I want to start a property management company. Help!

15 Replies

I currently own and manage 4 single family rentals in Palm Beach county florida and I do a very good job at it. I've consumed tons of literature on landlording as well as all the biggerpockets podcasts and I feel like I can truly help people by providing them with property management by someone that actually has experience doing it the right way. My goal is to get 20 to 30 single family properties under management so that I can handle all of it myself and do it the right way. What are the best ways to market myself in my area? Are there services that you can recommend for building a website and is there a need for one? Do I need to open up an actual entity? 

Benjamin, the first step is to check on the requirements for Florida. Here in Virginia, you must have a Broker's license, so short of partnering with someone, it isn't something that can be started quickly at all.

Benjamin you will need to have a real estate license to manage other people's properties for them. Hopefully you have one already, but if not, they aren't too difficult to get. 

(727) 475-0107

I already have a real estate license.

I heard somewhere recently - I believe on one of the podcasts - that it is around 300 homes under management before you really start becoming profitable. Your immediate goals sound less than that. Have you looked into the numbers?

Not trying to discourage you. I think it is a great idea. In fact, I want to do hrs and hing myself - my partner is a realtor and works in property management. Once she gets her brokers license we may open our own firm.

If you can provide good quality service at a competitive price, this seems like a great complement to building your own rental portfolio.

Best of luck. I look forward to hearing how your business develops.

I think those numbers are if you're trying to scale and create a big company with staff. If you do it on your own from your home office there is a profit with every property under management. 

@Benjamin Kanevsky  

You have a license, so you can market this in any number of ways, but have you managed property for other owners before?  Is the broker you hang your license under engaged in property management or are they strictly transactional?

If they don't offer that service, talk to you broker about adding that service to the brokerage business and let you run that for a while.  Building that PM portfolio will give you experience and credibility.  After you've had your license for two years, you can get your brokers license and launch your own PM company.

William Byers, Broker
904-710-9871

@Benjamin Kanevsky  - I think I have the perfect suggestion for you, especially given your location. 

My partner @Dan DeMott  and I have created a property management company with the infrastructure to add new agents who are looking to become property managers without having to spend the time and money to build up their own infrastructure. check out www.rentprofl.com, that is our website. Dan is on the east coast of FL, I am on the west coast. Send Dan a PM, he is on your side of the state in West Palm Beach with over 100 properties under management so he can sit down with you and see if it would make sense to take what you are already doing and enhance it. 

@Benjamin Kanevsky  

If you have another source of income, it will be easier to slowly build a PM company from scratch.

If you are looking to quit your day job to do PM and need sufficient income to pay the bills, it is probably easier to buy an existing company.

I would definitely have some kind of corporate form for the business, and I would also recommend having an attractive website as a starting point.

As you grow the company, you may consider an enterprise backend solution like Propertyware. They also have a web design team. They did our website and it's fully integrated with the Propertyware management solution.

There are many different ways to market a property management company, and there are several pertinent threads on the BP forums (search "property management marketing"). 

Our website has been a big driver of growth for us. Make sure your website can easily be found when someone googles "property management (insert your city here)". If you are good with technology, you can do a lot of the search engine optimization yourself to save some money.

Originally posted by @Nate Garrett :

@Benjamin Kanevsky 

If you have another source of income, it will be easier to slowly build a PM company from scratch.

If you are looking to quit your day job to do PM and need sufficient income to pay the bills, it is probably easier to buy an existing company.

I would definitely have some kind of corporate form for the business, and I would also recommend having an attractive website as a starting point.

As you grow the company, you may consider an enterprise backend solution like Propertyware. They also have a web design team. They did our website and it's fully integrated with the Propertyware management solution.

There are many different ways to market a property management company, and there are several pertinent threads on the BP forums (search "property management marketing"). 

Our website has been a big driver of growth for us. Make sure your website can easily be found when someone googles "property management (insert your city here)". If you are good with technology, you can do a lot of the search engine optimization yourself to save some money.

 I do have another source of income and I can afford to pay a company to do SEO for me so that I don't have to go out and learn it on my own. What do services like that generally run? Are there any companies that you can recommend that you have used for your business? 

@Benjamin Kanevsky  

I have done all of our search engine optimization, so I'm not sure how much it would cost to hire it out, but my guess is it won't be cheap. It's quite a bit of work to keep your website at the top of the google rankings.

If I were going to hire it out, I would seek a local company with staff that I could meet face to face.

You may consider a local Real Estate  Investor's Club as a place to start marketing. Also let the agents you work with and meet know about your new business (networking).  Another method would be simply cold calling out town home owners to offer your services to. You live in a great area for property management. There are a number of new landlords that may be rethinking their level of hands on management. Just a thought 

I don't see the point that you need a local guy to do this . The only benefit would be to pay a ton of money if thats what you are looking for . Hire it out to a VA for 1/10t of the cost .

We manage apprx 600 doors in Denver, but I think you can be profitable as a small property management start up as long as you do it wisely. Check our NARPM (National Association of Residential Property Mangers). They are an excellent ground for you to learn from. They have an owner conference coming up next month (Fed) in Las Vegas. Our company has learned sooo much from this organization.

Good luck!

Marc Cunningham, Real Estate Agent in CO (#EA-4000-6743)

I manage 10 of my own and 6 for others. It's no biggie and I do it part time.

It can get stressful if properties are ran down to begin with as you will get tons of maintenance calls on items that should have been replaced a long time ago and will have higher turn over.

Managing 30 properties will be a full time job so if that is what you want then go for it. You can still do it as one person as long as you have good maintenance guy and can get him to show up (I had problem with that). 

Try to automate rent collections, bill payments and management reporting and you should be fine. Get a team of contractors for HVAC, plumber, electrician and reliable handyman, eviction attorney. Do that before you deploy and it will be easy sailing.

For me generating reports for owners is the most time consuming right now. I have a separate bank account for each client so there is no commingling of funds or confusion. 

As others suggested, looking into the requirements in your state is important. As far as the running of the business, one of the biggest things for us has been the right software. Buildium is what we use and it helps keep things simple. It automates all reporting and keeps track of all finances. It has lots of tools that make operating the business smooth.

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