We recently lost a bid to an owner with three rental properties because our competitors had “more experience”. The group they went with had been in business “15 years longer than Proform.” While I cannot deny the mere quantity of their years over our years, it made me ponder the idea of what experience really means. I had the following revelations regarding this notion:
First, my defensive reaction: Yes, Proform started in 2010, but that doesn’t mean we don’t know what we are doing or that we don’t have enough experience. Together our team brings both seasoned members with decades of collective experience, and greenies bringing fresh ideas to the table. We have learned Management is successful with certain ingredients in place: efficient systems and processes, a keen ability for implementing highest and best use, effective proactive maintenance and expense control, and of course, simply being good at what you do. Following the same process for 15 years longer does not necessarily add up to being a great Manager in that equation.
Next, my exploration of the idea: Does older necessarily mean wiser? After mulling this over for a time, I concluded that a more relevant question is “is older better?” I imagined my mom trying to operate a property management company on paper calendars and notebooks. Ledgers penciled in on old bankbooks and ALL communication done in postmarked letters. I’m confident this is not better than embracing all the tools available in this day and age. The reality is Property Management today needs to be modern, innovative, and technology oriented to be successful. It’s not fair to look at an older company and say they aren’t those things – but it is certainly something to consider when shopping for Property Management. Personally, I want a company that is willing to embrace new ideas and evolve.
Finally, my logical conclusion: Regardless of the few we will lose to having less experience than a competitor, we are VERY good at what we do. The truth is the proof is in the pudding and people will always choose those they feel are going to provide the most value. About 30% of our new client base has come to us after leaving another Property Manager who has not provided adequate or satisfactory service. I am proud of the fact that Proform has never had a client terminate a contract to go to another manager. Read our testimonies page.
While you can’t win them all, it seems that experience is an important question to ask – but perhaps not the MOST important question. Property Management in the Denver market has its share of mediocre and poor managers, intermixed with a few good ones. Whoever you choose to hire, make sure they share your values and do your research – search reviews, talk to other clients, and don’t necessarily equate experience with value or skill.