How To Start A Property Management Company Successfully In 2024

Khyati Hooda
By Khyati Hooda 47 Min Read

Have you ever thought about diving into the lucrative world of property management? 

The industry is projected to surpass $26 billion by 2026. With figures like that on the horizon, it’s no wonder property managers are eager to either start their property management company from scratch or take on more doors.

But why the surge in demand? 

As properties become more than just brick-and-mortar investments, owners are on the lookout for experts who can maintain their assets, keep them profitable, and ensure their longevity. 

That’s where property management steps in.

Whether you’re considering how to start a property management company or diving into the complexities of commercial spaces, there’s a vast sea of opportunities awaiting. But like any venture, the key is to start informed, prepared, and with a vision.

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How to Start a Property Management Company?

If you’re imagining a dull, monotonous job of just collecting rents and fixing broken bulbs, think again. 

The modern property manager is a versatile role – part realtor, part strategist, part marketer, and a full-time problem solver. And with this versatility comes the potential for profitability and remarkable growth.

The Role and Responsibilities of a Property Manager

Did you know? 
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment of property, real estate, and community association managers is projected to grow 5% from 2022 to 2032, faster than the average for all occupations.

Property management is a multifaceted role. At its heart, it revolves around taking care of a property and maximizing its value. 

Here’s a breakdown of what a property manager’s day might look like:

  • Negotiating and enforcing lease agreements
  • Coordinating both routine maintenance and emergency repairs
  • Screening potential tenants and fostering good tenant relationships
  • Complying with local property laws and regulations, of which there are more than 150 federal statutes alone that deal with real estate!
  • Handling the financial intricacies, from setting rental prices based on market analysis to overseeing the property’s budget.

In a nutshell, property managers are the unsung heroes ensuring properties are not just occupied, but well-taken care of and profitable.

Differences Between Residential, Commercial, and Real Estate Property Management

Did you know? The Institute of Real Estate Management (IREM) reported that in 2020, certified property managers had an average annual income of $118,383, highlighting the profitability of specialized expertise in the field.

Residential Property Management: This niche is about managing personal spaces like homes, apartments, or condos. 

With the U.S. Census Bureau noting that rental vacancy rates were at 6.3% in Q4 2020, it’s evident that people are continually seeking rental homes, and these homes need skilled managers.

Commercial Property Management: Think big – offices, retail spaces, warehouses. The National Association of Realtors states that commercial real estate contributed $1.14 trillion to the U.S. GDP in 2019. 

Ensuring these spaces meet business requirements is a colossal task, emphasizing the importance of specialized commercial property managers.

Real Estate Property Management: This encompasses both residential and commercial assets. It’s about viewing properties as investment portfolios strategizing to achieve maximum returns. 

The Real Property Management organization estimates that only 55% of rental properties are managed by professionals, pointing to the vast untapped potential in the market.

In the dynamic world of property management, every type of property offers unique challenges and opportunities. 

With a blend of hands-on work, strategy, and continuous learning, it’s a field that’s both demanding and deeply rewarding.

How to Start a Residential Property Management Company?

So how to start a property management company?

The appeal of the residential property management field is undeniable. This niche offers numerous opportunities, from managing elegant suburban homes to bustling downtown apartments.

But how do you take the leap from interest to action? 

Here are the essential steps you need to embark on your journey in residential property management.

1. Researching Your Local Market

Did you know? According to Zillow, approximately 36% of households in the U.S. are renters. This percentage varies by city, pointing to the importance of local market research.
  • Understand the Demand: Dive deep into local rental trends. Are people looking for short-term rentals or long-term homes? What are the typical rental rates in your area?
  • Identify the Competition: Who are the key players in your locality? What services do they offer, and what are their rates?
  • Pinpoint Your Niche: Maybe there’s an unmet demand for luxury apartment management or a gap in pet-friendly rentals. Find your unique selling point.

2. Licensing and Certifications Required

Fact Check: Not all states require property managers to have a real estate broker’s license, but many do. On top of that, some states might require a separate property management license.

  • Check State Requirements: Each state has different regulations. Familiarize yourself with your state’s prerequisites.
  • Stay Updated: Laws and regulations change. Joining local real estate or property management associations can help you stay informed.

