Business Management

How to Boost Your Business by Asking Tenants for Testimonials

Expertise: Mortgages & Creative Financing, Landlording & Rental Properties, Business Management
26 Articles Written
Smiling happy mature man with white stylish short beard using smartphone gadget serving internet at coffee shop cafe outdoor. Laughing old man using social media network technology feeling excited.

This strategy is part of a series of automation projects we’ve completed in our buy and hold real estate business. I’m going to walk you through how we’ve automated the process of asking for testimonials from current tenants.

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Get Reviews

Reviews and testimonials are key to any business with an online presence. When buying a widget from a site like Amazon, I’m sure that you feel more confident buying from a seller with a large number of high reviews compared to a seller with a low (or no) rating. You’re probably willing to pay a little more to the established seller.

Nothing groundbreaking, right?  

We need positive reviews and testimonials on various sites to convince strangers that they’re in good hands if they do business with us.

What if We Get Negative Reviews?

These can get under my skin. Not so much because of the content, but because they’re typically left by ex-tenants we’ve recently evicted, almost exclusively due to non-payment of rent. You’re not able to change or delete the review, but in most cases, you can leave a comment.  

The most effective strategy we’ve seen is just drowning out the negative reviews with tons of positive ones.

In order to achieve this, we’ve relied on them coming in organically or have manually asked for positive reviews from current tenants a couple of times a year. It’s one of those important but non-urgent tasks that seems to get pushed aside or forgotten though. So, it’s ripe for automation.

Related: 3 Technologies Changing the Way Landlords Manage Rental Properties

How to Get Reviews Automatically

We’ve recently implemented a script that emails current tenants at the six-month mark of their residency. It asks how they would describe their experience with us. There are two links in the email: one positive and one negative.

If they click the positive link, they’re directed to our website where they can leave a review on our BBB, Google, or Facebook pages.  

If they click the negative link, they’re taken to a private survey, hosted as a Google form, where they can leave some feedback as to why they’re having a poor experience with us.

Related: 4 Ways Technology Is Shaking Up Commercial Real Estate (& Why Multifamily Will Pull Ahead)

(A quick aside: we also automatically email new tenants a survey on the third day of their residency, asking about our leasing process and how we can improve.)

To encourage more tenants to leave reviews, you may want to consider giving some kind of incentive. Maybe this is a rent credit of $5 to $10, waiving or discounting late fees for a given month, or entering all entries into a contest for an iPad or an upgrade for their home.

Even a well-written email without incentives describing the importance of reviews for your business can be enough. Some sites will discourage the use of monetary incentives in exchange for reviews, so just keep that in mind.  

How do you plan to improve your testimonial-gathering process?

Share your thoughts below!

Aaron Kinney has been investing in mobile home and land properties since 2011. He writes about this occasionally at and helps ...
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    Replied over 2 years ago
    What email service do you use to send the automated emails? The feature with the two options sounds like a great idea. Thanks for the post!
    Aaron Kinney Real Estate Investor from Lexington, South Carolina
    Replied over 2 years ago
    Hey Patrick, we use Appfolio as our property management software and they provide us the option to text and email tenants.
    Jenny Chien
    Replied over 2 years ago
    Thanks Aaron for a great read! Spot on tips for marketing your business. If I may add, you can also acquire the help of a social media manager or a reputation manager for them to take care of the social media aspect of your business.
    Nathan G. Real Estate Broker from Cody, WY
    Replied over 2 years ago
    Good article, Aaron. A couple additional tips: 1. Don’t pay for a service that helps you obtain reviews. It may seem to work but a lot of the reviews they get are weak and tend to disappear when you stop paying. 2. Solict reviews any time you have a good interaction. If you handle a maintenance issue or other problem quickly and the tenant is happy, ask them to share their experience with others. If they move out and leave the rental in great shape, send their full refund, gush over what great tenants they were, and then ask them to leave a review for you. 3. If you get a negative review, respond to it. Keep it very short, professional, and factual. I have a former tenant that was evicted and then left a nasty review that had nothing to do with her rental, our services, or her eviction. It’s strictly a personal attack so I addressed it as such. If you get a blistering review for keeping the tenants deposit, you can respond by reminding them of the cleaning and repairs needed, that everything was documented with pictures, and that you offered an opportunity to appeal the decision but they refused. This kind of response works wonders for potential clients that want to see how you handle problem tenants!
    Account Closed from Clovis, California
    Replied over 2 years ago
    Feedback from real customers/tenants is always considered helpful. Good reviews give you boost to continue doing what you’re doing or better yet, it helps you come up with more ideas on how to be better at what you do. While bad reviews give you an opportunity to self-check and a chance to do better.
    Karl B. Rental Property Investor from Columbia, MO
    Replied over 2 years ago
    Great advice! Especially the e-mail idea. Many thanks for sharing it!
    Ian L. Rental Property Investor from Louisville, KY
    Replied over 2 years ago
    Hi Aaron, thanks for the excellent article and reminder about learning from the resident viewpoint by implementing systems that help prevent us from getting stuck in our ways. We are Appfolio users also, and I wanted to follow up on Patrick’s question about your automated emails that direct respondents to either your website or a private Google Form survey. Have you found a way for Appfolio’s system to send out automated email scripts based on certain events, e.g. 6 months post-move in date? Or are you using a separate software or system for these email scripts? Many thanks!