New and Improved HERO Help Sessions

Do you wish that there was a training class for HERO PM that would let you get help with the parts of the system that are troubling you? Would you like to interact with other HERO PM users in the industry so that you could share best practices?

You are in luck!! We are switching up our HERO Help sessions to be more in line with the support you are looking for.

When will the sessions be held?

We will schedule several different times per month so that you can choose the one that best fits your schedule. The dates and times will be included in the invite

What types of topics will be discussed?

  • Online Applications
  • Online Payments
  • Setting Owners Up Online
  • Inspections
  • Listing Reports
  • Online Work Orders from Configuration to Completion

We will also be looking at the most commonly asked questions coming into our Support Team and making sure that we are addressing them during the sessions.

How Do I Get An Invite?

Go to https://heropm.com/register-for-a-hero-pm-event and click on HERO Help Online and sign up.

Invites will be sent out at the beginning of the month so that you can get them added to your calendar.

We look forward to meeting online with you as we help you to get the most out of your HERO PM software.

7 Simple Tips to Becoming a “Less-Paper” Rental Office

greendartsmOver 13 years ago, HERO PM introduced the concept of the “Less-Paper Property Management Office”. We realized that part of becoming a High Efficiency Rental Office involved reducing excess paper and creating a collaborative online environment for sharing information. Nowadays, everyone is talking about sustainability and doing our part to reduce waste and conserve resources – it is in the news, politics, and even fashion. And it involves more than saving trees and reducing your carbon footprint, as important as they are. But did you realize that incorporating eco-friendly practices can positively affect your team morale, make your business more attractive to clients, trim operating costs and increase your bottom line? In fact, adopting ecologically sustainable business practices has a multitude of benefits, and can take a variety of forms.

Besides positively impacting the environment, increasing your bottom line and reducing waste, you may be surprised that incorporating ecologically sustainable practices can also help attract and retain clients. According to a recent study conducted by Harris Interactive, consumers are seeking out these businesses. “61 percent of American adults are more likely to patronize a company or business that follows green practices”.

Becoming an ecologically sustainable business, and encouraging team participation in eco-efforts also sets a positive example for employees, which can boost morale and company loyalty. According to a MonsterTRAK poll on green employment, eco-conscious business practices help attract and retain the best employees by increasing employee satisfaction and pride in the workplace. “80 percent of those surveyed said they are interested in a job that has a positive impact on the environment and a whopping 92 percent would choose working for an environmentally friendly company”.

As a comprehensive web-based property management solution, HERO PM offers many tools and features to help you run an eco-friendly business, while increasing your business efficiency. So if you are looking for ways to reduce your consumption and increase your bottom line, all while growing your client base and retaining great employees, then consider incorporating these 7 simple “Less Paper” tips today:

1.  Use the cloud. Upload statements to owner/tenant portals, rather than printing and mailing statements each month. One HERO PM member estimates that he saves between $5-$10 each month, per owner, by not having to mail statements. He not only saves a tremendous amount of time and money (with 1,800 owners!), but he has significantly reduced his paper usage and eliminated waste.

2.  Encourage (offer incentives) for team members to telecommute, bike, take the bus, or carpool to work. Reduced office space and fuel is a potential win-win-win for your business, your team, and the environment.

3. Go digital. Email marketing reports to your owners, use HERO PM’s Online Applications and screen your applications online with our Integrated Screening Partners. Use Online Workorders, HERO Payments and Virtual Boards to lower your paper usage, printing materials and processing time.

4. Save energy. Set the thermostat a few degrees lower in the winter and a few degrees higher in the summer. Install compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFLs) when your old conventional incandescent light bulbs burn out. Be sure to turn off lights in vacant offices, and turn off your equipment, including monitors and copiers. Besides saving energy, you’ll also save on utility costs.

5. Do virtual showings. Adding a marketing video to your listings lets you spend less time driving back and forth to show homes in person, which helps to reduce emissions and fuel consumption. In addition, many of our members who utilize video walkthroughs report renting some properties without any physical showings, and it helps weed out prospects who may not be seriously interested in the property. Did you know you can syndicate your listing videos to YouTube?

