Calendar icon April 10, 2023

Property Management Revenue: How Can Managers Increase Ancillary Revenue?

Ancillary revenue is a huge profit driver for property management companies. Today, we're looking at what ancillary revenue is, how it can give you better results, and how to get started building ancillary revenue streams.


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What is ancillary revenue?

Ancillary revenue refers to any additional income not including rent that you derive from the properties you manage. By becoming greater service providers, PMs create opportunities for more revenue streams. There is a lot of money to be made in ancillary income in the property management industry and real estate industry. But many property managers don’t even consider the wealth of opportunities to increase profit, grow your business, and increase the satisfaction of your residents that ancillary income opportunities provide. 

It may seem counterintuitive to suggest that a practice exists that will simultaneously increase the amount your residents pay and increase their satisfaction with you, but if you provide the right ancillary services, and your residents find value in them, you can build a winning situation for all involved parties.

How can property managers generate ancillary revenue?

The best way to sustainably drive ancillary income for you and your business is through generating more value that your residents and investors want and charging for what that value is worth. Ancillary charges can apply to your investor clients and your residents. 

In short, property managers should figure out what’s important to their residents and clients and monetize those things. Ancillary revenue opportunities can come from programs that drive resident satisfaction, such as Resident Benefits Packages, property upgrades, pet insurance, pet rent, etc. You can also drive extra revenue through additional fees such as application fees or pet fees for new residents or for behaviors you want to discourage, such as late payment fees, early termination fees, paper lease fees, vendor screening fees, etc.

Ultimately, each of these programs help to achieve what we call a “triple win.” A triple win, as described in this video, is any concept that manages to benefit the renter, you and your team of property managers, and the property owner.

The importance of the triple win comes from the idea that long-term success that results in long-term profit must correlate with long-term satisfaction. Keeping all involved parties in a transaction satisfied will lead to high rates of re-signing, whereas ancillary income programs that residents don’t find value in can decrease renter satisfaction and hurt your bottom line in the long-term.

Ancillary revenue stream examples in property management

Let’s look at some of the most common and successful ancillary revenue examples. Ancillary programs work well for both multifamily and single-family rentals. You can break ancillary charges down into two categories: fees vs. special programs.

Ancillary Fees

First, there’s the ancillary fees approach. Those can include the following.


  • Security Deposit Processing Fees
  • Leasing or Lease Amendment Fees
  • Paper Lease Setup Fees
  • Lease Renewal Fees
  • Renters Insurance
  • Late Fees


  • Inspection and Maintenance Monthly Fees
  • Marketing Fees (social media, etc.)
  • Insurance Risk Mitigation Fees
  • Vendor Screening Fees
  • Rent Protection or Eviction Fees

Essentially, property managers should be sourcing income on anything they’re spending money on themselves. This ensures that you can continue to grow, add on value, and pay your employees.

Ancillary fees also help encourage the kind of behavior you want from your investors and residents. 

You don’t want residents to pay late? Incentivize on-time payments by adding a fee for late payments. 

You don’t want investors requiring you to use their vendors instead of yours? Charge a small fee for vendor screening. Then you’re either getting paid for your extra time, or the investor will decide it’s not worth it, and you’re saved the extra burden on your team.

Special Programs

Of course, property managers can also generate additional revenue by developing programs that boost resident happiness and satisfaction. These programs can also help encourage the behavior you want, but the goal is more driven by a desire to improve the resident experience. 

The most popular – and effective – form of special program is the Resident Benefits Package. An RBP can include several different benefits for residents, from credit reporting to move-in concierge services to identity protection. And they’re easy to monetize for property managers.

Increasing property management revenue

The residential real estate market is changing. By finding new ways to generate revenue, property managers can accelerate business growth. Ancillary revenue is one of those ways, and it works by providing real value to the resident. These programs don’t necessarily have to directly create revenue, although many do, but the key is always to create value. 

Of course, some programs work better than others – and some attempts to drive ancillary income can actually do the opposite: drive investors away, or cause resident complaints. 

Let’s look at a few examples of what is and isn’t working for property managers.


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Ancillary revenue streams that are working

Here are a few examples of the best drivers of ancillary revenue in property management.

Resident Gift Programs

One example of a program that creates value for the resident without charging the resident is a Christmas gift program run by the Home River Group based out of Boise, Idaho. 

Residents at HRG’s properties receive a gift package every holiday season that includes gift cards to local restaurants, movie theaters, bowling alleys, etc. This comes at no charge to the resident, but it does create happy renters, which leads to sustainable revenue in property management. 

