It is Memorial Day weekend, the unofficial beginning of summer. The time when many go on or start thinking abut vacations. One of the most difficult things about being your own boss can be finding the time to get away. We all need the chance to recharge our batteries once in a while, but when you are a small business owner/landlord it may not be that easy to get up and go. As the owner/operator, everything is on your shoulders. So how can you find some time to get away? Here are some tips and ideas to help.
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1. Work to reduce the number of phone calls you receive.
- The first thing you as a landlord need to do is to educate your tenants on what a true emergency is and when they should call. If you are the type of landlord that takes every tenant call, even at three in the morning you are getting what you deserve.
- Let your tenants know that you do not do drama. Your tenants are adults and should be able to handle and resolve their problems without getting you involved.
2. Have some people in place to cover for you while you are away.
- These should include reliable contractors such as a plumber, electrician, general handyman, groundskeeper, etc. These folks can handle any repairs which cannot wait.
- Find a friend who is in the same situation you are. See if that person will help you out while you are away if you will do the same for them at some point in the future. They can check your mail, deposit checks and follow up on tenant concerns if necessary. You can often find a friend like this at your local REIA group.
- Get your keys lined up someplace or with someone you can trust. You can rest assured as soon as you leave, a tenant will lock themselves out or a contractor will need access.
3. Make your office and systems as virtual as possible
- Pay your bills online with automatic drafts. This not only saves time but can be reviewed from anywhere in the world.
- Have your tenants signup for automatic rent payments for the same reasons listed above.
- Put your important documents up in a cloud somewhere so you can have access to them from anywhere if you should need them. Services like Dropbox are an awesome resource.
- Take a small mini-office with you just in case. You should have your laptop, a few checks, envelopes and stamps, just in case. Never rely completely on technology.
Finally, let your tenants know you will be unavailable for a short time and to call only if absolutely necessary. Also let them know they may only be able to leave a voicemail message. Most tenants will understand. Plus, it is unlikely that anything major will happen.
Unfortunately, until you hire a full time manager you can never fully get away, you will always have to keep minimal tabs on things. But the tips offered above will give you a chance to get away from the routine and recharge. And if something does happen you will be prepared to deal with it.
Enjoy your summer.
How do you, business owners of BP, manage to get away for a while? Share your tips with us in the comments?
Photo: nate bolt