Overview of Buildium Property Management Software
Buildium, a Boston-based startup, walked attendees through software that we know people use and like at June 2015 WPOA meeting.
Dave: Great. I just want to say thanks a lot for obviously entertaining us, and this is obviously a great audience. Really what we want to kind of cover here is we work for Buildium, so it’s a property management software company. We’ve been in business for about 11 years. We didn’t develop the software. We just sell it and do presentations like this. The reason why we were invited obviously was to kind of give folks a little preview and kind of little knowledge into property management on the whole and looking to dive a little bit specifically into what Buildium has to offer. But really what I’m talking about holistically is any property management software worth its weight in gold should have some of the characteristics and things that we’re going to cover in these slides.
Just to give you a little perspective, I’ve been with the company for about a year. I initially started in the customer care department, so fielding all of the phone calls from our customers who have questions about the software, how to proceed, how to log a payment, how to refund a security deposit, stuff like that. I really learned the software, and loved it, and then I kind of transition over to the sales team, which Andrew had been with for about 5 months before I made the move over. Yeah, we’ll just kind of run to the next slide, and again if any questions come up‑
Andrew: Fire them out.
Dave: Fire them out.
Andrew: I’ll walk around and grab the microphone, and‑
Rich: I forgot to tell them that that’s a terrible idea.
Rich: Sorry about that. Only because I probably could have explained that better, only because we’re videotaping this.
Rich: And there are folks watching at home and they can’t read lips, so we have to use the microphone. So when somebody has a question, we try to hold them to the end and then that way, their question can be heard. Is that fair enough?
Andrew: Fair enough.
Rich: Okay. Sorry about that.
Dave: Yeah, I know. That’s not a problem at all, so ‑
Andrew: Sit down, folks.
Dave: Everybody knows the rules. It’s great. We’ll go on to the next slide here. We have over 12,000 customers and we are one of the main players in this space. There’s a few other vendors out there, but it’s what the average size of customers that any established company will have and really serving people all over the US and 34 different countries, and a lot of our competitors and other software companies are kind of in the same space and same size as well.
Right. The purpose of software is really to make things easier and automated, whether it’s property management software, accounting software, which Buildium and any other property management software should have both kind of aspects within their software suite.
Really, it should be easy to learn, which we are, and then additionally what the previous kind of presentation really spoke to you is a lot of the things that these software products actually do for folks. You are able to automate rent payments. You are able to go ahead and have a whole list of maintenance tasks. Requests can come in via email from your tenants via website that you provide to them. You’re never going to eliminate the phone calls, right, regardless. Someone is going to have your cellphone number. He’s going to get to you.
But we talk about with a lot of our customers kind of saying this is kind of a new workflow. It might be tough for some people to kind of change their ways they’ve been doing things for 20, 30, 40 years, but the software is truly designed to help and to really kind of streamline these processes and specifically with us. We can kind of jump over this because I don’t want this just to be a huge sales pitch.
With us, there aren’t any upfront fees. As you mentioned, it is pretty affordable for smaller folks, and really the start of the company was with two guys who were in the software space and then became property managers and realized when they were sitting across from each other in their apartment that did we collect rent for Main Street? I don’t know. Check, did we get it? They immediately thought there needs to be an easier way besides Excel, which works. Pen and paper works, to kind of automate some processes and really be able to kind of understand where they are in their business and what needs to get done, what’s been completed, and what we are looking forward to in the future.
Just kind of a caveat here: $40 is up to 40 units with Buildium. If you have up to 40 units under management, it’s $40 a month. It’s a subscription. There’s no upfront fees. Truly, there’s no upfront fees; cancel it at any time. Unfortunately, they spend more than $40 on coffee and donuts every month, so you truly get a great product for something that is pretty priced competitively.
The other thing in the space specifically, with property management software, really is web-based, meaning all you need is an Internet connection and you can sign in anywhere. The great thing about that is hopefully somebody in here likes to play golf can pull up the building app on their smartphone to make sure rent payments have been received. Maybe a new task came in from the tenant who’s unhappy because the window molding wasn’t repaired properly, and they have a question, and you get that in real time. You are able to kind manage your business while enjoying some of the finer things in life and kind of reducing the levels of stress by kind of having full visibility over your business at the touch of a button.
Andrew: Yeah, so the one big thing that we can focus on and kind of how we all started, going back to our beginnings is helping small- and medium-sized property management businesses grow. The way we do that and we’ve actually just added some new things on to specifically help with this but everybody got into this business to make money, right? Some people fell backwards into it. Some people inherited it, but we’re all here to make some money, so we want to see you guys grow.
What we want to do is increase efficiency as much as possible on one platform, keep you guys away from most of the time away from you’ve got a pile of papers on your desk but you’re not at your desk. You don’t have all those notes memorized in your mind. I mean I know I’ve tried to do it. I own a couple of properties myself. I couldn’t do it without the software, but maybe it’s I’m not a millennial. I don’t know how that works, so yeah what we typically see is a lot of folks do come in low, as far as unit count. What we do is put you on a platform that’s going to streamline your business and help you if you want to of course, get more units under management, maybe buy some units, maybe take on some third-party management from somebody else, and really increase your revenue. We do have a pretty good price point, so we try to make it fair for everybody.
There’s a lot of stuff that we include. We give you a public website. A lot of folks, specifically on the lower unit count, they don’t have a website, never really saw a need for it, so we just include one. We’ll give you access for anybody who you manage for will be able to sign in to there and kind of see some general financials on their properties, make maintenance requests. You can share documents.
We’ll give you the exact same functionality for tenants, so tenants instead of giving you a phone call at 3 o’clock in the morning because the neighbor’s dog is barking, they just make a request through their portal that says, “Hey, I got a problem with a neighbor,” or, “I got a leaky faucet.”
