If you had to make a list of the worst jobs you’d like to do, property management would have to be right up there. I mean it is really one of the most thankless jobs, no one ever calls up and says thank you for renting that house to me, thank you for collecting my rent and sorting out my maintenance. No, it is more likely a negative call that forces people to pick up the phone and speak to their property manager. My oven isn’t working, my rent can’t be paid this week, why wasn’t my rent paid this week, why did you fix that leak without my approval, and so the list goes on, day in and day out. Nine out of ten calls are troubleshooting issues, disputes, debt collecting or dealing with conflict. yep, right up there with the least likely job I’ll ever do! As an industry, property management has one of the worst job satisfaction rates with a huge turnover, is responsible for long term stress and has an immense burn out rate.
So why do it? Great question. Most property managers do it because they are genuine people pleasers and love being of service to others, simple as that. I’m on a mission to make property management better for everyone. Not only Property managers themselves, but also business owners, and ultimately clients. Unfortunately, there are so many disgruntled clients who have had some nightmare experiences. I don’t have a crystal ball and nothing is ever perfect but here are a few tips to help slow down the turn over rate and turn the burn out to fired up with enthusiasm.
TOP FIVE REASONS PROPERTY MANAGERS BURN OUT:
Lack of Training
A two-day course gives you all the qualifications you need to become a fully-fledged property manager these days. That’s right after only two days you are supposed to understand the ins and outs of the Property Occupations Act and Residential Tenancies Act, step into a business and manage clients biggest assets. It is one of the pitfalls of the industry, getting started there is very little support or training for property managers. It only gets worse, once you are in a busy agency unless the business is geared towards training there will be little time or support for extensive in-house training. From experience most training comes after the fact, once you’ve made a stuff up, it is very much a sink or swim mentality. This breeds a whole host of stress, anxiety and a concealment type of workplace that doesn’t serve anyone well.
Overworked and Under-resourced
Many businesses push the limits with the property manager to portfolio size. A general rule of thumb is 150 managements to one property manager. However, without additional admin or leasing support, those numbers are a recipe for burn out. Something always gives, either the property manager reaches breaking point and leaves or the customer service, that major thing, that sets you aside from your competitors falls by the wayside. Weighing up the staffing and tasks that are realistically achievable is a delicate balance and no one formula fits all. Many businesses are also sales focused so limited resources and strategy is put into property management, it is more often than not thought of as a babysitting service for future sales referrals. Without proper systems and procedures in place property managers quickly end up chasing their tails, making mistakes and costing the business money, right before they quit and leave a big mess for the next property manager.
No Guidance or Mentoring
As already discussed there is limited industry training to get started nor is there any ongoing. A property manager just gets their thankless job done through lots of error, blood, sweat, tears, sleepless nights and a whole lot of stress. The only way they know how to survive is by chaos, mayhem, and crisis. Some may be lucky enough to have a senior property manager who isn’t bracing themselves for a downward slide to burn out, who will offer some experience and light at the end of a very dark tunnel. Outside of the business, you are working in social media group chats are full of screams from drowning property managers desperate for help, guidance and mentoring.
Dealing with Difficult People
The role demands that you deal with a lot of different people on a daily basis. This is probably one of the most stressful and damaging aspects of the job. Sometimes it doesn’t matter what you do or say, you simply will not be able to deal with some difficult people. When training, systems, and support is already lacking, dealing with damage control will leave even the most seasoned property manager waving the white flag and demanding to be let out of the trenches. This has a spiral effect with an unhappy team in place, clients needs and expectations are guaranteed to fall way short of the service that had been promised. People, in general, are becoming more demanding and critical of the service levels they receive, and unfortunately the overall property management industry has not caught up to the levels of service clients are now wanting and expecting.
Lack of Support and Accountability
If left to drown in your work, with no one to turn to and no one really caring what is or isn’t being done, what is left to do but pack up and leave or cover up what you can’t get done and hope for the best. Not an ideal way to operate as a property manager or run a business. Without a hierarchy of support and some accountability and checks on what is expected to be achieved and accomplished each week or month expect a revolving door on your property management department.
TIPS TO KEEPING LONG TERM PROPERTY MANAGERS
As a property manager be honest and speak to your boss or business owner, they may simply too busy doing what they need to do to keep the business ticking over and haven’t had time to step away and take a good look at what is going on. Share some ideas and insights on what you think will help improve your working conditions and help the business achieve its goals as well.
Take some interest
If you are the business owner/principal step up and lead your team. Take a good look at what is and isn’t working, what is profitable and what isn’t, listen to your team and join forces with them to ensure you both reach your goals.
Implement some time management skills, set up an ideal week or ensure you have accountability in place to ensure tasks are being kept on top of and up to date. Set weekly or monthly KPI’s, track where work is up to and what needs to be focused on.
Streamline your processes and procedures
Implement step by step procedures, letters, forms, and emails. One key to streamlining, don’t have too many people touching things, it leaves open too much room for finger-pointing and blame when things go wrong. Systems and procedures help reduce stress and bring confidence to the team as everyone knows their role.
I know we keep harping on about it, but training is so important. From implementing a new person and helping them get on board with your best practice policy and procedures, to regularly reminding your existing team on the legislation. Well trained and skilled property managers can effectively resolve disputes and stress less about conflict as they can stick to the facts and the legislation.
Have a plan
If someone is off sick or on holidays, what happens with their workload? If a property burns down what is the plan? There are all sorts of scenarios that can and do arise in property management, sit down and think some of these through and have a plan of attack to deal with them. Nothing will give property managers more confidence than knowing what to do in a time of crisis.
Property management can be done the right way and become the backbone of any real estate business. When your rent roll contributes up to 90 percent your business resale value, it is worth your time, focus and wanting to do it the right way. Investing in a great team of people is key to ensuring your clients are also serviced with the level
Stay tuned…. That Property Mum is coming, see the links below and follow me on Social Media or Linked In. This online business will be offering training and exclusive content for property managers, business owners and investors in the coming months. That Property Mum is also working towards a mentoring and podcast program to help navigate, de-stress and balance the business of real estate and property management.