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Why Property Management won't be having an UBER moment (digital disruption) any time soon!

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I was involved in a recent discussion on Facebook around the Taxi industry and this led to the inevitable questions regarding property management, so I would like to give you my thoughts as to why PM won’t be getting digitally disrupted anytime soon!

So let's define 'digital disruption' - In my opinion, it refers to what happens to an industry or business that quickly gets affected (or even made redundant) by digitally available services and even outsourcing overseas. This is especially fast tracked if the newly available services are able to offer superior service, experience and/or value.

Nokia, Blackberry, Blockbuster video stores, DVD stores, Book stores, the Taxi industry, photo processing shops- all of these industries have had their 'UBER' moment. They have been 'digitally disrupted'.

So is Property Management at risk of a major digital disruption?

I say 'no'!

Here's why:

  • Owners do not employ a property management service because they lack the technology to do it. Instead, they lack the 'willpower' and do not want to do it (in Australia anyway)!

    They want someone else to deal with it, and they want 'peace of mind' in return.

    An app won't change that!
  • Property Management is a very complex, labour intensive, problematic arena that requires skilled and experienced people, with 'boots on the ground'.

    Try replacing police officers digitally!
  • A digital experience will not replace the PM industry, but instead will enhance and strengthen it, and NO, I DO NOT believe an Australian property manager's role can be successfully outsourced to the Philippines (though most assistant/admin/trust accounting tasks can easily be outsourced there with the right team and people- that's another story and another article).
  • We are problem solvers and merchants of 'peace of mind' and owners of properties really 'don't want to deal with all the crap' that comes with management!
  • A fancy app will never:
    • Use their 'gut feel' and that sixth sense when meeting prospective tenants. A bad tenant can easily look good on 'electronic paper'.
    • Keep a tenant in line, and 'ride their back' if they don't pay rent!
    • Do quality, thorough routine inspections and keep the tenant accountable.
    • Negotiate difficult and complex problems that are regularly part of the job.

So for those reasons (and others) property management won’t be having an UBER moment anytime soon!

And I could also say the same for real estate salespeople, as an experienced, skilled negotiator and deal 'middle-man' cannot be replaced digitally and neither can a 'powerful property search web portal' replace the role of the professional salesperson.

That is my say on the topic.






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