Understanding Harmony: Where’s My Worker?

Maintenance management is a big part of Harmony, with dozens of different tools to simply and streamline maintenance in your property management business.

One oft-asked question is, “Where’s my worker?” FedEx knows where every truck is at all times. You have a similar strength when you require vendors to use your Harmony Job Log.

When a vendor shows up on-site for maintenance, they simply tap the button in their portal app to indicate they’ve arrived. When they depart, the tap the button to indicate they’re leaving. The app will record their exact position, and even things like how fast they’re moving at the time, so they can’t cruise by the home, tap the button, and move on to the coffee shop for a while.

In the same spot in your app, the vendor can also indicate an estimate for work, indicate work is completed, or refuse work. All of these actions update immediately across all of your systems in Harmony.

For every work order, you can view the job log of when a vendor arrived and departed and how many minutes they were on-site. You can also run job logs by vendor to see everything they’ve done for you.

You may also choose to view the job log when reviewing and recording invoices, to make sure the invoice details line up with the reality of where the vendor’s been. This is one of many factors that you can use to determine vendor suitability, which helps you decide who you want to assign future work to. (Other factors include on-time and on-budget performance, and tenant/owner reviews of your vendors.)

Harmony gives you maintenance management tools that are rarely included in anything but the most expensive maintenance systems, and integrates them all in an easy-to-use way with everything else you do in property management. If there’s anything else we can do to make maintenance super-simple, just let us know.

Understanding Harmony: Advance Application and Abandonment Awareness

Rental applications are a big part of your property management business, and Harmony provides the most powerful rental application system available.

When configuring your online application, you have the ability to add all the questions you want to ask, along with powerful options to provide on-screen question help, make an answer required, choose the available answer format (like yes/no questions, or options in a list), and make question display conditional on other responses (such as asking for pet details when the applicant indicates they have pets).

An occasionally overlooked feature is one you may not realize you even wanted. In your settings, you can opt to copy the agent when an application is started. This will send a copy of your Application Started template message (which always goes to the applicant) to the agent. From this, your agent may do a few things:

  • Wait and see if the application is completed.
  • Contact the applicant to help them understand the application.
  • Contact the applicant on abandoned applications to determine why they didn’t finish the application, and what they need to proceed.
  • Provide the owner with information on how many applications were started on their unit.

This may not be something you’ll ever use, but it’s a powerful feature to help your prospective tenants and assure your owners you’re keeping a close eye on getting their vacancy filled.

Changes to Zillow Distribution

The Zillow Rental Network (including Trulia and Hotpads) has recently started charging per-listing fees for online rental listings in select states. HERO PM has been distributing your listings to Zillow since Day 1, but this change was unexpected and has an impact on our members.

We recently provided a survey to better understand how you feel about this change and what you’d like us to do about it. Based on this, we’re making changes, and you will need to take action if you’d like to continue to have your listings distributed to Zillow.

What’s Changing?

In HERO PM, Zillow is now classified as a “Paid” export partner, indicating clearly that Zillow may or will charge you to publish your listings. We continue to provide your listings to Zillow at no charge, so there is nothing to pay HERO, it’s only payment to Zillow that’s affected (many of you have already been contacted by Zillow to let you know they will no longer publish your listings without payment).

As with all paid export partners, you need to individually opt-in each listing that you want exported. This gives you the opportunity to be selective about what you get charged for, only opting-in the listings where the owner has agreed to pay the extra charge, or you are absorbing the charge yourself.

What Do I Need to Do?

Starting immediately, each of your listings will have the Zillow option in the “Partner Site Placement” section toward the bottom of the listing, when editing. If you have a listing that you wish to opt-in, select the Zillow option.

We will continue to export all listings to Zillow, as we always have, through the end of the July. On August 1st, our feed will switch, and only listings opted-in will be exported. Over the next 2 weeks, as you edit listings, be sure to opt them in to Zillow if you want them to continue to be exported.

If you don’t want anything exported to Zillow after August 1st, simply do nothing. Don’t opt any listings in, and on August 1st, they’ll drop out of the Zillow feed.

If you’d like to remove Zillow as an option entirely, go to Configuration > RP Preferences > Listing Export Partners, uncheck Zillow, and save.

How Will I Know if a Listing Has Been Exported to Zillow?

In each listing there is a button labeled “Quick Notes/History”. Select this, then select the button labeled “Export History”. This will display a list of all the places where your listing has been sent. If your listing was included in the nightly Zillow feed, you can see that here.

Is There a Better Way?

Zillow’s change appears to be unilateral in states where they’re charging, and Zillow is ending their era of the free ride for everyone.

