Many Paths to Efficiency: How Are Operators Centralizing Services?

In an ever-morphing employment landscape, rental housing operators are rethinking some facets of daily operations.

2 minute read

Centralization is loosely defined as an effort to move away from property-based leasing in favor of placing teams in centralized locations where they can oversee many properties. Rather than reconstruct the entire property process, operators generally opt to centralize certain facets, such as the roles of assistant property managers or maintenance supervisors.  

As panelists imparted at the 2023 Apartmentalize session, “Many Paths to Efficiency: How Are Operators Centralizing Services?” the best solution might vary for each operator. 

Tricap Residential Group and Greystar are among the operators that have centralized certain property functions, and each shared their story.  

“We had people who were wearing too many hats,” says Suzanne Hopson, President of Tricap Residential Group, which oversees approximately 3,100 units. “They couldn’t focus on their primary duties and be really good at one thing. We had to get them into their proper zone.” 

Tricap now operates with an entirely remote sales team and has also centralized certain human resource components, training, cultural ambassadors, the technology and innovation department, accounts receivable and its customer experience representative. With those functions centralized, team members can flourish within their natural roles. 

“It helps us ensure that we’re hiring for the right position, as well,” Hopson says. “In sales, for example, we have people who want to be in that seat. Another thing that has really helped is the reps—the number of times people are doing the same job. Guess what happens? They get a lot better at it. So, we’ve seen a real increase in conversions and overall efficiency.”  

Greystar has centralized the roles of assistant property manager, maintenance supervisor and leasing associate in geographical areas home to several communities. As an example of the newfound efficiency, the assistant manager now handles rent collections, renewals and accounts payable processes for several communities. Greystar first rolled out the concept in the Dallas area and has since centralized several additional markets. 

“The increase in job satisfaction is real,” says Kimberly Nicholson, Senior Director of Property Systems and Owned Assets for Greystar. “If you take someone who is really good at sales and leasing and have them doing numbers or reporting activities, it’s just not for them. If the job speaks to them and is in their wheelhouse, they’ll fly.” 

Panelists advised fellow operators to leave ample time for training when moving to a centralized approach and to anticipate a few challenges along the way. But when implemented effectively, increased efficiencies are sure to follow.  

Paul Willis is a Content Director for LinnellTaylor Marketing.