Property management can be an extremely rewarding marketplace for any entrepreneur to cut their teeth.  Helping people become homeowners changes the trajectory of their lives, and brings a level of happiness and satisfaction that can be hard to match. This industry can be quite crowded in some markets like Los Angeles and New York City, but there are great opportunities in medium sized cities too. Working for property management in Indianapolis or St. Louis can still be quite busy. Cities with a million or more people have tons of rental units in downtown or throughout the surrounding suburbs. 

Your overall goal as a modern property manager is to run your business more effectively to be better able to help your clients.  An efficiently run firm is a profitable firm, and a profitable firm stays in business. In order to grow revenues and build a positive reputation, it is imperative that the right people are hired to form a solid and trustworthy team.  Your staff is an extension of you, and when they work well the firm is able to maintain profit margins.  

The Team

The most foundational component of a successful firm is hiring the right team members to represent the firm’s interests.  The quality of staff can make or break the entire organization. Property management is an industry that requires team members have a wide range of skills to succeed, but attracting the best talent is no easy task.  People are inherently selfish, and when one individual’s goals don’t align with the ethos of the team, it can have disastrous results.  That’s why when asked, a poll of 100 property managers said that the most difficult challenge in their work was hiring and maintaining high quality staff to comprise their team. 

When revenues are low and profit margins are weak, people have tendencies to cut corners, or look for loopholes for personal enrichment.  Conversely, when revenues are high and profit margins are strong and healthy, team members tend to “coast” or become lackadaisical. Furthermore, in times of plenty, staff can become more tempted to steal from the company.  These are plagues that can ruin any firm.

Aside from theft as a major problem, a property manager must worry about the face their team members show tenants and potential clients.  It is impossible for a manager to surveil every interaction everyday, hence a strong level of trust must be formed between the team and the management.  Staff are typically not as invested in the success of the firm as the management is, and some may even resent the very firm they’re working for. This is a recipe for deception, dishonesty, and ultimately failure.  

The Unforeseeable Future

In addition to staff issues, a property manager is always at peril to face unexpected occurrences.  These can be especially aggravating because they often take place at the most inopportune times. As they say, “it’s not a matter of if something will happen, but when something will happen.”  Because property management is predicated on interactions with people– and interpersonal dynamics are messy and difficult to navigate– there is always potential for things to go awry. A good property manager is constantly preparing for the worst, and taking steps to mitigate the effects of potential problems.  Yet as we all know, things rarely go according to plan.

These can be back-breaking problems for any firm to deal with, and most (if not all) property management firms have experienced these crises in one form or another.  That’s why property management firms with good reputations are so valuable; their mettle has been tested, and they came out of the adversity stronger, and better able to adapt to issues in the future.  A firm with a strong reputation for tenant relations didn’t earn it because they don’t have experience with problem tenants, but because they resolve conflicts and find resolutions that work for everyone.  The importance of a trusted and reputable property management firm cannot be understated.