How Dodson Property Management Manages 3500 Homes Using Process Street

dodson property management process street case study
Dodson Property Management is a Richmond-based property management company which uses Process Street to track the progress of everything from recruitment and onboarding to managing tenants and creating monthly reports for their landlords. This lets them make sure that their processes are carried out accurately and reliably, even when their team is on the go.

We spoke to their Vice President of Single Family Management, RMP, and MPM Tim Wehner about how they use Process Street in their business.

The Dodson Property Management story

Renting out property sounds like easy passive income on paper. People pay a consistent amount to live in a house you own in return for certain maintenance and safety guidelines being upheld. They get a nice house with decent living conditions and you get both a steady income and a promise that the property won’t be trashed.

Sadly (like with most “passive” income) it’s not that simple.

Even ignoring the problems you can face getting rent from tenants, there’s the issue of arranging insurance, talking to contractors, performing inspections, and so on. It’s hard to keep track of everything that needs doing for just one property, let alone multiple.

That’s where Dodson Property Management comes in.

duke dodson
(Source)

Dodson Property Management (as the name implies) manages rental properties to take the hassle out of the tenant-landlord relationship. They handle duties like marketing your property, screening tenants, collecting rent, performing maintenance and inspections, and even generate financial reports to let you have a clear overview of your investment.

However, to manage over 3,500 properties (as Dodson has) you need to have a reliable way of making sure that all tasks are performed correctly and reliably. Any mistakes or shortcuts taken could put their clients’ property at risk or leave the company open to litigation from tenants, so it’s vital that all tasks can be performed reliably no matter where their agents are.

That’s why, after researching all of the options available, they started using Process Street.

We really studied our options before choosing Process Street. I never thought ‘it would be great if they had this feature’ because it meets our needs perfectly!” – Tim Wehner

Dodson Property Management uses Process Street for:

  • Recruiting and onboarding employees
  • Screening and onboarding new tenants
  • Collecting rent
  • Performing legal duties (eg, litigating for unpaid rent)
  • Evicting tenants in a professional and thorough manner
  • Assessing maintenance costs
  • Performing low-cost maintenance without bothering their clients for permission
  • Creating monthly financial reports for their clients

They’ve benefitted from implementing Process Street by:

  • Letting everyone see what they need to do no matter where they are
  • Creating standard operating procedures so that their services are consistent
  • Tracking their progress in checklists to know precisely what’s been done, and what still needs doing
  • Meeting all legal and contractual obligations (without having to rely on memory)
  • Successfully deploying new internal policies and practices
  • Fool-proofing their company against unplanned employee absences

Challenge

Back in 2007 Duke Dodson owned three rental properties but couldn’t find a property manager that matched his values. He wanted to provide the services that his tenants deserved, with a focus on technology, processes, and people.

Then a thought struck him – if he couldn’t find a local face with those values, then surely nobody else could either.

dodson property management sign
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Rather than compromise, he formed Dodson Property Management to act on those values. More than 3,500 properties later and Dodson Property Management still hasn’t abandoned the principles of providing thorough, efficient, and consistently high-quality services which focus on the people that matter – their clients and tenants.

“From day one, we put a huge emphasis on technology, processes and people… Our people do the right thing, even when no one is watching.” – Duke Dodson, About Dodson Property Management

That’s not to say the journey was easy.

Duke searched for a property manager all those years ago because the sheer number of duties involved with just three properties proved too much for one person. Stretch that to several thousand properties to manage with Dodson’s relatively small team, and you have five distinct problems:

  • Practices need to be standardized to give consistency to the company and its clients
  • Employees need to be able to access their processes and track their progress on-the-go
  • Any potential to automate work must be identified and acted on
  • Employees need to be monitored to ensure processes are being followed
  • Methods for checking on tenants should be easy to access and view

Human error, complacency, and even laziness could have crept in if they had taken the easy route and let their company run on “I’m sure it’s fine”s. This wouldn’t just break Duke’s values – it would directly affect the living conditions and faith of their tenants.

Dodson needed a way to make sure that everything they do could be carried out, tracked, and displayed either internally or to their clients no matter what happened. Duke and his team knew this, and so set out to find the best business process management software on offer to let them reach their full potential.

Then they found Process Street and everything just clicked.

“We didn’t want to commit to any tools before we knew it was up to our standards. We really got a lot of use out of the Process Street demo guys – they do a good job of checking in when I need it, and leaving me alone when I don’t.” – Tim Wehner

Growing their business with Process Street

Using Process Street to document workflows in templates allowed Duke, Tim, and the rest of the team make sure that their tasks could be performed consistently no matter where they are.

Whether they’re carrying out a house inspection or responding to an emergency call, everyone can use their phone to keep up to date with their work and follow their processes to the letter. This means that all of their duties are performed up to company and legal standards.

dodson property management processes
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After all, consistency isn’t just about efficiency at Dodson. It’s about providing quality rental locations for families and keeping their clients’ investments (property) safe, secure, and in good condition without hassling them.

Process Street’s Zapier integration lets them focus on the tasks that matter by automating busy work like data management and running checklists. For example, if they log a new client in their CRM, Zapier could automatically run a client onboarding checklist to get the process started.

“We’ve stayed on the cutting edge by utilizing the industry’s top vendors to automate and expedite numerous property management tasks.” – Duke Dodson, About Dodson Property Management

Reports are also easy to generate using Process Street, as aside from having a checklist to create financial reports and overviews for their clients every month, internal practices can be easily monitored using the template overview feature. If their team needs to know what work needs doing, when it’s due, or who needs to do it, all of that and more can be seen on one customizable view of their checklists.

Results

Dodson is able to achieve Duke’s vision better than ever thanks to Process Street.

We used to just rely on memory – if things got done then they got done, and there was no tracking going on. Now we can monitor everything, work through checklists while staying mobile, and gain clarity on tasks between our teams.

If somebody is responsible for lease renewals they know what they have to do, but if they’re out or get sick or even hit by a bus someone else can come in and pick up right where they left off.

We’ve actually put together a checklist for updating the entire company’s phone services, so we’re even setting up processes for deploying our processes!” – Tim Wehner

No matter how difficult, specific, or sensitive a process might be, Dodson has the ability to carry them out no matter where they are, who’s working on it, or even how experienced (or inexperienced) the assignee is.

dodson property management dropbox
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Managing rental properties on others’ behalf isn’t easy. Not only do you have to provide the same guarantees, services, and quality that’s expected of a property owner, but you field almost sole legal responsibility for those services and any mistakes will directly impact your clients’ income.

That’s why Dodson take care to get it right every time.

Taking it to the next level

Despite already gaining massive benefits from documenting and tracking their processes, Dodson is far from finished getting the most out of Process Street.

“We’re probably only running 10% of the function that we intend to… We want to get our commercial, tech, and single family management team all fully running on Process Street too!” – Tim Wehner

The more that their team documents and tracks using Process Street the more easily they will be able to scale their operations, meaning that they can bring Duke’s vision to even more property owners and tenants.

It takes a lot of work to maintain a steady passive income stream for your clients – almost as much as it takes to make a house a home. However, with a little help from Process Street, Dodson Property Management will continue to do just that.

“We checked the tools on offer, and Process Street fit our needs perfectly.”

dodson property management tim wehner headshot

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Ben Mulholland

Ben Mulholland is an Editor at Process Street, and winds down with a casual article or two on Mulholland Writing. Find him on Twitter here.


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