Interview with a Corporate Housing Small Business Owner
What is the most rewarding part of what you do?
Providing great relationships with the tenants is by far the most rewarding part of this biz. I love to hear positive feedback too. There’s nothing like answering the phone to: “I love the apartment, thanks!”
Okay so what’s the worst?
It doesn’t happen that often, but some tenants, upon move in, immediately need to warn the hazmat teams that this apartment will henceforth be referred to as ‘ground zero’ and will be treated as a dumping ground from the day they move in until vacancy. I mean, we have tenants that seem so sweet and at the same time leave wall to wall trash, but then we have the tenants that are bossy, yell at me, blame me for damages that they are clearly responsible for and then leave the apartment a mess, possibly to spite me? I don’t know. Most aren’t like that but we’ve had a few worst case scenarios.
How about wishing that they knew whether or not they were interested in renting BEFORE CALLING? I get so many calls with questions that are answered on the 1st page of our website. You know, the same one where they got the number to call me and ask me the same questions that are answered on that same page? They have no idea who we are, didn’t read the ad before calling, or are going through so many options that they aren’t sure “which one we are”. I’m happy to explain what we offer but sometimes it’s so repetitive or basic that I go into autopilot explaining what a corporate apartment is, how we rent 1 bedroom apartments not 2, and I really wish they would realize: THIS IS A REGULAR APARTMENT! Even better, because it’s for a short time! They don’t have to drive themselves nuts looking around, but of course they do anyway. And then once they’re in the unit, they’re thrilled with everything we offer. Before that happens though, some want to go over the inventory list (1 page), word for word and see 5 apartments before committing to a staggering and life altering and incredibly long…. 1 month rental!!! Sometimes I just want to tell them ‘rent the apartment! Focus on something more important —possibly like the reason you’re in this city in the first place!’
What benefits do you think there are being your own boss?
Well, my time is my own. It means my livelihood is on the line so I have a strong personal interest and really care to make the business succeed. Pride of ownership is another –I don’t know how many employees out there that can feel the same passion without that.
What’s the most important thing for you to have in an employee or co worker?
Honesty and caring about our business. They need to be dependable, hard working and show pride in accomplishments.
Have you learned anything interesting along the way?
Property management is hard! People throw their weight around for no reason at all. I just called someone last week who had emailed us and I was trying to explain that we rented large one bedroom apartments, not 2 bedroom units. He lost it and started screaming at me in his workplace (some kind of executive) for wasting his time and I had to hang up on him. What was the question? Have I met interesting people like the occasional nut? [smiles]
If you were doing this at a different point in your life, how do you think it would be different?
After 5 years with the stress level pretty high since the economy tanked, I might have been more content with it years ago, but I have my artwork and I’m a mother, which I’ve always found extremely rewarding. Thanks for the interview!