We’re trying to keep them off your phone as much as possible. What that will do, back to our task list conversation about 5 minutes ago, is it will generate a task in your system that says, “Okay, we have a maintenance request or some kind of request coming in from this unit, from this resident, and we’re going to take care of that.” You can track that through to completion and you can even send little messages back and forth right through the email and those portals, so really kind of keeping them off your phones especially those late-night phone calls, anything like that, try to help you out on that.
Obviously filling vacancies probably one of the biggest challenges in the job. Hopefully we want to keep vacancies low as possible. We’ll give you the ability to list your units on your own public website. We’ll also give you some functionalities to syndicate those out to some other services at no charge to you specifically because we have over 12,000 customers. We do tend to get some pretty good deals that we can pass along some savings to you, guys, and we can kind of cover that in more detail a little later.
Dave: Yes, so I’m going to take the next slide here and really leading into what Andrew kind of talked about with the public website is marketing your business and vacancies. As he kind of touched upon, the website is included in the subscription cost, so the $40 for 40 units that I mentioned, that’s included. I mean you have to pay a company to host a website for you and we do it for you. That’s included from day 1, so you’re able to kind of have that visibility and have that exposure. You can direct somebody to your website and they’re going to see all of your vacant listings. They’re going to be able to contact you immediately and tell you that I’d like to apply for that.
On the application side of things, they can apply via the public website. You direct them to the URL. All you need is a business card or a phone call or an email and they log right in. They’re able to see this is the application. They pick the property that they want to apply for, and in that description in each listing is the rent, when it’s available, the specific features of the unit, the property, the host, whatever it maybe.
Additionally, pictures and videos can be uploaded very easily and put into that profile, so somebody can get a very quick snapshot and the thing that I’d like to see is you can turn someone from an applicant into a tenant within a day. I know that sounds quick, but you can, and the reason being is that some of the other added features that we do offer, specifically with screenings, which I will touch upon right now because I think it’s relevant.
We offer two screening services, which are fully integrated into the software, meaning if somebody applies online, you get notified that you have a new applicant for a specific property immediately. Again, you’re out putting all the flyers somewhere else at one of your properties or kind of knocking out all the items on your punch list, you know that this is a great candidate just from looking at their application. You can immediately within the application, screen them using two of the integrated services that we offer.
We are a partner with TransUnion, which is the biggest and best in the game. I mean you’re going to be hard-pressed to find a product and service that’s going to be any better. I’m sure some people out have different thoughts on that, and they can come up and tell me that I’m wrong. Personally, I won’t take any difference to it. But what I’m getting at is this: you can have someone apply. You can decide to screen them using a basic tenant screening, which is going to give you a full criminal and credit background check and it involves their participation, meaning that they have to respond to an email, submit it to TransUnion, and then they get back the results. I’m sure some of you or all of you are familiar with these different services and products.
We just rolled out a new service, which I think is pretty awesome. It’s premium tenant screening, still with TransUnion, but the way that it’s work is it’s a hard pull method, meaning it does hit their credit score and it doesn’t require their participation. The benefits of this is two-fold: you’re able to screen someone immediately using their social security number and a few other identifiers, which are already on the application, and within 60 seconds, you get back a full criminal/credit report, and in addition, you get back a full eviction report.
As a lot of you probably know, there’s a difference between actions that are taken against somebody and then actual rulings made by a judge in the court. Someone can have one ruling where they were delinquent on a payment. They got evicted. They owed some money, some damages, and the judge actually makes a ruling on that. Most credit reports and eviction reports will show that, basic ones anyways. This one will give you a complete eviction history in an action brought against somebody. The real differentiator is this: you can have one judgment across someone’s history. They can have 15 actions against them and you would never have that visibility. On paper somebody could look good in the way of income and everything else, and the next thing you know, you place somebody into a unit. We know how hard it is to evict people, not just in the US, but in Massachusetts, specifically there’s some pretty stringent laws.
It really enables you to vet people upfront and the benefit of this screening process is also you can customize all of your settings based on your property. So if you have a different demographic across your entire portfolio, maybe some are in the high-rate district, maybe some are in the low-rate district, maybe some folks with Section 8 because we run the gamut. We can handle it all within our software.
You are able to say, “For this property, I’m only going to take this FICO score and no dings on the criminal record. For this one, may be a misdemeanor, speeding ticket, may be a little fracas while they were in college, but not a big deal, and this credit score.” You set those limits so you know full well that when you get a recommendation back from TransUnion that they’re basing it off on what you’ve already set up, so the customizable factor is there, and it’s rally intuitive. Again, it’s all integrated within the software, so I think I kind of covered all of that and we can move on to the next one.
Andrew: Yeah, another huge part of what we do is a full general ledger accounting suite all right, so that’s what you’re going to find with a lot of property management software. I’m sure can we get a show of hands to who’s using QuickBooks? Yeah. See? A lot of people use QuickBooks. The real difference between a good property management software and QuickBooks when it comes to accounting so we’re specifically designed to do property accounting. QuickBooks does a heck of a job small- and medium-sized business, but you got to massage your way through to get all your properties in there and have it be compliant for tax purposes.
Everything in Buildium or really in really property management software in general, I can’t say I can ding any of our competitors in this regard, it’s all done by property, exactly how you need it. You can group them any way you want, by owner portfolio, different portfolios, kind of customized, whatever reporting you want to see, but it’s all going to be done at the property level and that’s how it’s going to be automatically done, so you really don’t have to worry about. When you’re collecting rent, when you’re paying expenses, you’re always going to have to put it against the property, you can use trust accounting. You can use kind of the opposite of that. You can do bank account per property. You can do one bank account for all properties. We’re always going to make sure that that money is going to be accounted for at the property level regardless of the big bucket or a hundred small buckets. We’re always going to be set.
