How technology can be key for block managers

Let’s get one thing straight, block managers aren’t going anywhere! Yours are the invisible hands that  keep everything working together – you are indispensable. The age of the internet has changed many industries, and property, for the most part, has been resistant to it.    Yes, there are portals offering solutions for people looking to sell or rent out their properties, but from the portal, customers still end up speaking to an agent and attending a viewing. There are of course, plenty of startups looking to be the “Uber of property management” but how many times has that path been walked?    The best technological advances are often the ones that go almost unnoticed – the ones that slot into our daily lives and simply make sense. Having spoken to a lot of our clients (a large chunk of which are landlords, property managers and agencies) it seems people are open to technological changes. But they want to see products that make a tangible difference to their day.     Digitisation of certain processes is indeed helping, from invoice entry to bank transfers, financial technology (FinTech) developments are directly tied to PropTech ones. When payment chasing, processing and the likes were digitised, it made our lives a lot easier, cheaper and more efficient in the property world.  But what of the biggest drains on a manager’s day-to-day life, and what is out there that can actually help?    I’ll bet that every time the phone rings you worry that it might mean driving to another site across town to drop off some keys, let in a contractor to carry out a  quick job, and then drive back. Your time is valuable, so is the vehicle that you are driving in. It’s hard to manage a block which is an hour or two’s drive away.     Yes, there are calls that we like, a meetand-greet with a new tenant is great, but how often is it to let in the plumber, painter, health and safety inspector or insurance professional? What if you could manage entry to the block remotely from the other side of town?    We operate in a tiny part of the wider PropTech sphere, my co-founders and I set up Klevio for exactly that: to save time in a world where time is money. Key management for too long has taken up vast chunks of your time. Driving to meet people and open a door. People that you do the same thing for over and over again at different properties.    For your tenant, we have provided a lifestyle product, allowing them to leave their keys at home in the same way people are increasingly doing with their bank cards. It’s proving a hit for the management world, keyless entry systems allow visitors to a property to access the building, with your permission granted from a swipe of your phone.   How that person enters the property is also in your control. You can let them in with a remote swipe or they can download our app for a virtual key, which can be limited by time and location. You can see when they enter and leave, with no added stress.    You will know as well as I do that there has been a changing tenant demographic over the last few years. Urban centres like London, Leeds, Manchester and more are experiencing a shift: the lack of available development space is pushing construction vertically. I would think that the blocks you manage are experiencing a sway towards a younger, on demand generation of customers.    You have the opportunity with small changes to appease their technological obsessions and cut your bottom line at the same time. What seems like a trend setting move from you for them, will help you whilst keeping your tenants happy. And a happy tenant lasts longer! Imagine a day when a tenant reports a leak through an app, which pushes the job to the relevant contractor and all you have to do is swipe a button on your phone to approve the job. That day is now! Companies are already providing this, using whatever management portal you use. Now when that contractor is  approved by you to carry out the works,  you won’t have to drive across town to let them in. They will have a virtual key that works for the allotted time, and you can be notified of their movements in and out of the building and own that data.    Block management is different to a lot of “agent” roles. Your time and relationship length is from beginning to end for a person’s stay in that building. Block managers handle the finances, the tenants, employment of staff, maintenance, compliance and to a very real extent, the building’s morale. Block managers are going nowhere fast, in a world of the consumer wanting more and wanting it now, I would suggest you have a look at the options out there.    Aleš Špetič is CEO and co-founder of Klevio


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