Given the complex and often chaotic nature of the property management industry, it can be easy to lose sight of some things while attempting to stay on top of others. Even just the slightest thing going unnoticed or left unfinished, however, could have a snowball effect, ultimately impacting the future success of your business. As we complete the transition into the New Year, now is a great time to evaluate and determine whether you could be inadvertently making the following costly mistakes (and how you can avoid them moving forward).
Lack of Adequate Planning – You can have the best team in the world, but if you’ve not laid out a clear and well-strategized plan for them to follow, your business will remain stagnant. You’ll probably end up losing those great employees as well. Make sure you are setting specific goals, both for the short and long term, and are properly communicating to all employees what those goals are as well as the plan for reaching them.
Inadequate Staffing Practices – The employees you hire will become an extension of your brand, so be careful about who you choose to represent your business. Use adequate screening during the recruitment process to weed out and avoid hiring unqualified people. You should also make sure those in charge of managing personnel are doing so properly, which includes ongoing coaching and a willingness to deal with problem employees if and when the need arises.
Improper Training and Credentials – It’s not just about having a team that knows their stuff. It’s also about making sure they’re properly trained and also have the appropriate credentials. Depending on your state, there may be regulations in place that require anyone performing certain property management duties, such as leasing and renting, to be licensed. Don’t neglect these important requirements, or you could end up non-compliant, which might result in hefty fines or worse. Know what’s necessary, stay on top of things and invest in ongoing training and/or continuing education.
Poor Organizational Policies – Anyone who’s anyone in the property management industry knows how hectic things can get from day to day. When you’re juggling so many different tasks, it can be easy to let one or two slide, but if something important ends up slipping through the cracks – like a maintenance request from a resident – it could come back to bite you big time. Do whatever it takes to get your office in order and leverage the tools available to you, like software and applications, to help you stay on track.
Failing to Properly Document – No business is safe from a potential audit, and if you’re not keeping appropriate records and documenting everything as required, you could end up in hot water should the IRS or other governing authorities come knocking. Make sure you fully understand what records you are required to keep and for how long and practice good accounting and record-keeping policies to ensure that if and when an audit occurs, you’ll be well prepared right from the start.
Running a successful business isn’t just about doing this right. It’s also about knowing what things to refrain from doing as well. The five common mistakes listed above provide a good glimpse at what not to do in order to avoid potential costly problems down the road.