Torn between what software your should use for your property management company? At the end of the day, the software must match you and your business style. This is the second part of a 2 part series that goes over different areas that will help in the decision making process.
Security and Transferability
Security is kind of a no brainier in that you do not want your data to be compromised. Even more important, you do not want your data to be whipped out and lost. Reputation is key. Look for a company that has established itself and has credibility. Ask about their data backup and redundancy policy. Large organizations will typically backup their data constantly throughout the day in multiple locations across the country and even throughout the world. This way if there is a national disaster in Florida from a Hurricane, your data is still safe because it was also backed up in Ohio.
One big leap of faith is how secure are their servers from potential hackers. This is where credibility comes into play and be sure to ask questions about their security protocol. If computer networking isn’t your thing, then try to find someone knowledgeable to help ask the right questions and translate for you. It may cost you a little bit to get an outside expert opinion, but it can help prevent future problems for you and your clients especially if you are looking at a software product that is not well known.
Another important thing to consider is how committed are you to the software. If, for example you decided to switch to another program later on, how easy will it be to export or transfer your date over. Having an exit strategy is important because you can’t predict what will happen down the line. Maybe the company will be sold and they stop supporting the software or they go out of business. What if you find another software later on that offers features that you want/need?
Last but not lease, knowing what features are available and the features that you want to incorporate. Most property management software comes with a ton of different features which cannot be summarized in a web page, flyer, etc. The best thing to do here is to narrow the list down to a few (1-3) and then trying a demo. Be sure to ask as many questions as possible here. While the feature may have an intended use, you may actually able to use it slightly differently in a way that could benefit you. In addition, you will also find out the software’s limitation
Some basic features:
- Generating monthly and year end reports
- Automatic bank reconciliation
- Processing and printing 1099s at the end of the year
- History notes to track important events or information
- Storing client information
- Generating form letters and performing mail merge/printing labels
Some more advanced features:
- Tracking repairs and progress
- Processing applications automatically
- Letter writing and virtual post office (hit print, letter goes out to a 3rd party processing center who mails it for you at a discounted postage rate)
- Creating customized forms where users can only input certain information
- Document management where you can upload all of your forms and documents to eliminate the need to store everything in files
- Customize fields to store data or information that is important to you
May 13, 2014