There’s no magic formula for conducting the perfect evaluation of a property management system, but I can tell you there’s one surefire way to send it to an early grave: Requests for Proposals, or RFPs. This old school way of evaluating partners and service providers is not only impersonal, but the answers are almost always a list of features and functions that sound great on paper but don’t reflect your company’s core values and business objectives. “Ooooh, Company A has a cool mobile feature that does X.” But X might not even be something that fits into your day-to-day operations processes. The evaluation process should begin with a two-way conversation – not a formal document sent to a handful of companies who may or may not provide the solution you need – or the capacity to deliver it.
Instead, you can save time, hassle and money by doing a proper assessment that includes the following considerations:
- Your specific business needs. Every company has different goals. What you want to get from a property management platform may not be the same as your neighbor, so be sure to do your research and determine which business problems you are looking to solve. (More on this here >>)
- Pricing. In order to get an accurate price proposal, you need to discuss specifics: square footage, property type, other systems in place, timelines, etc. (More on this here >>)
- References. As the potential client, you need to be in control of this process. This is now the opportunity to verify the provider is being truthful in its promises. Make sure the client references are similar to your business in size and location, and ask for at least one reference that reflects a situation where the company had a similar business issues they were looking for the platform to solve. (More on this here >>)
- Service and Support. The ultimate success of your property management system is contingent upon what happens after the sale. The right provider will partner with you to help improve operations through a deep and ongoing commitment to service and support that makes the difference between “just implementing software” and achieving real success. (More on this here >>)
- Stability and Growth. Length of time in business is a benchmark measurement indicating a company has solid prospects to be around for a while. You’ll also want to take a look at their development timeline. Is the providing continuously innovating? (More on this here >>)
All property management platforms were not created equal. Make sure you end up with a provider who will help your company stand out as a market leader.