Saratoga Group is a thought leader in the Mobile Home Park Management arena.
We are quickly scaling our business. We purchased 11 communities in 2018 and expect to own over 25 communities with around 3000 sites by the end of 2019. We believe that the key to being successful is in the operation of these Mobile Home Parks (MHPs). Property Management for MHPs is a relatively unsophisticated space. Best practices have not been well established and third-party professional management is simply unavailable in most markets. However, we have found a few tools that have been very impactful to our business:
1. Showmojo. One of the first obstacles was efficiently marketing available homes in the disparate communities that we own. Showmojo integrates with our property management platform, RentManager, and syndicates all available properties to Zillow, Apartments.com, Zumper and most importantly Facebook Marketplace. Management can easily see the availability of all listings/managers and which listings are providing the most internet traffic and leading to the most appointments.
2. Contract Automation. We own communities in 7 different states and it was difficult to stay on top of state-specific forms and enabling our on-site managers (OMs) to quickly get new contracts signed with a prospect. We built a WIKI page with an easy template that our Oms fill out and then it creates the contract and sends it out for signatures with a press of a button. One of our new OMs was recently hired from a larger MHP operator. He said, “Filling out these contracts used to take me 1.5 to 2 hours…now I can get them done in less than 5 minutes!”
3. Weekly Reports and Videos. Since our assets are scattered all over the country, it is critical that we have frequent updates on each property. Saratoga Group created another form from our WIKI page that allows each OM to document Accomplishments, Main Issues and Maintenance Activities during the week. These individual reports are then aggregated into a single report for Management. We also get each OM setup with Google Photos on their Phone. Each week a new Google photo album is created that the OMs add their weekly drive-through videos and photos. All of this is collected into a single Gsheet report as shown below:
4. Asana. Asana is project management software that integrates directly into Gsuite (Google). We start a new project for each property we put in escrow. We can put timelines, dependencies and assignees on each project (property). Once we have acquired the property, it remains a project as we implement our CAPEX improvement plan. Below is a snapshot of our project template:
5. Paylease. Rent collection can be one of the most time-consuming aspects of an OMs job. We mandate that all our residents pay rent through a service called Paylease. Each resident receives an account number that they take to the nearest Wal-Mart, 7-Eleven, etc. There they can pay with cash, money order, or check and the money is credited directly to their account, and posts the next day in our bank account and RentManager. OMs still need to follow-up on delinquencies, but no longer need to chase down tenants for rent payments.
6. Peer to Peer Training. We are in the process of implementing a forum for Peer to Peer Training. Training employees that are spread out across the continental US is difficult and generally inefficient. OMs can both ask and answer questions in specific categories. As soon as a new question has been posed it is sent out by email to the entire company. Users can then respond directly from their mobile phone and provide real-time help. All this information is stored in relevant categories that are accessible to the entire company. Basically we are creating an organic Knowledgebase that integrates with search functionality in our Google Suite of tools.
Saratoga Group has seen impressive improvement in our efficiency and bottom-line profitability by implementing the above measures. Stay tuned for other efficiencies in the works such as a Web Crawler for finding Mobile Home Parks for Sale and a new Website with SEO and FB Marketplace Integration. Happy Investing!