Scaling a business inevitably involves growing pains. As property management companies expand their portfolios and team size, it can be challenging to maintain the personalized service, community focus, and operating philosophy that built the foundation of their success.

But with careful planning and execution, growth and profitability can go hand-in-hand with preserving company culture and client relationships. This article explores key strategies property management firms should consider when scaling their business responsibly without losing sight of their core values and mission.

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Invest in Ongoing Training and Development
Leverage Technology to Enhance Efficiency
Maintain Visible Ownership at the Leadership Level
Build Partnerships Strategically to Augment Capabilities
Refine Systems Based on Data and Feedback
Focus on Consistent Communication and Customer Service

Invest in Ongoing Training and Development

As your business grows and you need to onboard more staff across various roles, a robust training program is essential to ensure consistency and quality across a larger team. Don’t just train new hires at the startmake learning an ongoing priority across the organization.

  • Implement formal onboarding procedures: Have a structured onboarding schedule introducing new hires to your company culture, standard operating procedures, tools, and performance expectations from day one. Assign mentors to provide hands-on guidance as they get acquainted with day-to-day responsibilities.
  • Conduct regular skills training: Provide training workshops or online courses to keep staff updated on industry regulations, compliance, customer service techniques, software skills, and other areas critical to their role. Role-playing exercises can sharpen customer-facing teams’ abilities to resolve tense situations.
  • Offer leadership development: Identify promising managers and provide coaching in team building, performance management, decision-making, and conflict resolution to strengthen their supervision capabilities.
  • Incentivize continuous education: Offer tuition reimbursement or certification sponsorship to motivate employees to pursue external training relevant to their professional growth. Gain new expertise to serve clients better.
  • Foster knowledge sharing: Create forums for employees to share best practices and lessons learned from project experiences across the organization. This facilitates peer-to-peer learning.

Investing in people ensures your expanded team delivers the same level of service and embodies the same values, even as more new faces join the company.

Leverage Technology to Enhance Efficiency

Managed growth depends on optimizing operations and administrative tasks to focus resources on client relationships as the core priority. Integrating automation and software tools strategically can streamline workflows company-wide.

  • Centralize information sharing: Use cloud-based software to store and sync tenant records, maintenance schedules, lease terms, documents, and reporting data securely across the organization. This provides convenient access to consolidated information when staff need it.
  • Enable mobility: Equip on-site maintenance staff with tablets or mobile apps synced to the central system to immediately address tenant requests, record completed work orders, and manage site issues remotely for faster resolution.
  • Automate repetitive tasks: Online tenant portals allow clients to submit maintenance requests, make payments, and download statements 24/7. Digital rental applications and e-signing leases simplify paperwork. This reduces admin workload so staff can focus on high-value tasks.
  • Gain visibility: Dashboards that surface real-time performance data help managers make agile decisions to optimize operations across the entire portfolio. Activity tracking provides accountability and ensures issues don’t slip through the cracks.
  • Drive efficiencies: Tools like machine learning-enhanced revenue management software learn from past pricing patterns and current market conditions to recommend optimal pricing adjustments to maximize property occupancy and rental income.

The right technology stack enhances how your team functions daily, allowing the business to scale gracefully.

Maintain Visible Ownership at the Leadership Level

Rapid business growth often necessitates delegating responsibilities to an expanding team of managers, supervisors, and frontline staff. However, founders and principals must remain actively engaged, leading by example.

  • Conduct site visits: Schedule regular property walkthroughs to interact with on-site staff and tenants firsthand. This provides qualitative visibility beyond reporting data alone. Observe operational realities and address concerns raised directly by clients.
  • Oversee major accounts: Personally manage relationships with high-value institutional clients and property developers even as portfolios expand. Your involvement demonstrates a long-term commitment to these strategic partners.
  • Host all-hands meetings: Hold regular all-staff meetings, in person when possible or via video conference, to directly share company news, priorities, values, and culture with remote teams. Q&A sessions foster two-way dialogue.
  • Communicate often: Send frequent email or video messages reinforcing priorities, celebrating wins, and inspiring staff. Quick personalized recognition notes to individual employees have a big impact.
  • Mentor rising talent: Actively coach talented managers on building their capabilities and leadership style. Instill your experience and perspective into those poised to inherit greater responsibility in the future.
  • Empower responsibly: Delegate authority deliberately to give promising leaders increasing autonomy. But maintain accountability through shared KPIs and performance reviews. Step in to course correct if outcomes diverge from standards.

