Death by 1000 Cuts
Commercial Property Management

Death by 1000 Cuts

Over the years, Taurus has had the luxury of a growing portfolio, much of which has come from properties previously managed by other companies.  Although there are great property management companies out there, from our observation, it appears that the bar for good service is generally quite low.  From this, we have naturally asked ourselves, “what are these other companies doing (or not doing) that leads to their demise?” 

The answer (in our opinion) is a result of Lingchi: Death by 1000 cuts. 

Poor property management does not happen by any one event or over one day.  It is not about what is done, as much as it is about what is not done.  Poor property management is a result of not doing the little things over a long period of time (hence the slow death!). 

To highlight this, it is true that most property managers could take a week off, with little notice, and it is likely that nothing hugely detrimental would happen; this is not true for ER doctors.   

If this is the case, does this mean that we’re just not busy? No, it means that many of a property manager’s responsibilities are not strictly time dependent.   In other words, where an ER doctor’s primary to-do list is a series of A+ priorities (Things that NEED to get done right away and the consequences are very real if they don’t!) a property manager’s to-do list is largely made up of those items that are not so pressing.  The “death of property managers” is not with the A priorities, it is with the B and C level priorities.  

We all know what these “B” and “C” things are.  Often they are difficult things that can get done next week, or month, or that the landlord doesn’t know need to get done.  They may be things that are frustrating, annoying, confrontational in nature, or just plain difficult… the things we let slide an extra week (or two… or…).  They are the items that don’t get done because “In the morning you’re too busy, and in the afternoon, you don’t feel like it”.   

Opposite to urgent and very “visible” items such as roof leaks, toilet back-ups, or a landlord asking for a rent-roll, these items are often invisible to everyone else but the property manager: chasing the cause of an abnormally high-water bill, ensuring small bits or arrears aren’t accumulating, or keeping trades honest with their invoicing.  Most times, no one is going to call you to ask you if these items are complete, and with no one there to hold us accountable, it is easy to see why it is difficult to stay on top of it all; you truly must care.  

It’s staying on top of these B/C level priority items that make a great property manager; and its great property managers who have 100% client retention. 

Tip: 

Once a month, create a list of things you are procrastinating on, set aside a half/full day, and focus on these items.  Best done as a team and as a ritual.   

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