System Highlights: Setting Up Clients Online

The RP Management system provides many tools and features to make your life easier, and your rental office efficient. One such tool is Online Portals, which allows you to provide clients secure online access to view statements, documents and activity, make online payments, submit online work requests (tenants), authorize work requests (owners) and more.

There are many benefits to using the Portal, including saving major time and money each month. According to one HERO PM member, he estimates saving between $5-$10 each month, per owner, by not having to mail statements. That figure takes into account paper, printer/copier, envelopes, stamps and mailing, staff time, etc. And his time savings is equally significant! Clients can also directly access their online filing cabinet of documents and transaction history anytime, giving them answers to many of their questions without needing to contact you. And you gain a competitive advantage over other property managers who do not use Online Portals by giving your tech-savvy clients what they want…their information quickly, and the convenience of making online payments, submitting online work requests, and more.

Do you prefer pictures over words?  Our diagram guides you through the A to Z of getting your clients set up in picture format: Xplain – Setting up Clients Online.

This article walks you through the steps to setting up owners and tenants with online portal access. (Setting up vendors and associations is a similar process.) Before setting up your clients online, you must either manually add profiles to your Control Panel, or publish from PROMAS. Contact us if you need assistance with adding client profiles!

Setting up client portal access includes three parts:

  1. Control Panel Configuration
  2. Introduction to Clients
  3. Client Steps

 

Control Panel Configuration

1) Add online portal access.

  • In your Control Panel, go to Configuration > System Options
  • Check the box next to Online Portal to allow online portal access
  • Click Save Changes

(In addition to viewing statements, documents and activity, you can also allow clients to make online payments, submit online work requests (tenants), add online reservations for vacation rentals (owners) and more, which require selections not discussed in this article.)

2) Create an owner invitation letter template.

  • Go to Configuration > RP Preferences > Letter Template: Owner (or Tenant) Custom Letters
  • Select New Template in the Choose Template drop down box
  • Enter a Name and Description for the letter (i.e. Owner Invite Letter)
  • Click on View/Apply Default Template under the Merge Fields list and click Apply Template
  • The letter’s content section will populate with the default template text and merge fields; edit the content as desired
  • Preview your letter, then click Save Template

You now have a defined letter template that you will print or email for each client later on in this process.

3) Set default profile authorizations.

  • Go to Configuration > RP Preferences > Default Profile Authorizations
  • Check the boxes of the options that you wish to enable for your clients; newly added or imported profiles will default to these settings, and can be individually changed from there
  • If you want to update all current profiles, check the box for Change All Existing Accounts
  • Click Set Configuration

4) Create a portal logon intro message.  The logon intro message displays when a client logs on to their portal; the message can be updated any time.

  • Go to Configuration > RP Preferences > Owner (or Tenant) Logon Intro
  • Enter instructions on how to use the system, updates for your clients, or anything else you want them to know
  • Click Save Info

5) Set statement and document notification messages.   To receive a notification message of a newly posted statement or document, the client must have a valid email address in their profile, they must opt in for statement and/or document notifications, and you must have uploaded a statement or document to their account. The automatic notification is emailed at the end of the day that statements/documents are added.

  • Customize the statement and document notification messages in Configuration > RP Preferences  > Owner (or Tenant) Statement Notification / Owner (or Tenant) Document Notification
  • Enter the information you want clients to view if they opt in to receive a notification when a statement or document is uploaded
  • Click Save Info

 

Introduction to Clients

1) Save the invitation letter to the client’s profile, and invite the client to create their account.

  • Go to RP Management > Documents > Add a Document (for owners or tenants)
  • Select a client either by typing in the Assigned To box or using the drop-down menu
  • Click on the Create Letter/Notice radio button
  • From the drop-down box, select the invitation letter that you created
  • Customize the letter if you wish
  • Ensure that the client’s information is properly merged in the letter, and customize as desired
  • Save the letter to the client’s account by clicking Save Notice
  • Click the View/Print or Email icon beside the document to print and give it to your client or to email it (when emailing, ensure that the client’s name and email address are properly entered)

2) Verify client is set up.  Verify that the client has completed the account setup process in your Control Panel.

