Growing pains
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Growing pains (by S i d [MO]) Mar 8, 2018 6:15 AM
       Growing pains (by David [MI]) Mar 8, 2018 6:22 AM
       Growing pains (by David [MI]) Mar 8, 2018 6:25 AM
       Growing pains (by NE [PA]) Mar 8, 2018 6:27 AM
       Growing pains (by David [MI]) Mar 8, 2018 6:28 AM
       Growing pains (by David [MI]) Mar 8, 2018 6:30 AM
       Growing pains (by David [MI]) Mar 8, 2018 6:34 AM
       Growing pains (by mike [MO]) Mar 8, 2018 6:35 AM
       Growing pains (by S i d [MO]) Mar 8, 2018 6:39 AM
       Growing pains (by Barb [MO]) Mar 8, 2018 6:40 AM
       Growing pains (by J [FL]) Mar 8, 2018 6:43 AM
       Growing pains (by S i d [MO]) Mar 8, 2018 6:44 AM
       Growing pains (by NE [PA]) Mar 8, 2018 6:49 AM
       Growing pains (by David [MI]) Mar 8, 2018 6:51 AM
       Growing pains (by DanNBoston [MA]) Mar 8, 2018 7:01 AM
       Growing pains (by Sisco [MO]) Mar 8, 2018 7:37 AM
       Growing pains (by WMH [NC]) Mar 8, 2018 7:51 AM
       Growing pains (by S i d [MO]) Mar 8, 2018 8:00 AM
       Growing pains (by Kyle [IN]) Mar 8, 2018 8:02 AM
       Growing pains (by AllyM [NJ]) Mar 8, 2018 9:13 AM
       Growing pains (by Robin [WI]) Mar 8, 2018 9:49 AM
       Growing pains (by NC INVESTOR [NC]) Mar 8, 2018 11:19 AM
       Growing pains (by WMH [NC]) Mar 8, 2018 11:24 AM
       Growing pains (by Chris [CT]) Mar 8, 2018 12:48 PM
       Growing pains (by NC INVESTOR [NC]) Mar 8, 2018 1:15 PM
       Growing pains (by S i d [MO]) Mar 8, 2018 1:40 PM
       Growing pains (by NE [PA]) Mar 8, 2018 1:44 PM
       Growing pains (by GKARL [PA]) Mar 8, 2018 2:40 PM
       Growing pains (by NC INVESTOR [NC]) Mar 8, 2018 3:29 PM
       Growing pains (by NC INVESTOR [NC]) Mar 8, 2018 3:43 PM
       Growing pains (by NC INVESTOR [NC]) Mar 8, 2018 4:01 PM
       Growing pains (by RathdrumGal [ID]) Mar 8, 2018 4:54 PM
       Growing pains (by Nicole [PA]) Mar 8, 2018 6:53 PM
       Growing pains (by BillW [NJ]) Mar 8, 2018 8:00 PM
       Growing pains (by BillS [CO]) Mar 8, 2018 9:07 PM
       Growing pains (by NC INVESTOR [NC]) Mar 8, 2018 9:59 PM
       Growing pains (by Chris [CT]) Mar 9, 2018 8:32 AM

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Growing pains (by S i d [MO]) Posted on: Mar 8, 2018 6:15 AM

I'm at the point of needing to make some major changes. If I want to grow income, I need to find more efficient ways of doing things. It's time to outsource some tasks that to date have been DIY. The classic "work on your business, not in your business." That's a fine catchy phrase. Now what are some real-life strategies to actually accomplish it?

To that point: I'd like to hear the thought of those who have "been there and done that" in some specific areas that I have been DIY until now.

Believe me, as a fellow DIYers, I respect those of us who wear many hats and get "down in the weeds". But I am not looking for the DIYer perspective. So if, for example, your answer to #1 below is "I put my ads on Zillow"....that's really nice and I do the same thing, but that answer doesn't help me. If, on the other hand, you say, "I trained a college kid how to upload my photos, write my ads, and respond to email/calls about the property in ways that meet Fair Housing standards..." THAT is the kind of answer that would be very helpful.

My top 4 areas to make changes:

1) Advertising vacancies & responding to inquiries (calls, emails, text).