3. Establishing Your Business: Legalities and Setup

Starting a business is not just about passion; it’s about paperwork, too.

Choose a Business Structure: Will you operate as a sole proprietorship, an LLC, or a corporation? Each has its advantages and legal implications.

Register Your Business: Obtain the necessary business permits and licenses from local, state, and federal agencies.

Insure Your Business: Property management comes with risks. Make sure you’re protected with the right types of insurance, like general liability and professional liability insurance.

Set Up Finances: Open a business bank account and consider using property management software to streamline operations and finances.

Pro Tip: Hiring a lawyer familiar with the real estate industry can save you time and future headaches. They can guide you through the legal maze and ensure your business starts on a firm foundation.

How do you start a real estate property management company?

So how to start a property management company?

Diversifying into real estate property management is akin to playing chess on a larger board. 

The dynamics change, the stakes are higher, and there’s an even broader horizon of opportunities. 

But how does it differ from its more familiar cousin, residential property management, and why is networking crucial in this vast arena? 

Let’s delve in.

How Real Estate Property Management Differs from Residential Property Management

While both residential and real estate property management share some core concepts, they diverge in several ways:

  • Scope and Scale: Real estate property management often encompasses a broader spectrum, including commercial properties, industrial spaces, and multifamily units, in addition to single-family homes.
  • Financial Dynamics: The revenue models can differ substantially. While residential property managers might earn from rents and maintenance fees, real estate property managers might also earn from percentage leases in commercial spaces, where they get a percentage of a business’s sales.

How Much to Start a Property Management Company?

Dreams of launching a property management venture are often coupled with looming questions about the financial side of things. 

“How much to start a property management company?” is a frequently echoed query among budding entrepreneurs. 

Let’s break down the initial and ongoing costs to provide a clearer picture.

Initial Investments: Licensing, Office Setup, Software, and More

The journey from idea to inception always has its costs. Here’s what you need to budget for:

Licensing: Depending on your state, obtaining a property manager’s license or real estate broker’s license can cost anywhere from $200 to $1,000. 

It’s vital to factor in costs for pre-licensing courses and exams.

Office Setup: Whether you’re starting from a home office or renting a space, initial investments will include furniture, utilities, and office equipment. 

These can range from $2,000 to $10,000 or more based on location and scale.

Software: Investing in property management software can streamline operations. Packages like AppFolio, Buildium, or Propertyware cost anywhere from $1 per unit to $1.5 per unit monthly.

how to start a property management company
how to start a property management company
how to start a property management company

Legal and Registration Fees: Registering your business, getting necessary permits, and potential attorney fees can sum up to $500-$2,000.

Ongoing Costs: Staff Salaries, Marketing, and Maintenance

So how to start a property management company?

A flourishing property management company isn’t just about the start; it’s about sustainability. Here’s what will keep the engine running:

Staff Salaries: Hiring a team to help manage properties, handle administrative tasks, or market your services can be your biggest expense. According to Glassdoor, the average salary for a property manager in the U.S. is around $54,000 per year.

Marketing: Building a brand presence involves costs like website hosting, digital advertising, and traditional marketing methods. Monthly marketing budgets can range from $200 to $2,000, depending on scale and strategy.

Maintenance and Miscellaneous: Set aside funds for maintenance from routine upkeep to unexpected repairs. Also, consider insurance, software subscriptions, and other miscellaneous costs, which can amount to $500-$2,000 monthly.

Potential Financial Pitfalls to Avoid

Underestimating Startup Costs: Many entrepreneurs fall into the trap of under-budgeting, leading to financial stress. Always factor in a buffer.

Not Staying Updated with Licensing: Fines for non-compliance or operating without the right licenses can be hefty.

Skipping Insurance: It’s tempting to cut costs by skipping insurance, but one major incident without coverage can spell disaster.

Understanding the financial nuances of starting and maintaining a property management business is crucial. 

While the initial investments might seem substantial, the potential for growth and profitability in the property management business world can make it a rewarding venture. 

You can navigate the financial path to success with careful planning and foresight.

