With the changes in community management needs, what are the manager’s duties today?
Beyond writing up bank deposits, filling out late notices, reconciling petty cash and the like, the manager’s main tasks are outside. Yes, outside, not inside the management office!
But doing What?
Keep Limited ‘Inside’ Office Hours for Community Management
The manager should remain accessible to residents, but only when the resident calls to schedule a personal appointment at a time that is convenient for both the manager and the resident.
This allows the active management required to create a high level of curb appeal for the residents. There are a couple of ways to approach this depending on the size of the community and how many community homes for sale or lease. A large community of say 300 sites might need a longer set of “walk-in hours” for residents but they could be shortened, too. For example, noon to 5:30 p.m.
Option A: No formal office hours. All resident visits or prospects on site visits are made by phone appointment.
Option B: About 1 or 1 1/2 hours of dedicated office time Mon-Thurs, say from 4:30 or 5 to 6 p.m.
Today, Outside Management Is Not An Option But A Necessity
Firstly, the best way to manage lighter office hours is to provide a mobile phone with unlimited minutes to the manager and have the park phone transferred to the mobile during non-office hours. Now your manager can work on the most important issues, wherever they may be occurring, but is not tied to the office while trying to deal with outside issues.
Secondly, post a notice on the management office door such as: “Looking for a great place to live and to buy or rent a home? Call the Park mobile phone now. Mary, Community Management. Phone: 111-555-1234”.
For The Manager, the Workday is Now Very Flexible
What we’ve done here is make a positive transition from time-specific protocols to task-specific productivity.
Now everything community related has become as-needed, yet the manager still has a higher quality of life and more flexible work and personal life. As an owner, could you adapt to this as opposed to the manager sitting in the office all day?
Today’s Manager Is Doing What?
What we want our manager to concern themselves with is 100% Park Responsibility Curb Appeal, which can be looked at generally as organization and oversight of maintenance and repairs. The manager creates lists, shows the maintenance person or contractor tasks at hand, checks on projects and ensures proper completion.
In other words, “trust but verify”.
Another angle of the job is Creating 100% Resident Responsibility Curb Appeal. This is inspection and re-inspection of resident violations and giving next notice, in sequence, if requests are incomplete.
For instance, inspect for new violations once a week, on Thursday for instance. This gives residents the weekend to cure a problem. Designate re-inspections for Monday. The manager then delivers the “Final Reminder” if a problem is not corrected.
This process reduces the number of resident violations, which overall saves the manager time while improving the appearance of the community. Remember to inspect and enforce policies to each person employed by and live in the community.
Out in the community duties also includes Inspecting and preparing rehab project lists on park-owned homes, and following through with the completion of work.
The manager also need to show homes to prospects, follow up, close the deal and do all related paperwork. Showing homes often and should include passing out resident referral bonus flyers, answering ad calls and organizing and hosting monthly open houses.
Yes, there is a lot to do!
We want to know our manager is visiting other parks once per month to track homes for sale, taking note of interesting specials, profiling the competition’s curb appeal and the like.
That person should be in the field to inspect and write up reports on existing homes the community should consider buying. Finally, the manager works with contractors and manages homes being moved to the community.
In other words, whatever is necessary to collect 100 percent of the rent each month, sending an evenly spaced course of four sequential reminder notices, filing in court on 19th of each month as needed.
Management needs to:
- Create and keep 100 percent curb appeal
- Rehab and have sold every park-owned home
- Track each abandoned home for “title for non-payment”
- Make sure homes stay in the community
What the manager’s job is NOT
Holding multiple, daily coffee clutches, listening to resident complaints about the neighbors, getting into heated debates with residents about the community policies or playing social worker. Residents are to resolve their own personal & financial issues.
Managing a community today is focused on the critical issues such as collections, park management & resident responsibilities, keeping the park occupied and producing income.
Task specific management allows the manager to reclaim their personal life, yet, attend to the critical needs of today’s realities in community management.
Ownership and off site’s responsibility is to ensure the manager is enthusiastically performing as outlined above. We must provide tools to manage, so our people are not attempting to manage from a blank page, and probably reinventing the wheel.
The New Mantra: “The Manager’s Job is Mostly Outside the Office … NOT Inside!”
Michael Power is president of MHCInvestor.com and has been active in the manufactured housing industry for 25 years. During that time he has managed a syndication firm specializing in mobile home parks and apartments. He has consulted with sellers and buyers in transactions across the United States and mentored community owners on operations. Contact him at MichaelPower@mhcinvestor.com.