2) Managing the physical property aspects of the turnover process including: walk-thru inspection, making work orders for contractors, hiring the cleaners, following up on progress, sending out the Sec Dep accounting.

3) Rent collection. My current system is having tenants pay at my bank which is "pretty good" but I want it to be better. If you use "auto-draft" please be specific on the service provider and other things like money availability and "Claw back" provisions.

4) Property management/accounting software. Ideally, I'd like something that ties into my method of rent collection and can produce reminder emails/texts that include the balance due (all fees as well) and can produce all end of year tax statements and P&L reports.

I've got one more "final question" but it's big enough for its own thread....


Growing pains (by David [MI]) Posted on: Mar 8, 2018 6:22 AM

I feel like I'm pointing out the obvious when I say all four of those areas are bread n butter of property management companies.

You are going to have a lot more oversight if you have to hire out those items piecemeal.

Growing pains (by David [MI]) Posted on: Mar 8, 2018 6:25 AM

the contracted out equivalent of "something worth doing is worth doing well" is "something worth hiring out is worth hiring competent and professional people"

Growing pains (by NE [PA]) Posted on: Mar 8, 2018 6:27 AM

You need to be big, otherwise it will become cost prohibitive.

I know multiple landlord's locally who have upwards of 100 units that do the majority of their own work. Hiring out what they can't do or don't want to do.

What I would really like to find is another me for $15-$18 am hour.

Growing pains (by David [MI]) Posted on: Mar 8, 2018 6:28 AM

also I think you're missing one big item. Sending nonpayment of rent notices, and contacting and working with attorney to file for eviction

Growing pains (by David [MI]) Posted on: Mar 8, 2018 6:30 AM

NE, use (own) kids for cheap labor ?

Growing pains (by David [MI]) Posted on: Mar 8, 2018 6:34 AM

A back of the envelope calculation. If you assume the average unit turns over every two years, and a turnover takes you 20 hours of non-handyman/contractor work, 100 units means "only" 1000 hours a year, basically part time.

Growing pains (by mike [MO]) Posted on: Mar 8, 2018 6:35 AM

you want to grow income. Do this by raising rents, collecting larger percentage or do you want to buy more property for rental or flip?

Scope out the competition and make sure you are maxing out on the rental rate. Or, provide some upgrades that get higher rents.

Get the vacant filled and turned over faster. Vacant property cost too much to sit. I hire out the entire make ready and expect it done on time. I got people trying to move in that way I get paid

screen better, evict sooner, make sure they pay and pay on time. Im counting on this so my family has food on the table too

Weed out the problem property. sell any losers. Some times we just cant fix the location, the neighborhood and every aspect of the property. Sell winners and generate instant cash.

Im old fashion and use excel for all my invoicing, income/expense stuff. I don't want to spend the time to import into a new system. Excel works for me and I have a quite a few rentals. Some of the systems I looked at require a lot of up front effort.

Are you trying to acquire more property ?

Growing pains (by S i d [MO]) Posted on: Mar 8, 2018 6:39 AM

David and NE, thanks for the comments. Yes, these are two obvious solutions: grow big and/or hire out to a PM.

I could make a laundry list of why I've rejected both of those proposals to date. But for now, suffice it to say...those won't work for me, at least they won't work the way I want them to work. Maybe the "hire my kids cheap" will someday, but they're age 11, 11 and 7 now, so that's going to be a few years....

Rather than double down on those kinds of suggestions, let's move on to some other strategies. Again, I am looking for "been there, done that" strategies. If you have "been there, done that" and it ended up being what NE or David said...then by all means feel welcome to state that. --173.17.xx.xx

Growing pains (by Barb [MO]) Posted on: Mar 8, 2018 6:40 AM

Do most of your tenants have checking accounts, even if they are checkless and only use debit cards?

I switched to Clearnow over a year ago and LOVE IT! It sends me reminders to update with the deadline. It sends my residents a reminder that their rent is coming out. The tenant can block the debit up until about noon on the last business day before debit, but most of them don't think about it.

Only one of mine does that, and as soon as she does, I get an email. The first time she blocked it, I immediately texted her to ask what was up. She was getting paid the day after the debit was to occur, and said she would pay at the bank when she got paid. I reminded her of the late fee, and she did what she said she would. She was amazed at how fast I knew she had blocked the debit.

