Is a mandatory resident benefits package (RBP) rollout right for your property management company?
Let’s say you’ve set up a resident benefits package and you’re ready to start rolling this thing out, but you’re not sure whether to make it mandatory for all of your properties or give residents the option to participate in it. A mandatory rollout would result in more doors adopting it, but you fear the possibility of dissatisfied residents being forced to participate in it. Property managers also have to decide this when considering investor benefits packages (IBP).
It’s a tough call, one that Second Nature’s Head of Sales and former property manager Bob Hansen is here to weigh in on.
Key Learning Objectives:
Why mandatory resident benefits packages work
How to roll out a mandatory RBP
Benefits of a mandatory RBP
Challenges of an optional RBP
What other property management companies are doing
Benefits of Mandatory RBP Rollout
Hansen and the Second Nature team recommend mandatory rollouts, and they do so for pretty simple reasons.
Hansen is quick to note that while “mandatory” may scare some property managers, it shouldn't. Here are some of the benefits he has seen.
You’re giving residents something they want
“You have to look at the value that a resident benefits package brings to the investor and the resident, not just you as the property manager,” says Hansen.
Hansen hits on a key point here about resident benefits packages: They’re desirable to the residents.
RBPs are crafted specifically to address problems that residents want resolved. THey make life easier, and give residents incredible value, like credit building, identity protection, rewards, and more.
Making these benefits clear to the resident allows an RBP to be adopted easier. Sure, there will be the occasional individual who is an exception, but very rarely is any pushback experienced on mandatory rollouts because the programs are creating value for the residents.
Put simply, residents consider an RBP worth the increase in monthly cost.
Mandatory rollouts make things easier on everyone
“I think conceptually in [a property manager’s] mind, they think it’s not going to work out. But then when they do roll it out, they’re quite surprised at how easy it was,” Hansen says.
Once you can internalize the idea that adding a Resident Benefits Package is not an inconvenience in the eyes of nearly every resident, it becomes an incredibly simple decision to install one at each home you manage without worrying about negative perception of the addition.
The cost to the business is simply not what you may fear it to be, and making it mandatory allows you to roll it out to the maximum number of doors and the whole process is much more streamlined and easy to manage.
You’ll accomplish it more quickly with a mandatory rollout, and see the benefits starting rolling in faster. Investors will have happier residents, and you’ll have better results.
Residents rarely give pushback
Hansen touched on how little headache resident pushback to mandatory rollout has actually created for Second Nature clients.
“For those of you that are a little hesitant about rolling it out or unsure: I recall Dave Pruitt, Director of Property Management at West USA Realty, talked about rolling out his Resident Benefits Package on a podcast. He rolled it out to people real quick and I think of 80 people, one person pushed back.”
That one person did not renew their lease as a result, but Pruitt filled the property with a willing renter a day after and never looked back.
Challenges of Optional RBP Rollout
The primary challenge of an optional RBP is that optional rollouts create unnecessary headaches. Exceptions leads to workarounds which lead to mistakes.
“From running operations in a large management company myself in the past, if you’re making exceptions, you’re bound to mess something up. If you’re locking it in as mandatory, it’s a lot easier to manage from the property management side,” says Hansen.
Constantly accounting for what services are on and what services are off for which properties creates a load of extra work – that frankly does not result in a payoff worth the lift.
Generally the perceived benefit of making your rollout optional is taht residents will be happier if given a choice. But rarely if ever do property managers see satisfaction go up when they give residents an option – and it can even go down.
In the end, Hansen recommends sticking to a mandatory rollout. Residents end up happier, investors see better retention, and your team gets less headaches.