By now, you’re probably aware that there are plenty of software tools out there for pretty much any type of business or office set up. That’s why techies are always encouraging businesses to go online, and literally forget dealing with actual paper files. Well, of course it all sounds good and rosy until you come to critically think of it…
Is there any actual benefit of going paperless, apart from the all-too-known fact of being eco-friendly? Considering all the computers and storage drives you’ll have to purchase, isn’t paperless significantly more expensive than paper at the end of the day? And most importantly, is paperless feasible in property management?
While converting from a paper-based to a paperless environment could be intimidating and confusing to a property management firm at the beginning, it’s exceedingly feasible, and could possibly be your most strategic move yet. Although only 3% of businesses have managed to go completely paperless, 28% of paperless firms achieved full ROI in less than half a year, and 59% did it in less than one year. Overall, 84% of such businesses achieved payback in less than 18 months.
Here’s exactly how paperless helps you achieve this:
It’s Actually Cheaper
While you may have to purchase a couple of devices at the beginning, paperless is considerably cheaper than paper-based systems. As a matter of fact, with a property management system like property matrix, you don’t need to get an extra computer at all. It can work just as well on your smartphone because it’s all cloud based.
Although the cost of a single sheet of paper is nothing compared to buying a computer or surfing device, paper costs add up quickly over a prolonged period of time. According to a survey conducted by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, an average business worker consumes more than 10,000 pieces of paper every 12 months. That translates to more than $1000 per year on just papers alone, and about $10,000 for a small property management firm of 10 workers.
Improves Document Tracking
Have you ever postponed a briefing because you couldn’t trace an important sheet of paper? Or worse, has your firm ever footed deficits because account books were not adding up?
They may seem strange, especially if you’re new to property management, but these are all common scenarios in not only paper-based offices, but also poorly aligned paperless environments. Even property management offices with the most organized filing systems could have important documents mixed up, lost, or accidentally destroyed. And unfortunately, it never ends well for affected firms – if they don’t close shop after a major disaster, they may possibly, over the long haul, lose tons of clients.
Compare that to a firm leveraging an intelligent document management system, which not only automatically indexes files, but also generates custom reports on demand. If you’re worried about data security, leveraging a cloud-based system should do the trick.
Improves Tenant-Agent Communication
In the past, property management was all about making trips to your tenants’ properties. If agents received a dime for every trip made, they’d probably be world’s biggest tycoons by now. Then came smartphones, which pretty much revolutionized how agents communicated with their tenants, but still had one major weakness – tracing the paper trail could be difficult, particularly during disputes. That’s why till date, the bulk of property managers still prefer delivering paper notes to their tenants.
According to information from the United States Postal Service, a standard mail is delivered within two to eight business days. If you pay top dollar for the first class mail, it’s takes one to three business days. So you may have to wait double that time after sending your mail to receive a reply, and that’s only if your tenant replies urgently.
Compare that to a paperless system which not only delivers your note instantaneously, but also maintains a thread for subsequent tracking. A tenant can raise an issue even in the middle of the night, and have it delivered to a vendor immediately. It’s that simple, clean, and stress free.
Facilitates Business on The Go
While most businesses operate within the standard 9 to 5 working hours, property management is a full time job. You may be chasing after due rental payments at 2 pm in the afternoon, then coordinating projects with vendors at 6 pm in the evening, before advertising a vacant property at 10pm right after dinner. And that’s pretty much a typical schedule for a property manager.
Now, imagine doing that on a paper-based office. You’d be carrying heaps of files from your office, right into the subway, and possibly to dinner too. On a paperless system on the other hand, your smartphone or tablet replaces the heaps of files. You’ll even be able to coordinate a maintenance project in Seattle, right from a beach in Miami.
Still Not Convinced?
If these pointers are not convincing enough, consider this…As a tenant, who would go for – a firm that constantly delivers notices through your mailbox, or one that simply send emails or texts straight to your phone?
Or rather, as a property owner, who would you work with – a firm that delivers heaps of property reports to your desk, or one that simply emails you custom reports with clear, understandable graphics?