Keeping your homeowners, your staff, and yourself happy is a juggling act. With a focus on creating a positive, end-to-end homeowner experience, more HOAs are searching for tools that anticipate their homeowners’ needs. New homeowners, especially millennials, are purchasing and downloading technology to help their lives run more efficiently.
What the Tech?
Homeowners are connecting thermostats, smoke detectors, security cameras, and doorbells to their smart phones and tablets. They’re installing electric vehicle chargers in their garages. Every year, new innovative “smart home” technologies emerge and shake up the industry. Homeowners expect the same level of technology when it comes to paying their association dues.
They Want Options
Around 70% of HOAs offer online payment options to their homeowners. Of those that do, 90% offer ACH, 92% offer credit cards, and 15% offer PayPal. To stay ahead of the curve, you need to offer multiple payment options like cash, check, credit card, PayPal, Masterpass, etc.
According to a study by Martec, from 2015 to 2018 there was an 11% increase in HOAs offering online payments. Also, only one in five Americans carries around a checkbook anymore, so why would any business rely solely on the acceptance of checks?
Another increasing concern is the security of personal information. It seems like corporations are hacked and data is stolen every other month. It’s worth double checking that your payment processor is PCI Level 1 compliant, and that all transmitted data is protected with an SSL Encryption. PayPal and Masterpass are examples of secure and encrypted payment methods that give your homeowners peace of mind.
They Want Flexibility
As well as multiple options for how they can pay, they also want greater flexibility in where they can pay. The option to pay online is a must-have in this day and age, but what if your homeowners are out running errands? They want the ability to call and make their payment with a representative over the phone, or via an app on their smartphone.
You can even give them the option to pay their dues and ancillary charges at the checkout counter at a retailer like Walmart, Kmart, Ace Cash Express, or local mom and pop stores. Now “the office was closed” or “the check got lost in the mail” are no longer valid excuses. More ways to pay leads to less late payments.
It’s not all about the homeowner. There are ways to simplify your day-to-day processes, and save you money too. Did you know it costs about $1.22 to process a paper check (according to NACHA). That’s around $7,300 per year if you’re processing 500 paper checks per month.
An added bonus is that online payments reduce the amount of cash and money orders you receive in office. Now your risk of theft has immediately decreased.
Time is Money
Automating standard processes saves you precious time. One of our clients, EZR Management, said “what used to take us 80+ hours to reconcile now takes me under two hours.” Let’s fire up the calculator here, 80 hours of reconciliation a month is equal to 117 business days per… which comes out to 4 months of work. That is a significant amount of time you could reallocate to more important tasks.
Why would anyone manually post payment after payment when there are processors who integrate seamlessly with your accounting software? A homeowner submits a payment through your portal, and you see their ledger update in real time, simple as that.
Also, auto-payments eliminate the need for manual reconciliation. This means less work for you and your team, and less chance of human error.
Finding simple ways to save time and money gives you the freedom to shift your focus on proactive ways to care for your homeowners. When you have more opportunity to anticipate their needs, they will love you for it!
Give Them Your Full Support
Look for a provider who offers 24x7x365 homeowner support to answer payment inquiries, and take payments over the phone. This will take some of the work off your plate, and your homeowners will love having a number to call even when your office is closed.
With the support they need and the payment options they want, you can give your homeowners a great experience. You’ll get paid faster, have less manual work, and more time to focus on improving your community and growing your business.
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