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What Is the Best Answering Service for Property Management?

That Depends on What Types of Properties You Manage

If you’re a property manager, you’re likely busy all day or all night long, depending on the type of properties you manage. You don’t have time to be on the phone too, but phone calls roll in regularly, which must be answered.

You could hire a receptionist. However, this is a costly investment in hiring, training, and payroll, with $15 per hour being the national average in pay. And if you don’t keep 9 to 5 hours, it may be difficult to find someone to take the position. Not to mention, if you need your phones answered 24/7, you have to hire three or four people.

A better solution — one that smart property management companies use — is to partner with a professional property management answering service company to take your phone calls. Here’s how you should choose an answering service based on your business model so you know your calls are handled no matter what kind of properties you care for and what hours you keep.

The Business of Property Management

Property management service duties vary greatly, depending on multiple factors:

  • Number of properties managed
  • Size and experience of staff
  • Type and size of buildings supervised
  • Location and climate

Some property managers do virtually everything in-house, from screening tenants to repairing plumbing. Others outsource more technical tasks, doing handyman work, snow removal, and cleaning between leases. Your responsibilities — and your needs when it comes to taking calls — also change based on the kinds of properties you care for.

Commercial property management

If you’re a commercial property manager, your heaviest workload likely falls during normal business hours, as that’s when offices and retail spaces are open. Typical duties include:

  • Screening and retaining tenants
  • Handling leases and contracts
  • Collecting rent
  • Supervising or performing building maintenance
  • Groundskeeping and snow removal
  • Staying on top of inspections and building code issues
  • Producing reports for owners and developers
  • Responding to tenant emergencies

Residential property management

Residential property management companies do a lot of the same tasks as their commercial counterparts, but they generally have more urgent tenant needs for small jobs, like clogged pipes, that need a quick response. Their hours are also different; residential property managers may have some tenant issues that arise during the workday, but the bulk of calls and office work takes place after work hours when more tenants are home.

Some residential property managers specialize in vacation rental properties, meaning they generally have more seasonal fluctuations in work than property managers for, say, apartment buildings. This is another reason why it’s wise to engage a property management answering service if you do this type of work. It probably doesn’t make sense to hire your own receptionist when you don’t really need one for all 12 months of the year.

Industry competition

Property management for both commercial and residential buildings has become more competitive recently, as the number of property management companies is on the rise, with growth predicted through at least 2027. One reason property management has increased is the growth of investor home purchases (corporations buying residential properties to rent out), which was a whopping 64 percent in 2021 over 2020.

Although growth in the use of property management companies presents many opportunities, it also means your property management business needs to be at the top of its game, lest you be replaced with another service. Some of the issues facing American property management companies today include:

  • Pressure to keep units filled with tenants
  • Rent collection on the heels of the pandemic and economic woes
  • Empty office buildings due to more people working from home
  • Aging infrastructure in older properties
  • Supply chain and shipping delays make it hard to find parts and perform repairs
  • Extreme weather events cause damage, and insurance companies leave troubled areas
  • Staffing shortages and manpower allocation difficulties

Most property managers don’t have a spare minute to spend on the phone, and yet they can’t afford to let important calls go unanswered or miss messages. Have you found yourself putting out one fire (perhaps literally!) while your phone is ringing off the hook about another one? A property management answering service is a natural solution to this common dilemma.

What Is the Best Answering Service for Property Management Companies?

Every property management company has different needs. So, the best answering service must be able to handle all the typical phone tasks related to your unique business.

Incoming clients and client leads

You don’t want to miss a call from a property owner seeking a property management company for their building. Likewise, you want to answer if a client lead comes in about another potential source of income, like a new apartment or shopping complex being constructed near you. Perhaps the new owner of an office park is rumored to be looking for a different property management company.

If you can’t answer calls like this, the client will likely move on to the next person on their list. A good telephone answering service can handle these calls for you, making your business appear more polished and professional. Simply answering within a few rings or less will leave a better impression on most people.

Viewings, leases, and contracts

Depending on your business and the properties you manage, you may spend a great deal of time arranging tenant viewings, negotiating leases, and signing paperwork. This can involve a lot of back and forth on the telephone, whether it’s scheduling with tenants or waiting for references.

Missing a tenant call could result in a large property going unrented or delays in settling a contract. All of this costs the owner money, which is, of course, undesirable. A telephone answering service will make certain this doesn’t happen.

Rent collection and regular fees

Rent collection for many property managers these days involves more than going door to door and getting a check. There may be government agencies involved in subsidizing tenants, and you may have to deal with evictions as well. You may also have to collect fees for extras like trash, internet, security, and the like.

Missing calls related to revenue collection costs owners money and could cost you an account. However, you can ensure every call is answered promptly with an answering service.

Staff dispatching for tenant problems

One of the busiest parts of property management is tending to unexpected issues that crop up, like leaks, broken air conditioning, and accident lockouts. Most property management companies dispatch staff to check on these problems, even if they eventually have to outsource repair to a contractor.

A residential property management answering service can assist with dispatch calls, triaging issues based on urgency. A roof leak that could cause widespread building damage will take priority over a slow-draining sink, for example. Similarly, a commercial property management answering service will help get staff sent to the right location and make sure any critical problems get immediate attention. You can continue your meeting in the office uninterrupted while the appropriate people are sent to deal with sudden property concerns.

Contractor communications

You may not have the staff or equipment on hand to deal with every building problem that comes up. For example, you probably hire a snow plowing company to take care of a shopping mall parking lot rather than clearing it yourself after every storm. Likewise, building codes may require you to use a licensed electrician to replace a faulty electrical panel.

Communicating with contractors can therefore comprise a major part of your phone use. Whether you’re waiting to hear the prognosis from a plumber or trying to reach an arborist about tree trimming, you can go about your day knowing a professional answering service will take care of it for you.

Appointment scheduling

Aside from tenant viewings and subcontracted jobs, you may have other appointments to schedule. These include mandatory inspections with various agencies that must be completed to avoid citations and fines.

It can be extremely difficult to reach some of these folks, so you don’t want to risk them getting your voicemail. Let your answering service make certain there’s always a live human ready to take their call. The best answering service providers can also schedule appointments for you rather than simply taking a message.

Other property management answering service tasks

Based on your business model, location, and other factors, you may also need other tasks performed by your professional answering service, such as:

  • Customer service-related issues that don’t require immediate help (noisy neighbors, apartment too hot, etc.)
  • After-hours phone answering only
  • Call-off hotline for employees of your business
  • Automatic appointment reminders
  • Mass notifications for emergencies
  • Automated phone tree (IVR) for basics like office hours and directions

CMS Gives You Many Options for Telephone Answering

CMS brings you decades of experience as a telephone answering service, as well as all the latest technologies to give your property management business a competitive edge. We routinely handle all the tasks above for our clients in property management around the US, including:

  • Live phone answering, as per your specific instructions
  • Emergency and after-hours answering
  • Maintenance and dispatching of hotlines
  • Appointment scheduling
  • Virtual receptionist as if you had a representative at your physical office
  • Employee call-in lines for absences
  • Automated solutions when a live person isn’t required

All of our operators are located inside the USA, and we personalize our services for 24/7, 365 assistance for all kinds of property managers. Even better, we have plans where you only pay for the calls we take for your business — a budget-friendly option that lets you make the most of your revenue.

Want to learn more about how CMS can give your property management company the public face you need to thrive in today’s tight market? Call us at 800-369-8908, or reach out to our team online to schedule a demo.

By Last Updated: January 24, 2024Categories: Blog8.3 min read