Love saving time? Me too!
Love saving money? Me too!
There are two things I’ve implemented into in my business that make me really happy and that allow me to spend less time and get the same or a better result. They have to do with managing people, as well as financial resources and time.
First of all, if you use someone as a handyman or a contractor for make readies and you are buying your materials from Home Depot and you don’t have a Pro Xtra account, you are really missing out!
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The Home Depot Pro Xtra Program
You receive coupons, extra deals that are available for contractors, and an online system that is pretty killer. Just received a $5 off coupon a few days ago if I spend $50. For what? Doing nothing!
Need to buy some new tools, ladders, or a pile of tile? They notify you when the deals are happening for those things. I am starting to stockpile things like paint, faucets and light fixtures, as they are sometimes on a great sale, so I buy them to use on future projects.
They also have a paint saving program — as you buy more paint, you get a better deal.
You can also go to the “bid room” depending on how much you are spending. Typically the bid room needs to be a purchase over $2,000, but any time I am spending more than a few hundred dollars, I ask for a discount. It doesn’t mean I always get it, but I always ask. They get to know your face, your name, your business, and that you spend money there — and you are more likely to get a better deal.
“Hello, Mr. Brooks. I have Mr. Smith here, and he is picking up some stuff today. Looks like he has some painting to do…”
Have you ever had the phone call with Home Depot or Lowes where you had to spend 10-15 minutes trying to tell the clerk all your personal credit card information with your guy standing there? First, I am not a big fan of handing out my card info, and second, it just takes forever.
You can set up your information online and when your handyman goes to check out, he can go to the Pro desk and let them know you have the account set up. They ring the purchase up, and HAVE THE APPROVAL SENT TO YOUR CELL PHONE!
Mr. Smith is at the #1234 store, do you approve the $123.00 charge? Respond with “1,” and it’s paid. Total time? 10 seconds.
3. Paper Trail
I hate trying to track down receipts to get everything together. What a pain, right? So along with being able to pay over your cell phone, after the transaction happens, it sends you the fully itemized receipt. This is such an awesome feature. Easy to keep track of, easy to line up with your credit card bill, and in the end, you can also keep tabs on what is being purchased compared with whatever the scope of work was.
The second thing I’ve added:
Property Management Software
Although I am sure with any software/cloud based system there is a learning curve, getting the property management software in place was crucial for keeping track of all the costs going in and out. Namely, RENTS! I was at my (awesome) bank and working on setting up ACH for the tenants. However, I quickly realized the cost of the ACH monthly service through the bank was actually a bit more than half of the monthly cost of the service I had been looking at for property management.
It was a no brainer. Tenants can pay online… no more running around hunting down checks. Plus, tenants get set up with online reoccurring payments, and they are a lot more likely to pay on time. Even if you only have a handful of properties, I think the time and gas you save alone make up for the money you spend on a basic property management software.
2. Online/Electronic Lease and Tenant Applications
Between my software and DocuSign, we do everything electronically. Applications and leases come easily to the tenant; they can sign, we can sign, and done. So much easier. We can also get in a lot of applications, even before people have seen the properties. We have a high demand for our rental units, and I suggest the people fill out the (no cost) application before we even meet up. We charge for the background checks, but only after we have received the application. Tenants love that I am not wasting their money, and I am not wasting the time pulling background checks on people whose application I haven’t reviewed.
3. Maintenance Request
This makes sending out people to a property easy. Here is what you need to fix. Go do it. The tenant is happy because they know whatever it is, it’s getting fixed.
Reports for a partner? Easy. Reports for an owner you manage for? They can access it (fewer emails and calls for you). End of year statement or quarterly ledger? Click of a button.
Being a landlord is all about efficient use of your time and resources. Make sure you are spending time on the things that are revenue producing, be sure to automate, and hire well for the things that aren’t worth your time or the things that just aren’t getting done.
And don’t be afraid to spend a little money on something that saves you a ton of time. It’s a no brainer for me — it just allows for more time to bring in deals!
What have you automated in your real estate rental business that will help other investors?
Leave your comments and suggestions below!