We also have automatic bank reconciliation processes right through the software. You link your bank account. At the end of the month, you just get a quick view. Here are all my Buildium transactions. Here’s my actual bank account and Buildium is going to ding you and say, “Hey, hey, I got a $613.14 deposit here in your bank account,” but I don’t see that in Buildium, here’s what I think you missed.” It kind of helps you keep on track for compliance reasons.
We also do auto-generated compliance reports, reconciliation reports, and you actually file your 1099s electronically right through the software. With a couple of clicks of the button, we’ll fill up those 1099s for you, small fee, and you can kick those right to your IRS. Everything else is mailed out easy-peasy. No need to go to staples, get those forms anymore and fill them out by hand.
Dave: Back to kind of to the point that Andrew made and touched briefly, and again this is really a high-level overview, and I just kind of let you know since at the beginning, we do offer free trial of the software. Actually, I recognized Doug’s very unique last name because he actually picked up a trial and it came across my desk, so we offer free trial. You guys can grab a business card from me or I can grab one of yours. The reason I said that is because we want to kind of see the software that you can literally click in and you have full capability within the software.
What you look at in that free trial is exactly what you would buy. That is one differentiator with us. A lot of our competitors and the folks don’t give you that. They kind of push you through a demo and they say, “This is what it is. Sign up. Here’s the yearly contract, and this is what you’re going to pay.” Do you have a question? I’m Sorry.
Rich: Yes. She’s going to remember that at the end.
Rich: Right, Sandra.
Andrew: I’ll come over there right now [laughter].
Dave: Yeah. That was the one piece I wanted to say, so back to the kind of the property accounting. The big thing I think people kind of get bogged down with when possibly looking at software is what do I do with all this data, historical data that I have for these tenants. It’s in QuickBooks. It’s somewhere else. Maybe it’s in another property management software. If that’s the case, great. We kind of talked about a line in the sand date where we say we’ve done everything for 20 years up until this point in this system with a pen and pad because it’s never going to fail you, or Excel, or QuickBooks.
What we say is this, “You’re able to go in to Buildium from day 1 and say July 1 is going to be my line in the sand date. Every transaction that I have moving forward in regards to rent, bills, payments, owner disbursements, anything else is going to be in here.” We allow you to go in and tell the system and upload all the information saying, “I am holding this much of a security deposit for this tenant and this is their outstanding balance as of today.” Again it’s getting a little deep into the functionality of the technology, but we’ll only get is this is that you can go from one system to the next pretty seamlessly and kind of run them in parallel. A lot of people do that. They’ll say, “Okay, Dave and Andrew came by. We’re going to pay $40. We’re going to sign up for a month, and see how it goes, but I really kind of want everything else in parallel in QuickBooks. What we’re going to do now to make sure that if anything doesn’t come out right on the Buildium side of things, at least I have it here, which is fine. We totally are fine with that. What I’m getting at is that you can get all of your data, all of your tenants, all of the liability across your holdings, any outstanding balances with them, your vendors or owners right into the system.
From day 1 of you starting with Buildium, financially and accounting-wise, you know exactly where you stand and it’s to the penny where you started and where you were on your other systems. That’s kind of one piece in the accounting side that I like to bring up because I feel that a lot of people are a little [unintelligible 0:18:11] with what do I do with what I have. Well, this is what you’re going to be doing moving forward and you can definitely store all of that information. We have unlimited data storage within the software so you can upload all your past rental reports and stuff like that, so it’s definitely, definitely something we’ll touch on.
Tenants and list ledgers, we kind of touched on that a little bit in the way of taking that old data and saying, “This is what their rent is going to be, and this is the liability I’m holding.” We allow you to go in and fully customize all the charges that any of your tenants would have and set them on a recurring basis. I used to be a chef, so I love Ron Popeil set it and forget it. You can set up a recurring charge for $1,000 for rent that Mr. Smith owes you at your property on 20 Main Street. That will post whenever you wanted to post probably the first of the month. You can even have it posted in advanced to kind of give him a warning that, “Hey, your rent is going to be due on the first,” which I’m sure he already knows.
The point is this: you’re automating that process. It’s entering that charge on the tenant ledger, and then you are able to have full visibility and see as of the first, nobody has paid the rent. As of the third, no one has paid me a rent.” But what I’m getting at is you’re not manually entering things in anymore. You’re doing it one time upon setting up the lease and then you’re managing it. You’re not stuck down in these mundane tasks of going to the bank. That’s a thing of the past. If you want to be and any software has that functionality, so the tenants and these ledgers are definitely a huge piece, and we can touch upon that and again any conversations afterwards, I’ll be more than happy to kind of dive in.
Financial reporting, I’ll be quick because I don’t want to take too much time but full suite of financial reports – so rental owner statements, balance sheets, the P&L since it’s an income statement. Again, all of this is available for any of you to play around with, give me a call, and we’ll talk about it, and I’ll walk through it with you in the 15-day free trial, and it’s great. It’s a full, robust suite of reports.
You also have compliance reports. I’m going to say the A word because it’s scary but audit, audit compliance reports. That might happen. We have a full suite of reports in there specifically for an auditor. When the auditor to come into your office and say, financially accounting wise, what’s going on with your properties and your finances. But you could direct them and give them access to your Buildium account, which I’ve walked many people through and they pass with flying colors because you’re able to document everything and all those compliance reports are in a separate section of the software where they know exactly what they’re looking for. They can go right in. We’ve cleanly laid it out. We know what they’re going to be looking for, and it’s there. So there’s a lot to be said for that.
We also have beyond financial reports, task reports, maintenance reports, rent rolls, and the like. Anything that you can think of in the way of managing your properties, there’s a report that you can use and you can filter it by a specific unit, by a specific property. If you’re managing for owners, you can actually filter it by owners, so you can have their whole group of properties and take a holistic look at how their properties are doing.
