Increasing your agency’s competitiveness in such a challenging business landscape can seem impossible for most agencies. Many agencies make the mistake of solely investing in advertising and promotion, and fail to realise that competitiveness can also stem from the way you run your company internally.
While promotion and advertisement are obviously beneficial in attracting landlords and tenants, they will not always get them to stay and can not always help you stand out from your competitors. Throughout the tenancy journey, your agency needs to be considering how each business practice will help you stand out from the crowd.
Ensuring effective communication with your tenants
For a letting agent and their day-to-day responsibilities, effective communication with tenants is extremely beneficial in helping your agency remain competitive.
Communication at all stages of the tenant journey, from prospective to move out and everything in between can help fill your properties quicker and increase your tenant satisfaction. Sending reminders for things such as viewings and rent payments, not only benefit your agency by reducing time wasted but also helps to increase tenant satisfaction. Letting tenants know of any changes to their tenancy clearly and in advance can help avoid any disputes or issues and improve your relationship with your tenants.
Whether it be handling a maintenance issue or responding to a general query, having one effective method of communicating makes it much easier for agents to respond or resolve as response times will be much shorter
Word of mouth is a powerful tool for attracting business to your agency. The higher your tenant satisfaction, the more likely they are to recommend you to other potential tenants and consequently the more likely you are to fill your units, benefiting both your business and your landlords. Making sure that communication is strong and clear during all stages of the lettings journey can therefore greatly help your agency remain competitive.
Building relationships with landlords
Ultimately, your landlords have taken on your letting agency to save them the headache of managing properties themselves. Showing them that your agency is proactive and organised through effective processes to take care of maintenance issues, create certificate expiry reminders and send out tenancy updates can be especially useful in showing that your agency is on top of it, boosting their confidence in your agency.
As a letting agency, it is your job to ensure that each property is consistently filled with the right tenants. To do this, you must ensure that they find suitable tenants through the use of tenant referencing and credit checking – keeping rent arrears to a minimum, reducing void periods, and boosting your landlords confidence in your agency’s ability to manage their properties.
Providing your landlords with full visibility of their properties is vital so that they understand what is going on. Rather than having landlords constantly calling your agency for updates (which is frustrating for both parties), providing them with a digital dashboard that shows them all of the information they need and keeps them updated is ideal for building and maintaining relationships.
Reporting is also important as landlords must have visibility of their property data, and this is a way for your agency to show that you are transparent about everything. It is beneficial for the reports to be personalised as landlords have trust that the service is tailored with them in mind. Ensuring that each of your landlords feels important will significantly help to build relationships.
A strong relationship with your landlords can result in longer relationships with landlords and also positive word of mouth about your agency, and in turn, more business from other landlords that have been recommended to use your property management services.
Investing in sustainable practices for your agency and introducing new, energy-efficient properties to your portfolio can be beneficial in increasing your agency’s competitiveness.
It would also be beneficial for agencies to add more energy-efficient properties to their portfolio, as they can advertise lower energy bills to potential tenants. For letting agents who advertise their rent with bills included, this is also good news as they can advertise lower prices than competitors. Having an energy-efficient property portfolio will attract more tenants, lower void periods and increase your agency’s competitiveness.
Due to the current energy crisis, tenants will be more inclined to rent eco-friendly or energy-efficient properties. With the energy price cap to rise by £693 this month, renters will see a significant increase in their energy bills.
Your agency should consider incorporating more sustainable practices into business operations such as conducting virtual viewings, using digital signatures, and publishing digital documents, which all help to lower carbon emissions and lower paper waste. Not only will these actions make business operations more cost and time-efficient, but they will also have a positive impact on the environment.
Your agency’s focus and steps toward energy efficiency can also be used in marketing campaigns as it will capture the attention of clients that believe in the future of our planet and the importance of sustainability. It will also help to stress the fact that the cost of living crisis is not something that should be taken lightly, but rather something we should take all the necessary steps toward mitigating some of the consequences.
Using property management software that is tailored to your business
Choosing the wrong software can be costly both financially and time-wise. If your competitors chose their software more wisely, this will put your business at risk of getting left behind. Some platforms are tailored toward estate agents, letting agents or property managers, and cover different portfolio types.
One of the most useful capabilities of property management software is automation. With property management software, you can automate aspects of every stage of the tenancy journey, saving you valuable admin time that you can use to focus on revenue-increasing tasks. Automated rent reminders can help your business minimise the chance of tenants forgetting to make payments and allow them to have time to prepare to make the payments if for whatever reason they are unable to pay that month.
Choosing a platform that has integrations with software that will specifically help your business become more efficient will help boost competitiveness. Integrations will help to streamline your business and allow you to access information in one centralised location. For example, an integration with Xero allows for your financial information to be instantly synchronised, it allows for real-time reporting, and calculations will not have to be done manually. Both time and money will be saved and this will, in turn, increase your agency’s competitiveness.
Some property management software also has apps that go alongside the main web-based platform. Apps create more access points for tenants, landlords, and sometimes even contractors, to view their information and send messages to your business easily. These apps allow all stakeholders to manage and respond on the go, reducing response times and allowing you to resolve issues faster. Both your tenants and landlords will be happy with your services, boosting your competitiveness.
When deciding on property management software, be sure to consider the features that it has and how they will benefit your specific business operations. Getting the most value out of software can put your business in a more competitive position due to your business processes being simplified and streamlined.