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Driving Centralization Forward (Part 2)

2024 Episodes
2024 Episodes
Driving Centralization Forward (Part 2)

In part two of our conversation with Dom Beveridge, Daniel Cunningham and Dom continue their conversation around centralization. They covered everything from practical, incremental steps to futuristic innovations and tackled the real-world challenges multifamily operators face.

The Flavors of Centralized Leasing

Dom shared his thoughts on how to dip your toes into centralized leasing. One effective strategy is setting up a central hub for lead nurturing. By using AI apps to handle those initial calls and bringing in regionalized call centers, properties can manage leads more efficiently without needing a tech overhaul.

“One of the most palatable and effective next steps I’d seen is when you create a central capability for lead nurturing,” says Dom. “Maybe you’re using one of these AI apps, which are increasingly common right now, to handle inbound calls. A lot of the conversation from initial call through tap quotes, you also might augment that with some call center, for some regionalized leasing capability where humans are going to reach out proactively to nurture leads. I’ve seen people make that work, you know, in a relatively low tech environment.”

Better CRMs, Better Results

Taking it a step further, Dom talked about using CRMs that focus on prospects rather than properties. This approach gives you a complete view of potential tenants and makes lead sharing between properties a breeze. Dom mentioned companies have seen great success by referring leads to sister properties, significantly boosting conversion rates.

Seamless Leasing Experiences

On the more ambitious end, some companies are experimenting with advanced access control systems and custom-built touring apps. These tools create a smooth, end-to-end experience for potential tenants, making fully remote leasing a reality. While upgrading existing properties can be tricky, the goal is clear: enhancing tenant experiences through smart technology.

The Debate on Self-Guided Tours

The industry’s view on self-guided tours has definitely evolved, especially after the pandemic. What was once a hesitant move has become more accepted. However, self-guided tours aren’t without their challenges. Some operators have seen lower closing rates compared to guided tours, prompting them to rethink their strategies.

Streamlining Maintenance Through Specialization

Dom highlighted that the main goal of centralizing maintenance isn’t to break the traditional 1:100 staff-to-unit ratio but to tackle staffing shortages and boost efficiency. Centralized maintenance often means having maintenance staff report to a regional head rather than individual property managers, creating a skilled resource pool.

Hiring specialists, like an appliance expert or a dedicated painter, can drastically reduce the need for external vendors and save costs. This approach allows for a more efficient allocation of resources, with specialists rotating between properties as needed.

“Maintenance, centralization to me, looks like you have your all of your maintenance people report into a regional head of maintenance, instead of having them reporting to community managers,” says Dom. “The benefit is that you then get to view your resources as a skill pool. What people tell me is that the way it pays for itself, or the way you make money out of this, is that you hire instead of just having three generalists at each property, maybe you hire one appliance specialists, but if you hire an appliance specialist as one of your maintenance resources in your pool, you never see another external invoice for an appliance again. So, you know, you’re saving this money and then you’re saving the money $500 or $600 at a time. But those savings mount up over a cluster of properties.”

Organizational Change Over New Tech

Interestingly, Dom pointed out that successful centralized maintenance doesn’t necessarily need new technology. Instead, it’s about changing how things are organized. Making sure maintenance staff have access to all necessary work orders and systems, and viewing them as a regional resource pool, can bring significant benefits without major tech investments.

“It’s more of an organizational change,” says Dom. “Even if you had three properties and you pooled the resources between them, you could start to be better at some of this stuff without changing too much else. And it seems to me that you then just start seeing the opportunities as they arise because you’re looking at different stuff than you otherwise would be.”


Follow Daniel Cunningham on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/cunnuh/ 

Follow Dom Beveridge on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/dombeveridge/ 

Follow Apartment Academy on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/showcase/apartment-academy/ 

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For a full transcript of this episode or to catch up on previous seasons, visit: https://info.leonardo247.com/aa-request-a-transcript-

About the Apartment Academy: Hosted by Leonardo247 founder and CEO Daniel Cunningham, each episode of the Apartment Academy delves into the multifamily industry’s operational challenges and strategies. Tune in for insightful conversations that are shaping the future of property operations.