How I Automated My Bill Pay Setup With a “Magic” Keyboard

by | BiggerPockets.com

Automating our bill-pay setup was part of a series of automation projects we did in 2017 for our buy-and-hold real estate business. This post will introduce you to automating your keyboard without any prior programming knowledge. We’ll specifically look at how to set up up your bill pay when you’re paying hundreds (or thousands) of bills to just a few payees.

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Bills, Bills, Bills

Once you start paying bills on dozens, hundreds, or even thousands of properties, it becomes time-consuming administrative work that steals your focus away from more profitable tasks. Of course, you could probably outsource some of this work—or even all of it—once you have enough revenue; but hear me out as to why you should look at automating.

Related: How We’ve Automated Much of the Follow-Up With Potential Tenants

When paying bills in general, I’m willing to sacrifice an upfront time investment in exchange for quick payments in the future with minimal fees and easy bookkeeping. For most payments, our bank’s bill pay is best; however, we’ve never paid property taxes in this manner until recently, due to the manual set up required in paying each property. Once you get into the tens, hundreds, or even thousands of properties, this becomes fairly labor intensive.  

The nature of this work is sensitive. Therefore, I’m not willing to outsource or automate it to someone who would gain access to my banking information. So I figured I would learn a new skill.

Trying Text Blaze

Text Blaze is a Google Chrome tool in which a user generally types a few letters and the text transforms to a custom expression.  For example, if I type ;fax, my fax number will be inserted, which is great because I rarely remember my fax number. There’s a ton of uses for this tool, but I’d like to discuss the autopilot feature.

Autopilot in Text Blaze allows for the simulation of mouse and keyboard strokes. For my original purpose of using bill pay to pay property taxes, our payee information is basically the same for every property that’s located in the same county (minus the payee nickname and account number).    

As you’ll see in the video below, I type in a few letters to start the script, inputting a quick description of the account number and payee nickname, and the script runs through a cycle of saving a new payee.

I’ll admit that I struggled with the drop-down menu and wasted a lot of time fiddling around with this. Eventually, I settled on breaking up the script into two parts. I then duplicated and slightly edited these scripts to include all counties we pay property tax to.

Related: 6 Financial Apps to Automate Bookkeeping, Tax Deductions, Savings & More

Summary

It probably took me about as long to set up this script and run it through for each property as it would have taken me to input each property manually. (I was overly determined to figure out that drop-down menu… ha!) However, it wasn’t a total defeat, as I can use this script over and over for future properties we buy. I plan to use a very similar script for paying insurance for each property. Plus, the end result is that paying property taxes was much simpler this year with no fees and easy bookkeeping.

As you’ve probably noticed, programming experience is not needed!

How you might use Text Blaze or a similar service to automate some tedious tasks?

Share your ideas in the comments below!

About Author

Aaron Kinney

Aaron Kinney has been investing in mobile home and land properties since 2011. He writes about this occasionally at MobileHomeEbook.com and helps real estate businesses implement automation at SelahSoftware.com.

2 Comments

  1. Joshua Jensen

    I’d recommend LastPass for this task. Not only does it remember (and randomize) all your passwords for you, it can fills forms for you with your predefined address / account numbers / etc. No more typing your own address / phone numbers / bank account numbers / credit card numbers / etc.

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