Yes, I have office hours!! * 24/7

By
Property Manager with Gibson Management Group, Ltd.

While setting up my business page on Facebook, I was presented with the question of the Office Hours of my business.  I was stumped.  While I am at my office 3 to 5 hours every weekday, and a few hours each weekend, I answer my e-mails 24/7 and I answer my cel phone ALMOST always!....What are my office hours?

For as long as I have had my own property management business, my office has almost always been on a second floor with a locked ground floor entry for security and I choose these locations to cut down on tenants stopping by to pay their rent and take 10 minutes of my time in the process and to offer security to my and my clients files.

Unlike a storefront real estate office that may encourage walk-in inquiries, I don't want walk-ins.  I get rent checks from the post office, I manage my website from my home and office * both with DSL * I show properties AT the property and when I am in my office, I don't want distractions.

I do have a conference room at my office and occasionally I will have a client meeting there; however, I encourage that most client meetings be at the rental property  and most tenant lease signings are handled electronically or via Priority Mail.

So....I guess I am still stumped...what ARE my office hours?!?

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Rainmaker
254,432
Robert Machado
HomePointe Property Management, CRMC - Sacramento, CA
CPM MPM - Property Manager and Property Management

I would think you would want to still have traditional hours so your clients do not  expect you to be available every evening and every weekend.  If you answer that is a plus, but not a negative if you don't.  It is a little different when you are on your  own.

Mar 25, 2009 05:54 PM #1
Rainmaker
1,240,746
Wallace S. Gibson, CPM
Gibson Management Group, Ltd. - Charlottesville, VA
LandlordWhisperer

Bob - If I am not in my office, the office is closed....I roll alone!!! My owners and current tenants know to e-mail me.  If they call, it shows up with their name on my cel # as they are in my Palm "contacts"....during rental season which started last week, I answer calls up to about 7PM and on weekends if caller ID shows out of area phone # and if I don't catch the call in time, my outgoing VM actually gives my office hours and web site in the message.   If someone leaves a message with a property inquiry, I return their call immediately.

I DO NOT answer the phone during NASCAR races on Sunday or Saturday night....

Mar 25, 2009 10:43 PM #2
Rainer
234,048
Diane Rice
Rice Prprty Mgmnt & Rlty, LLC, South Holland, IL - Lansing, IL
SFR, SRES, CNC

I understand!  I also prefer to meet clients at the rental locations, however, lately, we are making changes and are meeting to pre-qualify tenants at the office FIRST by appointment only, unless we have agents in the areas of the property willing to show them.

Diane

Mar 26, 2009 12:29 AM #3
Rainmaker
1,240,746
Wallace S. Gibson, CPM
Gibson Management Group, Ltd. - Charlottesville, VA
LandlordWhisperer

Diane - pre-qualifying on the phone/e-mail and then in person or with application paperwork is the way to go.  When I provide applications at the actual property showing, the prospects NEVER have all of the information to fill in the blanks and are usually totally unprepared to answer the questions.  I don't want to wait while they complete them so I suggest they complete and fax to my office.

I have NEVER seen half of my residents....we did lease via e-mail and snail mail, they paid money up front, I left keys under the front mat for their arrival and they mail rent checks in payment envelopes I provide!

Mar 26, 2009 01:41 AM #4
Rainer
234,048
Diane Rice
Rice Prprty Mgmnt & Rlty, LLC, South Holland, IL - Lansing, IL
SFR, SRES, CNC

You know, we do offer it both ways and have online applications that the tenant can pay for using either their Pay Pal, debit, or credit account.  The purpose for having them come in is for those that do not have access to the Internet and for those who'd like to choose from a variety.  They pay a portion of their security deposit up front.

We used to show without $$$ - Not anymore... with the exception of the the houses that have "showing days" by and through our agents near the premises.

Mar 26, 2009 03:29 AM #5
Rainmaker
1,240,746
Wallace S. Gibson, CPM
Gibson Management Group, Ltd. - Charlottesville, VA
LandlordWhisperer

Diane - I like "showing days".....interesting concept. Thanks

Mar 26, 2009 05:02 AM #6
Rainer
18,005
Betty Fletcher
Fletcher Property Management Inc CRMC® * www.FletcherPM.com - Little Rock, AR
MPM, RMP - Little Rock Arkansas Property Manager

Wallace -

I remember our discussion in Denver many years back about why (with all the technology available to us) we even need an office.  Just like you are doing! We started about 3 years ago having reduced 'lobby hours'  so our office is open to the public from 9-12 and from 1-4.  Outside that time the doors are locked and the phones go directly to voice mail.  This works well for us and allows 2 hours each day to prepare and/or get caught up. 