6. Recycle. Place a recycling bin anywhere you have a trash can. According to the National Recycling Coalition, every ton of paper that is recycled saves 17 trees, the energy we save when we recycle one glass bottle is enough to light a light bulb for four hours, and manufacturing with recycled materials, with very few exceptions, saves energy and water and produces less air and water pollution than manufacturing with virgin materials. (http://www.recycling-revolution.com/recycling-benefits.html)

7. Use eco-friendly cleaning supplies in the office. Eco-friendly cleaning products contain fewer chemicals, which creates a healthier work environment. It can also help employees who suffer from respiratory and other health-related conditions.

Becoming ecologically sustainable doesn’t necessarily require major changes in how your business runs. A number of small steps, some of which cost little to no money to implement, can make a significant impact on the environment, and your business. HERO PM makes it easy for you to incorporate eco-friendly practices, and offers many solutions to help you run an eco-friendly business. Contact us today if you have any questions about incorporating our tools and features into your business practices!

Tips and Tools to Help You Reach Your 2013 Business Goals

As we approach 2013, many of us have already considered the goals (dare we say resolutions!) we’d like to accomplish in the New Year. Of course many of our goals are personal (lose those last 10 pounds, take an underwater basket weaving course, sail around the world, etc.). Many of us also set professional goals. Because of this, we’ve put together a list of common goals that may be on your list as property managers. And we’ve outlined some tips, tools and ideas to help you reach those goals. Of course this list isn’t comprehensive, so if you have other goals not on our list, please let us know. We’d be happy to send you some specific ideas and tools we have available to help you accomplish them.

 

Goal: Fill Vacancies Quicker

Consider the following tools and tips to help you market your listings more effectively, and fill your vacancies quicker:

  • Confirm a competitive monthly rent for the listing – use the Comparable Rents report in your Control Panel (RP Listings > Reports > Comparable Rents) to view comparable rents in a zip code region. (requires RP Listings system)
  • Most people conduct their rental search online, so give them a good feel of the property by including at least six photos, plus a video walkthrough or virtual tour in the listing.
  • Make sure the property is appealing in photos, videos, and in person, and pay attention to details. Pick the right angles that best highlight the property (i.e. avoid taking a photo of the master bedroom with the full laundry basket in view).
  • Place a QR and/or text code on your print media – property flyers, yard signs, etc. for potential tenants to conveniently access listing information.
  • Determine your listing’s market effectiveness by running a Marketing Audit report in your Control Panel. This report rates your listing’s marketing effectiveness and provides suggestions for making your listing more market ready. (requires RP Listings system)
  • Write effective property descriptions – since many Internet users glance through text instead of reading it, use short bullet points to highlight the property details. List the most important “selling points” in the beginning to get their attention quick.
  • Get maximum Internet exposure…HERO PM has the largest syndication/distribution list in the industry. This means your listings will get viewed on more sites by more people with our Listings systems. (requires RP Listings system)
  • Market your listings on social media.
  • Offer an online application for prospects to quickly and conveniently submit their applications and pay their application fee online. (Submitted online applications can be instantly screened in real time by one of our Integrated Screening Providers.) (requires RP Listings and RP Management systems)

 

Goal: Improve client satisfaction and retention

At the very core of every successful business is the relationship that it has with its clients, so connecting with your clients and improving client satisfaction is important! Consider the following tools and tips to help you improve client satisfaction and retention:

  • Start at the top! Your team will follow your lead…so make client satisfaction your top priority and it will work its way down through your business.
  • Many times client dissatisfaction is due to a lack of communication. So, communicate with your clients regularly through multiple medias and venues. Consider sending a regular newsletter to clients with updates on industry news, opportunities, interesting articles, etc. or adding a blog to your website.
  • Use the owner marketing report to keep owners updated on activity generated on their property. The marketing report displays the number of times the property has been viewed, the number of online inquiries that you’ve received, the number of days the property has been advertised online and more. (Email the report to your owner directly from your Control Panel in the Listing Master View > Flyers/Reports > Marketing Report.) (requires RP Listings system)
  • Create an online website feedback form and request candid feedback from clients on what your company and team does well, and ways you could improve. Then use their responses to make positive changes.
  • Be tech savvy…and advertise it. Make sure clients understand what tools you use to market their listing and maintain their property through the course of the rental period.
    • Give your owners the most online exposure for their listings by using the RP Listings system. The HERO PM RP Listings system exports (syndicates) listings to the nation’s largest network of rental and housing related websites. (requires RP Listings system)
    • Promote your listings with social media – post your listing to Craigslist and Twitter from the Listing Master View in your Control Panel.
    • Create a customizable online application that allows prospects to fill out the application through your listing; the application data displays in your Control Panel for quick and easy processing. (requires RP Listings and RP Management systems)
    • Use one of our Integrated Screening Partners to screen submitted online applications in real time and quickly determine whether applicants are qualified. (requires RP Listings and RP Management systems)
    • Utilize Online Workorders to make it easy for tenants to submit structured maintenance requests from their phone or computer, ensuring repairs don’t go ignored. The workorder is sent to the vendors quickly so they can respond and react quickly and accurately. (requires RP Management system)
    • Accept rent payments online via the HERO Payments system to increase on-time rent payments. (requires RP Management system)
  • In today’s world, most clients want to be able to access information, make payments and execute other routine processes online, so offer useful and convenient tools and options to your owners.
    • Allow online account access, so owners can view activity and monthly statements. Give owners access to see all current income and expenses pertaining to their property as well as monthly statements online. (requires RP Management system)
    • Give owners the convenience of making online payments through their account. (requires RP Management system)
    • Order a mobile website, and give owners access to their online account from their mobile phone to access their information anywhere. (requires PM Website)
  • Set client satisfaction guidelines and make sure your entire team is on board with them. It will take an effort from your entire company to boost client satisfaction levels, but it’s worth it!

 

Goal: Streamline processes in my office procedures

Streamlining processes in your office involves reducing duplications and automating office procedures where possible. This increases productivity and efficiency, minimizes unnecessary costs, and promotes a better working environment for your team. A win-win-win!

  • Research all of your company’s procedures, and determine redundancies. If there are duplicate processes that occur, such as the review of a document by several different people when only one reviewer is necessary, then eliminate the duplication.
  • Request input from your team about how to improve efficiency. (Be sure your team knows the goal is not to improve their efficiency, but rather work-flow procedure efficiency…there’s a difference!)
  • Make marketing your listings work for you…rather than posting rental listings to multiple sites, post your listing once to your Control Panel, make it active, and it’s exported to your website (with the integrated listings page), our company websites, our partner sites and more. (requires RP Listings system)
  • Instead of mailing online statements each month to owners and tenants, consider posting statements online. With the HERO PM RP Management system and PROMAS (and even without PROMAS!), you can easily publish activity, documents and monthly statements to your clients’ accounts. (requires RP Management system)
  • Utilize the Online Workorders tool that allows tenants to submit an online work request to you. View the work request in your Control Panel, and generate a workorder, which can be emailed directly to your vendor, and posted to their online account. (requires RP Management system)
  • Create a customizable online application that allows prospects to submit an application from your active listing. The data is posted to your Control Panel, and from there can be submitted to one of our Integrated Screening Partners. (requires RP Listings and RP Management systems)
  • Offer online rental payments to your tenants via the HERO Payments system, which saves you time and money processing their checks each month. (requires RP Management system)

 


Goal: Increase company revenue by growing my client base

Consider the following tools and tips to help you increase company revenue by growing your client base:

  • Make sure your current clients are happy! Word of mouth from satisfied clients is the most powerful tool in your arsenal, and can save significant money spent on other forms of marketing.
  • Give your PM website a facelift to improve your marketing efforts – most new clients will visit your website before contacting you, so be sure your website makes a good first impression…and makes them want to work with you.
  • Ask current clients for their referrals and consider providing an incentive for the referring client.
  • Include client testimonials on your website…they help to add credibility and trust in your business, and may be the needed “push” a prospective client needs to work with you.
  • Reach out to other successful professionals – both within the property management field (i.e. NARPM®) and outside it – for ideas on how they grow and develop their client base. Meet with them regularly to share ideas and get input and feedback.
  • Connect and network with clients via social media (Facebook, Twitter, etc.), which enables them to easily share your message with others.