The financial reports and all the reports within Buildium definitely help you kind of manage and streamline your processes.
Andrew: Maintenance, we did we kind of talked a little bit about just automating that process coming in from a tenant’s perspective or an owner’s perspective, giving them access to those portals so they can kind of go in there and they kind of list out here are the things or here’s my one problem, auto generates a task for you. If you guys do have multiple folks that work with you, if you do have staff, you do get unlimited users in Buildium and you can assign those tasks to different folks, kind of delegate any of those responsibilities.
From those tasks like I said, you update those. I just say, “Hey somebody says we broke a window. Kids are playing baseball out here. The window is broken.”
It’s Massachusetts and maybe it’s not June, maybe it’s February. Maybe I want to take care of that a little quicker. I can shoot them a quick message right in there in that task and say, “All right, it’s in progress. They’ll be by in 2 hours.”
Then what I can do is I can get a work order right by my system, right from there. I can do that from my phone on the mobile app. I could send that work over through a vendor. Maybe it’s not just the window. Maybe it’s something I don’t know what to do. Maybe a whole kid went through the window and he smashed the whole frame. I don’t know.
But you go ahead and enter a work order, turn that work order right into a bill, all from my phone, all right there, kind of automating a lot of that process. I don’t have to remember anything. I don’t have to take notes on a notepad and then go enter it on the QuickBooks when I get back to the one QuickBooks machine that I have a license for.
We’re very agnostic as far as operating system and machines and all that. You can use us from anywhere, anytime.
Then as far as recording bills, invoices, collecting funds, and issuing payments, I know that we touched upon or believe Doug touched upon that pilot program of electronic payments for college students using credit cards. We have a fully integrated electronic payment system with our software. It’s an optional thing. Not everybody likes to use. It usually depends on the kind of folks you rent to, whether you do third-party management or not, but if you want folks to pay online, they can pay online right through that portal. Those transactions, we automatically record it for you, so we’ve really taken the whole collecting payments, making deposits completely out of your hands that you can even set those up on a recurring basis.
I have properties in Pennsylvania. I’m not sure if we can do this in Massachusetts, but I put it in my lease: you have to pay electronically and you have to do automatic debit on the first. They sign in once. I say my rents are cheap compared to Boston. They’re like $400, but these folks sign in once. They say, “All right, $400 on the first comes out of my bank account and goes into my operating bank account for my property management business. I don’t have to worry about it. I get a scheduled electronic fund transfer report every month. I know when it’s coming in. I know who it’s coming from. Those transactions will be automatically recorded for me, and those deposits will be automatically recorded for me as soon as that money hits my bank account.
It’s a lot of things. Kind of going back to that efficiency where you can take your head out of that area, what can you be accomplishing with that time. Maybe it’s golf. Maybe it’s growing your business. Maybe it’s buying more units. Maybe it’s fixing up that one bathroom that has a clawfoot tub and you’ve always wanted to shine it up. I don’t know, but we’ll give you the time to do with what you will.
Dave: Yeah. I think we kind of touched upon the tenant management piece and collecting rents electronically. One piece I do want to touch on here is the kind of store and share documents, so you can upload to the public site documents that you can share with all of your tenants for a specific property and they’ll be able to kind of view those ‑ regulations and rules regarding a specific property, updates and notices. You can do that for the entire group, for the entire portfolio that you manage and then obviously you can go ahead with communications via Buildium and you can send out individualized letters. You can send out mass mailings. You can send out mass emails.
The beauty of this is that everything is consolidated into one system, so all the contact information that you have for all these individuals is here. If you ever need to reach them immediately, aside from a phone call or you need to reach everybody and let them know that the apartment complex is going to be fumigated and it’s a last-minute thing, and you can alert them immediately. You can even have mailing sent out.
We have a mailing service so you can have an actual letter because a lot of times, you need to have and prove that there is a physical document that was put on their door, so notice to quit, reminders about violations specific to that, whatever it maybe, you can customize mailings within Buildium. There’s something specific to your business and to your portfolio, you can fully customize that, whether it be an email or mailing. We actually have an optional service, $0.80 per mailing, which includes postage, which is a pretty good deal. They will automatically mail out whatever you need to, and it’s the regular US Postal Service and it’s fully integrated.
Again, we’re clicking the most a lot within software as opposed to trudging over and pulling out the ledger and signing in to QuickBooks, physically cutting checks, and stuff like that. Again back to those efficiencies, I think it was a great segue that Doug had kind of touched upon in our software kind of can do a lot of the things that he talked about in terms of the productivity.
The other one I do want to talk about is the tenant requests. We already touched upon that, but I just can’t hammer this home enough. People talk about new tenancies up that they’re taking on. Some people like to worry, but you can kind of train people in the new way of doing things and it’s not hammering yourself for every little nitpicky thing. The great thing with streamlining these tasks is this is you can actually prioritize what you think you need to get to, back to what Doug was presenting with the offers in their books says. Well, is this something that I should be doing right now? Maybe this is something because the fifth request that this tenant has made and it’s absolutely outrageous or irrelevant. You can prioritize those. You can totally make sure that you know exactly what you need to get knocked out for each day. When you sign into the software, you have a dashboard that tells you all of your information in the way of new tasks that have come in.
Then also a great feature on that dashboard, which we’ll touch upon, is leases ending. It gives you a complete breakdown of leases ending in 30, 60, and 90 days right at the beginning when you sign in, so you got a very quick high-level kind of view of what you might need to be working on in the coming months.
