There was a time when resident benefits packages existed only in the world of luxury apartments and rental homes. Now, however, rental properties of all types offer benefits packages to their residents.
Google resident benefits packages and you’ll get pages and pages of property management services that offer them. In fact, benefits can extend to all parts of the renting experience. They now cover everything from air and water filter delivery and replacement services to insurance options to 24-hour concierge services and emergency repairs.
Packages also provide an opportunity for property managers to add revenue streams and cut costs, while increasing value for owners.
In this article, we’ll explain why it’s a good idea to offer a resident benefits package, what kinds of benefits you can include, and how to implement one for your residents.
Why Offer a Resident Benefits Package?
Of course, benefits packages are a win for residents. For a relatively low fee, they provide services that residents would otherwise have to seek out and manage themselves. But did you know a resident benefits package is a win for you, too?
Here are three benefits for property managers:
Resident benefits packages give property managers the opportunity to bring in additional revenue with fees that reflect the value of particular services. Property managers can even subscribe to an outside service provider and then charge residents extra to cover the cost of the service and still make a profit.
Reduced Workload & Staff
Certain benefit offerings can reduce the amount of work on your staff. Online Resident Centers, for example, funnel all communications and maintenance requests into one portal. Your staff will spend less time weeding through emails or answering the phone, and your maintenance team will spend less time filling out paperwork.
Increased Resident Retention and Reduced Vacancy Times
Benefits packages can provide anything from simple conveniences to services that protect their financial security. If you offer services that residents find valuable, such as HVAC filter changing or utility management, they’re more likely to stay.
Be sure to include the benefits you offer in your listings and marketing materials, as well. A good benefits package can attract more applicants, widening your pool of prospective tenants and cutting your vacancy time.
What Should You Offer in Your Resident Benefits Package?
As long as you stay within the capabilities of your firm — and within the bounds of what residents consider valuable — you can get pretty creative with resident benefits packages. There are, however, some key features that you find more often than others.
Common Benefits Included in Packages
Here are some of the more common benefits property managers include in their packages:
- HVAC Filter Delivery and Installation: Subscribe to a service that delivers HVAC filters regularly and or/change out HVAC filters for residents. You can offset the cost of the service and earn some additional revenue with a simple fee for residents.
- Refrigerator Filter Delivery: Just like HVAC filters, there are services that auto-deliver filters for refrigerator water systems, as well. Make them part of your package and factor in the value and convenience to residents when setting fees.
- Virtual Concierge: A virtual concierge can offer a host of services to residents, including keyless entry, package receipt, restaurant and event bookings, and reservations for on-site amenities such as pools and gyms.
- Resident Portal: Let residents make payments, send messages, store resident-related documents, and get access to community information through a single portal.
- 24/7 Maintenance Requests: Give residents access to a maintenance request portal so they can report issues anytime and from anywhere.
- Utility Management and Payment: When a resident moves in, a single service will turn on all of the utilities in their name. Moving forward, a single utility payment can be rolled into their rent or their package fee and property managers make sure all utility companies are paid.
- Renters Insurance: By including renters insurance in a benefits package, residents are covered for damage and liability and property managers avoid responsibility for damage caused by uninsured residents.
Which Should You Include?
There are so many variations on benefits packages. Your package offering can be basic, covering only insurance and HVAC, or it can be elaborate, including perks such as dog walking or dry cleaning services.
The benefits you choose will depend entirely on your resident population.
To determine which benefits will best fit your residents’ needs, first do your research.
Look at packages offered by property management firms with similar properties and resident populations. Poll your current residents, as well, to get an idea of the kinds of benefits they would find most valuable. Keep the setup simple, using services like SurveyMonkey, and promote the survey through a resident portal so it’s easy to share feedback.
Once you have a list of benefits, do a cost-benefit analysis to determine which will deliver the most profit. Finally, look at your current service offerings to see which ones you could roll into a benefits package.
How to Implement a Resident Benefits Package
Whether you’re implementing a brand new resident benefits package or adding new features to an existing one, communication and time are key. Current residents should be kept in the loop at every stage of the implementation process.
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Once you have polled them on the kinds of benefits they would like, don’t go radio silent until you have finalized your package. Let them know through regular communication which services you’re considering and what your timeline is for implementation.
Communicate with residents when those services will be available to them, what the fee will be, and whether or not it will be mandatory.
Determine whether or not current residents will have access to the benefits package upon lease renewal or after a certain number of days (30, 60, or 90, for example). Then, let residents know via text or email.
For new residents, make sure to clearly explain the services in your benefits package, both in your rental listings and as part of the onboarding experience.
Common Mistakes Property Managers Make With Resident Benefits Packages
Now that you have a better understanding of what to offer and how to offer it, it’s time to consider what not to do with your resident benefits package.
No matter what you’re offering, residents don’t want to pay too much for services. According to maintenance service provider Latchel, benefits packages don’t usually exceed $50 a month.
That said, it’s important to make sure your benefits package doesn’t offer more than you can charge for.
Offering the Wrong Services
Residents won’t find value in a package full of benefits they won’t use—and they won’t want to pay for it. That’s why it’s important to talk to residents about the kinds of services they would find useful.
Unused services not only cost you and your residents money, they also lower resident satisfaction, which can increase turnover.
Communication About the Package
Particularly when you’re implementing a new benefits package, it’s important to communicate its benefits and costs to residents. Hold learning sessions to walk residents through each service or send out clear communications through your portal.
When new residents sign their lease, make sure they have documentation detailing their benefits package and its cost.
Finally, make sure residents are clear about your opt-out policy. If you charge for the package regardless of its use, residents should know that up front.
How Property Management Software Can Help
If you’re seriously considering a resident benefits package, or you need to find a better way to manage the one you have, a robust property management software solution can help.
Many of the services you’re considering for your package may already be covered by property management software. Buildium, for example, already includes a resident portal, as well as 24/7 maintenance requests and tracking. Property managers can offer renters insurance through Buildium, as well.
Software platforms such as Buildium and Propertyware feature an open API, as well, which allows property managers to integrate other software services they’re using.If you’re using a credit reporting or virtual concierge service, for example, you can integrate that directly with your property management software.
Adding a services package can help you create a new revenue stream while freeing up resources for your team. It can also help you keep your residents happy with convenient services and your owners happy by reducing turnover and vacancy rates.
With software that makes introducing services simple, benefits packages can be an easy win-win, adding value for your residents and new revenue streams for your business.