It can be difficult for property managers to keep in touch with every aspect of a community and the residents who live in it. But keeping a transparent relationship with residents is important for facilitating trust and improving resident retention.
Finding an effective way of creating that transparency is often where the difficulty lies. One of the easiest, and most overlooked, ways of providing transparency is by resident billing.
Many residents will never have any interaction with their property manager outside of move-in/out. Sending them a bill each month provides multiple ways to engage residents and build a positive relationship. You’re wondering how, so let me explain.
First, resident bills provide an opportunity to present clear and accurate information about their rent, utility usage, and any other ancillary fees. Not having full insight into what they are paying each month can easily erode trust between property managers and residents.
Timely bills that are easy to pay are important, too. An effective billing program is consistent and gives residents the tools to pay it on time with little to no effort. The tools are there for online delivery and online payment – even payments via text. Rent/bill reminders and auto-pays are even better.
Let’s not forget about user experience. A good user experience when receiving and paying a bill will make residents feel confident about their property manager. Let residents have a choice between receiving hard copies of their bill or an electronic version. If they choose electronic, they will benefit from having a “Pay Now” button linking to the payment site conveniently placed within the bill. It certainly makes paying rent much easier than having to drop a check off at the property management office.
An effective resident billing program does more than present charges. It also serves as a way of communicating personalized information that is not only pertinent to a resident’s community, but to them as individuals. Maybe there is a pet costume contest that you want all of the pet owners to know about. Perhaps you are repaving the parking lot so everyone will need to make alternate arrangements for 12 hours. It may be that you are launching an email address gathering campaign and you want everyone on paper billing to submit their email. The possibilities are endless – and the returns can be too.