Andrew: We kind of touched on a lot of stuff kind of here and there, products and services from Buildium. We touched on electronic payments, the integrated tenant screening, 1099 electronic filings. We also have remote check printing and mailing services. Anybody who doesn’t like stuff in envelopes, we got you covered there as well for $0.80 a pop, and really is a stamp $0.51 yet, so that’s postage included kind of roll through here, kind of getting the nod.
Rich: I have like so many questions.
Dave: He’s got questions. All right, awesome. Yeah, let’s kill questions.
Rich: You might want to borrow [unintelligible 0:28:28].
Dave: This is kind of where we, the cheerleaders, had talked about how great we are. Honestly, I was previously working‑
Rich: You’re not wearing the right outfit.
Dave: I’m not wearing the right outfit?
Rich: Not for a cheerleader.
Dave: You don’t know what’s on underneath [laughter]. Just a little personal story here. I was in the staffing world in account management. I absolutely hated my job. I Googled “best place to work in Boston.” That was the only thing that I Googled. I said I will find a job at the best place to work in Boston. I will find my niche and I will climb the ladder as quickly as possible, and this is all I care about because I need to have the work-life balance with my family and my sanity. I’m sure you can all probably relate to that.
I came here for a reason and Buildium is truly the greatest place to work. I’ve worked at a lot of different places from working at a golf course, working in an offshore lobster boat, to doing high-pressure sales, and this is the best in the higher-grade people present company include [laughter]. We get awards ‑
Rich: Right, good save.
Dave: Yeah, good save. Yeah, we won a lot of awards and I do like to bring this up because you can Google “Buildium Stevie Awards,” you’re going to find this. One of our colleagues, Jeana, won Best Customer Care Agent in the World for our respective space. She actually got an award made by the same company that makes Oscars and they flew her out to Vegas and everything else. What I’m getting at is this: we hand you a very robust intuitive software that’s going to make your life a lot easier. It’s actually going to make you money if you set it up and kind of use some of our best practices, but that doesn’t stop there.
We have a full suite of on-boarding webinars and trainings, so when you get the software and it’s the first time that you ever possibly purchased software, there’s somebody there that you can call. Believe it or not our call center is in downtown Boston with agents like myself and Andrew, in customer care, so nobody is sitting offshore. There’s about 15 to 20 at any given time. They’re there to answer the phones Monday through Friday, 9:00 AM to 8:00 PM. The average wait time is about 7 minutes on the phone call, so me calling Comcast, AT&T, or anybody else it’s probably quicker to walk down to the local office.
You’d get a real person who actually solves your problems in that single phone call, and in the slim chance that they can’t, it’s then handed off to a supervisor who’s going to call you back within 30 minutes. These are all deliverables that we need to meet. This isn’t just lip service. This is true and I invite you to kind of take a look at it because the glowing reviews fortunately enough that’s been one piece of Buildium cheerleading on.
Rich: All right, excellent. Thank you. Sandra, you remembered your question? All right.
Sandra: Actually, it’s a two-part question. Since a lot of us are already set up in QuickBooks, does this thing work in tandem? Do you have to get rid of one in order to do a Buildium? Can they work tandem? The other question I had is that if you have multiple, I mean like 20, 25 buildings that are somewhere in the neighborhood of over 300 tenants, how much time does it take to get up and running on that?
Dave: That’s a great question, so the first piece I want to hammer home and this might break some people’s hearts is we actually are designed to replace QuickBooks. What I mentioned in terms of running in tandem is that you might not be sure about this new system and this new – you might want to trust this out, but eventually your QuickBooks is gone. You’re not paying for that anymore because we have a full general electronic accounting.
The great thing about Buildium is that we have an import function, and the great thing about Buildium is that their format is in Excel, so essentially what you can do is you can take all the information that you have from QuickBooks, put it into an Excel template, and import it into Buildium. What I mean by that is to your point, a property with 300 tenants, 300 different leases, security deposits, contact information, and units you can put into a template and import in. Andrew makes the joke that somebody with 250 units can get it done in an afternoon, or if it’s closer to the sun going down, so you’ll get it done before the sun goes down. It’s truly that easy because of the way that the templates are designed. If you have minimal knowledge and proficiency in Excel believe it or not, but very easily you’re able to import the information and then it shows up in your Buildium account correctly, and you can’t input anything incorrectly because it won’t bite you.
If you do get stuck, you call one of our agents. They pick up the phone. They can actually see your account. They can’t touch or control anything, but they can see the result of your actions, meaning this if you go in and try to input something and you get an error saying, “I can’t input this,” they’re going to immediately know why. They’re going to be able to take a look at it in real-time and advise you what you need to do to correct it to get that information into the system. We actually replaced QuickBooks.
In terms of the second point of being able to how quick to get the information in there, really fast, a lot faster than manually entering in each individual lease, tenant.
Rich: That doesn’t sound like a good time.
Rich: I think your way sounds a lot better [laughter]. I have like 24 questions and I don’t want to dominate just have the microphone, so does anybody else have one before I ‑ okay.
Male Audience 1: Does your product offer ACH drafts?
Andrew: Yeah, absolutely. The electronic payment system ‑ just to give you the eye level – we partner with Forte Payments and what that does is basically hooks up your operating bank account with a merchant account, so just like I said when the tenants had signed into their portals to make their payments, they can use their bank account to do an ACH draft. They could use a credit card. They could use a debit card. You will also have the ability to direct deposit to vendors, owners, anybody you guys are paying out, you work with on a regular basis instead of cutting checks, which we can do. We print checks just like QuickBooks does. You can have them sent out by us or you can just do that direct deposit right from Buildium.
Male Audience 1: Is there any additional fee for the ACH process?
