Cookie Cutter Versus Tailor Made

14. Cookie Cutter Versus Tailor MadeHave you ever been caught in a thunderstorm without your umbrella, miles from your car, desperate for a poncho? Recently I was at Disney World, and I want you to remember or imagine with me Mr. Unprepared. He’s got tennis shoes and long white socks on. His face is already burned from the day’s sun. He’s frustrated because his 2-year old is asking to go to literally every restroom, while his 7-year old is desperate to get pictures with every character.

With a crack comes the first peals of thunder. Then the second. Mr. Unprepared looks up at the sky, realizing the unthinkable is about to happen, when instantly his 2-year old, afraid of the noise, starts bawling… BIG… angry…  2-year old tears. He scoops up both children, hugging them tight to his chest as the clouds burst and the tumultuous torrent of fist-sized pebbles plop down. He doesn’t have an umbrella. Now it’s storming.

The cart-vendors in the street eye him like hyenas hungrily watching antelope. First, they smile at his misfortune. Then they laugh as he runs toward them, himself not caring how much the little cookie cutter, one-size-fits-all shields of plastic cost as long as they mean peace for just a moment more.

Okay, let’s jump to a different scenario. When was the last time you were intentionally shopping for a suit and found the one that fit you like a glove? This is the suit that you know you look good in. It’s comfortable, slimming, and works with any shirt you wear… it’s THE suit. And what’s even better about it is that you planned and searched for it, and you bought this suit on your timetable.

While a poncho may be a cookie cutter, ‘anybody can wear this and look the same’ type of outfit, a suit is the farthest from cookie cutter possible. It was uniquely made for you and only you. When it comes to property management, you don’t want a universal, one-size-fits-all program for your property. You want one that takes into account your goals, your problems, and your reality.

One great thing is that you don’t have to be in a hurry. You can plan. You can shop around. Because let me tell you, when the storms in life really do happen, it pays to have a team working for you who understands what your priorities are.

(High) 5 Reasons to Start Blogging NOW!

Throughout my life, I’ve had lots of hobbies: comic books, bouncy balls, Pogs, video games, sports, poetry, and way more than I care to mention. All of them had a piece of my life, and each affected me. But my newest hobby, and the one that is making me a lot more money than selling my Pokémon cards ever did, is blogging.

Yes, I was part of Xanga and LiveJournal back in the day, though I was never big into Myspace. Facebook continues, and Instagram, Snapchat, etcetera. They all allow the author to create and share. That’s great for personal entries, but since I’ve started this WordPress for my company, and I’m learning how important it can be as a business tool as well.

Nowadays, business cards are a dime a dozen (and too many of us have dozens of them piled up we’ve not looked at in months). Blogs are the new business card, your calling card helping you:

  1. Add Value – the main reason property managers exist is customer service, so you won’t find entries here that sell to you or that typically even talk about our company. Every now and then, I’ll reference a recent transaction to prove a point, but we recognize that in the 21st century you’re CONSTANTLY being sold to. People are tired of being sold to and can tell your real motives. When you explain the good versus great, readers will naturally be attracted to your company, assuming since you’re talking about it, you’re the expert and are doing it right.
  2. Attract New Clients – The biggest reason you should start a blog is SEO (Search Engine Optimization). This is fancy language explaining how search engines categorize your website. By linking your blog to your company’s website, the unique and engaging content you’re creating on your blog with naturally raise the quality of your website, so it will show up higher in relative search results.
  3. Establish Expertise – By creating a blog, you’ll stand out as knowledgeable and that will translate to profit. The good news here is that within your niche, you probably are the expert. One of the best ways to show this is a demonstration video. Luckily these days, almost everyone has a smart phone, so you should be able to record and edit right from your phone. HUGE to remember: familiarize yourself with the camera (angles, lighting, sound quality, and if you’re using it, a script). Whatever you’re demonstrating, it shouldn’t be the first time you’ve ever done it – but should instead be extremely routine for you – the only difference being that you may talk out loud as you perform the action slowly so that your audience can catch every detail.
  4. Organize Your Thoughts and Learn – When you teach others, you learn too. Combing through all the knowledge you have and deciding what is the best to put forward teaches you too.
  5. Tell your story – people don’t want hard facts and statistics anymore. If they’re on your blog, keep it creative. Have a voice, have a tone. Thing is, the most attractive blogs out there are sassy and state truths. This works well with your SEO, as the more unique your content, the higher Google scores your website’s quality.

Your blog can prove you’ve put the time in to earn your stripes. It will be a public journal where, as long as you do it right, customers will be reaching out to start business with YOU!

Leases – Friend or Foe?

It depends. Kind of like Batman. Go with me here, it makes sense. Batman’s passion and duty are aligned: justice. Your lease? Same thing, if you can believe it. It’s ideally designed with the owner in mind, and all its fine print and confusing wordage is there to give you rights and protection. A safety net, just in case things go wrong.

Now, you may be asking, “Isn’t Batman a vigilante? Does that mean my lease is too?” Actually…yes. Sometimes your lease goes about getting you justice without a certain level of decorum typical of most superhero leases.

What I mean here is that, by working within the confines of the lease to maximize reimbursable expenses from the tenant, you get justice. You already paid CAM, and now your lease states how and when and how much the tenant owes you in return. The justice in this example comes from breaking even every month.

*** SPOILER ALERT*** Just like with Bruce Wayne AKA Batman (were you wondering if I would leak his secret identity?) – he doesn’t treat everyone the same and call that justice. Instead, he only strings the bad guys up from their boot straps .

On that note, your lease literally gives you the legal right to go after your tenants if they are being ‘bad guys’ by not paying their rent or causing other nuisances around your property. Your lease here is not only your most powerful ally, helping you navigate the legal challenges if you’re forced to evict, it’s also your badge and shield. That’s right, it’s your legal authority to put tenants in default, charge them late fees and, if needed, evict.

Because the truth is, bad tenants can cost you thousands of dollars and, more importantly, tie up the leasable space for months if not years.