Considering it is 2014, I'm thinking of only putting my website on my for rent signs and not including my phone number. The website is exclusive to that property and has my phone number there, so its super easy to find on a smart phone. This is an effort to help prospects prequalify themselves before calling me, thus saving them and me superfluous calls. Further, if a person isn't serious enough to look at the listing, then they likely aren't serious prospects anyway. My target demographic isn't seniors who might not be tech savvy,and I don't deal in low income, so my tenants very likely will all have a smart phone. Is this a mistake?
Actually I kind of like the idea. You're eliminating some of the tenant pool that you're not interested in. It's an creative twist on targeted advertising.
I'd try it on a unit and track the site hits to calls ratio. I think it'll eliminate some of the dreamers too. You can have the site answer the common questions that you normally need to waste time on. I'd put the phone number on page 2, not on the front page, or even only give it to them after they fill out an "pre-qualifying" application (or some similar wording), on the "thank you" page. Try to completely take out the time wasters. You know they're serious if they take the time to "pre-qualify" before they even talk to you! May take a little longer to fill the unit though.
Joe Gore would call you a fake landlord but I absolutely approve of your methods. The interwebz is your friend.
I never call anyone a fake landlord. Why would anyone fill out anything on a website without seeing the property and vetting the landlord. A great landlord will do things in a upfront matter not a sly way.
Not sure of this talk of filling out anything online. My website only has pictures, amenities, terms, and phone number. I'm just going to forgo putting my number on the actual sign, thus forcing the prospect to learn about the house before calling me. No ducking or slight of hand involved. In fact, I don't have even as much as an application or background check link on my website, just info about the house and my number. Just looking to eliminate the four bedroom seekers when I have a three bedroom, or the ones who want to spend $600 when the property is $1000. Maybe my use of the word "pre-qualify" was the wrong choice of word, but what I meant to say was that the prospect could rule me out before I have a chance to rule them out because the property doesn't fit their needs, thus eliminating unecessary calls.
I think it is smart. You have acknowledged your target demographic. You realize that you might be letting one or two through the cracks as well. However most importantly you realize that your time is valuable and the same with prospective tenants. In the beginning folks just need information and a time to set up a location. It is much easier to e-mail. I can describe my pet policy and set up a showing time within minutes and neither one of us even has to write a note because we have a record of it already. Some folks are stuck about 20 years ago and that is ok, I'll buy their property when they realize that there are few renters that meet there standards as they were 20 years ago.
@Wesley C. - I do like the approach better than just putting a phone number on the sign. If the tenants are that tech-savvy, why not just market to them that way? I've never used a for rent sign and keep near 100% occupancy. If your properties attract that type of tenant (students, young professionals, etc.) then you should be able to reach them online without the need for a sign in the yard. I've always been able to quickly rent my units by utilizing Craigslist. If that's not heavily used in your area you should reach out to your prospective tenant base and ask them how they're searching for apartments.
@Wesley C. sounds like a very efficient way of doing business. Time is money afterall
It's not a bad idea for sure, but I would definitely run a test case or two. Generally, the more steps someone has to go through to do whatever, the less likely they are to do it. With rentals, yes you want to remove the people who aren't serious, but even the serious may just call on the next sign that has number.
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Pimp the sign out and put a QR Code on it so they can scan it.
I have both a phone number and a web address. Most of those who call have already seen the website and prequalified themselves (with some exceptions).
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