For the adds on Zillow, etc, have you considered reaching out to the marketing dept at OTC or MSU to see if they have a student who would be interested in a part time job? --131.151.xx.xx

Growing pains (by J [FL]) Posted on: Mar 8, 2018 6:43 AM

I'm not a huge fan of PMs, but they do have their place sometimes, and they do have all these processes in place already. You could put a portion of your rentals, maybe 20% under a PM (if you could find a good one). That way you don't have to reinvent the wheel.

Growing pains (by S i d [MO]) Posted on: Mar 8, 2018 6:44 AM

Mike... "Are you trying to acquire more property?"

If that's what it takes, yes. But I am also open to minimizing time spent on distractions (day to day) stuff if that helps improve income.

To date, hiring out a PM COSTS me more than it makes me. Whatever solution I end up with, it needs to create income, not take away from it.

I do many of the things you suggest already: scoping competition (I have saved searches on Trulia, Zillow, etc), I evict when rent is 7 days late and use an attorney who always wins, I try to make my Class C properties be as nice as possible to rent quickly without over-improving. But the problem there is I am doing much of this. I hire out most all of my maintenance & rehab projects, so that's no a bottle neck. As a computer geek/IT pro, I also use Excel. It's pretty handy, but it's not integrated well with other financial aspects of the biz.

If I grow, I will need to automate/outsource more stuff, but again it has to be cost effective. --173.17.xx.xx

Growing pains (by NE [PA]) Posted on: Mar 8, 2018 6:49 AM

It really comes down to numbers it, you're a good numbers guy. One thing that has helped me when I have had a lot of labor, is constantly having a flip house going. A flip house, I can budget that labor into the project. If I just have fully occupied rentals (just over 20), it does not behoov me to have someone run down and do something when I could do it myself for a third of the cost.

We've been over that on this forum over and over more times than I can count. I may have an hour or two here or there during a month that needs an issue resolved., More so in the winter.

Maybe what you could do is start flipping a house or try to have a flip house going all the time and factor in that labor to jump them over to the rentals. Just tonjeep guys around.

As far as the office stuff, how much do you really have? How many units do you have? Hoe much time do you spend advertising a listing? Mine are all set on CL or Zillow, I know you didn't want that referred to, but once the information is put into the Zillow website, it takes me less time to reactivate a listing when it comes available than it does to post an article on Mr. landlord.

Growing pains (by David [MI]) Posted on: Mar 8, 2018 6:51 AM

The tasks that are done on computer can be outsourced with any number of sites to someone in a low cost country

Growing pains (by DanNBoston [MA]) Posted on: Mar 8, 2018 7:01 AM

You might want to revisit info from the 2017 M.Landlord Retreat. So much invaluable nuggets of information

"Manage from Anywhere" was the theme that year.

The less I do, the MORE I make.

Hire and TRAIN a VA instead of a property managemnt co.

Focus on Quality

Hire slow - fire fast

Offer bonuses

test them out

Good luck ! --98.216.xx.x

Growing pains (by Sisco [MO]) Posted on: Mar 8, 2018 7:37 AM

If you were to attract tenants who were less destructive and retain them for an average of 3 years, you would greatly reduce the need of items 1,2, & 3.

I know this sounds like I am trying to highjack your thread, but in this time of high labor cost providing housing for management intensive residents (who are also also low paying) can not be profitable absent someone donating their resources to keep it viable.

The improvements that you desire may be achieved largely through changes in your screening processes.

Growing pains (by WMH [NC]) Posted on: Mar 8, 2018 7:51 AM

Google Forms, Docs and Sheets. I haven't scratched the tip of the iceberg with these tools so I don't know what I don't know, but the reduction in time spent screening tenants has dropped DRAMATICALLY since I implemented Google forms vs. email responses. And it builds a database of applicants with virtually no effort - they enter their own info - and I can sort and search and keep notes. It's a lifesaver.

I can even look at charts that show me which properties attracted the most inquiries and at what time of year.

I just implemented a Google Form online application, and all information is saved in a worksheet for use to populate the actual lease via Mail Merge.

I use TransUnion Smartmove for my background checks: again, the applicant inputs their own data, and pays directly for the screening so I have nothing to do but look at it when done and make a decision.