How do you start a commercial property management company?

Switching lanes from residential to commercial property management is more than just a step up; it’s an entirely new game. 

The commercial property management field boasts skyscrapers, bustling malls, and sprawling business parks. But, with the allure comes intricate nuances and a diverse clientele. 

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So, So how to start a property management company? Let’s dissect.

The Nuances and Complexities of Commercial Properties

The commercial arena is vast, and so are its intricacies:

Diverse Property Types: From retail spaces, office buildings, and warehouses to mixed-use properties, each comes with its challenges and requirements.

Varied Lease Structures: Unlike residential leases, commercial ones can be net leases, gross leases, or percentage leases, where rent might be a combination of a base rate and a percentage of business sales.

Extended Lease Durations: Commercial leases typically span several years, sometimes even a decade or more, demanding a long-term commitment from property managers.

Did you know? In 2020, the average commercial lease length in the U.S. was approximately 5 years, contrasting the usual 12-month residential lease.

Building Relationships with Commercial Property Owners and Tenants

In the commercial sphere, relationships are paramount:

Understanding Business Needs: The success of a commercial tenant’s business directly influences their ability to pay rent. Being attuned to their operational needs and challenges can foster a harmonious relationship.

Regular Communication: Frequent touchpoints with property owners and tenants ensure you’re abreast of any concerns, needs, or potential issues.

Offering Value-Added Services: Consider services like energy management, advanced security systems, or space customization to appeal to high-end clients.

The Significance of Location and Market Trends in Commercial Management

Location isn’t just vital; it’s everything:

Micro-Market Analysis: Unlike residential properties, where broad city trends can suffice, commercial properties often depend on micro-market dynamics. 

For instance, an office building’s occupancy in a business district could vary vastly from one just a few blocks away.

Staying Updated on Commercial Trends: Trends like co-working spaces, sustainable building practices, or tech-infused spaces can significantly impact demand and pricing.

Fact Check: According to a CBRE survey, nearly 86% of commercial sector respondents believed that sustainable property management practices have led to higher occupancy rates.

Commercial property management is an exciting and challenging foray. It demands a keen understanding of how to start a commercial property management company, commercial dynamics, and a commitment to building robust, long-lasting relationships. 

But, with the right strategies and insights, it’s a domain where success can be both lucrative and fulfilling.

How To Start A Property Management Company From Scratch

The allure of the property management industry is undeniable. So how to start a property management company?

With a blend of steady rental incomes, the excitement of curating property portfolios, and the rewarding prospect of bridging owners with their perfect tenants, it’s no wonder many are enticed to lay their foundation stone here. 

But, how to start a property management company from scratch? 

Let’s navigate the path to your business’s inception, from crafting your blueprint to shouting your brand from the rooftops.

Crafting a Business Plan and Strategy

Every monumental journey starts with a map, and in the business world, it’s your business plan.

  • Market Analysis: Who’s your competition? What are the rental yields in your targeted areas? A deep dive into the current market dynamics is paramount.
  • Financial Forecasting: Anticipate your initial investment needs, monthly operational costs, and expected revenues. It’s the balance between what goes out and what comes in that will dictate your company’s future.
  • Unique Value Proposition (UVP): What makes your property management business stand out? Maybe it’s a tech-driven approach, or perhaps a focus on sustainable properties. Your UVP is the magnet for your potential clients.
Did you know? A study by the Small Business Administration (SBA) states that startups with a business plan are 30% more likely to succeed than those without.

Sourcing Properties and Building a Portfolio

This is where the rubber meets the road:

  • Networking: Engage with real estate agents, attend property fairs, or join local business groups. The broader your network, the richer your portfolio potential.
  • Quality Over Quantity: It’s tempting to add as many properties as possible, but remember, a well-maintained, strategically located property can yield better returns than multiple subpar ones.
  • Diversify: Don’t put all your eggs in one basket. A mix of residential, commercial, and even vacation rentals can shield you from market downturns.