  • Go to RP Management > Owners (or Tenants) >  Owner (or Tenant) Lookup
  • Clients who have successfully set up their online account will display a notecard icon in the Details section to the right of their name; you can also view an client’s logon history in their profile under Online Activity
  • If the client has not yet setup their online account, send them an email reminder by clicking the email reminder icon to the right of their name on the owner or tenant lookup list; the message includes the client’s basic account set up information

 

Client Steps

There are three steps that owners and tenants take to create and link their online account. (The process for setting up and linking accounts is also documented in the Video Help of the Create Account/ Account Logon screen.)

1) Receive invite letter from property manager.  Once the client receives the invitation letter, they have the needed information to set up their online account, and link their profile. If you’ve emailed the letter to your client, but they do not receive it, have them check their spam and junk folders.

2) Create and verify their account.  The client clicks the link in the invitation letter to create their online account:

  • In the login screen, the client clicks the Create Account button; they can also watch the three-minute video to walk them through the process
  • After entering a username, password, and agreeing to the terms and conditions, an email is sent to the client with a link to verify that the email account is valid (if the client does not receive the verification email in their Inbox, they may need to look in their spam or trash folders)
  • The client clicks the verification link in the email message, and is now ready to link their profile

3) Link profile.  After the client has created and verified their account, they will link the profile that you’ve set up for them in your Control Panel. For clients to link their profile accounts, they will need the following information contained in the invitation letter that they received:

  1. The property manager’s PMID
  2. Their Client ID
  3. The email address associated with their account or the verification code

The client must enter the linking information exactly to be able to successfully link their profile. Once their profile is linked, they can view uploaded documents, statements, and activity, make a payment and more, depending on their profile authorizations and your Control Panel configurations.

 

If you would like additional information on how to help clients link their accounts, review the Xplain Owner Setup document, or consider attending a free online webinar on the RP Management system. Sign up for the webinar in your Control Panel under Help > Register for Training.

Portals v5 will include even easier setup and configuration options for your owners, tenants, vendors, and association members.  If you are ready to upgrade your website and portals, please read the article covering Websites v5.

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!

Create a High-Efficiency Rental Office with the RP Management System.

Owner “Jones” has not received her statement in the mail. “Cindy” forgot to schedule the walk-through for a property. Tenant “Smith” called in a workorder yesterday that still needs to get processed. Do any of these sound familiar? It’s situations like these that can contribute to frustration in the workplace – for you, for your team and for your clients. Often, however, they are symptoms of a larger workplace “flow” issue. And while a great deal of efficiency and productivity are a direct result of team performance, much can also be achieved with the right business tools. Having and using the right tools can make a huge impact on how your business runs, and how much work is required to make it run smoothly. Thankfully, HERO PM’s RP Management system is chock full of tools to help you run your business efficiently…keeping you, your team and your clients, happy.

The tools included in the RP Management system help you create a high-efficiency rental office and streamline office procedures. They are designed to help you manage your long-term rentals, and communicate effectively with your clients and your team. With the RP Management system, you don’t need to be in the office to upload statements and access client accounts. As long as you have an Internet connection, you can be anywhere in the world and still run your business. You can lookup client profiles, post statements, send messages, update your virtual boards, process rent payments and more, from anywhere you’re located.

Following are some of the tools included in the RP Management system:

Online Statements, Documents and Activity

It costs, on average, $5.80 to send out a paper statement. That figure takes into account paper, printer/copier, envelopes, stamps and mailing, staff time, etc. The RP Management system allows you to easily upload monthly client statements, activity and documents from PROMAS. Or you can add documents directly to your Control Panel and post them to your clients’ online accounts. Clients can opt in to receive a notification of a newly uploaded statement, and can logon to their online account anytime to view their current and past statements. Reducing real costs by dollars per owner each month adds up quickly!

Client Portals

Configure client (owner, tenant and vendor) portals with secure online access to view statements and activity, make online payments, send online work requests and more. Clients can directly access their online filing cabinet of documents and transaction history anytime, giving them answers to many of their questions without needing to contact you.

Online Applications

Create a custom online application in your Control Panel, and allow prospective tenants to conveniently submit an application through the detail view of an available listing (and pay their application fees online too). Submitted applications can be instantly screened in real-time by one of our participating screening providers. (requires RP Listings system)

Real-time Online Application Screening

We’ve partnered with TransUnion Credit Retriever, NTN, and LexisNexis to provide you with real-time online application screening. When a prospective tenant submits an online application, you can send the application to the screening provider directly from your Control Panel. The screening partner reviews the application and sends the screening results back to your Control Panel for processing and storage.