I'd love to hear more about Diane's showing days.  I know Bob does open houses at vacancies and has a published schedule of addresses and times.  He can explain better than me, but an agent has an open house at each scheduled address for a set period of time - say 15-30 minutes and then moves on to the next.  This would also allow a physical inspection of the property - doors are locked and etc.  In our office, we check out keys to vacant properties that are ready to show.  The prospective tenant pays a key deposit (returned once the keys are returned) and we copy their drivers license.  They complete and sign a form stating the time the keys will be returned. We don't allow them out overnight.  So far this has worked well for us and reduced the amount of time we spend waiting for those no shows to show up! 

Mar 26, 2009 11:45 PM #7
Rainmaker
1,240,746
Wallace S. Gibson, CPM
Gibson Management Group, Ltd. - Charlottesville, VA
LandlordWhisperer

B * I remember that discussion in Denver.  I was at the baggage carouselat the Richmond Airport that Sunday and learned that Dale Earnhart #3 had crashed at Daytona!!!

Since I "roll alone"...when I am not in my office, the office space is closed and locked; however, I can be reached by e-mail and cel phone....I'm available, just not in my office.  I am surprised when people want to "drop by" to see me...good luck.  If they don't know the car I am driving that day, they may park, hike up a flight of stairs and down the hall to have no one answer the door.

Even when I am IN my office - my desk can be seen through the glass front door - my office door is locked for security proposes and I can open the door if I know who is on the other side.

I have move-in monies sent to me FedEx marked NO SIGNATURE REQUIRED and FedEx (#11 * Denny Hamlin from Chesterfield, VA) will slip envelope under my office door so that it is secure.

My drop-bys to pay their rent decreased considerably when fuel prices were high last summer and more resident's are sending their rent USPS delivery confirmation to my po box which is fine if I do not have to sign for the envelope.

When you THINK about why people need to visit your bricks/mortar office, you can think, you can think of 5 + ways to organize your procedures so they do not....and most are more convenient for them.

 

 

Mar 27, 2009 12:02 AM #8
Rainer
18,005
Betty Fletcher
Fletcher Property Management Inc CRMC® * www.FletcherPM.com - Little Rock, AR
MPM, RMP - Little Rock Arkansas Property Manager

Wallace - I agree!  The BEST thing you can do for your company is to have good written policies and procedures.  The 2nd best thing you can do is to FOLLOW the written policy and procedures.  We went last night to look at a larger space since we are bumping our elbows on the walls and each other.  Regardless of how much I love the Endless Possibilities of life, I left and started thinking that it would probably be a better use of our time to review the list of properties and owners and cull the bottom 10% to make room for more profitable properties and keep the smaller space.  If I'd just finish scanning and then shredding those boxes of old files - I'd have more room! ;-)

Mar 27, 2009 11:55 PM #9
Rainmaker
1,240,746
Wallace S. Gibson, CPM
Gibson Management Group, Ltd. - Charlottesville, VA
LandlordWhisperer

B * excellent idea...moving and the costs of moving can/should be avoided with technology and de-cluttering.  I'm taking banker boxes home this AM from my office as I am consolidating old files in my basement.  VA RE rules requires me to have last 3 years on site; however, the rest can be stored elsewhere.

I'm also culling old leases into last years box so I only have current leases in files in my office files.  This way, I never buy new file cabinets.

I went to remote bank/rent deposit late last year so I need my check scanner on my desk; however, that is being decluttered as I type and files put in storage.

I don't buy paper by the box - only by the reem now and I only stock 1 replacement set of ink cartridges - luckily, my 3 printers take all the same so storage is not an issue.

I don't print my quarterly newsletters any more so storing those will cease and I am removing all issues to my basement and those bookshelves will be put to use.

I'll be advising clients of my new outside AR blog... www.propertymanagementmaven.com on my PROMAS statements for April and I'll put it on the 5th line of my return property address on my envelopes...3 lines are my address, 4th is my website and 5th will be my blog.  I print all of these as needed so this will be easy....

Thank you for reminding me!!

Mar 28, 2009 01:02 AM #10
Rainmaker
2,409,720
Charles Stallions
Charles Stallions Real Estate Services - Pensacola, FL
800-309-3414 - Pensacola, Pace or Gulf Breeze, Fl.

Do you ever have anyone complain because they came by the office and it was closed. I would be afraid the competition would use that against me.

May 06, 2009 02:55 PM #11
Rainmaker
1,240,746
Wallace S. Gibson, CPM
Gibson Management Group, Ltd. - Charlottesville, VA
LandlordWhisperer

Charles - I have no competition.....my properties are ALL available for previewing on my website with interior photos and floor plans....no "competition" offers this for their tenant prospects....I would rather loose an "old school" rental prospect who comes to my CLOSED office expecting to jaw with me and handle 5 "new school" prospects via my website, e-mail and cel phone.....it is the time value of $$$.  If I had 500+ units, then additional staff would be warrented; however, I manage 120+ quite well with no additional staff...technology is the KEY.

May 06, 2009 10:03 PM #12
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