I am going to implement a Maintenance Request form soon. This can be shared with my husband who is our handyman. He can sort and prioritize it and I will be able to see when it is done.

Growing pains (by S i d [MO]) Posted on: Mar 8, 2018 8:00 AM

David, thanks...yes, I'll keep the cheap labor in mind.

NE, I don't share unit count (and this aint braggin'), but I presently have more units than you. Not a ton more, but "some" more. I would say 5 hours a week office time. This includes book keeping, scanning leases, entering rents, etc. This is part of what I "pay myself" 10% monthly rents for the management fee. Like I said the other day, I kind of bought myself a job. But at least I am getting paid for it: it's not donated time. But the pay rate is a bit lower than my goal. I'm okay with outsourcing it.

DanNBoston...I missed that retreat due to military commitments. Anyone know if there's a DVD version available? ;-) I know those events are designed to not only train, but also to allow access to vendors...I have no issue with that, same deal at the Convention. That said, I would pay for such least up to the value of the registration and maybe a plane ticket to wherever. $500 wouldn't be too much, considering the value of the information. I'm kind of hoping the boot camp would help with that too.

Sisco, I hear you. Retained tenants are so much easier. I checked my records, and about half of my tenants are 3+ years. Some more, some less. I would guess my average is in the 2 years range. So yes, I can improve this. IT may be time for me to start trading up into nicer hoods where folks stay longer. I recall our discussion from our coffee group.


Growing pains (by Kyle [IN]) Posted on: Mar 8, 2018 8:02 AM

1. I have my ads saved, so I just have to update the rent amount and repost them when that unit is vacant again. I am doing this myself, but it isn't much work because most of it is automated.

I use Rently for showings, they get the prospect's ID verification handled and give them a lock box code. I get an email when they go to see the house. And another email when the complete a survey of what the liked and didn't like.

2. Can't help you here, I do all that myself. I think I could work with my handyman to have him get the move out pictures and make his own list for what he needs to fix, but I think I would still have to walk through at some point to make sure he found everything and fixed it properly.

3. Buildium. My tenants pay online, they can pay each rent payment online or set up recurring payments. The payments occasionally bounce, I usually know within a few days of the payment being made if it bounced, depending on weekends and holidays. I have never had a tenant dispute a payment after making it, so I don't have any experience with chargebacks. If the money hits your account before they know it bounced from the tenant's, it will come back out quickly.

4. Buildium. The account ledger is online and the tenant can check their balance any time. Payments post immediately. Late fees post automatically (some difficulty with this for weekly and bi-weekly payers). There is accounting features for your whole business available, but I can't tell you how well they work. I didn't like them when I first signed up, so I use Quicken RPM, but Buildium may have improved the accounting since I looked at it.

Growing pains (by AllyM [NJ]) Posted on: Mar 8, 2018 9:13 AM

If you want something done right do it yourself. Continue to do anything that would seriously impact your business if it failed to be done properly. For me, that is choosing tenants. For you that may be something else. I choose for longevity.

Growing pains (by Robin [WI]) Posted on: Mar 8, 2018 9:49 AM

You need to hire an office help/leasing agent type of person. I'd suggest you look for a SAHM who is likely to stick around for a while. (The problem with college students is that turnover will be high.) I can't tell you how many friends I have who are intelligent, college-educated, and capable, but are earning $12/hr in jobs like lunch lady or Panera because it gives them the flexibility to be home when their kids get home from school. They'd LOVE a job like you describe.

Step two is to start building checklists to automate your business. I have a checklist for my handyman to fill out during monthly maintenance visits. (He's good enough to notice most things on his own, but it gives me a paper trail.) I have another checklist for move-out inspections. I have another checklist that details what to do at lease signing.

Rent collection: Automate it. eRentPayment was awesome until they went under. I just signed up with ClearNow, but I'm not entirely satisfied with them. They have one fee structure for monthly debits, another for biweekly, and a third for semi-monthly. And you have to open a separate account (with its own fees) for each different bank account you want the funds deposited into. And they're expensive. I'm still looking for the best solution here. Right now most tenants are using Zelle while I transition away from eRentPayment.

