Survey Results 2017

I remember the first year we sent out a survey to owners.

Matthew Whitaker

Our new Director of Marketing (also our current Director) thought it would be valuable for us to do.  I was so scared to do it because I was afraid that everyone hated us!

While it was true that some people hated us, I also found that some people liked us.  The biggest excitement I had was the tangible steps we could use to improve our business.  At the end of the day, you and I have the same goal.  We BOTH want a well-managed house.  When we both have the same goal in mind, then it is really about coming up with the ideas to make that goal a reality.

Thank you to those of you who submitted a response to the survey.  I must admit I frequently get surveys similar to this and simply delete them.  We had 59 responses, so the participation (from a percentage of Owners) was outstanding!

Let’s take a look at what people are saying about gkhouses Chattanooga!

First, for some reference, who are our Owners?

Since we are somewhat new to the scene, I’m pleased to know that we’ve had many long time Owners.  The fact that over 80% have been with us for over three years, sure makes digging into what everyone says pretty exciting because they have some real history and experience with our service.

Next, let’s take a broad view at how people rated us on our scoring scale.

As you can see we had a wide variety of responses from everyone, who answered the survey.  More are heavily weighted in the 7-10 range.  But, still, quite a few who think our service is below a 5.  Ouch!  It is evident we have some work to do.

The average is a 7.4 across all responses, and the median is an 8.  If you are familiar with the Net Promoter Score, it is a +17.2.

Now let’s dig into exactly what people are saying about us.

The Positives:

Communication – Many of the owners, who also scored us high, said we did a great job of communicating with them.  They cited that communication was “timely,” “friendly,” and “thorough.”  15 people mentioned communication in some form.

Finding Tenants – Many owners specifically said that we do an excellent job of finding tenants.  21 people mentioned this as something we do well.

It’s great that we do these two well already.  Reason being, we believe first that communication to the Owner is our #1 priority.  It has been my experience that lack of communication is the best way to get you fired.

We’ve decided that we are going to be the best at providing excellent communication.  It’s pleasing to know we have a great start.  Sit tight, because everything about communication wasn’t all good!

Secondly, we have a saying, “Celebrate the Tenant.”  We believe that finding the right tenant for your home is the best way to manage a home – it creates a successful relationship all around.  You are happier with us, and it becomes a much easier relationship for us to manage.  As you can imagine, it isn’t too hard to manage a tenant who pays the rent on time and takes care of your home.

Where “Celebrate the Tenant” comes into this is that once we’ve found that great tenant, we need to do everything possible to make sure we keep that tenant in your home as long as possible.  How do we do that?

Currently, we are weekly writing thank you notes to great tenants.  If they are great, we need to tell them they are great.

Next, we’ve just instituted a $500 per quarter “Celebrate the Tenant” fund (of our money) to send your great tenants a thank you for being such a great tenant.  We think these are two excellent, tangible ways we can celebrate your tenants who are handling this relationship the right way.

First Area for Improvement:

Communication – For those of you who answered that this is an area in need of improvement and rolled your eyes when I wrote about it above, don’t think I didn’t hear you.

To me, it shows the importance of communication.  When you do it well, people mention it.  When you do it poorly, people crave it.  I’m excited that people identified this as an area we can improve because I think we are up to the challenge of “stepping up our game.”

What specifically did people say?

More communication about repairs. Take an annual walk-through the house when the tenants renew and give a condition report to the owner.

Better communication regarding repairs and financial issues.

Better communication and website maintenance. Totally screwed up reporting last year for tax purposes when they changed systems. Although I am getting an email for a survey, when I tried to log in today, got the message that the system didn’t recognize my email address.

Currently, I do not feel like I’m in the loop with the new owners, nor are they communicating with me about issues occurring with my own piece of management property.

More updates and communication with owners; keeping owners as priority.

What are we going to do about it?

There seem to be two times where intense communication is desired by an Owner.  When the home is leasing and when there is a significant problem while the tenant is in the home – be that a repair or a problem tenant.

