Last modified on April 10th, 2023
By Megan Eales Monroe
When it comes to gauging property management success, reviewing metrics is a must. In fact, by assessing even just the data your team collects as a natural part of doing business every day, you can gain an understanding of resident happiness and retention, unit turn efficacy, maintenance operations performance, and much more.
However, in order to uncover the powerful insights you need to make a real impact, you need to go beyond the basics. That means setting up your property management data collection, analysis, and reporting approach to deliver deeper and more relevant insights for everyone, including your business, team members, and property owners.
To explore what this looks like and how to get even more actionable insights from your data, we spoke with Matthew Kaddatz on The Top Floor podcast. As a Senior Director at AppFolio and a property management business owner, he provided insights into how property managers can get even more out of reporting.
Keep reading for our top takeaways, or listen to the full podcast episode to dive deeper into the conversation.
1. Start by building better property management reports
Translating trustworthy data into clear, easy-to-ready and easy-to-access reports is vital for property management companies, on-site teams, and property owners. Without these reports, it’s nearly impossible to understand and benchmark current performance metrics. That also means it will be nearly impossible to accurately show results from implementing data-driven decisions in the future.
Because reports are the essential foundation for turning data into insights, Matthew explains how to make them better, from the start.
- Build report templates around audiences and needs: Matthew recommends starting with a clear understanding of who you’re creating reports for. So, for each “audience type,” ask:
- What do they care about?
- What do they need to know?
- What metrics will help support data-driven decisions?
By providing data tailored to owners’ needs, you can support their business goals as well as your own, at the same time.
“The best thing to do is start with the different personalities or personas that you’re aware of and build things for them…Maybe it’s owners that are in a growth phase and they need these types of things because it supports their goals. Maybe it’s repeat vendors that are constantly doing business with you. There’s probably a lot of commonalities amongst that cohort.”
- Test your reports: While you can tailor reports to individual audiences, it’s still worth getting feedback on those reports, by asking:
- Do the reports provide the right metrics and data owners need?
- Is the layout clear and easy to understand?
Once that feedback has been received, continue iterating and improving the reports, to make sure they’re as helpful as possible.
2. Automate your process to pull and analyze data
Manually gathering, pulling, and analyzing data is both incredibly time-consuming and prone to human error. However, by using a solution that automatically pulls the data you need, you can begin to take action much faster and with greater confidence. As Matthew explains:
“There are gaps in getting data into a usable format without needing a complete technical staff to do so. That’s really where the gap is. So the data exists. Getting it out of the software and into a place on a routine schedule in an automated way and then visualized, that’s a little bit challenging today.”
This also reduces the strain on team members since they’ll be able to quickly, easily and automatically draw the data they need, whenever they need. As a bonus, less time spent on manual reporting also means more time spent on high-value work, such as improving the resident and owner experience.
Provide self-service online portals for owners
In order to go beyond basic reporting, without tying property management teams up with pulling custom reports and random data pulls, providing self-service owner portals can be a win-win for everyone.
As Matthew explains below, he knows firsthand just how complex property management reporting can get yet how valuable it is for owners to be able to really dig into their own data. This is especially true with owners who have growing, already large, or diverse portfolio types.
“[Owners are] typically wanting their own reports in custom ways, and they might expect a certain level of basic financial reporting and operational reporting from the property management company, but they also want just more access to all of the data so that they can crunch it, analyze it, and build their own stuff on their side.”
By making data and reports more accessible at all times, plus giving owners the ability to click deeper into data and build their own reports, owner portals provide a much more streamlined experience for everyone. In addition, self-service portals can also help improve the owner experience by helping them feel empowered and in control. In turn, this can also make it easier to collaborate with owners on performance improvement recommendations and strategies.
To learn more about how you can enhance your resident experience, download our free guide below.