Growing pains (by NC INVESTOR [NC]) Posted on: Mar 8, 2018 11:19 AM

I do not think you need to hire a PM rather I recommend you update the methods and apps you use. It takes a little learning, depending on how tech savvy or computer literate you are, but it pays dividends in terms of your time and effort.

The tech side of it is important since that will allow you to streamline everything but more importantly almost everything can be automated.

I would post some suggestions but this is my 3rd and last attempt. The previous attempts have been flagged as spam. I will say as a licensed broker I would not recommend hiring a PM. There is nothing they can provide that you cannot do your self.


Growing pains (by WMH [NC]) Posted on: Mar 8, 2018 11:24 AM

Robin/WI you just reminded me I have a friend on SSI who works from home as she cannot stand for long periods of time, and she cannot earn much either. But she's super-savvy and computer-literate, so they ARE out there, aren't they?

Growing pains (by Chris [CT]) Posted on: Mar 8, 2018 12:48 PM

Unless you have a lot of units that kind of stuff isn't a lot of work. I have 24 soon to be 30 and if I stopped the construction business and just did rentals I'd work maybe 5 hours a week if that. Frankly I'd probably work more putzing around the sites cleaning the parking lots and weeding just because I was board.

Filling 6-10 vacancies a year isn't much work.

Book keeping for rentals is very simple, its just not that much.

Now maybe I'm spoiled with the maintenance side because of my construction business I have every contractor you could want on speed dial. A turnover is just a bunch of calls and its done, hardly a blip on my radar work wise.

What your describing is a property management company, if you want to be 100% hands off. So either grow large enough to start your own or hire one to manage your rentals.

Growing pains (by NC INVESTOR [NC]) Posted on: Mar 8, 2018 1:15 PM

Let's start with your banking. I use QuickBooks Online. It can do a multitude of things and it is one of the most intuitive accounting programs available. There are others but since I've used QB desktop changing to online was easy and it is much easier for not non-accountants to work with.

Aside from seeing your financials and cash flow in less than a minute it also can automate all your invoicing and follow up reminders. Another nice feature in QBO, when I pay a contractor I attach a copy of their invoice to the check in QBO so that at the end of the year the 1099's are automatically ready. I also have all my receipts by property and contractor with the details of the work completed for future reference and for taxes.

I have recurring invoices by tenant. They are sent out via email to each tenant with a pay now link. If there is a late fee you can add that before it goes out. The same if you bill utilities monthly. I receive a notice when the invoice is opened and when it is paid and once the funds are in my biz checking the deposits are automatically dropped into QBO and the bills are marked paid.

Better yet you just need to open QBO to see instantly which ones are not paid and have an auto reminder sent to the tenant. I also use a service called View post for sending the invoices, but I can discuss that separately. If you want my thoughts on showing, vacancies and contractors I'll do a separate post. --71.75.xx.xx

Growing pains (by S i d [MO]) Posted on: Mar 8, 2018 1:40 PM

Great stuff!

Robin, yes, I know someone who might be interested in earning some part-time income....train up my part-time assistant.

NC INVESTOR, thanks for the run down on QBO. sounds like something I may need to learn. I use old-fashioned Quicken for now, and while it works it would be nice to be able to integrate it more fully. I'd appreciate your thoughts on showings (I do lock box now, not a big time waster but I'll listen to whatever you have), vacancies, and contractors.

Chris, yeah, I suspect I need to just become a builder and get some guys lined up.

Others I haven't responded to by name, I've read your replies and will continue to do so. --173.17.xx.xx

Growing pains (by NE [PA]) Posted on: Mar 8, 2018 1:44 PM

Sid, be a flipper and you will have the benefits of being a builder as far as repair people are concerned, without the pressures of a homeowner breathing down your neck all day.

You're then end customer when you're remodeling a flip.

Growing pains (by GKARL [PA]) Posted on: Mar 8, 2018 2:40 PM

I have an office for my accounting practice that doubles as a rental office as well, so I have lease signings done here. I do use various products to get digital signatures and payments with the accounting practice that I could easily use for lease signings. My clients are often remote to my area and I use a package called Right Signature. This package allows me to capture digital signatures and fee payments by prompting a client through various pages of a documents. It can easily be adapted to leases, however most of my C class tenants don't have that sort of sophistication. It's cost effective for me since I use it heavily in my practice but not as a standalone just for lease signings as I wouldn't have the volume to justify. There are other packages out there.

