Scope of Service

Most owners don’t know what property managers do for the fees they charge resulting in tension between owners and managers over unrealistic expectations.

To make this worse, some managers think they are supposed to manage the owner’s utilities, HOA issues, home warranties, insurance issues, tax reporting, property tax issues, property line disputes and basically everything that remotely affects the property. If owners have managers in other parts of the country/world they may come to you expecting you to manage all these things for the monthly fee you quoted them. If you don’t set these expectations and put bookends on the services you offer for the fees you charge, they will bully you into doing things you don’t know how to do, have no experience doing, don’t have the authority to do and are not getting paid for in order to keep them happy.

Over the years, managing for about 3,000 owners, we’ve fought these battles and, out of necessity, developed several strategies to push back (put bookends on our services), set expectations and let the owner know what we do for the fees we charge and what will cost more if they want additional services.

Just to be clear, you can choose to do anything the owner asks you to do and you don’t have to charge for it. You just don’t want the owner to EXPECT IT for the monthly fee you’re receiving.

None of these strategies alone are a silver bullet and one won’t eliminate the challenge of owners expecting you to do things you didn’t agree (or expect) to do when your relationship started. Each addresses the same challenge in different ways and helps you limit (put bookends on) the owner’s expectations of your service. Using these strategies will lower your labor costs (often expended doing things you shouldn’t be doing), saves you money, and reduces the tension with your owner.. They answer the question you’ll hear on a regular basis, “what am I paying you for anyway?” and stop the ongoing push to do more and more things for them for the pennies they pay you monthly. All these come in a format you can easily modify and adjust to fit your model.

Here are five strategies to help set the right expectations and define your Scope of Service:

1. Things You Can’t Turn Over to Your Property Manager

This is a simple document listing the things that are NOT included in your service package and won’t do as part of your monthly fee. Give this to the owner during the owner signup process (and maybe have them sign it) so they understand upfront that there are several things they must stay engaged with and continue to manage themselves. As we struggled with the owners unrealistic expectations this was the first solution we came up with. It worked well for several years until we got more sophisticated and developed better tools to push-back on this challenge of what are they paying you for and what will cost extra.

$47.00Add to cart

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2. Managing 3rd Party Relationships

This document package includes language for your PMA, a training and support document for your staff and a document for your owners to explain why you can’t take over their previously created third-party relationships. Owners often think (because they just don’t know any better) that you’ll take over third-party relationships they’ve developed before they came to your door including mortgage payments, paying HOA dues, manage utilities, HOA violations, home warranties, property line disputes, insurance claims, code enforcer,  property tax disputes and more. If you don’t make it clear up front, you’ll get bullied into managing relationships THEY forged and relationships you weren't a party to and stepping in and managing them will suck up a lot of your time and energy. This language and support document will solve that challenge for you and make your life much easier.

$55.00Add to cart

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3. Asset Manager vs. Property Manager

This document package includes training and owner documents that articulates the difference between the duties of an asset manager and those of a property manager and helps define what you manage (and don’t manage) as part of your quoted fee structure. Many of your owners think that you’ll manage everything connected to the property for your $80 a month fee. When you push back and say “that’s not part of my job” you’ll hear “I thought that was included in your $80/month fee.” They just naturally think you’ll do it all for them and complain that you didn’t tell them that before you took on their property. This one document saved us tons of time and made us a lot more money and lowered tension with our owners.

$85.00Add to cart

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4. The Property Manager’s Job Description

We have job descriptions for everyone in our office, but not one for ourselves, as it relates to what we do for the owner. This is a 9 page visual way of describing to owners exactly what they retain control of, what the manager takes over, and what you’ll work on together. We developed it in the mid 90’s and gave it to all owners, once a year, to remind them what we do for the monthly fee we charge and what they retain control of. As always, it’s not locked down. You get to tweak it to match your model and create your job description as you want it to be. This document evolves over time as your model changes. It reduces the tension between you and the owner and answers questions before they are asked.

$127.00Add to cart

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5. Scope of Service

This is the Mother Load version describing the long list of things your company does for the fees you charge. This is broken down into five components.
1. Leasing Fees/Services
2. Managing the Tenant Fees/Services
3. Managing the Property Fees/Services
4. Owner Services
5. Public Office Facilities
6. Memberships and Affiliations
When they review this document their response will be “wow, you do all that for the monthly management fee?” This is a very long list of all the things you do for the Procurement, Renewal and Management Fees. This 7 page document includes over 100 tasks we do for our fees. It evolved over 20 years as our way of answering the owner’s question “what am I paying you for anyway?” It’s detailed and won’t be exactly as you do it so you’ll have to tweak it to fit your model.

$177.00Add to cart

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Buy Scope of Service Package (Items 1-5)

Purchased separately the price totals $491. Bought as a package (items 1,2,3,4,5) it’s $397

$397.00Add to cart

Client Testimonies

Robert spoke at a recent conference in Australia and was a big hit with everyone. He was inspiring and full of practical tips for managers. I can't believe I learned so much in such a short period of time. Thanks Robert for the effort you put forth to come all the way here to help equip us to be better managers.

Glenn Cable, Australian Property Manager

As education coordinator at the Columbus Board we love it when Robert comes to teach. Students always appreciate his enthusiastic presentations and the obvious experience he brings. He keeps everyone's attention for 6 hours on a topic (property management) often seen as boring. He brings life to the classroom and students ask often ask "when can we get him back?"

Kari Kinser, Education Chairperson, Columbus Board of Realtors

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