A leading figure in the real estate industry has been able to answer the age-old question of which structure works best for a property management department.

Over several years, Chris Rolls from Rental Express – one of the country’s largest rental businesses – experimented with portfolio-based, task-based and a hybrid ‘pod’ team structure.

“We’ve tried them all, we’ve surveyed our clients and I can tell you with accurate statistical data to back me up, that portfolio-based teams work best,” he said.

While Mr Rolls admits there are pros and cons to each structure, after embracing the ‘net promoter score’ (NPS) method of surveying client satisfaction the results speak for themselves.

“We went to task based and immediately saw our NPS start to drop,” he said. “It was much more cost effective for us from a business standpoint, but the clients didn’t like it.”

“With lower client satisfaction you lose a high proportion of your rent roll each month, and we discovered that the costs saved through a task-based system didn’t cover the loss in business it caused.”

After several months, Mr Rolls shook things up again and implemented a pure portfolio based system where a single property manager completes all the work and communicates with all the owners..

“Once we changed back to portfolio based, we instantly saw our NPS start rising,” he said. “We lost fewer properties each month, which covered the increased costs.”

With a rent roll of 4,000 properties, Mr Rolls said he was confident that he had a large enough sample size to make the bold statement.

The full data and statistics behind Rental Express’ success was shared with delegates at the Leading Property Managers of Australia (LPMA) Conference on the Gold Coast last week.

Residential Property Manager – Written by Steven Cross – Monday 07 April 2014