24/7 Maintenance

Another great example is 24/7 maintenance, which is often amenitized. Professional SFR managers have web portals, apps, 24/7 hotlines as part of their operations that enable a more professional and convenient resident experience. And it leads to faster resolution. 

Including maintenance support in a resident benefits package helps differentiate your service. Adding value through a resident benefits package also adds a new revenue stream for a property management business. 

Convenience Services 

Convenience services are great examples of ancillary income programs that do drive immediate profit and achieve a triple win. Residents tend to realize a lot of value from convenience services, and these services have become the expectation for renters. 

Second Nature’s air filter delivery service, which is widely used by property managers around the country, achieves this by providing the resident with cleaner air to breathe and lower utility bills, providing the owner with the peace of mind of knowing the air filters are being changed on time, and providing you with some added ancillary revenue

A great way to identify opportunities for ancillary revenue services that achieve a triple win is by asking your residents. Just ask them. They’ll tell you what services they’re interested in and willing to pay for. This will not only help you identify key insights for your business, but it has a positive side effect of improving the relationship you have with your residents.

What doesn’t work in driving ancillary revenue

As you can probably infer, programs that don’t work will be the ones that don’t achieve the aforementioned triple win. Property managers are starting to realize the value of the long-term game. The extra effort required to make sure residents feel respected and not leveraged specifically for profit creates a lot of value for the PM as it keeps renewal rates high. 

Here’s the type of behavior PMs should avoid when designing an ancillary revenue strategy.

Cheap Money Grabs

When your residents feel like they're just a warm body that pays monthly rent, that's really going to sour the relationship that you need to be focused on here. Truthfully, ancillary income can be created very easily, but cheap money grabs that make residents feel used are not going to be sustainable, and sustainable is the key word here.

Not Understanding What Residents Value

If the resident doesn’t see value, your program’s long-term prospects are not going to be good. Understanding where a resident will find value also requires you to understand how a resident perceives value. 

There is a saying in marketing that perception is reality, and whether or not you realize it, you're perpetually marketing your properties to residents. How they perceive their experience is going to affect how they feel when it's time to renew.

Mixed Messaging

The best ancillary benefit package in the world is going to be perceived negatively if the messaging around it uses words with negative connotations. 

Avoiding words like “fees” can help prevent a negative perception of a service you as the property manager are providing. A perceived lack of value for a required program contributes to a resident that feels disrespected, and a perceived lack of value for an optional program results in a program nobody uses. 

Either way, no benefit to the resident means no benefit to you.

In the end, the best way to drive ancillary income is to find programs and services that add value for your residents and clients, and generate profit for your business.