Marketing and Branding Your Property Management Business

If your business is the heart, marketing is the pulse:

  • Digital Presence: In our digital age, an intuitive website, active social media channels, and online advertising campaigns are essential. Over 97% of consumers search online for local services.
  • Branding: Your logo, company colors, and messaging should resonate with your business ethos. Consistency across platforms builds trust and recognizability.
  • Engage and Educate: Host webinars on property investment, write blogs about local market trends, or run community engagement events. It positions you as a market leader and draws potential clients.

Fact Check: According to HubSpot, businesses that blog get 67% more leads than those who don’t.

The roadmap on how to start a property management company from scratch is laden with challenges but is equally rewarding. 

It requires meticulous planning, relentless execution, and a touch of innovation. 

By focusing on these foundational elements, you’re not just building a business but an enduring legacy in the property management arena.

How to Make Money in Property Management?

Every budding entrepreneur enters the property management industry with one pressing question: How can I turn a profit? 

With the expansive growth in the property management sector, the avenues to make money are diverse, yet understanding the intricacies of each can set you on the path to prosperity.

1. Setting Competitive but Profitable Rates:

In property management, striking a balance between competitive pricing and ensuring profitability is paramount. 

Before diving into the specifics, it’s crucial to understand the delicate dance of determining rates that attract clients and sustain and grow your business.

Market Analysis

Conduct extensive research on your local property market. Ascertain what your competitors are charging, the quality of services they provide, and the gaps in the market that you can fill. 

Understanding these nuances allows you to position your rates to attract a wider clientele strategically.

Value Reflection

Your pricing should be a direct representation of the services you offer. 

For instance, if you incorporate advanced technologies or deliver specialized services that others don’t, you can command a premium. 

Emphasize this added value in your client interactions and marketing materials.

Periodic Adjustments

The property market isn’t static; it’s influenced by a myriad of factors ranging from economic shifts to local development projects. 

To stay relevant and competitive, revisit your pricing model at regular intervals and adjust in response to market demands.

Fact: NARPM highlights that typical management fees lie between 8% to 12% of monthly rental value. This can guide your initial pricing but consider local market conditions and your operational costs.

2. Diversifying Income Streams:

In an industry as dynamic as property management, anchoring your business to a single revenue source can be a gamble. 

Embracing a diversified approach to income cushions against unforeseen market shifts and offers multiple avenues for growth and stability. 

With that in mind, let’s explore key revenue streams.

Leasing Fees

Tenant placement is a labor-intensive process that involves advertising, arranging viewings, conducting background checks, and completing paperwork. 

Given the effort, charging a leasing fee compensates for your time and resources. 

Some managers charge a flat fee, ranging from $100 to $500 or more depending on the market, while others charge up to a full month’s rent for tenant placement.

Maintenance Partnerships

Establish strong ties with local contractors and repair services. 

This way, whenever a property you manage needs maintenance, you can assure quality work and generate commission or earn a markup for facilitating the service.

Tech Integration

The digital age demands digital solutions. By integrating or offering property management software, you can enhance the rental experience for both landlords and tenants. 

This might involve the adoption of reputable property management software like Buildium, AppFolio, or Yardi. These platforms offer a range of features such as online rent payment, maintenance request portals, and digital lease agreements. 

Depending on the chosen software, costs can range from $50 to $500/month. 

While this represents an upfront investment, the ability to monetize these services—either via subscription models or one-time fees—coupled with the automation benefits, typically makes the expenditure worthwhile.

Late Payment Revenue

It’s inevitable that some tenants will miss or delay their rent payments. Implementing and consistently enforcing late payment fees can cushion the financial blow of these delays. 

It’s a delicate balance between being firm and being understanding, but consistency is crucial. 

Charging late fees (e.g., $50 or 5% of monthly rent) can help offset administrative costs associated with tracking and processing late payments.

3. Minimizing Operational Costs:

The foundation of any profitable enterprise often rests on the judicious management of its expenses. 

Property managers can amplify their margins while constantly seeking efficiencies and leaner operational methods while delivering top-notch services. 

Let’s explore some key tactics to achieve this.

Tech Automation

Modern property management software can automate numerous tasks. From sending rent reminders to handling maintenance requests and tenant communications, technology can drastically reduce manual workload, thereby saving on labor costs and minimizing errors.

