Healthy Wealthy Wow Radio Show
January 30 2004
Michelle: "I have an amazing guest with me today. His name is Dave Bateman, and I am just so impressed with him. He is a BYU student. He is co-owner of this company, Property Solutions. He builds software that helps manage multifamily housing. Dave, please tell us a bit about this software that you invented and where the inspiration came from."
David Bateman: "Well, it is kind of an interesting story. I started a business a few years ago called DearElder.com. I had served an LDS mission down in Honduras, and, when I got back from my mission, I was in one of my business classes. They told me that if you want to start a business that is successful, find where there is pain, and get rid of it. So I thought back where I had felt pain, and I realized that, while I was on my mission, getting letters took three to four weeks. And I thought, man, we better be able to do something to relieve some pain there. And so I started this company, DearElder.com, which has done pretty well. It has been really fun doing it. It is a place where parents and friends can go to write missionaries online."
"When I started this business, I had no clue about how to build a website. I was scared to sign-up for a Hotmail email account. I had no idea about anything, but I knew that, if I was going to start this business, I was going to have to go out and learn how to build a website. So I called around to every place in town and tried to find out if they would help me to build a website. I told them I would go work for them for free if they let me learn as I was there. Finally, I found a place up in Alpine that I got a job with. They actually paid me, which was wonderful--Boyd Interactive, a guy by the name of Dave Boyd that runs that. And so I learned web design. I learned server-side programming in a language called PHP. So I built this DearElder site.
"As I was growing this business and as I was familiarizing myself with web-based development technology, my wife was working at a property management company in Provo called Centennial Apartments. I would go over to Centennial and bring her lunch. I realized that when someone comes in to pay their rent, they are writing it down on a paper ledger. I just started to notice that a lot of the things that they were doing with their management was not automated. They weren't using computers or anything. And so I thought, "There has got to be some kind of a program out there that automates these things that they are having to do by hand."
"Over the course of a year, my wife would come home, and she would tell me all these things that were driving her nuts. Finally, I sat down with her and said, "Let's write down all the things that are causing you hassle in the management process." And so we wrote down about 20 different things, and we realized by the end of it that software would get rid of most of the problems that they were experiencing. We went out and surveyed 450 property management companies in the Western United States, and we found out if they were experiencing the same problems--and they were. Most of the problems were with work order handling, the collection of rents, and that sort of thing. We built this software product based on our findings."
Michelle: "So the software makes it easier to make payments by doing it online?"
David Bateman: "Yes, it completely automates the process of the collection. Most of the bills you have, you can go online and pay, but rent, you can't. And why? We asked the same question, and we found out that management companies just weren't allowing online rent payments. We implemented a process where management companies can start to receive online rent payments, but they can avoid transaction fees--which is the reason historically why they have not accepted them. We got transaction fees almost down to nothing. It is pretty exciting. We are having a great time."
Michelle: "What is the software called? What is the company called?"
David Bateman: "The software is called VANTAGE. The company is Property Solutions. You can check out our website online at www.propertysolutions.com."
Michelle: "And they have won all these awards and all this money. They were mentioned in Fortune Small Business Magazine."
David: "We have gone national. We have done very well in our sales. We are releasing our second product this month. We were on the cover of Fortune Small Business Magazine in November. It is all pretty exciting."