Who am I and who is PULSE PM Consulting?
Aaron Emery, Founder & Managing Director of PULSE Property Management Consulting and Principal Licensee of AAE Property Services. PULSE PM Consulting is an independent consultancy firm offering specialised property management business consulting, mentoring & coaching, utilizing the world’s first architecturally designed & reverse engineered property management platform, ii processes, resources and training. In March 2018 I was awarded the Australian Master iiCC designation by ireviloution after being specially trained as a property management business analyst, strategist and system engineering specialist.
In my last role as an “employee” I was general manager for a large management rights company, overseeing six residential apartment buildings and twelve property & building management operational staff. In 2016, after working exclusively in property management for just over 9yrs I decided to follow my dreams and opened AAE Property Services, offering professional, unrivalled boutique property management services to a capped number of exclusive Brisbane investors who had a certain style of property, within a very defined core market area.
Growth was tough initially, I openly admit there are some things I’d do differently if I had my time over, but it’s been a great learning experience and I’m still here. I lived through it, or the business did, and tougher times are now behind me with some nice steady growth over the last six months. I’ve made sure I built my business by design, rather than by default like so many property management businesses across Australia, which has had a lot of positive outcomes for me as I focused on the critical numbers for maximum profits. I can very proudly say my average management fee is 8.62%, well above the industry average of 7.0% in my service area. Because of this, and other factors like the “minimum rent per week policy”, my monthly income is similar to that of someone with double the number of properties.
I achieved this result because of how I designed my business plan, which was very strategic – to build a business that can be just as profitable with only 100 doors under management, as someone who might have 150 or 200 doors under management. This could only be achieved by sticking within the business plan guidelines which included managing properties in a core-focused radius from my office, no discounting on fees, not managing properties over a certain age, in poor condition etc. and setting a “minimum rent p/w” policy. For example, I won’t take on any new property that can’t achieve $400 per week, or higher in rent.
Business by design is about planning and understanding who the business is in terms of culture, the service they aim to provide their clients, and how they want clients to perceive their business. It’s really about every detail of your business because from business by design comes: • Service by design
- Brand by design
- Team by design
- Culture by design • Reputation by design
Business by design means you create the business you have planned, regardless of which team members represent your vision, your brand and your service. You make it happen, rather than simply letting it happen ‘by default’. Business by design means you plan and design the team of your choice and training of your choice. Business by design means connecting yourself with your business and the personality, soul and energy you are willing to inject into it.
Business by design means your business is planned with real targets and objectives. Ultimately, business by design puts you in control of your business allowing you to grow, nurture and protect your brand, reputation, team, clients, asset and income. As a result, your business achieves retention, and out of retention your business is guaranteed to grow through repeat, referral and recommendation business. This is the most cost-effective method to grow your business.
Since completing my extensive property management business training and mentoring, I’m now working with business owners across Australia and recently launched my latest business PULSE Property Management Consulting, so that I can continue to help empower and educate more property management business owners and their management staff, existing businesses who may be going through a rebranding, restructure, buying/selling a rent roll or a start-up company, new to the industry.
It doesn’t matter if you are new to the game, or been at it for 10, 25 or 40yrs. The key is to never stop learning, and never stop improving in your knowledge and delivery of the customer service experience. As the world of property management continues to change and evolve with new technology and what we call “agency disruptors” continue to enter the marketplace, more and more business owners are seeking the help of property management consultants, specially trained personnel who can help them achieve their goals with their business. So many property management businesses suffer the four key pain points in their business;
- GROWTH – so many business owners I speak with constantly ask me for ideas and tips on how to grow, how to handle growth, how many properties can a property manager handle and so on. Alarming a lot of agencies don’t have an active management consultant (BDM) to actively grow the business, instead sometimes overloading the PM’s to try and grow, as well as do everything else.