Economies of Scale

Whenever possible, purchase supplies in bulk.

This strategy is especially effective for properties you manage that have recurring needs, like landscaping or cleaning supplies. The upfront cost might be higher, but the per-unit cost typically drops, resulting in savings in the long run.

Buying in bulk saves in the long run. For instance, buying cleaning supplies for 10 properties at once might save 10-20% compared to individual purchases.

Strategic Outsourcing

Instead of hiring full-time staff for tasks that are sporadic, it might be more cost-effective to outsource. For instance, instead of an in-house accountant, you might engage a part-time bookkeeper, or use freelance designers for promotional materials.

Hiring a freelance designer might cost $300 for a project, compared to a monthly salary for an in-house designer. The key is to understand which roles are more economical to outsource.

Regular Audits

An occasional deep dive into your finances can highlight areas where you’re spending unnecessarily. 

Perhaps you’re paying for a subscription you no longer use, or there’s an opportunity to renegotiate a contract for services. Periodic financial reviews ensure you’re running a tight ship.

Investment Insight: Starting a property management business might require an initial investment ranging from $10,000 to $50,000, considering licensing, initial office setup, and software. 

However, given the diverse income streams, the potential ROI makes it a lucrative venture for many.

In the world of property management, the aim isn’t just to generate revenue but to astutely manage costs. 

By understanding and balancing both sides of the financial equation, managers can truly optimize profits.

Did you know? A study by Buildium suggests that 54% of property managers attribute technology to their ability to scale and manage more properties with the same amount of staff.

How to Make Money as a Property Manager?

A few years ago, as I sipped my morning coffee and scanned through property management forums, I stumbled upon a thread discussing earnings. 

One comment struck a chord: “Being a property manager isn’t just about collecting rents; it’s an art of continuous evolution.” 

Over the years, as I navigated the property management labyrinth, I realized that enhancing earnings is synonymous with personal growth, market adaptation, and relationship cultivation. 

Let’s delve into the nuances of how these three elements can play a pivotal role in boosting my earnings.

Upskilling and Certifications for Premium Service Offerings

In the early days of my career, I realized that while experience is invaluable, formal training could give me a competitive edge.

Invest in Learning: Enroll in a property management certification program. Not only will it refine your skills, but it will also open doors to clients who sought credentialed managers.

Advanced Trainings: As technology permeates the property management landscape, take courses in property management software, which will enable you to streamline operations and offer clients tech-driven solutions.

Niche Markets and Specialties in Property Management

While general property management is rewarding, niche markets have so much untapped potential.

Vacation Rentals: Live near a tourist hotspot? Try your hand at vacation property management. The seasonal, yet high returns can be a game-changer.

Eco-Friendly Properties: As sustainability has become a global focus, specializing in managing green properties and catering to environmentally-conscious landlords and tenants can be a big win.

Reflection: Venturing into luxury condo management in the city’s upscale neighborhood can be a turning point. While it demands meticulous attention to detail, the returns are exponentially higher.

Building Long-Term Relationships for Consistent Revenue

Relationships are the bedrock of this industry.

Transparent Communication: Whether it is about addressing tenant concerns or updating property owners about maintenance tasks, prioritize open dialogue.

Loyalty Programs: Introduce referral bonuses and discounts for long-term contracts, ensuring a consistent client base and fostering loyalty.

Community Engagement: Hosting monthly community events, from BBQs to property investment seminars, can not only position you as an industry leader but also as an integral community member.

Still feeling a little lost? This video by Stephanie Gordon, where she shares the challenges that helped her succeed, is an insightful watch:

List of Certifications to Consider as a Property Manager

Property management certifications can vary based on region and specialty, but they generally serve to enhance the knowledge and credibility of professionals in the field. 

Acquiring such certifications can provide a competitive advantage, and many of them necessitate continuous education to stay updated. 

Here are some of the prominent certifications available for property managers:

Certified Property Manager (CPM):

  • Offered by: Institute of Real Estate Management (IREM).
  • Description: This is one of the most recognized certifications for property managers. It covers topics ranging from financial operations to human resources.
  • Requirements: Experience in the field, completion of seven IREM courses, and passing the CPM exam.

