Who Is Shopping for Property Management Software?

By on June 2, 2011

A quick look at the list of our pending contracts gives a pretty good sense of who is out there shopping for property management software.  Really, our prospective clients almost always break down into several broad categories.

At any given time, our team is consulting with at least several companies that are in the market because their current system is text based and outdated.  Most of the time, the person doing the shopping inherited whatever is currently in use.  BJ Murray, RAISH Enterprises and Skyline DOS customers all fall into this category.  At the time the systems were purchased, they were state of the art, but that was over twenty years ago in most cases.  These systems still get the job done as they have for decades, but it is usually clear to management that operations would benefit from an upgrade.  These are the types of clients that are always happy to hear that MDS can convert all of their historical data to the MDS Explorer format, which is usually a prerequisite for this type of client.

Those disillusioned with the service and latest products provided by large, generic national providers can also be included on our list.  Common complaints include lack of customer service (“I had to wait a week for them to call me back”) and the feeling that their product and overall approach is tailored to the extreme high end of the real estate market (think 10,000 tenants or more).  The fact is, providers like Yardi spend tons of money on advertising and they typically have the name recognition that a niche, local company like MDS may not.  However, speak to someone at MDS and we can almost definitely put you in touch with someone you already know within the industry  that is a longtime client.  Most of our business still comes through referrals and we are proud to have maintained over a 95% customer retention rate in the more than 25 years we have been in business.  While we may not be spending big money on advertising, we are investing in our product and customer service to be sure that we maintain our existing client base which helps us make our best case to prospective clients.

Companies currently operating with more basic, mid-market systems also make up a slice of those coming to us ready for an upgrade.  This type of a client decided to spend a little less on software within the past 3-5 years and has now exhausted the capabilities of their current system- despite the fact that it is Windows or Web based it doesn’t contain the features to achieve true efficiency.   Tenant Pro and Rent-Rite clients can be included in this mix.  We have seen anywhere from a couple of hundred to the neighborhood of 1,000 tenants loaded into these types of systems.  Depending on how many and the types of tenants within the database, it is quite possible that an automated conversion will be required in this sort of a situation as well.  Many times these clients started with just a couple of hundred tenants when they purchased their initial system, so the decision to spend less money made sense at the time.  Once their operation expanded and their database and operations grew and grew, it became more and more difficult to make a change.   There is a very good argument to be made in cases like this to investing a little bit more in such a critical piece of your businesses infrastructure from the start to avoid the headache and expense of switching later on.  Nonetheless, the need for a change becomes obvious and MDS can help ease the transition to a more sophisticated and efficient system, making it as seamless as possible.

Finally, young startups come to us planning to grow their operation looking for an easy to use solution that is also sophisticated and scalable.  MDS Explorer Remote Edition is usually a great choice in this case.  This eliminates the need to make a big investment in a file server while at the same time giving a small company the same computing power that the big boys use.  This client is completely setup for future growth with a system they will literally never outgrow.

If you find yourself in one of these situations, MDS can certainly help you navigate the tricky waters of the property management software market.  We always take a no pressure sales approach.  Our goal is to make you as knowledgeable about the market as possible.  Usually, the more that a prospective client understands about the complexities and subtleties of this industry, the better things work out for MDS.