Andrew: There is, so to hook up the bank account like we said, for the base software, there is no setup fees. For the two add-on services, the premium tenant screening, which does require that on-site visit, there’s a $99 setup fee. For the electronic payments, there’s a $99 setup fee just to hook up that merchant account with your bank account, that’s a one-time fee. Then ACH transaction fees where someone would use their bank account, it’s a $0.50 transaction fee. Credit card processing fees are 2.75 percent. We always say if credit card and debit cards are looked at as the same way, so if you’re tenants are using a debit card, that means they have a bank account, maybe put a task in there to have their mom smack them, I don’t know.
You also have the ability to charge convenience fees on the other end, so we have a lot of folks who literally use convenience fees to pay for their Buildium account, so it’s a $0.50 ACH fee that you see on your Buildium account, but you charge a $1 convenience fee on the tenant’s end.
Rich: All right, so this still looks like we have some more questions and there’s a demo that you guys can do. They’ll show it on the screen that will probably answer some of those, is that right?
Andrew: Sure. I mean we can pull up the software and just kind of pop around, but yeah by all means we can kind of check out what questions we have.
Rich: Okay, so you guys will actually mail 1099s that ‑
Dave: [unintelligible 0:35:35].
Andrew: Yes. We’ll file the 1099s electronically with the IRS and then the physical mailing forms will go out to each of the 1099 recipient.
Rich: And is there a way when the tenant request is coming from maintenance, is there a way to have it become a work order automatically?
Andrew: It will just create the task automatically.
Andrew: Right in that task view, you’ll see update task, create work order, and then from that work order, you can enter a bill.
Rich: Okay, and you can handle payroll through this, too? It sounds like you can like pay your plumber and stuff like that and pay your maintenance guys?
Andrew: Yeah, absolutely. Payroll specifically like if you’re talking about W2 payroll, not really something you’d want to run through Buildium. We see a lot of folks who have larger staff using outside payroll company.
Andrew: Because it’s a more manual process. We don’t have those calculations in there, but yeah if you’re paying your vendors or doing owner draws, you do it right through the software.
Rich: Got you. Okay so Doug is setting up the demo. If you are like using the example that you did with the tenant who had a broken window, if it was their fault and they have to pay for the window, they can pay for that through the software? Can you send them an invoice and they can pay it with their‑
Andrew: Yeah, absolutely.
Rich: Credit card or debit card?
Andrew: Yeah, and that would be something that would just go right on to their ledger. What I would do ‑
Andrew: In my mind, I’ll probably payout my vendor. From me, I’ll have his invoice. I’ll pay him out, and then I’m going to add a tenant charge on their ledger, and I don’t know. Maybe there’s a $5 markup because you wasted my Wednesday evening.
Rich: I like your style.
Andrew: It’s a fee-based business. We’re all in it. I don’t think ‑ [laughter]
Female Audience 1: I have a quick question on the fee for screening. What is the fee for screening?
Andrew: There are other two different screenings that we have, so the basic tenant screening is a lot like what some of you are probably using where you’re not FCRA regulation compliant, so you don’t do this hard pull credit checks, so those are $12 per applicant through the software. Like we said, we probably do over 15,000 of them a month through the software, obviously 12,000 customers but we do get a pretty good deal through TransUnion. Then if you do qualify to do these hard pull credit checks, those are $18 a piece. Really the only difference between – I think Dave touched on this ‑ the only difference between the reports, they’re both federal and state criminal background checks, the TransUnion credit check, and an eviction report, but the basic tenant screening only gives you those judgment eviction reports and the premium does give you the judgment and filings.
Rich: I have a question about the screening. There are four states that do not show up in a national criminal check. In Massachusetts, you have to check by county. Can you do that through the software?
Andrew: That would be a Dave question [laughter].
Dave: Yeah. If you want to do this [unintelligible 0:38:47] demo actually ‑
Andrew: I can try.
Dave: Okay, great. Yes, the states that do not report notes, in that instance you can go ahead and get within the integration within the software. There may be something that you may be able to get with TransUnion outside of Buildium, but I would be honest. Within even a trial, believe it or not the free trial that we offer, if you guys want to run a credit check, a basic one, we actually enable that function in the trial, so you could actually screen someone using the trial. If there’s too many and someone uses it as an opportunity to make some money do some unscrupulous stuff, we will catch onto it.
What I’m getting at is this is that the integrated reports that you receive, aside from the non-reporting states, which you’re referencing, no. The short answer is no but it’s a pretty robust report that people can kind of stand on it in terms of the amount that we run, which is 12,000 to 15,000 a month.
Male Audience 2: Does your website have a full menu of all the offerings and what they cost?
Dave: Yeah, most certainly. We can get‑
Andrew: [unintelligible 0:39:56].
Dave: Go to the page right now and it’s a lot smaller, so hopefully if it’s not bigger, yeah we’ll go to Buildium.com. But one piece I do kind of want to just go back to‑
Dave: Because I think a lot of times folks with not a lot of units ask is this an investment, is this money well spent, and the answer for me not just because I’m a salesperson, because I understand the industry is a resounding yes. When we look at what we provide you for 40, 50, if you have 60 units, it’s $60, and that pricing structure is all the way up to 200 units, so it’s about $1 a unit all the way up to 200 and goes in 10-block increments. After that point, it’s about $0.89, $0.91 per unit. As you get up into thousands of units, it’s obviously a huge discount, and also to that point, we have customers with three units under management, which utilize our software and love it.
I have one of my clients who I deal with more on from an account management perspective that has 15,000 units under management within Buildium, so that’s kind of the scalability, and 15,000 units to me sounds like a huge headache. But I visited his office in Chicago. He’s got about 150 employees. They live and die by our task system, which is very basic and simple, but it works. That’s kind of what I want to let you guys know about is that from 3 units to 15,000 units, it’s well worth the investment.