Residential Management Professional (RMP):

Master Property Manager (MPM):

  • Offered by: NARPM.
  • Description: A step above the RMP, this is for experienced property managers with a track record of property and personnel management.

Accredited Residential Manager (ARM):

  • Offered by: IREM.
  • Description: This certification is tailored for those managing residential properties, including apartments and condominiums.

Accredited Commercial Manager (ACoM):

  • Offered by: IREM.
  • Description: A certification focused on commercial property management.

Certified Apartment Manager (CAM):

  • Offered by: National Apartment Association (NAA).
  • Description: This certification covers topics relevant to apartment management, including financial management, risk management, and resident relations.

Certified Manager of Community Associations (CMCA):

Association Management Specialist (AMS):

  • Offered by: Community Associations Institute (CAI).
  • Description: Tailored for community association management, it requires two years of experience and successful completion of specific CAI courses.

Professional Community Association Manager (PCAM):

  • Offered by: CAI.
  • Description: This is CAI’s highest certification for community association management.

Certified Community Association Manager (CCAM):

What Expenses Should You Expect in Property Management?

When setting up and running a property management business, it’s crucial to account for every expense, big or small. Here’s a breakdown of the primary expenses:

Payroll and Vendor Fees:

One of the foundational pillars of any business is compensating its team and associated service providers. Ensuring fair and timely payments not only motivates performance but also fosters a sense of loyalty and commitment.

Office Overhead:

Maintaining a professional environment is crucial for your business. This involves covering the rent for your office space to provide a conducive environment for work. 

Additionally, to keep the operations running smoothly, utilities such as electricity, water, and internet are indispensable. 

Moreover, furnishing the office with the necessary supplies, furniture, and equipment plays a pivotal role in enhancing productivity and creating an ambiance that’s both functional and comfortable.

Operational Tools and Software:

In today’s digital age, leveraging technology is no longer a luxury but a necessity. Incorporating property management software is vital for efficient tenant tracking, seamless rent collection, and prompt maintenance requests. 

Furthermore, for reaching out to potential clients and showcasing available properties, using dedicated software or platforms for marketing and property listings is imperative.

Licensing and Training:

Upholding professionalism and ensuring the quality of service involves continuous learning and compliance. This encompasses incurring fees for obtaining or renewing professional licenses that authenticate your legitimacy in the field. 

Besides, investing in ongoing training or courses is essential for both you and your team to stay abreast of the latest industry trends and best practices.

Membership Fees:

Being a part of larger industry-specific organizations or associations offers numerous benefits. Not only do these memberships provide networking opportunities, but they also grant access to valuable resources and insights. 

However, there are costs associated with joining and maintaining these memberships, which should be factored into your budget.

Marketing and Advertising:

Branding and visibility are the lifeblood of business growth. This involves expenses related to promoting properties through online listings, designing and printing promotional materials, and other branding exercises. 

Every dollar spent on advertising amplifies your reach and increases the chances of acquiring new clients.

Legal and Professional Consultation:

Navigating the legal intricacies of property management requires expertise. There are fees associated with seeking legal advice, especially when it comes to drafting tenant agreements or resolving disputes. 

Additionally, seeking other professional services ensures that all business operations are in compliance with regulations and best practices.

Miscellaneous Expenses:

Every business encounters a spectrum of unplanned or unexpected costs. These can range from travel expenses for meeting clients or property inspections to costs associated with participating in industry events. 

Sometimes, unforeseen expenditures can arise, making it crucial to have a financial buffer or contingency plan in place.

Forecasting Revenue and Setting Goals in Property Management:

Revenue in property management primarily comes from the following:

Management Fees:

Typically, a percentage of the monthly rent, though some companies may charge a flat fee for a set of basic services. Advanced services or premium offerings might come at an additional cost.

Tenant Placement Fees:

Charges for finding and screening tenants. This could be a one-time fee per placement or a recurring fee.

Late Fees:

Penalties for tenants paying rent late. Depending on the agreement, these fees might be a source of revenue for the management company.

Maintenance and Service Fees:

Mark-ups on maintenance services or fees for additional services like inspections or emergency repairs.

