This is the million dollar question in our industry! There are so many different structures now in modern property management businesses there is no longer a magic number. Once upon a time it was between 100 to 150 for a portfolio based property manager doing everything from start to finish. Now with technology advances, virtual assistants and task based specialty roles in place, there is room to move with the ratio of the number of properties to property managers.
There are so many variables to be taken into consideration when deciding this golden number. For example, how close are the properties to the office, type of properties, calibre of tenants, clients that own the property, experience of property manager and systems in the business to name a few. Profitability also plays a huge factor in determining the staff ratios. Employ too many staff and your profits reduce, without enough staff to service existing clients your profits reduce as well. It really is a delicate balance that requires constant review and adjustment from the business owner.
Traditionally a wholistic approach to managing properties from start to finish has been the preferred method, however, property management has evolved in recent years and now leasing, and business development have become specialised fields. Today’s property manager is typically an administrator, whereas leasing and BDM require much of a sales based skill set. I find myself asking more often than not can afford NOT to put someone on, rather than can I afford to put someone on.
I get enquiry for new business from investors and they still ask about the ratio or properties to property manager. Our business currently operates with around 200 to 1. That said though, we have a Virtual assistant, a leasing and routines consultant and a Head of Department/BDM. So essentially our structure is set up so that the property managers can be in office a majority of the time and focus on customer service, ultimately the core of any Real Estate business.
Tips to maximise the number of properties a property manager can manage:
Utilise the latest technology, make sure you are using cloud based software, have access to owner and tenant portals, using apps, online tenant booking systems and electronic signature platforms.
- Virtual Assistants
By far one of the biggest advances in our industry in terms of maximising the number of properties handled by a property manager. Initial set up can be a time investment but the benefits long term far outweighs the short term pain. VA’s take care of all the administrative tasks, like lease renewals, rent arrears, new tenant paperwork, maintenance management and basically anything you can set up with a step by step system or process in administrative tasks. The dollar savings in terms of staff training and turn over are huge. They allow your property manager to focus on customer service and communication.
- Structure and Systems
Having a clear structure and systems in the business will allow property managers to work more efficiently allowing them time to take care of more managements.
A less experienced property manager won’t be able to handle as larger a number of properties as someone more experienced. Paying more for an experienced property manager is sometimes worth it, however, whether they are experienced or not ongoing training and development is essential.
Ensure a support system is in place for your property management team. Knowing there is someone to turn to in difficult situations not only provides peace of mind, but also allows them to problem solve a lot quick.
- Know your structure
Avoid making a position based on someone’s skill set. Set your business structure and find someone that work within that structure. Of course, there is always room for change and adjustment as you need it but have a clear idea of what you want.
So, to answer the million dollar question, there is no ideal number. There is no longer a golden rule and it really is a case by case decision based on how well your property manager is coping with the portfolio size, how happy are your clients and how is your profit margin looking.
iThink Property has a team of real estate agents in Ipswich and Toowoomba offering property sales and property management services. With a passion for people and property, iThink Property was conceived with the notion of building a team of good people to work in a real estate brand that did things differently. iThink Property focuses on transparency, communication, innovation and teamwork and has become a leading independent brand with unique points of difference. So whether you are thinking of buying, selling or renting, think iThink Property.
KYLIE WALKER – DIRECTOR – BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT & MARKETING
0439 895 808
A former sports journalist, Kylie Walker brings a wealth of communication and marketing skills to the team at iThink Property. The busy mother of four launched and developed the company’s rent roll and has organically grown the business with iThink Properties rental network now spanning Ipswich, greater Brisbane and Toowoomba.