- HIGH STAFF TURNOVER (sticky staff) – we speak with many business owners and seemed to hear the same thing over and over – we keep losing staff, it’s hard to keep good staff, staff continue to burn out, another property manger turned out to be useless or incompetent and they left. Many business owners are reluctant to invest in training for this reason which unfortunately, only adds to one of the underlying problems.
- HIGH or CONSTANT LOSS OF MANAGEMENTS – another pain point that comes up a lot during our discussions with owners is the high loss of managements every month,
sometimes as many as 15 – 20 per month. When we dig a little, there’s mixed reasons (loss through sale, owner moves back in etc) but more commonly unfortunately it’s loss through theft from a departed PM, or from poor management and service.
4. NOT PROFITABLE – it’s no secret that their can be a lot of expenses and overheads to run a property management business. Adding employee wages and shop rent into the mix and you could be talking $35 – $50K per month, or upwards of $100K for larger agencies. A comment I get a lot is “we are growing in numbers, but not in profits and we don’t know why”.
When we meet with business owners who are suffering from any of the above problems, an operational prognosis is always recommended. It’s like an MRI for your business so we can get to the core of the issues, and then provide the perfect solutions. It’s not uncommon for pain point 2 & 3 to occur at the same time, a staff member leaving from burn out, property owners leaving from high staff turnover or constant change, or both – a property manager leaves and steals client data and before you know it, you’ve lost 30 properties. The worst I’ve seen was 100 managements stolen by a departing PM. This is what we call “White Collar Crime” in property management, it’s a terrible reality that has existed for too long, has caused several thousands of dollars in losses for business owners and needs to be STOPPED!
So why did I decide to teach others?
I want to share the skills, wisdom, understanding & knowledge I have acquired over my career thus far and demonstrate to business owners how a full turn-key solutions product such as the ii systems which provides processes, resources and training together with accountability for property managers & profitability for business owners, can help their business, just like it’s helped mine.
I want to help other business owners build the most successful & profitable property management business possible, to build an agency by design rather than by default and reach their own pinnacle of success. Demonstrating how they can achieve this through consistency of service underpinned by processes, systems, minimum standards, setting client expectations and on-going staff training, rather than by thinking they must “have the biggest rent roll”, like so many agencies proclaim to have or strive towards.
I want to ensure no new property manager who enters this industry has the same negative and gruelling experience I had in my early years in the industry working in the chaos. Far too many property management business owners provide minimal training and little support with the wrong focus – how much they’ve grown by. But what about how many they lost? They need a holistic view of their entire business, without this, the critical factors and numbers are not being correctly measured. You don’t necessarily have to be the biggest, to be the most profitable.
Numbers are important, but profitability and sustainability through retention, repeat and referral business are key. A rent roll is the only real asset that has value in a Real Estate Agency and, if operated and managed professionally with a systemised approach, it can achieve huge capital growth & constant income regardless of market conditions. More to the point, property management keeps clients walking through your agency door, if they are serviced professionally.
A well-managed process-driven, service orientated professional property management business will create sales for the real estate agency. That is, sales that generate new management business, not by selling managements from the agency rent roll which so many do, then leaving themselves without an asset but still holding or paying back the debt if that property was part of a rent roll purchase. There is a purpose and a process to follow to ensure property management growth through retention that results in generating property sales. It’s win/win. The agency earns the selling commission, gains a new management, resulting in increased monthly income and business asset value.
During my career to date, 90% of my business owners or principal licensees were very heavily sales focused & most had never worked a day in property management, ever! Generally, a head of department (HOD) or Senior PM was left in charge, to guide, mentor and train the other property managers, attempting to run a successful department. Sometimes, all while looking after a small portfolio of their own depending on the structure of the business.
I also found that none of my previous bosses would share their vision with their HOD or with their PM team, but then wondered why their dreams, goals and aspirations for owning a profitable PM business weren’t being achieved. The result was often a huge disconnect between the business owner and property managers and often this was even worse between the sales and property management departments.