Visible leadership presence and engagement across the business ensures corporate vision and client focus cascades directly from the top down through large distributed teams.

Build Partnerships Strategically to Augment Capabilities

Trying to build all capabilities in-house can spread focus and resources too thin. Nevertheless, outsourcing certain functions judiciously to specialized partners allows you to scale while retaining control over your core competencies.

  • Outsource specialized services: Contract long-term maintenance, IT, accounting, marketing agencies, and other service providers to handle complex tasks if your team lacks specialized expertise. Vet partners thoroughly and formalize agreements.
  • Leverage external expertise: Work with trusted advisors like legal counsel, cybersecurity consultants, insurance brokers, and HR specialists to incorporate best practices and manage risks proactively.
  • Cultivate contractor networks: Develop a qualified pool of contractors to tap for on-demand maintenance support across a growing property portfolio. Ensure they align with your service standards.
  • Partner selectively: Only entrust partnerships for non-core functions. Keep tenant relations, leasing, and community management in-house if possible to maintain quality control.
  • Exchange referrals: Bidirectional referral partnerships with companies in related real estate domains, like banks, brokerages, and title companies, offer a mutually beneficial way to grow while serving shared client bases.

External partnerships focused on key areas augment internal team capabilities so you can devote focus to delivering exceptional ongoing client service at scale.

Refine Systems Based on Data and Feedback

Scaling up operations rapidly can expose areas where existing processes struggle to accommodate a larger and more complex organization. Stay agile and responsive by continually evaluating outcomes.

  • Analyze performance data: Establish quantifiable KPIs for all business functions leasing, maintenance, collections, client satisfaction, etc. Analyze trends across properties to identify bottlenecks like high vacancy rates or service request backlogs.
  • Conduct market research: Stay abreast of market shifts, emerging competitors, evolving client preferences, and macroeconomic factors that may impact your business. Incorporate insights into strategic plans.
  • Survey clients frequently: Send quarterly tenant satisfaction surveys to gain direct feedback. Scorecards provide quantifiable insights, while open comments highlight specific pain points. Offer incentives to boost participation.
  • Solicit employee input: Check in with staff at all levels through anonymous surveys or focus groups to surface their firsthand experience with internal operations, company culture, leadership, and technology.
  • Realign as needed: If data and observations reveal areas needing improvement, move decisively to upgrade systems, refine policies, or invest resources to address weaknesses before small issues become major liabilities.

Collecting quantitative and qualitative insights guarantees your scaled-up business model evolves appropriately while remaining responsive to changing client needs.

Focus on Consistent Communication and Customer Service

At its core, property management depends on maintaining excellent relationships and open communication with tenants. As portfolios grow across disparate locations, sustaining personalized service at scale requires intention and tools.

  • Respond quickly: Empower all staff to rapidly resolve tenant complaints and maintenance issues on the spot whenever possible for a superior tenant experience. Follow stringent escalation procedures for unresolved cases.
  • Visit regularly: Require on-site managers to proactively check in with each tenant quarterly at a minimum to build rapport, provide updates, and address concerns early. Track interactions.
  • Automate updates: Use mass communication platforms, such as email, text messaging, and resident portals to distribute announcements, deliver timely reminders, and send periodic e-newsletters to entire tenant bases efficiently.
  • Go old school, too: In-person relationship building can’t be replaced entirely. Mail welcome packages to new residents and birthday cards to existing tenants. Occasional handwritten notes go a long way.
  • Monitor conversations: Track online reviews and social media mentions to know what tenants say about communities. Quickly address negative experiences raised on these public platforms.
  • Get ahead of trends: Notice emerging issues like multiple complaints about unreliable elevators. Proactively perform preventative maintenance across all properties before similar issues arise elsewhere.
  • Reward loyalty: Surprise long-term residents who renew leases with small gifts or bonus amenities. Thank key tenants publicly on social media.

Consistent two-way communication and prompt responsiveness keep tenants happy and engaged as your portfolio grows. Don’t lose the personal touch.

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