Is There a Way to Automate Commercial Property Management?

Is There a Way to Automate Commercial Property Management?
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Anyone can automate commercial property management. You’re living in the golden age of automation technology—why not use it to your advantage? Tools that can improve almost every aspect of your current manual approach can save you time and money.

Whether you use artificial intelligence, the Internet of Things (IoT), or property management software, you’ll experience many operational benefits. Automation is the best strategy if you want to improve your profitability and streamline your administrative tasks.

Benefits of Automating Your Commercial Property Management 

Automated property management technology has a wealth of benefits. Mainly, it vastly increases productivity. Research has shown that incorporating AI into your business can increase productivity by 34% on average. You can save dozens of hours weekly by automating tasks like data entry, lease renewal reminders, and work order scheduling. 

One of the most significant benefits involves minimizing human error. People often make minor mistakes throughout the day, whether they input a wrong number in payroll or a misspelling in a letter. Although these things can seem insignificant, the cost of revisions and corrections adds up.

Fortunately, automated property management software doesn’t make those mistakes—it never has a bad day, wakes up groggy, or misremembers something important. Using this technology to reduce human error can save time and money.

An increase in profitability is another common benefit of property management automation. When you have software performing tasks, you spend less money on labor and can redirect your team’s time to more value-added activities. You can focus on the things that help your company stand out.  Plus, most commercial tenants prioritize convenience in their communications. 

If you’re like many other commercial property owners, you appreciate the value of digitalization. According to a 2020 survey, 43% of real estate executives somewhat or completely agree their digital tenant experience is their defining strength. It seems both tenants and landlords benefit from automated property management.

Tips for Automating Commercial Property Management Effectively

Although automated property management software does most of the work for you, you still need to know how to implement it effectively

1. Set up a Tenant Portal

While property management software should primarily benefit you, there’s no reason you can’t use it to improve your relationship with your tenants. Setting up a portal grants them direct access to online payments, lease document management, and maintenance services.

The quality of your relationship with your tenants determines your future success. Considering nearly 80% of people believe personalized services are a priority, their loyalty heavily relies on the features you offer. In other words, you should strongly consider setting up a user portal. 

2. Go Paperless for Payments

Keeping track of tenant payments is challenging when those payments come in lots of different ways over the course of a week. Tenants typically make these payments monthly, so the sheer number of invoices quickly adds up. This gets even more complex as you grow your portfolio. 

Manually sifting through every payment record is inefficient and may cost you down the line. How can you be sure you won’t overlook anything? How do you know you have accounted for every lease escalation?

Going paperless for payment-related processes makes coordination and record-keeping more manageable. When you use software for property management, you can automatically generate invoices and record payments to the correct tenant effortlessly. 

3. Pick the Right Software for Property Management 

Before selecting software for property management, it’s in your best interest to look for integrations and features. For example, something that only automates one area such as work order management, won’t be helpful if you need accounting and common area maintenance reconciliation functions as well. 

Many modern solutions have built-in accounting applications. For instance, STRATAFOLIO — an online commercial property management software — automatically reconciles common area maintenance fees and automated clearing house payments through their integration with Intuit QuickBooks. Some integrations are much more beneficial than others. 

4. Enable Alerts for Critical Duties

If you’re like most commercial owners, you handle lease escalations manually — meaning you’ve probably missed a few. With property management software, you never have to experience that moment of sinking realization again. These tools can automatically manage rate collection and alert you when an increase is due. 

5. Manage Data Storage and Migration

A data silo is an isolated collection of information. Usually, other departments or team members find it challenging to access or entirely inaccessible. Generally, you want to avoid operating this way because it creates more duplication of data and can lead to more errors.  

If you use your automated property management technology to collect data, ensure retrieval is convenient. If storage and access are standardized, your entire team will benefit from the efficiency gained.

6. Keep Tabs on Tenants

Many commercial landlords use property management software to track administrative duties and organize documents — overlooking tenants entirely. Even if the people leasing your space keep to themselves and always pay on time, you should still monitor them. 

Tenants’ insurance often expires midway through their lease. Automatic reminders about the status of their certificates of insurance (COIs) are essential to prevent significant losses. Natural disasters and accidents can happen anywhere and at any time — if you don’t immediately enforce policy renewals, you might have to pay for damages out of pocket. 

Using software to manage COIs enables proactive action. It shows you reminders when insurance policies are about to expire, protecting you from unexpected expenses. You can even set up automatic alerts to pass the responsibility to your tenants.

7. Identify Gaps and Possible Solutions

Before adopting software for property management, identify your operational gaps. While you could technically automate everything, you’ll likely have to start with incremental changes. That means prioritizing is your best strategy. 

Even though automation technology can be incredibly beneficial, waiting until you know exactly how to use it effectively is a solid strategy. In fact, research shows around 55% of companies are only exploring generative AI as of 2023. While they plan to use it soon, they want to test it to see if it fits. 

Automated Property Management Is the Future

Automated property management technology is the future of commercial real estate. Whether you want to streamline payment processes, lease renewals, or scheduling, these tools are your best bet.

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