please use the recycle trash cans for your empty soda cans.”
- “Now that it’s getting warmer, please adjust your thermostat when you leave, so your air conditioner isn’t running up your electric bill while you’re gone.”
- “Thank you for your positive responses to our messaging system. Last month alone it reduced our paper usage by more than 800 sheets. That’s nearly two reams!”
None of these ideas are large-scale initiatives. They’re small changes that collectively make a big difference. They also foster the perception that you’re proactively doing your part. Plus, you just might find that your efforts add some green to your bottom line.
For more information regarding resident communication solutions please visit www.onecallnow.com, or call (877) 698-3262 to find out how our text, email and voice messages can work for your community.
Nick Frantz is the National Sales Manager for Property Management Solutions at One Call Now, where he has worked since March 2011. He specializes in Property Management solutions – commercial and residential – assisting in communications between property managers and staff/residents. Nick holds a Bachelor of Science degree from Miami University.