We are working on a plan, which has already begun to free up the time of the property managers so that they can have more margin in their day to communicate with you.  It’s not that they don’t want to interact with you.  We believe if they have more time, they will increase the level of communication, especially during these times, which will make you much happier.

Next, we are automating some of our communication.  Many of you have probably received some of this already – particularly if you home is currently on the market for rent.  As an example, we automate the data, so you know how many times the home has shown and how many applications we’ve received on a weekly basis.  Giving you this information keeps you in the loop on what is going on and also helps you make better decisions as an Owner, by knowing all the facts.

Next Area For Improvement:

Maintenance – Many Owners expressed frustrations around our maintenance.  The majority of it is around the price for getting work done on your home.  

Here are some specific comments.

Services provided by RC are way overpriced. Please try to find cheaper service providers.

Better, more cost effective maintenance.

Maintenance response needs to be better. The time to turn a property after vacancy needs improvement. Need better help with owners after a bad tenant vacates.

Maintenance is extremely overpriced, in my opinion.

Maintenance that takes care of the property and not just your money.

Better stewardship of maintenance costs

Improve (lower)cost of some maintenance/repairs. I was once charged $145 to rehang ONE loose shutter!!!

What are we going to do about it?

Maintenance costs are always a hot topic amongst property managers.  If you were wondering what property managers sit around and talk about mostly, it is complaining about maintenance vendors (and some Owners ;)).  

Many years ago, we began to internalize most of the general maintenance.  The under $500 items that tenants call and request to be done.  Once we internalized maintenance, then we found a couple of things happened.

  1. Tenants were happier, because we jumped on work orders faster, as a result of having more control over what they were doing.  When you have a 3rd party vendor handling your daily maintenance, they don’t always think certain things are a priority that you think are a priority. We no longer had that problem. We already have one maintenance tech on staff, and we are working on hiring two more in the coming months. We already have one maintenance tech on staff, and we are working on hiring two more in the coming months.
  2. Costs normalized. I don’t want to say that costs will always go down.  Since our maintenance will be by licensed and insured individuals, then we simply can’t compete with the vendors who don’t have those added expenses. I think what most property owners want is a fair price and to participate in the scale of finding services that a property management company should provide.  I’d expect for you to see some of these costs normalizing and us meeting these wants in the coming months.

Lastly, we will be working on one more money saving measure, periodic inspections to make sure deferred maintenance doesn’t get out of hand.

Some significant repairs, if found on the front end, wouldn’t be so significant.  This typically happens around water issues.  Leaking toilets onto the bathroom floor that people don’t see or soffit, fascia, window work that would be an easy patch but turns into much more.  

We will be offering a program (at an additional cost) for us to visit your home on a quarterly basis and provide you a report of these types of items.  This service will be complete with pictures and a description.  Most of the work you won’t need to do.  Sometimes we do find emergencies.  

But the biggest thing is to make you aware of what is going on with your house and let you make the decision.  Again, before it gets out of hand and you are forced to make decisions.  You’ll be receiving more on this program in the coming weeks.

In Conclusion:

Thank you again to those of you who took the time to do this.  The survey link is still live for anyone who would like to give us more feedback.  Perhaps you’ve received these in the past and thought that the company doesn’t do anything with them.  As you can tell, we do.  And we are “Uncomfortably Transparent” about the results. . . which is another one of our values.

The survey link is still live for anyone who would like to give us more feedback.  Perhaps you’ve received these in the past and thought that the company doesn’t do anything with them.  As you can tell, we do.  And we are “Uncomfortably Transparent” about the results. . . which is another one of our values.

The last thing I want to say is that a company is always a work in progress.  The valuable feedback you have provided gives us direction for where our time is best spent working on the business.

We are excited to be a part of gkhouses Chattanooga and hope we can improve on the already positive feeling you have towards us.

– Matthew Whitaker