Don’t Use Chicken Wire to Collect Rent!

I recently came across a blog post entitled “Property Management 101: Do Not Use Chicken Wire to Collect Rent Checks” written by Trevor Henson which described a property where they had a drop box which was made of chicken wire and hence full of holes. There are obviously several things wrong with that and it caught my attention. This particular property clearly is not aware of the advances in technology and the trends in rent collection today, but there are significantly more efficient and secure ways to collect rent today than a box made of chicken wire.

Rent collection and the revenue derived from those payments are the blood line of all real estate portfolios. The process should be efficient, safe, and secure for both the resident and the landlord. Over the past couple years have come great advancements in portal offerings that provide the ability for residents to view statements, make payments, and perform other activities in an online, secure environment and there are several advantages in taking advantage of today’s technology for rent collection and other property activities. First, you often get paid quicker. Second, it is secure. Certainly more secure than a box made of chicken wire, but I would also argue that an online interaction with the proper security software is many times more secure than placing a physical check in a drop box, bringing it to a physical person in the office, etc. Third, a payment portal provides the opportunity for residents to set up recurring payments which makes your revenue stream more reliable.

In my research for this post I stumbled upon a study that was done for MasterCard which looked at the growing trend of recurring payments and why consumers are demanding it. The study, which was performed by an independent research firm, found that the top three reasons consumers choose automatic payments were convenience, stress relief, and cost savings. Cost savings in the form of postage, paper, etc. that comes with traditional payment. I’d like to focus on convenience and stress relief. Think about the goals of most properties and high on the list will be tenant satisfaction. I can say with a great deal of certainty that providing a service that is convenient and relieves stress would greatly contribute to higher satisfaction. For the landlord, they pay quicker and ideally set up recurring payments. Many property management software companies provide portal products such as MRI Software’s Resident Connect offering which provides a brandable, secure online presence where tenants can make payments, view their statement, and submit a service request.

Think about your current rent collection process, are you still using traditional mail? Have you considered upgrading your collection process? It may be time to consider upgrading your collection process with today’s portal technology as it can bring several benefits to both you and your residents.

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