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:
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