HERO Harmony, our new cloud-based software, includes all of the features of legacy HERO PM, plus accounting and CRM. In this software, we are exploring and negotiating some innovative and unique listing distribution and export options that the industry has not yet seen. For the time being, this Zillow change may be painful, but we’ve been in the industry long enough to know that the only certainty is change, and we’ll continue to be ahead of the curve in our new software as the changes come.

Understanding Harmony: Smoke Out the Socialite

With so many of the people we do business with having a social media presence, it makes sense for us to be able to find people by social media contact when other contact methods fail.

In Harmony, each person has a profile with 4 structured fields for phone contacts and 3 structured fields for email contacts, as well as a selection of their preferred messaging format and contact preferences. Additionally, each person has an unlimited section of “More Contact Methods”.

In More Contact Methods, you can specify any other possible contacts for this person. Indicate the contact (like a handle, ID, URL, etc.) and description, and select the type. Built-in types include social media apps like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn. You can also select Website, Email, or Phone in case the structured fields are not enough (or you discover someone has a phone number or email that they did not provide you with on their application, but did provide via a work request or caller ID). You can also select Other for any other type of contact not defined. For each contact, you can also specify the source to track it back and determine how reliable the contact is.

With all of these contacts, it’s easy to find the person who may prove difficult to reach with the phone and email information they initially provided.

Understanding Harmony: The Ducks are Disordered

Keeping your ducks in a row is easy with Harmony. One powerful tool to help is the Concerns Report.

You can run a concerns report on any owner, tenant, or vendor, or run it on all of them at once. The concerns report will show you everything that you might be concerned about for a person. Here are some examples of things that will show up on your Concerns Report:

  • A person is missing important contact information, like phone numbers and email addresses.
  • A person is on an agreement that is overdue or coming due for renewal, expired or expiring, etc.
  • An owner is missing required tax documents, tax ID, or distribution information.
  • An owner has a balance less than their reserve.
  • A person has overdue bills, charges, work orders, or tasks/activities.
  • A vendor is missing or has expired Workers Comp.
  • A vendor has overdue invoices.
  • And more…

Most of these items are also alerted in other places, and your staff will see them in real time and respond to them. As the business owner or manager, the Concerns Report gives you a great way to get a snapshot on anything that was missed or improperly deferred. You might consider requiring your staff to view and resolve concerns on a regular basis, and email you, as the business manager, the report with outstanding issues at the end of each work week.

The report groups concerns by priority A, B, or C. Priority A concerns should be resolved immediately. Priority B require resolution, but with less urgency. And priority C concerns ought to be resolved to keep things moving forward smoothly.

If there are other things that concern you but are not yet on the report, drop us a line so we can consider them for inclusion. It’s our goal to make things clear, clean, and easy to resolve wherever possible.

Understanding Harmony: Compliant Vendors

Working with vendors is one of the most important components of property management.

Harmony provides a ton of tools to effectively manage vendors and their work. One of these tools gives you a simple way to ensure vendors are compliant with your requirements, which may be laws or simply policies.

For any vendor, you can assign them to a services agreement. In the services agreement, you can record all of the information to ensure vendor compliance with licenses, insurance, and certifications.

Whenever a vendor’s license, insurance, or certification is due to expire, you’ll receive an alert to contact them for updated information. You can easily save their proof documents or their emails in their account for later reference. Contacting them is easy, too, with free-form or template-based messages.

If you have a project that requires a specific level of insurance or a specific license or certification, you can find this in your vendors’ services agreements.

Harmony gives you the tools you need to make your work life easy, without the need for post-it notes or multiple systems to track and remind you of important things – it’s all built right in. If you have other ideas for how we can help you track and organize even better, just let us know!

Understanding Harmony: By the Numbers

When entering financial transactions, you’ll choose account codes for the transaction. Some people like to use numbers for these codes, while others prefer account descriptions.

Harmony makes it easy to use either or both. You can either enter an account’s code, or its description, and it will pull up that account. If you usually use numeric codes, set your preference to make it a little faster to select by code, in Settings, Money, Preferences.

There are numerous settings and preferences that speed things up for your data entry, making it fast to zoom through Harmony no matter what system or method you’re used to. Harmony is designed with the goal of making it simple to use for everyone, and setting your preferences will tell the system what makes it simple for you.

Understanding Harmony: Play it Again, Sam

Charges and bills often recur every week or month. Harmony makes it easy to set up recurring financial transactions.

When creating a management agreement, you may have management bills to the owner that recur on a schedule. A base management fee or administrative fee may be billed every month. An annual management fee or performance bonus may be added every year. When you add these to a management agreement, they’ll automatically be set up to recur on the dates based on the agreement (which you can adjust). They’ll automatically stop at the end of the agreement.