The great thing about it is that a month in if this isn’t working for you, you literally click into your account and click the cancel button, and that’s it. Whatever you don’t use for that month gets prorated. We hate to see people go, but I’d like to make that really clear because to try something out for $40, I mean a gym membership, which I clearly have never used, it’s definitely worth to kind of give it a shot and go beyond the free trial to really see if it’s going to work for you.
Male Audience 2: Another question.
Male Audience 2: You were showing us something on doing credit checks, criminal background. Can we also use this for let’s say somebody is looking for a job, they want to work with us, can we use this for employment?
Dave: That’s a really gray area. I’ve had a few people on the phone ask me that outright, and I have kind of told them the answer is no just because in the way that those institutions view this information, it’s obviously very sensitive. You need to be very careful on what you do with the information, so the answer to that question is no.
Andrew: You do a basic.
Dave: But you could do like a basic tenant screening. It’s more along the lines of the premium one because that is an on-site assessment. TransUnion comes out to that you as a legitimate business and stuff like that with the premium tenant screening, so the basic one possibly. We don’t advise it because what I know has happened in the past that people used that service and there isn’t a property or something tied to it, we might get a phone call and then we might give one of our customers a phone call, or they might get it from TransUnion. It’s not advised.
Rich: So, there is one over there.
Rich: We’re going to take a break with the questions and is there some stuff that you can show us that will probably answer some of the things there in some of our minds?
Dave: Sure, yeah. Most certainly. I think Andrew, he’s going to navigate and I’m going to talk if that’s okay.
Andrew: That will probably work out beautifully.
Dave: Great. What you’re looking at right here is that dashboard ‑ and I’m going to grab this thing which has a laser pointer on it supposedly. Here we go. Here’s all of your units under management. This is the dashboard we talked about leases ending, 30, 60, 90. Rental applications ‑ we have some new ones coming in; we have a few that we’re undecided about; two people that we approved. Outstanding balances, I think we should go to that screen right now.
Andrew: Everybody like that one.
Dave: Because everybody likes that one, but this is again kind of the main dashboard when you initially sign in into Buildium, but this outstanding lease balance page is great; unfortunately, Andrew is a terrible property manager, so he has a lot of outstanding balances. But what this enables you to do is you can filter by property right here, so you can go ahead and say outstanding balances and he can pick whichever one he wants and we’ll generate a new list. Yeah, now it doesn’t look so bad. From 150 Main Street, we have one folk with outstanding balances. You simply highlight or click that.
If they page you in the real world because obviously anything that you’re putting into Building needs to be happening in the real world. You’ve added your software, whatever you put into it is what you get out of it, so you want to put all the good information in to get the results you’re looking for. But it’s real easy and it kind of goes back to the view across all your properties where you have numerous buildings and huge portfolio.
You can go through and view all these and say, “All these folks have paid.” One click of the mouse, you can check them all off. You can scroll down at the bottom and unfortunately, like I said, he’s terrible so he has a lot of outstanding balances. You can go ahead and click receive payment in full. What that does is that logs the payment to their tenant ledger immediately in real time, and takes that right out of your hands in manually entering all that information in.
This is again manually entering in payments that you may receive through normal channels ‑ check, cash, and money order. The one thing that I’m going to hammer home because I think it’s really important to understand is the EPA functionality. It automates those processes for you and it really makes it so much easier to collect rent. That’s definitely a huge piece of the puzzle.
Maybe we can go to the tasks and we can kind of show them what that looks like?
Andrew: The task.
Dave: Yeah, so again the dashboard main page right here and then we have some upcoming tasks in this dashboard right here – check smoke alarm batteries, card review, update market rents. It’s look like we have to move some people out and do a rehab. Again anything that you put into the tasks, these are all upcoming and stuff that’s coming due. The ones that are due will show up right here. You also have an overdue function as well that you can click into. Any sneak by, you’re going to have everything documented.
Again, back to that work-life balance and kind of relieving stress – you put in a task, you’re never going to lose it because you can search by the person’s name, the property, the person that it’s assigned to, the status of it, and stuff like that. We’ll dig into the tasks right here and pull one up so you guys can take a look and see what that looks like.
Rich: Dave, are you trying to suggest that organized list is better than randomly scribbling notes all over your house?
Dave: Yeah, I would definitely say so.
Rich: Okay, all right.
Dave: That was a softball, but thanks for throwing it up to me, but yeah it really is. Again, you’ll see there’s a lot of the same filters on each page. You can filter tasks by properties, and then you can also filter tasks by their status, if we just even look at that drop-down menu.
Rich: Can you filter them by type like if you were going to make a list for next time‑
Rich: You have the electrician coming over because those are the things that are going to be done.
Dave: Yeah, you most certainly can and that’s where Andrew is click right now is manage categories. So we have a few here – move out, maintenance, maintenance requests, general inquiry. You can actually customize task categories so if there’s something specific to your portfolio or your properties that you want to put a task in, maybe it’s clean the pool. You can throw it in there. You can save it. You can set it, and again you can forget about it until it comes up in your dashboard.
Rich: And you can just put up in there just to confuse the hell out of your maintenance guy.
Dave: Yeah, most certainly.
Rich: Because there’s no pool.
Dave: Right, exactly [laughter].
Rich: All right, somebody else have a question around here. We just have a couple of minutes left.
Dave: Wow! Time flies.
Andrew: When you’re [unintelligible 0:47:43].
Male Audience 3: Actually it’s a couple of questions. You guys host the application process on your web servers.
Male Audience 3: When you’re talking about taking somebody’s social security and personal information‑
Male Audience 3: Are you guys responsible for any hacker that gets in?
Male Audience 3: Or does any of that come back on us? Then I have another half of that, a different one.
Male Audience 3: You have said that for different properties, you’re going to have different application criteria, but we’re still operating as one business. And so therefore, if we go to the housing court and say, “Well, on this property, we purchased it by this and on this property, we purchased it by that,” might we end up with a major lawsuit on our hands?