HERO Payments

The HERO Payments system includes two payment solutions: the Standard payment solution, and the Pre-Authorized payment solution. Both solutions help you reduce delinquencies and collection challenges, as well as paper check processing time and cost!

The Standard payment solution allows tenants to setup automatic recurring payments for the entirety of their lease, without needing to log in to their account each month to process their payments. This solution costs 2.9% + $0.30 per transaction (per PayPal; payable by the property manager). With the Standard payment system, you can also allow tenants and guests to make one-time rent payments of their amount due, owners to pay one-time payments of any amount, and applicants to pay their online application fees. You can add a convenience fee for the use of the Standard payment solution, which is added to the tenant’s, owner’s or applicant’s amount due.

The Pre-Authorized payment solution allows tenants to setup pre-authorized payments for the entirety of their lease, for only $0.50 per transaction (per PayPal; payable by the property manager). Tenants will log in to their online account each month to quickly and easily process their payment. Or, with tenant’s permission, you can process their payment in your Control Panel directly, in RP Management > Payments > Process Pre-approved Payments. You can add a convenience fee for the use of the Pre-Authorized payment solution, which is added to the tenant’s amount due.

Configure online payments in your Control Panel, lookup payments, process payments, export payments to a PROMAS lockbox file and more, all through your RP Management system.

Online Workorders

Easily process work requests in your Control Panel and track maintenance requests from start to completion with Online Workorders. Receive an online work request, view it in your Control Panel, convert it to a workorder, and email to a vendor. The vendor can view the workorder in their online account, and can send you updates as it’s completed. This tool helps streamline common office tasks, and saves you time and money!

Virtual Boards

Use Virtual Boards to track team tasks and projects online through your Control Panel, and access them when and where you need them.

Messaging

Streamline messaging for statement notifications, document notifications and owner bulk email. Every outbound email sent from anywhere in the system is recorded, and you can view, search, re-send and archive messages.

Online Team Calendar

Authorize system users to add and view events on your online team calendar. Access the calendar anywhere, and keep your team apprised of schedules and events.

 

The RP Management tools help you create a truly efficient rental office. They provide you with cost and time savings, increased mobility, ease of communication, and even a competitive advantage over those who do not have online functionality. Owners who are tech-savvy, who want their information and money quickly, prefer the online system. Many tenants want the convenience of paying their rent online, submitting online work requests and having access to their documents and statements anytime. Sell these advantages to your prospective tenants and owners, and get a leg up on your competition!

If you do not currently benefit from the RP Management system, consider upgrading your package to include it! In your Control Panel, go to Configuration > Orders & Upgrades > Company Upgrade. If your package includes the RP Management system, but you don’t utilize all the tools offered in the system, we invite you to attend an RP Management webinar to learn more about the valuable tools that are available to you. Register for a webinar for any of your HERO PM systems in your Control Panel under Help > Register for Training.

FAQ: How do I upload my listings from PROMAS?

You can batch upload basic listing information from PROMAS by following these steps:

1) Open PROMAS and synchronize profiles with HERO PM from the Mailings > Internet Publishing screen. If the Internet Publishing option has not been enabled, please contact PROMAS for more information. Note: Log on to PROMAS Central with the same logon that you use for your Control Panel (your username/email address and associated password).

2) Wait 15-60 minutes, then log on to your HERO PM Control Panel and view the updates.

3) Transfer basic listing data (address, beds, baths, etc.) from your RP Management System to the RP Listings System by clicking on RP Listings > Listings > Sync Listings from RPM function.

4) Go to RP Listings > Listings to view and edit your listings’ records. For best results, we recommend you separate the address into the appropriate fields, add photos and virtual tours, and add complete listing details.

NOTE: If you already have listing records in the RP Listings section, the sync feature will perform a comparison of PROMAS IDs and will only add listing records for units whose PROMAS IDs do not already appear in your Chart of Listings. 

If you have created listing records manually, before synchronizing units with the RP Listings System, be sure you review these listing records and make sure that:

  1. Their PROMAS IDs have been entered into their listing record
  2. They match the listing currently assigned to them in PROMAS

If the PROMAS IDs have not been entered into your listing records, or the IDs do not match what is currently in PROMAS, a single property may show up in your Chart of Listings twice – one record created by you, the other created by the synchronization process. Before the system begins the synchronization process, a Sync Units report will be displayed. This report will tell you which units will be added as new records in your Chart of Listings. You can select the Units you would like to sync by checking them individually or selecting “All”.