 

Goal: Improve communication within my team

Effective communication is an important part of any successful team. It helps to boost team morale and improves efficiency and productivity. Consider the following tools and tips to help improve communication within your team.

  • Encourage an open work environment, and be available to meet with team members. Keeping the communication channel open encourages your team to come forward with any problems they may be experiencing before they become too big, as well as helping to establish two-way trust.
  • Part of good communication involves conducting meaningful meetings. Regular team meetings help keep everybody in the loop, but many of us spend time in meetings that are unproductive and often unnecessary. Have an agenda for your company meetings, be sure the necessary people attend, and keep to the appointed start and end times.
  • Utilize the Calendar tool to keep your team organized and on the same page with activities and events. Your team can schedule projects, tasks and appointments, and easily access and view the events in their Control Panel > RP Management > Calendar. (requires RP Management system)
  • Connect with your team outside the office – through community service activities, sports activities, company picnics, etc. Sometimes interacting in a different setting with your team helps to open the doors of communication.
  • Communication breakdown is often caused by ambiguity, so be clear in your objectives, expected outcomes and deadlines. Consider using Virtual Boards to easily track and manage team tasks such as new owner onboarding, move-outs, marketing campaigns and more. You can set deadlines, assign tasks, and track progress all in one location. Everyone can see who’s responsible for each task, its priority level and when it’s due. (requires RP Management system)
  • Empower your team and involve them in company goals. Put together a task force and ask them to help you create the plan. Or hold brainstorming sessions to deal with issues that arise.

HERO PM Introduces New Features at NARPM® Convention


We recently attended NARPM®’s 23rd Annual Convention and Trade show in Dallas, Texas. The highlights included developing deeper relationships with many of our members, introducing some exciting new features, and of course we can’t forget…riding the bull. We were truly impressed at the event’s turnout. I guess it’s as they say…everything in Texas is bigger and better, and well, so was this year’s NARPM® convention. Hopefully you took a minute to stop by our booth and chat with us, but if you missed us, or the event for that matter, here’s a highlight of the new features that HERO PM introduced:

New Website Design Option: Pro Custom

HERO PM is now offering a new addition to the website design options lineup. In addition to the Rapid Start (free), Conversion ($249) and Full Custom Website design ($499), you can now choose the Pro Custom website design (Member Cost: $999). If you own a forward-thinking company that employs unique and creative branding, the Pro Custom website design is for you. Our design team will create a top-notch professional industry-optimized website specific to your company and your unique desires at a fraction of the cost of a typical web design. The process starts with a discussion about your preferences, and allows you to review and approve every step of the way.

HERO Payments

In today’s technology-driven world tenants want the convenience of paying their rent online, just as they pay their other bills. So as part of the HERO PM suite of products, the HERO Payments system provides property managers the convenience of scheduling pre-authorized and recurring rental payments. In addition to being convenient, the HERO Payments system is also cost effective. Each pre-authorized rent payment transaction costs only $0.50…the lowest averaged payment cost anywhere. And it doesn’t stop there! HERO Payments has the most comprehensive security and fraud protection available for the property manager, tenant, and property owner, with the utmost protection from liability. HERO Payments…convenient, cost effective, secure. Need we say more?

Hybrid Cloud

The HERO PM Hybrid Cloud provides a safer alternative to traditional cloud computing by giving you both a “private” and a “public” cloud. The “private” cloud is where certain mission critical i.e. irreplaceable data is kept. The “public” cloud is traditional cloud computing and the place where information that extends outside of your private cloud is kept. For over 10 years HERO PM has provided this hybrid functionality to our members, and we are happy to announce our next generation Hybrid Cloud. In the next generation, we’re providing even more ways to quickly and easily copy the data that you’ve stored with us to your own storage. We will also provide offline access to the most recent version of essential data, where possible. Even without an Internet connection, you’ll be able to look up much of the data that typically lives in the public cloud. HERO PM is the trusted cloud provider in residential property management…and we will continue to be.