Keep learning

How to Optimize Operational Frequency with Processes and Software

Property management software is currently helping property managers establish efficient and reliable processes at a higher rate than ever before in the PM industry. With that development in the proptech industry has come the development of tech for self-managers that has changed the capacity of the accidental landlord. Thus, the demand for efficiency at scale has risen in order to separate the professional from the amateur, and the establishment of processes that allow such a thing has become a critical topic for professional property managers. Optimizing property management processes Carter Fleck of Triton Property Management, a growth-oriented firm out of northern Virginia that is approaching 300 units with larger goals for 2024, joins us to share his expertise on process definition. Fleck is the General Manager responsible for operations and strategic growth, and he has been developing effective processes to ensure efficiency at Scale at Triton, and in the process, he has garnered an understanding of how to do so. “A lot of failing,” says Fleck. “In the early days, we were getting a lot of good and bad feedback, but typically the bad feedback is what you adjust off of.” Fleck believes that assumptions are the enemy when it comes to defining procedures and sourcing software for your PMC. “The image that we use is if you're going to build a sidewalk before people even start walking on a field, it's kind of dumb. You have to see where people will walk first, and then you'll build a gravel path. So number one, you see where they walk, see where their intentions are in the grass, then you build a gravel path. And then eventually, once that walkway is established, that's where you build your processes and procedures.” The analogy is a visualization of the concept that you have to see how people operate before you can establish processes to make how they operate more efficient. Fleck encourages the negative experiences of process breakdown and cites them as the only way to really nail down what your processes should look like. “Over time, between the tenants giving feedback and owners giving feedback, we adjusted our processes. It's a mix between figuring out where the owners walk and where the tenants walk, and then building paths that align.” Fleck details an example of how Triton adjusted its process after an assumption it made got challenged: "We had an assumption that payment plans were helpful for residents," says Fleck. "And so the way we handled delinquency is we would reach out to them and would be like, ‘you need to pay this. Do you have a payment plan option?’ And they would always say yes. Our process was we'll put you on a payment plan, we'll invite you to a payment plan, you'll accept the payment plan, and then we'll monitor the payment plan. That in itself was a lot of work, but we thought it was doing well. But some of the owners that we had managed for mentioned that another property manager doesn't allow any payment plans. And if you're not fully paid up by the end of the month, then the eviction process starts if you’re over $500 due. So we're like 'alright, well, we'll serve you in that we'll change our processes.' And we did, and our delinquency percentage shrunk significantly. So, consistently, by the end of every month, we're around 5% APR. Whereas with payment plans we're like 5 to 10%.” Fleck obviously credits seeing the assumptions in motion as what prompted the need for process iteration, and he firmly believes that making too many of these assumptions is one of the biggest mistakes growing property management companies make. Like any business experiencing growth, process definition is critical to achieve efficiency at larger volumes. What Fleck is essentially advocating for is processes based on what you know, not what you think, and there is a big distinction. Managing property management software Fleck has installed both general and tech-based processes, and cites that understanding of how people interact with processes as the key in both areas. "They don't focus on user experience. That's really important. Number one, how the tenants like the tech, but specifically how the people who are using the tech are gonna adopt it. So when we were choosing a rent inspection software, we had so many people recommend one, software and I, we almost pulled the trigger on it. But then I was like, let's do a trial run on both these two. And we chose the other one because it was way better user experience for property managers. So user experience, both for us and for residents." Tech is a tool that is ultimately as good as its users, and if it's not used correctly or at all, its potential is wasted. An over-reliance on technology can actually go hand-in-hand with an under-reliance, as both often spring up from a lack of understanding of how to choose, implement, and manage it. In this vein, Fleck can't recall many property managers who operate with too much tech. As long as you're not purchasing redundant software and you've done and continue to do your due diligence, tech-based process can make your business more efficient. "I more often find myself having that conversation," says Fleck. "When I'm talking to property managers in my sub-market, who aren't connected with like a NARPM, who aren't connected with like a Crane group, or who aren't connected with a Second Nature, aren't connected to the tune of what the property management industry is doing and the cutting edge of it, I'm just like, 'you could save so much of your time and you could scale this so much more if you only even if you just had tenant Turner, or if you had LeadSimple.'" No matter what your story is a property manager, if growth is in the cards, so is process and technology refinement. Hopefully, Fleck's experience in these areas can help you stay efficient and organized as door counts grow.

Calendar icon April 19, 2024

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Why offer a tenant benefits package?