I'm available full time more or less to deal with rental issues as I can just throw any administrative effort in with the rest of my day. I control my time completely, so there's no problem going to court for evictions, supervising contractors, handling the bookkeeping, administering leases or dealing with tenant issues.

Where my greatest challenge and greatest concern is the retention of handymen to deal with maintenance issues. I need to have a deep bench of them.

I had a slew of vacancies recently which is unusual and that's taken up a bunch of time. That may be something I need to hire out if it occurs again. If that's sporadic, as it's been in the past, it's no biggie. The saving grace in the situation was I was dealing with these in one place and that experience pretty much cemented that my best situation is to continue with multi-family investment as it concentrates my management efforts to one area and that's just more efficient for me. Before my latest pending purchase, I had been considering a foray into SFH.

I'm not suggesting that I don't need to adjust a few things, but in comparison to running an accounting practice, dealing with rentals is not bad at all. Normally, I spend less than 5 hours a week. The key for me is to hire out all of the maintenance/handyman stuff and develop better systems generally.

I'm going to echo NC on QBO. If set up properly, it can greatly automate the bookkeeping. I've not used the billing function for tenants, but you can bill them and capture digital payments. That depends on the type of tenant however. (My guys generally roll with cash deposited in my bank). I have QBO set up with rules where it automatically knows how to deal with certain transactions and which property to assign them to. I love fact it's on the cloud as it leaves me completely mobile besides knowing where I'm at in a glance.

Growing pains (by NC INVESTOR [NC]) Posted on: Mar 8, 2018 3:29 PM

GKARL [PA]: there are a lot of other QBO functions that i love. I use another service OTHER than intuit for electronic payments that syncs with QBO. When the money is deposited the funds are automatically applied to the invoices. It ALSO SENDS REMINDERS IF THE PAYMENT HASN'T BEEN PAID BEFORE THE 5TH (OUR GRACE PERIOD IN NC).



Sorry, just noticed the cap lock was on and off. To lazy to retype.) --71.75.xx.xx

Growing pains (by NC INVESTOR [NC]) Posted on: Mar 8, 2018 3:43 PM

SID:I swear by open houses. It is less wear and tear on us. We no longer have to worry about people showing up and it accelerates people decision making process. There is a sort of confirmation when they see others also interested and in a tight market they realize they have lots of competition all standing around them.

It's also the only time I use paper. i take a stack of apps along with a cover sheet explaining our requirements. I also have a sign in sheet in case I want to reach out to someone who didn't complete an app. We have our properties rented out in 1 day vs.a week or more when scheduling individual showings.


Growing pains (by NC INVESTOR [NC]) Posted on: Mar 8, 2018 4:01 PM

Sorry about the multiple posting but lately anything long that 2 paragraphs is swallowed up by the website demons.

QBO is definitely far better than Quicken. If you are comfortable using tabs in Google then QBO is for you. It's also much more intuitive and can give you so much more feedback than quicken by breaking out every expense by property,tenant,etc.

Contractors: I've been using my painter since the day I started. He's been the source of the majority of my skilled and some unskilled workers. Like everyone else handyman is the weak link.

Digital Records: This was critical for me. Getting organized restored my sanity - at least the little I had left.. Everything is done digitally. Every form, every text and email,are all one my PC. They are filed by property and now you can attached them to tenant files in QBO. From property pix, move-in inspections, lease,etc.. Whatever you need. All doc are digitally signed. If you have mortgages on any property download them and file them in QBO under the Fixed Assets.

If you do decide on QBO I highly recommend you subscribe to Chronobooks. It's a backup system that backups your books every 10 minutes and can store copies in Dropbox.

I know you use Zillow which is also use as my go to ad place. i don't list my phone number so that all communication is via email and I send out email blasts for open house showings (use bcc for their addresses).

I also use todoist as my scheduler. It is a scheduler but you can also send your to do's to contractors with work orders. Keeps me current on lease renewal and everything else.

I can't think of anything else. If there are other areas you have questions about let me know.


