How to build a successful property management business in < 3 years
When Kit Leggett moved to rural Nova Scotia during the pandemic, she knew that finding a job would be difficult. What she didn’t know was that she’d soon be running her own property management company and creating jobs for locals.
But sure enough, that’s exactly what happened.
Let’s back up a little. After her move, Kit decided that her best bet was to create a job for herself. Both she and her partner Chet happened to own their own homes. So when Kit purchased a cottage as a second property, it just seemed to make sense.
“We decided, why don’t we move in together and put our places up on Airbnb and just see how it goes? What’s the harm? That’s what we can do.”
Kit and Chet went on to list their properties on Airbnb. And within six hours, they were booked.
Surprised by the demand, they realized they may have stumbled onto something. They decided to take it day by day to test the waters. But soon enough, their listings were doing so well that they decided to purchase another cottage to rent out.
And before she knew it, Kit and Chet were managing three successful Airbnbs, handling everything from preparing the properties to the messaging and guest turnover.
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Kit had found employment, but she soon discovered that it was more than she had bargained for.
“It almost got too much for me to handle on my own with all the turnovers and all the messaging and all the inquiries and everything. It was like, okay, I think I need some help here.”
To find help with guest turnover, Kit reached out to local women who had struggled to juggle typical work schedules and childcare. She allowed them to bring their kids with them to clean and prepare the properties, thus providing flexible employment and partially alleviating her workload problem.
But, as we all know, good work is often rewarded with more work. Word got around about Kit’s success, and soon friends and acquaintances were asking if she could manage their properties, too. And Kit quickly found that, while the cleaners helped immensely with guest turnover, scheduling and managing them was still significant work:
“I was always stressing about making sure there was a cleaner scheduled for a last-minute booking. Or someone cancels last-minute and then I forget to cancel the cleaner…I was just always going to bed at night repeating everything back in my head.”
Kit knew that she needed property management software to help with these logistics. So, she started researching and scheduled a handful of demo calls to find an option that met all her needs.
“The only one that ticked all the boxes was Lodgify…Every single option had something, but not everything. And it seemed like Lodgify had everything in one place.”
Property management modules to do the heavy lifting
For Kit, it was Lodgify’s property management modules that solidified the choice.
“To have it automatically schedule the cleaners with the task lists and everything takes a huge, huge burden off my back. That means that there’s no cleans ever missed. If there’s ever any cancellations, that scheduled clean is automatically dropped. It’s a lifesaver for time management and employee management.”
Thanks to Lodgify’s PM Modules, Kit no longer stays awake at night, worrying that she missed something. “Now I just set up my systems so I can just relax, and I don’t have to think about it.”
“Website building for dummies”
Kit also appreciated Lodgify’s website builder, which enabled her to create a bookable website that promotes her listings, represents her brand, and even highlights the beauty of the area and local attractions.
“It’s almost like website building for dummies.”
“Incredible” customer service
Of course, none of these software capabilities make a difference if you can’t get the customer support you need.
Kit appreciates that Lodgify’s support team is always “so quick to reply and helpful” whenever she has a doubt or question:
“The customer service that you guys provide is incredible. You don’t stay on hold forever. And every single person I talk to knows the software and knows what they’re talking about.”
Calling in with questions isn’t stressful for Kit because she knows she’s going to get the answer in that phone call. “And if I don’t get the answer, they’re going to find someone who will follow up in less than 24 hours.”
“It’s incredible. The customer service that you provide is really just a huge addition.”
So, how has KBL Advantage fared since Kit started using Lodgify?
Organic traffic and direct bookings
“Right off the bat there were a couple direct bookings right from the Lodgify site without me having to send someone there.”
Kit was so excited that she called the guests to ask how they found her property. Their answer? They saw it on Google!
Now, Kit tries to promote direct bookings through her site whenever she can. “It saves [guests] money and it’s an easier system. The more I can get off of other platforms using Lodgify, the better. I would like to one day not have to use other platforms at all.”
Lodgify has also been crucial in freeing up Kit’s time so she can focus on growing her business.
“Before, with the scheduling and making sure and triple-checking everything, I had no time to go reach out to get new clients. And now I have the time to do that…It’s really just been unbelievable in my growth and I honestly wouldn’t have been able to grow this large this quickly without your software.”
In fact, since starting to use Lodgify, Kit has actually expanded her portfolio. A local property management company in her area was diversifying and seemed overloaded. So, Kit called them up and asked if they were looking to get rid of that part of their business.
As chance would have it, the company was looking to sell their property management contracts. Kit put in an offer and was accepted.
Now, only three years after getting started, Kit and Chet manage a total of 24 properties.
“It seems to be just growing and growing and growing. And a huge part of that is being with Lodgify. I would not have been able to grow so quickly had it not been for the property management software that Lodgify provides—bar none. I just would not have been able to do that without it.”
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They have their work cut out for them, but after everything they’ve achieved with KBL Advantage, we have no doubt that Sunken Escapes will be a great success!
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KBL Advantage’s rapid growth is an inspiration to anyone looking to build a career in property management.
What did Kit wish she had known when she was just getting started?
“To not stress over the little things. If you go into a property looking for something, you are always going to find it. You’re always going to find something that someone missed…[but] if everything is clean, there’s clean sheets, it looks nice and presentable, then it’s okay. So instead of stressing over a little piece of fluff on the floor or a little streak here, don’t stress about the small stuff and show your appreciation to those that help you.”
And her advice to those who are just starting out?
“Don’t be afraid to ask questions. And don’t be afraid to ask for help–you can’t do it all. Use the tools; use property management software.”