How to Start a Property Management Company: A Complete Guide
The average annual return on a real estate property varies between markets, but the average 20-year return for commercial restate properties is 9.5 percent, and 10.6 percent for residential.
Real estate still holds as one of the most reliable forms of investment, there will always be properties to buy and sell, and a need for property managers to monitor them.
Whether you’re new to the industry or are a freelancer who’s considering creating a business, the ins-and-outs of how to start a property management company can seem tricky.
But setting up a property management company is much like starting any business. In this blog post, we’ll cover all of the steps you need to take to effectively set-up a property management business.
Figure Out How You Want to Structure Your Business
First, you need to make sure that you understand what the responsibilities of business ownership are. Some people confuse being a freelancer with owning a business.
If you are working for yourself, and are 100 percent responsible for all business activities, even if you buy an LLC, you are a freelancer. Owners of a property management company manage themselves and others.
You’ll likely find yourself wanting to start a property management company if your client load has simply exceeded your personal bandwidth, and you need to hire help.
Next, you’ll want to choose the type of business structure you want to have. This means choosing a legal entity: Limited Liability Corporation (LLC) or an incorporated business (S-Corp or C-Corp).
This is something you can easily do yourself online, or have an attorney do. The biggest differences come with the way you will have to file your taxes, and who will be responsible for payment in the event that your company gets sued.
How to Start a Property Management Company? Build Your Skills
When you think you’re ready to take on ownership of a property management company, reassess your core skills to ensure that you’re ready. Refresh your emotional intelligence and communication skills.
So much of property management is having good people skills, and if you’re hiring employees you’ll be adding a completely new layer to that.
Freshen-up on your time management skills. It’s one thing to manage yourself, but another to manage others. If you don’t have solid systems in place, your employees will feel unfocused and it will be easy for things to slip through the cracks.
Also, make sure your level of focus and drive are at the level they need to be to stay motivated and to motivate others while you’re growing your business. There will be a learning curve, it will be hard work and take time.
Establish the Licensing You’ll Need
Every state has different property management licensing requirements. Check your state’s website to make sure you have all the necessary licensing.
For example, Idaho, Kansas, Maine, Maryland, Massachusets, and Vermont do not require any type of property management licensing. While the District of Columbia, Montana, Oregon, South Carolina, and South Dakota require specific property management licenses.
Choose a Company Name and Logo
After you’ve connected the bones of your company, some of the more public-facing creative projects can start. One of the most exciting is choosing your business name and logo.
Choose a company name that’s simple and memorable. Legal Zoom has a free business name-check service that tells you if the name you want has been taken already. Don’t skip this step!
You can get tangled up in a lawsuit easily if you choose the same name as another company, especially if its in the same industry and offering similar services to you.
Having a logo made can be inexpensive or expensive, and really depends on your overall budget and branding vision. You can easily hire a quality graphic designer for less than $300 on sites like Fiverr and UpWork.
This is a great, inexpensive option for the DIY-brander who plans to set-up a simple website through WordPress or Squarespace and doesn’t have a large budget to work with. The downfall of something like this is that you really need to understand what you’re doing in order to set-up everything correctly.
You need to make sure your website is registered to Google so that it can be crawled. You need to have an optimized website copy. You need to have some type of niche or design strategy behind your name and logo. A branding agency or design firm will be able to get all of the aesthetics set-ups for you, but this level of service typically comes at a high price.
Optimize Your Website
There are so many things things that go into how your website ranks with search engines. Simply existing online doesn’t quite mean that your website will be found by anyone who searches for property management in your area.
If you’re serious about generating leads from your website and being highly ranked, you need to have a solid SEO strategy. This starts with your website. From the layout of your website to the keywords you feature to the copy on each page, everything needs to align with a centralized strategy and goal.
A lot of people who set-up websites themselves end-up frustrated by the lack of traffic to their site, and this is likely due to backend SEO set-ups and content and keyword issues that any professional agency would not forget.
Set Up Your Website and Social Media Networks
Social media networks have become search engines in themselves. Sometimes when someone searches for a company, their social media profiles will populate before their website even does. So it’s important to have optimized pages and profiles that are updated regularly.
While your company doesn’t have to spend thousands of dollars on trying to go viral, you do need to make sure your profile is completely updated, and visually matches the branding of your logo and website.
At the very minimum, have a Facebook and Linkedin page. You might find yourself wanting to create a Twitter, Instagram, Youtube or other social media account too, depending on who your audience is and the type of content you want to create.
Understand that the cadence of posting and the style of topical nature of what you post should vary between social networks. Do not auto-post the same thing to every social network.
Facebook, Youtube, and Twitter have their own certification courses, which are good ideas to take if you really want to understand how social media works. The Hubspot and Hootsuite Academies also have creat tutorials and certification courses.
Get Your Contact Information in Check
If you have a physical office space, setting up your phone number and address is fairly simple. You’ll want to have your main phone number be a mobile one since so much of your job is on the road and onsite.
If you have a remote team or don’t have a physical office space yet, invest in a business mailing address. Many co-working spaces and virtual business companies offer these at a low cost. What’s great is you can choose any location you want as your main address.
Now that you know how to start a property management company, you’re probably ready to hit the ground. When you’re ready, get the help of companies who specialize in your industry. Since 2012 Surf Results Marketing has been a leader for search engine optimization services for property management companies. Click here to contact us!