Growing pains (by RathdrumGal [ID]) Posted on: Mar 8, 2018 4:54 PM

I second what Robin said. There are many educated, capable women who would love a PT job while the kids are in school. They can be your bookkeeper/ leasing agent. Set them up with an on-line Fair Housing course and the Udemy course on QuickBooks for Landlords, a few days of orientation in your forms/processes and you are in business. Back in the day, I always looked for brains over experience -- you can easily teach an intelligent person what you need them to know.

Growing pains (by Nicole [PA]) Posted on: Mar 8, 2018 6:53 PM

Maybe the "hire my kids cheap" will someday, but they're age 11, 11 and 7 now, so that's going to be a few years....

just a comment here. at their ages, they can mow grass, rake leaves, pick up sticks, shovel snow, mop floors, run vacuums, wash windows, write checks, fill out bank deposit slips, print documents, shred documents, file, color stack files (job my 3 year old granddaughter is learning now - doesn't matter to me, but she, along with the others, all know they have to work when they come to my house), etc. In other words, and not saying you don't, kids need to learn to "work" at a young age ... no teaching a 16 year old to get out of bed and get the chores done.

Growing pains (by BillW [NJ]) Posted on: Mar 8, 2018 8:00 PM

The mission and vision of Amazon is: "Our vision is to be earth's most customer-centric company..." I think these guys know what their doing, and I'd say understanding your customer better than anyone else is key. I'd say to find some of the best operations and see what they're doing and go from there. Like spending some time with your customers and really understanding what problems they have and what makes them happy. Also I found customer surveys are great to help direct where you put your resources.

Another idea I've read about, and am working on, is to find out what's the one important thing you can do, then make time to focus on getting that one thing done.

Good Luck!

Growing pains (by BillS [CO]) Posted on: Mar 8, 2018 9:07 PM

I am struggling with items 1 and 2 as well. Right now, I am in the process of hiring a part time admin person to do some of these tasks. We'll see how that goes.

Item 4 I hired a bookkeeper to do Quickbooks. It was a great decision. Not cheap but there are a number of cheaper options than what I use. It is critical that this is setup correctly by someone that completely knows rentals and the associated accounting. I know a few folks that use Buildium or one of the other specialty products specifically built for rental property management. That is my next step once I get the bookkeeper running smoothly.

Item 3 - I use ClearNow for debiting my tenants rent (best money I spend each month). Great solution for my tenant class. Tenants must have bank accounts. The downside is, it does not reconcile with Quickbooks. IMO you must use a service that does an ACH (takes the money from the bank account). Also the initiation, must not require action by the tenant. Make sure you use a reputable service. One (I used) actually lost the rents because an intermediary declared bankruptcy and the court froze the funds. With tenant cooperation, I was able to collect rent but it was compromising. The great thing is the rent is there when it's there (it takes 4-7 business days to work it's way through the system). If any service does it faster, then there is the potential for claw back. Know the rules going in.

So one thing I have tried to remember. Hire people better at the job than I am even if it costs more. There is nothing that creates freedom better than having people who are a 9 or 10 doing what I am a 7 or 8 at.

Growing pains (by NC INVESTOR [NC]) Posted on: Mar 8, 2018 9:59 PM


Intuit Merchant Services reconciles with QB and so does Viewpost. I prefer the latter since the funds arrive in 1/2 the time mostly by the next day and it is much less expensive than your current service. Both of those do require the tenant to use a pay now link but if they can't press on a link then frankly they aren't tenants I want.

Using ACH or any electronic services will always have the possibility of claw-backs just as credit cards do. It's just the nature of how they draw the funds.

There are two excellent sources for learning how to setup and maintain QB's. Gita Faust an accountant that only does ll/tenant books. She has several books although they aren't cheap. The other is John Hyre. He has a complete how to for QB for LL's.


Growing pains (by Chris [CT]) Posted on: Mar 9, 2018 8:32 AM

Sid a flipper is the same thing, if your big enough the contractors start to care about getting your work so they tend to show up.

I just sent out 1099's for 4-5 of my contractors my business represents over 1/2 of their yearly income. Trust me when I have a little job, like throw a coat of polly on a floor for a quick turn around they show up!

Construction and the rental biz work together so nicely, at least when your new and growing.

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