 

Thinking About the Cloud? Here’s What You Need to Know.

What is the cloud?

Ask 100 people, and you’ll get 101 answers. Basically the concept of cloud computing is that certain resources (like software and data) are accessed over a network, typically the Internet.

Catch phrases like networked computing, file servers, web-based, application service providers, software as a service, and hosted databases are all terms encompassed in the cloud concept. As a marketing term, cloud computing most often refers to running software and/or database access over the Internet.

Is it time for cloud computing?

Absolutely, and you’ve probably been “in the cloud” for at least a decade – if you run a business. However, the old cloud concept has serious risks, which you should explore further before you jump too fast toward a current cloud offering.

What are the risks of having software or data in the cloud?

Most of the risks can be combined into the category of “access”. If you cannot access your software or data, you have a major problem – possibly one that will put you out of business. It’s not just connectivity that you need to be concerned about; consider the following deal-breakers in the old traditional cloud:

  • Without a fast Internet connection, you have no access. While we’ve come a long way, ask someone who’s endured a natural disaster, or someone whose Internet provider has had issues, about their willingness to trust an always-on Internet connection.
  • If your cloud provider goes out of business, you are completely stuck. In most typical cloud implementations, there are two providers – the one you deal with (what you see as the front-end), and the one they deal with (the back-end where stuff happens). If either one fails, you’re in trouble.
  • If your cloud provider decides to raise their prices beyond what you can afford, you’re in a pickle. This isn’t a rarity, it’s the norm. Many cloud providers’ business models demand that they bring you in at a palatable price point, then increase the prices once they meet critical mass – knowing that you don’t have options. Concerned about your provider? Ask to see the business plan they submitted to investors. Chances are it looks just like this.
  • If your cloud provider decides they don’t want your business anymore, you’re stuck. Think that’s far fetched? Consider these two reports that most cloud providers run on a regular basis:

1. Most resource intensive users. A cloud provider makes some assumptions about their average users, and builds resources around those assumptions. If you are a high volume user, you are not a profitable user for them, and they have a strong incentive to drop you (after they’ve reached a critical mass of users, or all their budgeted resources are in use).

2. Most profitable business lines. Many providers get into a vertical market (like residential property management) because they have an “in”. But once they build their complete solution, they may realize another vertical is more profitable, and lose interest in the old market. Outside of the cloud, this results in inferior support. Inside the cloud, this results in customers being dropped entirely with no recourse.

What is HERO PM’s role in the cloud?

HERO PM has always been a cloud computing provider. That’s all we’ve ever done. So why are we exposing the risks of the cloud? Two reasons:

1. We’ve always done it differently; more safely. Read the next section for more on this.

2. As property managers migrate more of their critical business operations data to the cloud – data like their accounting records – the business risk increases dramatically. It’s one thing to temporarily lose access to an online listing, it’s an entirely different thing to lose your owners’ accounting data.

As we move into the next generation of cloud computing, we’re going even further…

HERO PM believes in the concept of a hybrid cloud.

In the hybrid cloud, you keep certain data (data that is irreplaceable or mission critical) in your own “private cloud”. That is, you don’t trust an outside provider or an Internet connection with the data that you absolutely cannot afford to lose or be denied access to. This eliminates most of the risk of the cloud, but gains little benefit of the cloud.

The benefit comes from having non-mission critical data, and a copy of certain mission critical data, in the cloud. This is the hybrid nature – what you should control, you control. You cannot lose this data; nobody can take it from you. What you need to extend outside of your private cloud is either input or copied to the public cloud.

With the hybrid cloud, it’s all upside. You have the best of a web-based solution, and the best of a local solution. A business should expect no less.

For over 10 years, HERO PM has provided this functionality. When it comes to marketing data and other data that is not absolutely essential to the minute-by-minute functioning of your business, you enter it into HERO PM. But with accounting data; the data that you need minute-by-minute access to and cannot afford to lose, you manage that locally and the local software sends a copy of itself to the cloud.