Property managers felt disillusioned while business owners were frustrated that their dreams and goals were not being realised, and profits were lower than expected. Property managers burnt out from being overworked (to many properties in their portfolio & little support), undervalued (business owner couldn’t afford to pay for training, send the team to conferences/events or implement new systems) and underappreciated (no bonuses, overtime or KPI’s to reward their efforts). Looking back now there were two main reasons for the chaos – lack of accountability and systems.
Business owner’s frustrations grew bigger as they were also losing managements through inconsistent and poor service, property owner’s frustrations also grew with the inconsistency of service, more owners would leave, and the business owner struggled to find people willing to work in these conditions. Sadly, the revolving door of our industry continues today across Australia, and indeed in most parts of the world.
Throughout my career working for these people, I always felt like I was different and didn’t fit in but at the time I didn’t really understand why. I gained a lot of respect from landlords & colleagues for my attention to detail, persistence and relentless pursuit to provide clients with an exceptional service standard but every step of the way I was met with a business owner or principal licensee that challenged me for thinking outside the box and asking them to implement new ideas or efficiencies in their processes.\
I was often called out as having a bad attitude or being difficult because I didn’t conform and didn’t play by their rules. Truth was, unfortunately they just didn’t get me because they didn’t get their own business. Over the last two years, I’ve discovered why this was – I had a different vision to them as to how a property management business should be run and what I was asking of them back in my early days required them to change their way of thinking.
How dare I, a young ambitious property manager with a vision and passion plus a business mindset, but with limited PM knowledge (at least in the early days), question the way they “always did things”. I can’t tell you how many times I used to hear “this is how we’ve always done things around here kid, if you don’t like it, leave!”. Well let me tell you, I did leave every time, then I’d sit back and watch their business continue to spiral out of control, more loss of staff, more loss of properties. Sad to say, today, only half the business owners I worked for are still in business. For many years in real estate, change has been a scary word. This is slowly changing but not fast enough and many agencies are being left behind and/or shutting up shop.
Yes, these were the same principals & business owners who would tell me they wanted better results for their department but unfortunately, they were not willing to change their way of thinking & they also refused to listen. As the old saying goes – If you always do what you’ve always done, you’ll always get what you’ve always got. It’s not rocket science, right? But to a sales focused principal who doesn’t quite understand property management, it was clearly a lot to grasp.
Thinking of things like systems, consistency of service, completion of tasks, compliance, procedures, processes and checklists with on-going team training, KAPI’S & staff recognition were all things that should have been adopted and perhaps they could have achieved their business goals and dreams and still be in business today.
I am now available to work with other property management businesses, helping them with; • Operational prognosis reporting
- Operational due diligence
- Operational rent roll transfer and transition
- Operational business planning
- Operational business consulting, mentoring and coaching
Other services include,
- Software analysis for the business
- Mentoring & inducting of new PM recruits
(Trust account software & other PM-related programs for improved process efficiencies) • Implementation of systems, processes and resources
(ireviloution property management business solutions programs and ii academy training) • Staff development through practical “HOW TO” online training
(ii international property management academy)
I am ready to help make a positive change for this industry which I am so proud to work in and am passionate about empowering other business owners and property managers to love what they do #LEARNITLIVEITLOVEIT. An industry thought leader, mentor, fellow business owner and coach, I encourage all property management businesses to take a stand, rise above and raise the bar with service levels.
I want to close the gap of inconsistent service levels between all the different agencies across the country, with the end goal a more positive & profitable experience for the investor and for the business owner, achieved through #PULSEMANAGEMENT.
I can’t wait to work alongside you and help you reach your goals in business.
Australia Master iiCC,
Property Management Business Solutions Consultant
Systems Engineer, Business Analyist & Strategist
Director / Principal Licensee
AAE Property Services & PULSE PM Consulting
Vision, consistency, systemized processes, training, design & a willingness to embrace change from all team members are the keys to survive, be more profitable, achieve better results & reach the pinnacle of success in your business!