Setting a Higher Bar in New York

By on October 28, 2011

The more time I spend in the property management software industry, the more confident I get in the level of service and the quality of the product that we offer our clients.  Just recently, an intelligent, thoughtful prospect who’s experienced managing very large portfolios with some of the most popular (and expensive) programs on the market today, told me that “nobody is really happy with their software.  The problem we are trying to solve is complex and requires a complex solution.”  While I can truly appreciate the complexity of the problem, I don’t agree that the solution needs to seem complex to the average end user, even if the actual processing being done behind the scenes is in fact quite complicated.

Yes, our product is broad and deep in what it can do.  It processes complex financial transactions while following GAAP and produces sophisticated financial statements.   It handles the myriad rules that go into filing Annual Rent Registrations with the DHCR (this is unfortunately not as easy as simply determining the April 1 legal rent).  It handles building wide MCI increases by calculating retroactive charges and caps on future increases.  These are all complex problems which our users solve with relative ease in an elegant and efficient fashion each and every day.

So how do we do it?

First, the program is designed with our specific client base in mind.  For New York based managers, there is no need to re-invent the wheel.  We work with thousands of property managers in New York, and guess what, it turns out that you are all more or less dealing with the same basic inefficiencies on a daily basis.  Generation of Rent Stabilized Renewals.  Processing of monthly report packages.  Handling Section 8 tenants.  Tracking HPD violations.  Calculating and billing Porter’s Wages.  All of this and much, much more is handled by our system without the need to customize a thing.  After the setup of a few basic properties behind the scenes, it just works.  Right out of the box.  As if it was made just for you… because it more or less was.  MDS focuses on the New York market and includes the features on everyone’s wish list that are typically complex, expensive custom jobs (if they are available at all) with national providers.

Next comes training.  Yes, despite the elegance and inherent usability of the program itself, training is definitely required.  As I mentioned before, our program does quite a bit for you, so there is quite a bit to learn.  However, through a step by step, well planned approach, we can teach you our program without it feeling like an overwhelming experience.  Our typical installation will usually include between 24-30 hours of total training time broken across a series of onsite and online sessions.  Yes, you can be up and running with far less time, but you can be truly humming along with just 24 hours of training.  If you think that sounds like a lot of time, consider the fact that my competition is consistently coming in with estimates of three times as many hours for a comparable system.

The final component of delivering on our promise of solving your complex problems in an easy way is our support staff.  Our maintenance agreements include not only software upgrades, but access to our top notch, local support team (this is another big difference between us and our competition- support is included with maintenance).  These guys usually know what you are talking about before you finish your sentence.  Preferential Rents?  No problem- they’ve been down that road many times before.  Mitchell- Lama Surcharge calculations?  Yup, that too.  Our team is friendly, available and knowledgeable.  Usually, just one quick call can save you hours.  Plus, since this service is included in your maintenance contract, so why not take full advantage, turning our team into a “force multiplier” for your existing staff.

Yesterday, I received word from the prospective client that I mentioned earlier that after an extensive review, he would be moving ahead with us.  I am truly excited to show him that it is possible to not only be satisfied with your software, but to be truly happy and even enthusiastic about your software provider.  I really don’t think that that’s too much to expect after making a big investment in time, energy and capital.