We’ve Come a Long Way with Mobile Technology
In 2007, Apple released its first iPhone. Unlike other smartphones, Apple’s was made for everyone for everyday use, and unlike predecessors, the iPhone had touch technology. A lot has happened in the 13 years since that first iPhone hit the market and infiltrated American life, and now, smartphones are commonplace. There’s a decent chance you have one — 81% of American adults own a smart phone, and 96% of those aged 18-29. (Perhaps you’re using your phone to read this post!) The way we socialize and communicate has transformed with the arrival of the modern pocket computer, but that’s not all. Smart technology is revolutionizing business, too. None is more obvious that mobile rent collection.
Let’s review the ways in which adopting a mobile friendly approach can add convenience for you and your tenants.
Tracking Your Business Anywhere
Whether you have one unit or one thousand, one of the biggest challenges of managing your properties and tenants is simply remembering. Did Unit 2 give me that check yet? When is the lease up for the house on Walnut? Have I reminded the overdue tenants that late fees are kicking in?
Landlords and property managers have developed various strategies to better track and remember necessary information about their business, ranging from the simple to the convoluted. Even if your methods are working, there’s a decent chance they only work in one place: your desk at the office, in front of your file cabinet, when you’ve got your laptop open. One of the simplest and clearest value propositions of the smartphone is the ability to bring your office with you wherever you are.
Storing data on your phone can be accomplished in several ways. You could utilize the notes feature offered in Android and iPhone. You could also utilize a cloud storage program like Google Docs, Microsoft OneDrive, or iCloud to access relevant documents and spreadsheets. And of course, you could signup for and begin using property management software specifically designed for the task. Whichever method you choose, incorporating your smart device into your rental management is a huge boon to your daily productivity.
As an active landlord running from property to property, or, as an owner that manages units in addition to your day job, having the ability to look up rental payment statuses, mark invoices as paid, and communicate with your tenants from the field is invaluable.
Receive and Send Notifications and Accept Rent Right from Your Pocket
If you’re collecting payments via a property management platform, it will almost certainly include automated reminder and notification features. You can receive a message when a tenant has submitted a payment, when late fees have kicked in, and for a variety of other triggers (which can all typically be customized). Likewise, tenants will receive similar notifications prompting them to pay. This means that you can set a reminder notification to go out to all your tenants reminding them their rent is due soon. You can schedule the number of days in advance to send them the notice, and you can schedule the number of reminders your tenants receive.
By pairing your mobile device with a management program, all these notifications can be sent and received no matter where you or your tenants are. It’s great for your tenants as well, who might be tired of remembering rent is due when their checkbook and stamp collection aren’t handy. The 1st of the month falls on a Saturday and your knucklehead tenants always forget to get their payment in? No longer – now, their phone buzzes briefly drawing their attention away from College Gameday, they click a couple of buttons, and voila! Rent is paid!
Platforms like Venmo and Paypal offer similar functionality and can be a great asset to landlords, however, we do advise caution when considering these programs for rental and invoice collection. They are also significantly more limited when it comes to notifications and messaging.
Automate Everything from Payments to Record Keeping
On the matter of mobile rent collection, reminders are clearly a useful tool in keeping your tenants on the straight and narrow. But how helpful are reminders if you have to remember to send them? Mobile devices can untether you from your office, meaning you can work from anywhere. But what if, most of the time, you didn’t have to? Mobile devices and the right kind of software can also automate many of the rental collection processes you currently do manually. Here are a few key ways:
Automated messaging. We’ve already spent some time on this, so we won’t belabor the point. Any notifications, reminders, and messages you want sent can typically be automated. These arrive right in your hand, or your tenant’s, increasing collection speed and on-time rent payments. What’s more, if you’re out and about and need to send a custom message outside of your normal automated workflow, mobile devices make it incredibly easy to do so.
Automatic record keeping. If you’re using property management software with a mobile focus, your tenant likely has their own dedicated app they can log into and submit a rental payment. Whenever the tenant submits, the payment is automatically recorded in the software. Perfectly accurate bookkeeping with no room for human error. What’s more, the software can not only track that the payment happened, it can also track when it happened, what method they used to pay, and which reminders were sent. This information is helpful to you and your tenants. It saves you time and keeps your books accurate and up to date. It gives your tenants a record of the transactions and payment history as well, which protects them from “he said/she said” disputes as much as it protects you, and it demonstrates that you value transparency as a part of building trust in the relationship. And of course, if you receive a paper check or cash while out in the field, you can easily open up your phone, log into your software, and mark that transaction as paid.
Autopay. Enabling your tenants to pay rent from their phone is awesome, but so is not having to worry about making the payments each month! Most property management software gives tenants the opportunity to “set and forget” their rent payments with an autopay feature. This is a great option for tenants who are in a financially stable and secure situation but who might simply forget to make their payment on-time every now and again. Autopay guarantees that they are paying on-time every time, and it’s a feature they can turn off should their circumstances or plans change, and — you guessed it — autopay is a feature they can adjust from the convenience of their phone.
With the Right Software, You Get the Convenience of Mobile
If you’ve done things manually or solely on a desktop or laptop for years, then you may not realize the functionality you’re missing with your smartphone. Smartphones can change the way you do business, making you faster, more efficient, and more independent. Whether you’re having difficulty remembering payment statuses and who owes what amount on the electric bill, or you keep forgetting to mark rent as paid when you receive an offline payment, mobile devices can help streamline your management process.
As always, when deciding the best way to improve your workflow, consider what’s unique to you and how best to solve your challenges. There’s a good chance there’s software out there that, when paired with your phone, will make rent collection much easier.