Property managers ask a lot from their software products. We expect those products to do everything from posting accounting entries for us, to crediting our bank account when we write a check. We ask our software to easily track our current tenants, show us what unit or address they occupy, and when their lease expires. We expect our software to produce accurate reports that are professional in appearance. We need our software to keep accurate records and help us stay organized.
But what happens when a software product stops doing the things we ask it to do? Just how do you determine when it’s time to upgrade your software? Here are a few signs that indicate it’s time to start searching for a new solution:
- You’re unable to retrieve the information you need, when you need it You’re in the field when you suddenly realize that you need to access information on the tenant in unit 2A. Can you easily do this, or do you find yourself relying on office support staff to provide that information? What if it’s 8:00PM and the office is closed?
- Your staff complains about having to enter the same information several different times. If this is standard operating procedure at your company, you may want to think about consolidating software. Keep in mind that the more times data is entered, the risk of mistakes also increases.
- Your staff accountant needs to create owner reports using a spreadsheet program because your current software is not able to produce them. There are times when you may feel the need to create customized reports, but your software should be able to create the reports you need without any third party products.
- Your current software product is at least five years old. Things change rapidly in the technology industry. That means that your current software likely does a fraction of what a newer product is capable of doing. Also keep in mind that many companies frequently stop supporting older versions of their software.
- You’ve recently experienced a growth spurt, or added more users to the system. This is a frequent occurrence at smaller property management companies. Adding just a few new properties may suddenly overtax your current software, with the same holding true when adding additional users.
When in the market for new software, it’s better to plan ahead and purchase the best product you can at a price within your budget, taking the time to understand the cost/benefits to your specific business. Planning for future growth and expansion is an important part of managing a successful property management business, and choosing the best software product is a vital part of that plan.