Running your own business can be far less glamorous than it seems. There are many boring, repetitive activities that must be done on a daily or monthly basis, and in smaller businesses they often fall to the owners.
In the property industry, and specifically the rental industry, there are many such mundane administrative tasks. Whereas a property sale is a one-off affair, rental businesses have many ongoing admin tasks, including collecting, reconciling and paying rent, inspections, maintenance, tenancy renewals, placing of signage and cold calling, to name just a few. And whilst some of these are necessary evils in the management of a property rental agency, many can be easily and quickly automated, with multiple spin-offs for accuracy, security, control, speed and resource efficiencies.
Sarah Whitehead from payment and reconciliation platform PayProp says the property industry is particularly bad for allocating disproportionate time to office-based administrative tasks. She says that it has quite simply just always been that way, and it sometimes takes a while to fully realise the time savings, service improvement and growth potential linked to automating these tasks.
“Ultimately, property practitioners are in a people business. It’s about meeting new people, solving challenges and providing fantastic customer service. The more time you spend in the office ticking boxes, the less time you have to focus on the elements that actually keep the business healthy and thriving.”
She lists four processes that are wasting the most time for rental property agents:
- The manual recording of all payment processes: The monthly stream of incoming and outgoing payments can be substantial in a rental agency. By manually recording these financial transactions, not only are you opening yourself up to possible human error, but you’re also losing time and opportunity to a task that would be done quicker, better and more tirelessly through automation.
- Keeping track of and enforcing account and transaction permissions: When it comes to online transactions including setting up of beneficiaries and payments, there is substantial room for fraudulent activities. Manually keeping track of the permissions on your account and monitoring transactions becomes an endless challenge.
- Sending arrears reminders to tenants individually: No one likes chasing for money, not least when you have to do it on a monthly basis, but when tackled proactively with reasonable provision for payment plans in extreme circumstances, the problem can actually be prevented to everyone’s benefit.
- Internal and external auditing: It goes without saying that auditing is an involved and lengthy process that takes a huge amount of time and effort when done manually.
Whitehead says that the automation of processes like these, through the investment in PropTech is not a new thing for the property industry – it’s already happening at businesses across the country. She references the third annual PayProp State of the Rental Industry Survey that showed over 60% of respondents increased automation in their businesses over the course of 2021.
“PropTech and automation is for all property rental businesses, not just those more mature and sizable operations. The key is to weigh the return of investment for your business. By investing in a platform like PayProp that manages all of the above timewasters (and more), you will have more time to invest in the activities that keep your business thriving.