5 Tips for Starting out in Commercial Property Management
When first starting out in commercial property management, the prospect of the workload can be intimidating and hearing about problems with properties and tenants can sound overwhelming. Although, with a great foundation of principles, practically any ambitious individual can manage their portfolio effectively. Below are five tips for every new commercial property manager:
1. Under promise and over deliver. Essentially, this is saying to not be a “yes man” for every situation that does come up. Just like many aspects of creating solutions in business, there is an order of operation that needs to be followed. For instance, if a tenant gave us notice that they had a light fixture not working in their suite, we would have to inform them that we would first have to review their lease to see which party is responsible for this repair/replacement, the property ownership, or the tenant. If this is the ownership’s responsibility, we would communicate with the tenant and our preferred vendor to quickly schedule a time to have this repaired/replaced.
2. Be organized and document everything. We cannot emphasize enough how important it is to constantly document with all tools at your disposal, for example pictures, videos, notes, a calendar, etc. This also goes for all the vendor we are contracted with. We highly recommend which dates they visit the property, what activities they handle while on-site and if anything, out of the ordinary occurred during their approved activity, repair, maintenance, etc. A principle to operate by is being able to retrieve records from saved files on any select subject within 30 seconds.
3. Communication is key! Communication with clients and tenants in an honest and frequent fashion will help you and your firm gain a quality reputation. This is directly related to building and retaining trust which is of extreme importance. When managing a project or process it is vital to always update each stakeholder related to the outcome as this will help keep them at ease knowing that you are working towards the solution, even if there are no updates at the moment.
4. Be empathetic. Empathy should be given to all stakeholders in a property, such as your client, the tenant, property vendors, the tenant’s customers, potentially new tenants, and all others. Always being polite and professional go a long way since this will develop into your reputation.
5. Be proactive. The ability to plan for contingencies is a sign of a leader and when managing a client’s asset, you are leading the property to success. An example of this would be to start the bidding process of lawncare or snow maintenance two to three months in advance before the change of a season as it is tragic for a management firm to be unprepared.
At the end of the day, this isn’t the field for everyone. It does take perseverance and the ability to empathize with each stakeholder at a property. Keep moving forward, keep learning and keep in contact. Everyday will not be a great victory, but each day will compound into a great success.