Our partnership with PROMAS works exactly this way. No accounting software is more accurate or more reliable than PROMAS. Once you have a licensed copy of PROMAS on your private cloud, nobody can deny you access to your data. You’ll never lose it. But some data needs to be in the public cloud – things like owner activity and statements. In our model, your local software publishes this data to the cloud – being selective about what needs to be there – and making it painless for you as a user.

For 15 years, HERO PM has been absolutely reliable as a cloud provider. We’ve never dropped a customer because they use too many resources. We’ve always kept our prices low, even when we reached a high level of market saturation and could have easily increased them. HERO PM has always been a trusted cloud provider – the only trusted cloud provider in residential property management – and we will continue to be.

How is HERO PM staying ahead of other cloud providers?

In our next generation online software, we’re extending the concept of a hybrid cloud even further. We’ve always provided ways to easily download your data from our cloud to your private cloud. As we continue, we’re providing even more ways to quickly and easily copy the data you’ve stored with us to your own storage. Why do we do this? Quite simply, because we’re not interested in keeping you because you have no other options, or because you have too much to lose by switching away. We will keep your business by providing the best product backed by the best service. Not just until we reach our investors’ goals (we are our investors!), but forever.

In the next generation, we are also providing offline access to the most recent version of essential data, where possible. Even without an Internet connection, you’ll be able to look up and save much of the data that typically lives in the public cloud. This is no replacement for keeping your essential data in your private cloud, as you still depend on us for the software. However, it addresses a multitude of connectivity issues, especially with mobile connectivity.

If you’re hearing about the cloud and wondering what to do, settle for nothing less than a hybrid cloud with a provider who has a long track record of serving your industry at a price you can afford. Contact our Member Support with questions.

 

 

Five New Features to Simplify Your Business…and Your Life

At HERO PM, we pride ourselves in understanding the needs of property managers and we are relentless in developing a product to meet those needs.  Our years of proven experience in the industry have enabled us to create a complete set of systems and tools that truly simplify our members’ lives.

Our members benefit from being able to access and manage all of their systems in one place, with just one HERO PM logon. Once they logon, members have access to an advanced set of features and tools that enable them to manage their listings, teams, vendors and tenants effectively and efficiently.  We are constantly improving our systems to benefit our members and the following are just a few of our latest developments.

HERO Payments

Streamline your business and make it easier for your tenants to pay you with the online HERO Payments system, which encompasses both our Standard and Pre-Authorized payment solutions. You now have the ability to accept payments from tenants, anytime, day or night. Once you enter the tenants’ lease information into your RP Management system, tenants simply log on to their portal and make their payment directly from the website with the Pre-Authorized payment solution. Or they can setup automatic-recurring payments for their lease with the Standard payment solution. The HERO Payments system is the industry’s best online payment system, bar none. Most secure, most compliant, most economical and most effective.

Mobile Media Marketing

Communicate automatically with potential tenants using our Mobile Media Marketing features. Text Response and QR Codes enable potential tenants to text a code or scan a QR Code on their smart phone, and automatically access information on your listing. You will receive notification of the text inquiry along with the potential tenant’s phone number for your records.

Listing Export Partners

At HERO PM, we employ a “post once, view everywhere” strategy for our members’ listing data. Using our RP Listing system, you only need to upload your listing once to have it posted to hundreds of websites thanks to our sophisticated technology and our ever-expanding list of Export Partners. In fact, we have the largest syndication/distribution system in the industry, which means your listings will be seen on more sites, by more people.

Powerful Media

Potential tenants are more likely to lease a property if they can view a “virtual showing”, which is why our media tools allow you to upload up to 99 photos, slideshows, a virtual tour and videos for each and every listing, at no additional charge.

Virtual Boards

Your virtual whiteboard is an easy-to-use, online sharing solution for managing tasks within your team. Keep track of your team’s task list and due dates in your RP Management system.

If you do not currently use HERO PM’s systems, visit us at www.heropm.com and sign up for a free account. From putting your listings onto hundreds of websites to publishing owner statements to your website to accepting online rent payments, we have a system to meet your needs. Accomplish three times as much in half the time with easy-to-learn, easy-to-use HERO PM systems.