Miscellaneous Charges:

These can encompass key replacements, administrative fees, lease renewal charges, etc.

When setting revenue goals, it’s essential to consider the balance between management fees (which provide consistent income) and the various other charges that might be more sporadic. 

Predictable revenue helps stabilize the business, while the additional fees can boost profitability.

Determining Your Revenue Streams in Property Management

When thinking about how to start a property management company, it’s imperative to discern how you’ll drive revenue as well. 

At its core, your revenue streams will revolve around the services you offer and their associated fees. 

But before you set a price tag on your services, dive into the market dynamics. 

What are your competitors charging? And more importantly, what value proposition do they offer at that price?

It’s not just about mimicking the market rates, though. Align your pricing with the caliber of your services. 

The value you bring to the table should resonate with the price tag you attach. 

And while foundational services like rent collection, tenant relations, and property maintenance are pivotal, innovation and customization in your service offering can set you apart.

For instance, if you’re steering the ship with an impressive array of properties in your arsenal, consider how you’ll reward your property managers. 

The compensation model can vary – from a flat fee per unit managed to a percentage of rent collected. Your choice here should always echo the market’s pulse and the talent pool’s expectations.

When diving deeper into the specifics, property managers often oscillate between:

Percentage-Based Fees: A popular approach hinges on charging a percentage of the rent. While some advocate for a bracket of 8-12%, others might pitch differently. 

The crux? 

Understand your local market dynamics and craft your strategy accordingly.

Flat Fees: There’s a segment of property managers who swear by a fixed fee structure, especially for basic services. 

This approach grants property owners the leeway to cherry-pick the services they fancy, leading to a bespoke service package tailored to their needs.

Per-Project Fees: A boon for property owners who prefer sporadic services. By only paying for what they harness, property owners find value, ensuring their investment isn’t tied up in unused services.

Dive into some specialized fee structures:

Setup Fees: Think of this as the entry ticket. A nominal fee that greases the onboarding process, ensuring the property is seamlessly integrated into your management system. 

And if you’re leveraging cutting-edge property management technology, it becomes a compelling part of your pitch, elucidating the unparalleled value you offer.

Leasing Fees: A vacant property isn’t just a dormant asset; it’s potential revenue untapped. Hence, a leasing fee is charged to oversee the entire cycle of scouting, vetting, and moving in a new tenant.

Lease Renewal Fees: Not just a customary charge but a fee that underscores the importance of lease renewals, especially if your process is exhaustive and meticulous.

Eviction Fees: Every property manager’s nightmare, yet sometimes, an unavoidable ordeal. This fee compensates for the painstaking legal nuances you navigate on behalf of the property owner.

In the final analysis, understanding your operating landscape and a sharp sense of resource allocation steers your pricing strategy. 

And remember, adaptability is key. As market dynamics shift, so should your pricing.

Crafting Solid Property Management Contracts

Ever heard that robust contracts foster harmonious business ties? It’s indeed a mantra every property manager should live by. The contract is the bedrock of your professional relationship, elucidating the roles, responsibilities, and expectations.

Key elements of a sound contract encompass:

Management Fees: Clearly define what’s covered and, perhaps more importantly, what isn’t.

Off-Duty Coverage: Illustrate how off-hours scenarios, emergencies, or unforeseen situations will be handled.

Work Protocols: Detail the working hours, holiday schedules, and any other pertinent time-related clauses.

Insurance and Indemnification: A clause that shields both parties from potential legal pitfalls.

On-Site Arrangements: If applicable, will you or any of your property managers reside on the property?

Budgeting Provisions: Outlining provisions for maintenance, repairs, and emergency funds.

Service Blueprint: A meticulous breakdown of services, ensuring both parties have crystal clear expectations.

Billing Dynamics: A lucid schedule for invoicing, complemented with clauses addressing delayed payments.

Rope in legal counsel to vet your contracts. Not only does this add an additional layer of security, but it also ensures you’re poised for success right from the get-go. 

Crafting a robust template can then serve as the cornerstone for all future negotiations and agreements.