In the residential real estate sector, like everywhere else, residents and property investors alike are getting younger – and with this generational shift comes expectations for a certain level of convenience and support. To put it bluntly, today’s residents want their needs proactively anticipated. It’s something they're willing to pay (and stay) for. That’s where a tenant benefits package comes in. In this article, we’ll explore what a tenant benefit package is, how it improves the experience for both property managers and tenants, and crucial mistakes to avoid. Before we get into the details, we want to give a shoutout to our very own “Resident Benefits Package” – which is how we refer to the benefits comprised in the “tenant benefits package.” “Tenant” is not yet a legacy term, but we here at Second Nature are trying to evolve it. That’s because, in our experience, property managers work hard to make renters feel like they’re not just parties to a contract – they’re residents. On one hand, this is just humans being humans, but on the other hand, it also encourages them to invest in care for their new home and add value to the property. Ready to get started now? Build your Resident Benefits Package today. What is a tenant benefits package? A tenant benefits package is typically a bundle of services, conveniences, and provisions offered by a property manager on top of the basic lease agreement. They represent a triple-win situation for property managers, residents, and property owners, as they enhance the overall rental experience, generate additional income, and protect the real estate investment. It might include conveniences such as online monthly rent payment options, or portals for submitting maintenance requests and tracking their status. It could also include various financial perks, such as credit rating improvements that are contingent on on-time rental payments, or discounts on nearby services such as fitness centers. It might also include amenities ranging from move-in concierge or utility set-up services, to identity protection services, to HVAC filter delivery. The cost for resident benefits packages is typically included in the lease and added as a monthly fee, with the fee being dependent on the specific benefits. Indeed, the benefits contained in a tenant benefits package will vary depending on the property manager and the type of rental property. The overall goal is to provide tenants with an enhanced quality of life while simplifying the experience of renting. At Second Nature, we pioneered the only fully managed resident benefits package, in response to PMs who wanted to make their business stand out. Our RBP includes an array of services and supports for residents, from filter delivery to credit building to maintenance. Why should property managers offer a tenant benefits package? Beyond the triple-win considerations mentioned just above, there are compelling and concrete reasons why property managers should offer tenant benefit packages. We'll turn to these now. Ancillary revenue Some tenant benefit packages include optional services or add-ons that can generate additional revenue streams for the property manager. This might include things like renter insurance or HVAC filter delivery. Resident experience Tenant benefit packages deliver numerous savings and value to tenants, beyond the value they would get if they were obtaining the same benefits "à la carte." Additionally, by offering additional services and conveniences, benefit packages can make tenants feel valued and more satisfied with their living experience. For instance, maintenance hotline requests, tenant portals, and air filter replacements all make life easier. Add-on services like identity theft protection can offer a sense of security. And discounted renters insurance coverage, utility concierge services, or other perks can save tenants money. Decrease tenant turnover and vacancy rates In a competitive rental market, tenant benefit packages can be a major differentiator toward boosting retention rates and reducing vacancy rates. Properties that offer these packages can also attract a wider pool of qualified tenants, and potentially command higher rents. Note that certain benefits in the package, like online rent payments and maintenance requests, can automate tasks and free up the property manager's time. This allows them to focus on more value-added initiatives. How does the tenant benefits package improve the tenant experience? Tenant benefit packages can significantly improve tenant satisfaction in several ways, by making life easier, more convenient, and potentially more affordable. For instance, if an online portal (a baseline feature for most property management software) is included for rent payments and maintenance issues and requests, this eliminates the hassle of writing checks or waiting on hold to speak with someone about a clogged drain. In other words, tenants have the peace of mind of knowing they can manage their tenancy 24/7 from the comfort of their own devices. Some packages might include features like filter delivery services or regularly scheduled HVAC maintenance. This frees tenants from having to remember these tasks – and ensures their apartment is well-maintained. Certain packages might also offer "verified vendor" services – in other words, a vetted vendor network that can help provide a more secure feeling to residents when service providers are on-site. On the financial side of things, a benefits package might offer discounts with local suppliers for various goods and services, or on a renters insurance policy obtained through the property manager (with applicable waivers for residents who have their own insurance). This can save tenants money on a necessary expense. Some packages also help residents with their credit scores via credit reporting and credit building services, so they can transition from renting to home buying when the time is right. The idea is that the credit reporting program reports on-time rent payments automatically to all credit bureaus, helping residents build their credit simply by paying their rent on time. Some benefit packages include resident rewards programs that represent a powerful and positive incentive for on-time rent payments, including gift cards or cash. As far as living perks go, packages sometimes include added benefits such as access to fitness centers or community events. This provides tenants with additional spaces to relax, socialize, or stay healthy. Packages can include security deposit alternatives that serve to provide a means for residents to be financially liable for damages without having to pay a significant lump sum upfront, such as pure insurance, surety bonds, and ACH authorization programs. Ultimately, tenant benefit packages create a more professional and responsive image for the property management company, which helps tenants feel valued and allows them to experience a smoother, more stress-free rental experience. What are the mistakes to avoid when offering tenant benefits packages? Property management companies should take care to avoid certain pitfalls when implementing tenant benefit packages to ensure they are providing true value to tenants as well as delivering profitability to the PM company itself. For instance, it's important to ensure that the services you're offering are actually relevant to your target renters. For example, young professionals might appreciate discounts on gym memberships, while families might prefer pet-sitting services. You should also take care to clearly communicate what's included and not included in the package to new residents. Don't oversell the benefits – focus on how they genuinely improve the living experience. It's also very important to set realistic expectations for response times on standard maintenance requests, emergency maintenance requests, or virtual concierge services. Likewise, be clear on all available payment methods, as well as rent due dates, late fee structures, and any associated payment processing fees. If your package includes services from third-party vendors, ensure that these vendors are reputable and reliable. Research their customer service record and responsiveness to ensure a smooth partnership and a positive experience for tenants. Above all, regularly monitor the usage of different benefits within your benefits package. This can help you refine your offerings and ensure you're not spending where spending is not required. Looking for a Resident Benefits Package? If you’re looking for a “plug and play” resident benefits package, Second Nature’s RBP is the way to go. Designed to be easy to implement and simple to use, all the services it includes are managed by Second Nature – which means there’s no day-to-day upkeep required from the property manager: Second Nature keeps it running. It’s a simple way to grow your business and create great experiences that residents will pay and stay for. Learn more about our fully-managed Resident Benefits Package.

Calendar icon April 2, 2024

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