Once again, I’ve decided to take on a topic that is the proverbial, “shoot yourself in the foot” post. To remind you, one thing I think that separates us from other managers is our ability to be uncomfortably transparent. So, in an attempt to do that, I do believe there are some times that a smaller manager would be a better choice than a bigger management alternative.
Before we get started, let me begin by defining what I mean by a “small manager”. Since small can be a relative term. In my opinion this is a manager who typically manages less than 300 homes and every person that works for that company (including the owner) is directly involved in daily working IN the business.
We recently purchased a company in Nashville that describes this scenario exactly. The gentleman who owned it started the company 25 years ago. All of his clients had his cell number and could call him 7 days per week if they needed to. He ran an excellent business for 25 years and this type of management did very well for him and his clients.
Again, choosing a manager is all about preference. So let’s talk about what it would look like for you to choose this style of management over a larger company. . .
1. You don’t trust very easily. One of the cornerstones of property management is this idea of trust. You have to trust us to manage your property properly. If it is hard for you to trust, the idea of a smaller manager maybe a better solution, because there is a good chance you will be dealing with the same person during the length of that relationship. Once you trust THAT person, you would be able to allow THAT person to handle all the important decisions regarding the management of the home.
2. You want control. If you don’t trust easily, it will be very important for you to have control. A small manager is better equipped to take on the “a la carte” type requests you may ask them to do. Larger managers are built on systems and processes. Smaller managers are built to react.
3. The smaller manager specializes in an area you have a home. Much like real estate agents in certain neighborhoods and vacation home managers in certain places, some small property managers have learned to specialize in one certain area of town. This may be one condo complex or one subdivision or neighborhood. Bottom line is they are happy simply managing those homes and making a living doing what they know really well and have no goals to branch out into other areas or other types of homes.
As you can see there are some real benefits for certain types of people or certain types of properties being managed by a smaller property manager. While it is important to look at all the good things you get with a smaller manager, let me point out a few of the challenges when choosing a smaller manager.
1. You are at the mercy of one person or a few people. This means when someone gets sick, there maybe nobody managing your home. Larger managers have enough people that they shouldn’t skip a step when managing your home and someone didn’t make it into work that day.
2. Smaller managers don’t have the benefit of scale to lease your home quickly. Larger managers, with more homes to lease, have more applications per house than smaller managers due to them being a reliable source for a place to live.
3. Smaller managers don’t have specialist, more generalists in the management of your home. Large managers have team members who specialize in leasing, property management and maintenance versus the generalist who is responsible for all of these. Because, for instance, someone is only responsible for leasing homes, they should be able to lease your home faster and know better what to look for when finding a great tenant. All in all, whether you choose a small manager or a large manager, the goal is to find one who fits exactly what you are looking for. There are benefits to both and they both carry their share of negatives. Find the right property manager for you.