Dave: You know I’m going to defer that one to a lawyer and I think to explain the functionality and how it works with us. Again, those filters that are set by TransUnion are in compliant with obviously the laws, and really they’re more of a tool to say that you have the right to refuse and set up your properties in any such way. Legally again I don’t think TransUnion would have that put in place if it was something that will come back in court.
Rich: There is no discrimination section on the dashboard?
Dave: There is no discrimination section on the dashboard.
Dave: I do want to get back to you at first point though in terms of the liability of where it stands in the way of like a tenant’s information specifically social security numbers and stuff like that. We’re supported by Rackspace because we are web-based. It’s not stored on some server or your office. It is on the Web. They’re the top at what they do and what I mean by that is this: we have two redundant servers, one in Texas and one in Virginia, which are constantly backing up all the information and data 128-bit encryption.
What that means is that the top Fortune 100 companies in the financial sector and security sector use Rackspace as the folks that host their websites and their information. If it’s good enough for the Department of Defense, if it’s good enough for JP Morgan, we thought that as a vendor in terms of security and stuff like that, that’s why we went with them. The liability does fall on us if somebody were to hack your information. Obviously, that would be a huge problem for Buildium, but we never had that.
Rich: That’s a great question.
Rich: Hold on, hold on, hold on.
Sandra: Since it’s through the Internet, in other words if you do a credit check on somebody and my landlord wants to see that information, it’s obviously coming to me. Can that secure the center of my owner?
Sandra: Because right now, when I have a credit check, I have to keep it in a locked file‑
Sandra: Let it out of my office.
Dave: Yeah, most certainly so. To that point and again we don’t really play in the space of specific compliance laws. We don’t have any legalese documents or sample leases for Massachusetts or any state because that’s not where we play. But to answer your question, that information is available to you. You are their property manager. You are the one running that screen. If they requested information, you can give it to them.
The beauty about Buildium is this though is you can provide them with access to your Buildium account. You can actually give them access and you let them have that visibility so they can sign in and if you want to give them that access, that’s great. You have that tight relationship with the owners. They can view the information. They can see the people coming through the door. Again, I kind of always say they’re paying you for a reason because you’re vetting those people, you’re screening them and everything else like that, but if they want to have access to it and they’re demanding it and that’s part of your agreement, you can give them that access if you choose.
Rich: All right, we’re wrapping this up to get the water bills. We have a couple more of questions.
Female Audience 2: I just wanted to know if you have several different owners and you want them to log in, do you have different log-ins for different?
Dave: Yeah, it’s great. Actually, if you want to go to the public site real quick‑
Andrew: You’ll do Boston proper?
Dave: Yeah, I’ll do Boston proper. He’s going to go to one of the public sites that will be able to kind of show you what I’m talking about, but the answer to that is yes. Each user within Buildium, whether it be a tenant, whether it be a tenant, whether it be you, whether it be a rental owner, they have full visibility as little as you want to give them. Each owner has their own log-in credentials ‑ and I will use fancy laser pointer. It’s all based on emails that they have within the system and then a password that they would put in and have. Each owner will be able to sign in and see only their properties, only their financials.
The vendor might be able to sign in and see only work orders and bills associated with him and maybe for that specific property. Maybe for one property, you only have a certain set of vendors that you use. You give them as much or as little access as you want, and they’ll be able to do that, so the answer to that question is yes. Yeah.
Sandra: [unintelligible 0:52:44].
Rich: All right. Sandra said please. This will be the last one.
Sandra: The letters that you send out, do you also do them in different languages?
Dave: We do not. No, so everything is in English at this point but that’s a great question, and Andrew and I actually had a long conversation up here today about not only Spanish-speaking market, which I think we all know is going to be most commonly spoken language in this country in a few years. To kind of get onboard that, we can either fight it or we can decide to go into business and open up a whole lot of demographics. The answer to that is no, but we are in 38 different countries at this point. People, obviously the international language of business is English, which is lucky for all of us.
Rich: But you can input a letter, right?
Rich: So if you have somebody translate, you can put it in there –
Dave: Yeah, most certainly.
Rich: And go out to‑
Dave: That’s a great point, so we do have a document generator for that. If you have somebody with the wherewithal capability with those language skills, you can definitely craft an email or letter and had to be at whatever language you need it to be, which is great, because there’s a lot of cheap and easy software and even some free websites that will translate something, a document, for you, which you can then cut and copy and throw in there. Again consider the source and the vendor because you want to make sure because that you’re not telling them something bad about their aunt and you’re actually asking them that they need to keep their car off the lawn.
Rich: Unless that was the point in the letter.
Dave: Unless that’s the point in the letter. I sent a few of those‑
Rich: [crosstalk 0:54:05] terrible things about their aunt. Yeah, that comes up. So the next thing that we’re going to go over is the water bills.
Andrew: [unintelligible 0:54:15].
Female Audience 3: [unintelligible 0:54:15] business cards.
Dave: Yeah. We have plenty of cards. We also have free‑
Rich: Yeah. We’re not kicking them out. They’re not going anywhere.
Rich: You guys can hang around for a couple of extra minutes?
Dave: Yeah. People will have us. We’ll stay. Also we have business cards. We do have free tape measures, and they’re not cheap. They’re actually nice, and everybody should be able to take one, so let’s ask everyone just like everyone the food, take one and if there’s leftovers, take another one.
Rich: I guess you can give one. You know, in this video, you can wrap them up [laughter].
Andrew: [unintelligible 0:54:40].
Rich: Yeah, absolutely, anniversary or Valentine’s, that’s a good one. We’re going to move along to the water bills. These guys are going to hang around afterwards because I’m sure there are a lot of question and Doug is going to move along, so let’s hear it for Dave and Andrew [applause].