When creating a lease agreement, the functionality for tenant charges is similar. Recurring rent is normal, but other recurring charges like parking fees are easy to add, too. Set it and forget it, and the charge will be added on the recur schedule you set.

You’re not limited to setting recurring charges and bills in agreements. Any time you add a charge or a bill, you can set it to recur and choose its recur schedule and expiration.

When a recurring charge or bill is posted, you’ll get a notice in your Updates & Alerts, so nothing happens without you knowing. When it expires, you’ll get a notice of that, too.

Harmony automates so many of your recurring tasks, making it easy to focus on what you do best. If you have other items that we can simplify for you, just drop us a line!

Understanding Harmony: Don’t Discard the Dishwasher, Desmond

All of your units have appliances, and you’re often responsible for maintaining many of them. Some of them have warranties. It’s often your job to keep all of this straight.

Harmony provides a simple solution for appliance maintenance.

Start by recording your appliances in the listing’s Maintenance view, in Appliances & Routine Maintenance. You can record any appliance you’re responsible for, whether it’s a dishwasher or an AC unit. Indicate the location and model, description, and serial number.

For each appliance, set the purchase date (or the install date or date put into service, if appropriate) to indicate when the warranty starts. Then select the warranty period, from 1 week to 10 years. Note the warranty info – what’s covered, how to get warranty replacement, repair, or compensation, and anything else related to this appliance’s warranty.

When a problem is reported, it’s time to create a workorder for the repair or replacement. All of the selected unit’s appliances show up in the Appliances section of the workorder. Each one shows the appliance information, and warranty status – before you assign the work. Click or tap the checkbox for an appliance to connect the work to the appliance and have a permanent record of all work done on each appliance.

Do you have a preferred vendor for appliance repairs on this unit? Select them in the listing’s Maintenance view, in Preferred Vendors. When you create a workorder for appliances, this vendor will show up in the Preferred Vendors list, and you can click or tap their name to assign this work to them.

Is this unit covered by a home warranty? Create a vendor for the home warranty, and make a services agreement for them that includes all the units they provide the home warranty on. Whenever you create a workorder for a covered unit, you’ll be alerted and prompted to assign it to the home warranty vendor. You can still assign it to someone else if the work to be done falls outside of the home warranty. You can also use services agreements anytime you have a preferred vendor for all standard work on the unit. Some companies use this when they have maintenance triaged by their in-house maintenance company, or when they want a handyperson (aka handyman) check out all repairs before escalating to a trade as necessary.

Do you have an idea on how Harmony could make your maintenance even easier? We’re all ears! While we feel that maintenance in HERO Harmony is borderline magic, it’s our mission to improve your life as much as possible when it comes to maintenance of the units you manage.

Understanding Harmony: Do It Again (and again, and again)

Many of your units have recurring maintenance needs.

If you manage an apartment complex, you may find yourself replacing AC filters every 1-3 months. Condo managers may find themselves testing the fire suppression system quarterly. Managers of single-family homes may need to dispatch pool service each week.

No matter what your need for routine maintenance, Harmony has your solution.

For each listing, add routine maintenance items in the Maintenance view, in Appliances & Routine Maintenance. There are a number of pre-defined routine maintenance groups, like Safety Detector/Alarm or Lock/Access Control. There’s also a section for Other Items, where any routine maintenance can be added. Describe the item that needs routine maintenance, with its location. Indicate the last check/service, and the service interval. Service intervals can be any time period, from 1 week to 10 years.

When routine maintenance comes due, a work request is automatically added, and you’ll get an alert on your dashboard. Click or tap to assign the work and set the due date, and notify your vendor as necessary. When the work is complete, the last check/service date will automatically update, and you can relax until the next routine maintenance comes due.

Do you need to know when your vendor shows up to do the maintenance and when they’re done? As with all maintenance, routine maintenance offers the Job Log feature, so a vendor can indicate their arrival and departure by clicking or tapping the check-in/check-out of maintenance from the job site. This is logged in the workorder’s job log, which you can compare to the invoice if and when the vendor invoices for work. This also gives you the insight to answer the tenant call asking about the strange lady who’s knocking on their door asking to check their smoke alarm.

Do you have a multi-unit property that requires the same service interval on an item in all units? In the property’s Maintenance view, add the routine maintenance items and service intervals. Then, for each listing you add in the property, the maintenance items will be automatically added.

Do you have an idea on how Harmony could make your maintenance even easier? We’re all ears! While we feel that maintenance in HERO Harmony is borderline magic, it’s our mission to improve your life as much as possible when it comes to maintenance of the units you manage.