If you’re considering or have just started your property management business, this episode is tailor-made for you. We’ll be diving into the five crucial steps that I wish I had taken before embarking on my own property management journey. So, whether you’re a seasoned property pro or just starting out, stick around because these insights are about to save you time, money, and plenty of headaches. And just to be clear, I had no intentions of working in property management, and real estate wasn’t something that I was into. Apart from buying and selling a few homes, you might say, I kind of fell into it, and that was 13 years ago. Our family of six had just moved to Ipswich, a new location.
My husband had started selling real estate, and I was juggling a property management business and working as a sports journalist. At Channel 10, we started getting asked to manage people’s properties and decided why not give it a crack? Then the 2011 floods hit, and half of our core area was underwater. No one was worried about buying, selling, or renting properties, and it couldn’t have been a worse time to start a real estate business. And believe me, we struggled. We were super broke, we had no family or community support, and our own property got flooded as well. Anyway, that’s not what we’re talking about today, but we survived, and I’m here to tell and share this story with you. But once we started growing, and I left my other job to focus on the property management side of the business, there were definitely many things that I wish I did before diving in blind to starting and running and growing a property management business.
And it would’ve saved me a lot of heartache, stress, team members, and health issues. So let me share the things that I wish I did before starting my property management business with you. So the first thing that I wish I had done was defining my ideal client and being really super clear on who they were. It’s easy to want to cater to everyone, but the truth is specialisation is key. Take the time to identify the type of properties you want to manage and the specific market you want to serve, whether it’s residential, commercial, short-term rentals, or even a mix. Having a clear niche and ideal client on who you are trying to attract will not only make your marketing efforts more effective but also streamline your operations. And of course, this will change over time. My initial clients were developers and builders, but when the building work dried up, it turned to mom and dad investors or it was self-managed Superfund clients then buyers agents during and post-covid.
So, continually review and see where the opportunities lie for your next clients. Number two is building a solid and legal foundation, setting up the right legal structure, obtaining any necessary licences, and setting up a separate business bank account for tax, for example, are all essential. And things that I didn’t do properly at the start. I remember the shock of my very first tax bill, and of course, there was nothing left in my business to pay it. Also remember to establish clear financial processes from how you’re going to handle rent collection and maintenance expenses to preparing for tax season. Trust me, starting off on the right foot legally and financially can save you a ton of headaches down the track.
If you are anything like me, you think you know your rent roll numbers. Well, I thought I did until I had a rent roll health check and I was quite literally shocked. The money I was leaving on the table was astounding. And this is not something that I’m proud to admit. There were mismanagement fees, let fees, advertising and lease renewal fees not being charged and properties even without bonds. And all of this was happening despite monthly audits being conducted in my business. So how did I uncover all these gaps in my valuable income? Well, I had a rent roll due diligence from my good friend, Tarsi, aka, the rent roll queen and founder of The Tarsi Way, a specialist in rent roll due diligence, business valuation and management rights. The Tarsi Way is the innovative force driving the real estate industry. With 25 years of business and real estate acumen, they find gaps and risks in your agency to find undiscovered value.
If you’d like to book your business in for a rent roll due diligence, head to the link in the show notes and mention that property mum for a 10% discount. Now let’s talk about systems and processes. The third step I wish I had focused on earlier as a property management coach. Now I can’t emphasise enough how critical it is to establish efficient workflows from tenant screening and onboarding to maintenance requests and lease renewals. Having clear processes in place will not only make your business more organised, but also ensure consistent service delivery. Little things like how you’re going to onboard and train new team members is critical. This is not something that I’m naturally good at, but boy, did it make a difference to my business once I focused on getting those systems and processes and workflows, right? Implementing VAs is also a great way to review and set up great processes and workflows as well.
Next up, number four, marketing and online presence. In today’s digital age, having a strong online presence is non-negotiable, and I wish I had understood the power of professional website, social media engagement, and online reviews from the get go. Your potential clients are looking online for property management services, so make sure that they can find you and are impressed by what they see. This is something that I’m now super passionate about and teach constantly. Digital marketing is the future of growing our businesses, and the sooner you get started, the further down the track you will be. And there was a real need for training and support around this in property management and real estate in particular, which is how I have, and IT digital marketing is actually how I have achieved the most success in my real estate business and also through my online and done for you agency businesses as well.
The annoying thing though is that tech and software are constantly changing and evolving. So that means you need to be constantly growing and learning and implementing new things as well. It’s never going to be a set and forget when it comes to digital marketing. Last but not least, the fifth step I wanna highlight is cultivating relationships and networking. Building a network of fellow property professionals, real estate agents, contractors, and even local community members can open doors you never thought possible. Attend in industry events, join local business groups and always be open to collaboration. The relationships you build can lead to referrals, partnerships, and growth opportunities. And for me, this was a real struggle and a challenge. I have a pretty mean inner critic that has held me back for many years, but stepping out of your comfort zone, challenging yourself and facing your fears is where the greatest opportunities in life and business live.
So, address whatever’s holding you back now. Do the mindset work and let go of those limiting self-beliefs. Your business won’t grow to the next level until you do. And there you have it. The five things that I wish I had done before starting my property management business. So just a quick recap. Define your ideal clients and niche market review. Continually establish a solid legal and financial foundation.
There has been so much talk of stress, overwhelm, and burnout in property management lately. Do you want to know how I overcame all of that? Yes, I hit rock bottom multiple times, but I got myself a virtual assistant, actually, not just one but three, but I didn’t just get any VA. I got PMVA. What are they? Well, they are the most well-trained in the business. And not only that, you also have a backup VA so that essentially your business is never without admin support ever again. And my health time and business has never looked back. Your PMVA can take care of tasks like rent arrears, lease preparation, and renewals, maintenance, follow-up, routine inspection bookings, data entry audits, prospecting, inbox management, and so much more. And the best part of implementing PMVA in my business was that it freed up my time and my team’s time to take care of important things like customer service. What makes me feel so safe is that PMVA is owned by Tiffany Bowtell, both here and in the Philippines, making my data secure and giving me more control over the VA arrangement. So, head to the link in the show notes to book in your discovery call with Tiff.
Property inspections, entries, exits, incomings, outgoings, routine inspections, whatever you call them. You have to do them. And I remember when I first started as a property manager, you had to hand write the reports and take notes on a digital camera, then upload the photo memory card to your computer and hope and pray that they weren’t all blurry or your computer had enough memory to store them. But gone are those days to Inspection Express. Now, Inspection Express is not only the number one tool used by leading property managers across Australia and New Zealand, but the leader in groundbreaking new tech in the industry. With the launch of 360-degree virtual tours now, virtual tours are upping the ante giving landlords owners and directors unparalleled 360-degree virtual access to their properties. So, head to the link in the show notes to book in your free demo with Inspection Express.
Can I ask you a quick favor before you leave this episode? Now, we all know how important reviews are for businesses these days, and mine is no different. If you could spare just a minute to follow, rate and review this podcast, it would mean a lot to me. In fact, what would get me super excited is if you share this podcast with someone in the industry who you think might need to hear some of the episodes right now. And if you’d like to find out more about working with me or any of the products I have to help you start, grow, or scale your property management business, head to my website that property mum.com au. We check out the links in the show notes.