How to Start a Property Management Company: Success Story

how to start a property management company

In Entrepreneur Magazine, Andrea Gombalova Stevens, who is a property management startup owner, shares her journey from a migrant with limited English proficiency and no real estate background to a successful property manager.

From Slovakia to Success

how to start a property management company

Emigrating from Slovakia, Andrea confronted a barrage of challenges. Her lack of real estate experience and minimal English skills may have been seen by many as insurmountable barriers. 

Yet, she established her property management business as a franchise of Just.Property from South Africa, boasts a commendable staff of 28 spread across two locations. 

But how did she overcome such staggering odds?

Collins posits an interesting perspective: perhaps Andrea’s inexperience became her strength. By not being weighed down by traditional pitfalls and challenges that seasoned professionals often face, she charted her unique path. 

Although she had previously attempted to venture into the property management domain, her latest endeavor proved the charm. 

This raises an intriguing question: had she continued on her initial journey, armed with the right tools and strategies, would she have tasted success sooner?

Facing Challenges Head-On

how to start a property management company

The road was by no means easy for Andrea Gambolova Stevens

Her initial days were marred by a palpable feeling that the world was conspiring against her. 

Yet, despite feeling out of depth and admitting to some lapses in emotional intelligence, she remained relentless. 

Her tenacity and unwavering focus on her dream ensured she didn’t remain stuck in the wishful thinking that ensnares many budding entrepreneurs.

Andrea succinctly captures her ethos in a quote from an interview with Entrepreneur Magazine: “The secret is to just start. And then drive and (sometimes agonizing) discipline, I have learned, are critical.”

Andrea’s Business Mantras

For someone without prior property management experience, achieving significant growth in a foreign land is truly laudable. 

Andrea’s journey underlines several essential attributes that successful entrepreneurs often embody – resilience, ambition, and audacity.

She also graciously shares nuggets of wisdom for budding entrepreneurs:

  • Stay sales-driven.
  • Perfection is a journey. Keep refining processes.
  • Set an example for others to follow.
  • Hiring decisions should be deliberate and well-thought-out.
  • Surround yourself with individuals who resonate with your vision.
  • Minimize administrative drudgery.
  • Regularly introspect and assess your business strategies.
  • Value your existing clientele.
  • Progress is borne out of actions, not mere intentions.
  • Visualize your goal and strive towards it

In her words, “The entrepreneur’s duty is to work on the business: Cast the vision, build a culture, lead your team and network.”

The Journey Continues

Andrea’s story is a testament to the fact that the path to success is rarely smooth. Challenges, both external and self-inflicted, will emerge. 

Yet, as Stevens’ journey highlights, success is not just a distant dream but an achievable reality with the right mindset and tools. 

It also underscores the importance of sales and maintaining a good rapport with existing clients, as retaining landlords in the ever-dynamic world of property management is a feat in itself.

As we marvel at Andrea’s journey, it’s a reminder that success is attainable with the right vision, persistence, and strategies. 

Her story continues to inspire budding entrepreneurs, especially in the realm of property management, guiding them toward realizing their dreams.


The property management industry, with its multifaceted offerings and ever-growing demand, presents an unparalleled opportunity for aspiring entrepreneurs and seasoned professionals alike. 

A hallmark of this industry is its dynamic nature, constantly influenced by market trends, technological advancements, and shifting client preferences.

This underscores the paramount importance of continuous learning and adaptability. 

Whether it’s mastering the latest property management software, understanding niche markets, or embracing innovative marketing strategies, staying ahead of the curve is the differentiator between success and mediocrity.

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Khyati is an entrepreneur, marketing consultant, and a personal finance expert.Building on her achievements, Khyati wrote two acclaimed books: "Failure's Gold," exploring success through hardship, and "Tomorrow's Wallet" on the future of money management.Her work has also been featured by LinkedIn, PPC Hero, Social Pilot, and Training Mag.Khyati has managed over $50M in marketing budgets across various industries including technology, finance, education, retail, consumer goods and more - successfully delivering over 15x ROI for her clients.Khyati has managed over $50M in marketing budgets across various industries including technology, finance, education, retail, consumer goods and more – successfully delivering over 15x ROI for her clients.
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