The 2016 Entrata Summit, held September in Park City, marked one year since the company announced its new ResidentPortal mobile app, which would give residents the ability to pay rent by voice or photo, from any mobile device. Since its official launch in December of 2015, announced Entrata’s VP of ResidentPay, Kate Hampton, the app has surpassed 120,000 users, over 800,000 sessions, and achieved a strong five-star rating in the app store.
“The insights we have been collecting over this period are convincing us more and more every day that electronic payments is the only logical path to follow to achieve sustainable business performance,” said Hampton. Although payments in the multifamily industry haven’t changed much in recent decades, Hampton asserted that the old ways of collecting rent are fast becoming outdated, if they’re not already obsolete. continue
Across the country every month 40 million renter-occupied households are being billed for utility usage. While there are many billing scenarios (billing direct to residents, bill & collect, metered and RUBS billing options, etc.) the one true constant is that the utility provider nearly always gets their money. But are they getting some of your money in the process?
Ever wonder how many commercial emails arrive in the average resident’s inbox each month? Would you guess over 400? If so, you’d be right. Your residents typically receive an average of 416 commercial emails every month…more than 10 a day. It’s a crowded playing field, but since residents overwhelmingly say they prefer their property managers to communicate with them via email, it’s a field on which you must not only play, you need to win!
Companies that are winning, like Windsor Communities and Waterton Residential, have found that a two-pronged approach combining branding/messaging strategies and customizable automation to be highly effective.
Remember getting letters? In the mail? You might, but there is a growing percentage of our readers who do not. And there are whole swaths of our society made up of adults who have never mailed a bill in their lives. But old habits die hard, and despite the normalization of online interactions, many multifamily properties still collect the majority of rent via paper checks. You may still be taking most resident maintenance requests by phone. Maybe you still tape notices to unit doors.
But you don’t have to. The team at Entrata has made simplifying your transition to online resident interactions one of our top priorities. Because, let’s face it, collecting rent online, digitizing work orders, and generally moving towards paperless systems isn’t just more convenient for your residents, it has the potential to save you lots of time and money. continue
Where’s your checkbook? Do you have it on you right now? Chances are pretty good these days that you don’t. Americans are writing fewer checks than ever, heavily preferring card transactions in person and online and digital payment options when available. As a result, more and more property management companies now offer online payment options for rent, applications, and other charges. But in an interesting wrinkle, many renters are still delivering a rent check to the leasing office like clockwork, on the first of every month. Where’s the disconnect?
Property Solutions’ ResidentPay team has been looking at ways to bridge that gap, and over the past few years we’ve turned up a number of factors that can help promote online payments so that residents are more likely to take advantage. One of the most noticeable differences come when properties offer a free ACH payment option (as opposed to having residents pay a convenience fee to use online payments). continue
Ready to go cashless? Never want to see another money order? Join our team of payment experts for a free webinar on January 22, where we will demonstrate Property Solutions’ new MoneyGram integration. Whether you’ve already implemented a “No Cash – No Money Order” policy or are simply considering it, we can show you how easy it is for residents to make cash payments through any of MoneyGram’s 48,000 locations. continue
Best Practices for accepting cash payments in the leasing office:
- Accept the cash payment.
- Count the money.
- Sanitize your hands.
- Fill out the receipt in triplicate.
- Put the payment in the safe.
- Activate the laser-web alarm system.
- Feed the Dobermans.
- Sanitize your hands.
OK, we may be exaggerating a bit, but cash payments can be problematic for a number of reasons. Whether from honest errors in counting and reconciling or security issues like fraud and theft, cash in the leasing office can lead to a long list of headaches during rent week. And it’s covered in germs. Gross. Requiring money orders instead isn’t much better: verifying amounts, continue
We can’t all have the latest technology all the time. Smartphones, 3D televisions, Pinterest, self-parking cars, e-tablets, Google+, Draw Something. Chances are the average person could claim three or four of the seven listed. Adoption of technology will always have its laggards. However, in the case of utility bill and collect, failure to innovate can be costly for multifamily properties.
Every month, 5 million U.S. apartment residents are billed for utilities in addition to rent. Approximately 750,000 to 1 million of those residents get a return envelope enclosed with their utility bill and are required to write a check and mail their payment to a third-party utility billing company—where the payment is held until the monthly lump sum is transferred to the property, minus the service fees of course. In the old days, this system was a good solution to reduce administrative workload in the leasing office; but it substantially underperforms when compared to modern convergent billing integrated with electronic payment services.
Do you waste countless hours every week looking up and delivering packages to your residents? Is it difficult to manage all of your incoming packages and to keep them organized? If you need relief for all your package handling headaches, we can help. Property Solutions has two amazing tools that work seamlessly with your management software and resident portal to simplify your life and make you look pretty good at the same time. Here’s the scoop:
Now you can quickly scan incoming packages and automatically notify residents when they arrive. This tool integrates with your resident database to quickly identify which resident the package is for, then sends out notices via email or text message. Residents will also see notices of waiting packages when they log in to ResidentPortal or on the Lobby Display. continue
Pundits have been predicting the demise of cash for at least a decade. But chances are you still have a number of residents who can’t or won’t pay their rent any other way. Many properties recognize the problems of accepting rent payments in cash, from the increased risk of theft and fraud to the increased time needed to count, reconcile, and transport funds to the bank. Unfortunately, the most common alternative for cash-free communities, the money order, has its own security and processing risks. The solution? Go ahead and let your residents pay with cash. Just send them to their nearest MoneyGram location to do it. continue