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How to Collect Rent Online

4 Tips for Property Managers

If you are a property manager, making the rent collection process as safe and convenient as possible for residents has become increasingly important. While the pandemic has made digital rent payments more of a necessity, the benefits of streamlining and automating this process has ensured that online rent payments have both immediate benefits and long-term staying power.

To stay ahead of the curve, you not only need to provide an online rent payment service to your residents, but you also need to offer multiple payment method options, including a cash payment alternative. If you’re looking for the best, safest, and easiest way to collect rent online, the more digital options you provide, the less cash, paper checks, and money orders you’ll receive. Learn how to collect rent payments online in 4 steps.

1. Choose an online rent collection software

The first step to collecting rent online is to choose an online rent payment platform that will allow your residents to make payments online. Because the next generation of renters will be undoubtedly tech savvy, it’s important to choose a platform that features a modern and highly intuitive user experience. Here are some features to consider when choosing the right rent software for your business:

A mobile rent payment app for on-the-go flexibility
To provide the best experience for your residents, choose a mobile-first community app with a simple workflow that will allow your residents and staff to complete their tasks quickly and efficiently. The better, more comprehensive apps will not only include payments but other features such as utilities, resident communications, package management, amenity reservations and integrated work orders.

Multiple digital rent payment options
Your payments provider should offer all major payment options including ACH, debit, credit, PayPal, and Masterpass. Residents appreciate this online rental payment flexibility. While they are out-and-about running errands, they should have the ability to pay via your community’s rent payment app, or at the very least, with a representative over the phone.

The best payment providers will also allow you to convert cash into digital transactions. Our Zego™ CashPay solution, for example, lets residents pay with cash or debit card at over 25,000 retail locations nationwide. The CashPay transactions appear in the Zego™ system instantaneously and integrate into your accounting software.

Digital Rent Reminders
Automated rent reminders can help reduce late payments and increase cash flow. Best-in-class payment providers will link your accounting software to their rent reminder program. This integration allows the system to automatically send an email, text, or push notification (depending on preference) to residents whose ledgers show a balance due.

Credit Reporting
Find a provider that offers credit reporting for free, so you can allow your residents to improve their credit. This can differentiate your properties from others and provide a powerful incentive and draw for your residents.

Dedicated Support
Your new provider should offer dedicated support to ensure you are getting the full value from the platform. Do they have a support center to accept payments over the phone 24/7/365? Even when your office is closed, your payment provider should still be able to accept money from your residents when it’s convenient for them.

2. Choose the right pricing model

Digital rent payment adoption relies heavily on the pricing model you have set up with your provider. Because digital rent payment processing fees can add up to be a big expense, it’s important to choose the pricing model that will mutually benefit you and your residents. Here are the 3 different types of digital rent payment pricing models:

Standard passed
In the standard payment processing model, payment processing fees are paid for by the resident. Although this removes the burden of having to pay transaction fees, management companies that use this model have considerably lower digital rent payment adoption.

Standard incurred
In this model, the property manager pays the processing fees associated with digital payments. The benefit of this plan is that the usage of digital rent payments typically doubles.

Subscription ACH
Management companies under this model pay a small, monthly per-unit fee that includes all ACH transaction costs no matter how many residents pay digitally. This works best if over 50% of your resident payments are digital.

3. Educate and train your on-site staff

Educate managers and on-site associates not only on the functionality of your digital rent payment system but more importantly, on the value of it. These are your folks on the front lines, interacting with your residents on a daily basis. Here’s how to turn those physical transactions virtual:

Provide training for on-site staff on the “why” & “how”
Over-articulate the value of digital payments during your new hire training in addition to the functionality of the program itself. When your team understands how digital payments can improve or alleviate time-sucking, monotonous tasks and increase productivity, they’ll
naturally work harder to ditch paper payments.

Roll out property level KPIs to drive adoption
Stay on target with the help of portfolio-wide Key Performance Indicators (KPIs). Your KPIs should be measurable values that demonstrate the effectiveness of your team’s efforts. Once you’ve established KPIs, align your entire staff on the gravity of these targets. Communicate what’s at stake – the trajectory of your business as well as your associates’ professional growth. Track your progress with the help of your online rent payment provider, and review your KPI’s on a weekly or monthly basis.

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4. On-board your residents

Like the shortcuts on a keyboard, time-saving tools are often underutilized if their existence and value aren’t properly communicated. You’ve got to address your residents’ pain points. Tell a story about how these life-changing features available to them through your platform will ease their pain. Remember to also set clear expectations around when a payment is considered late, what payment methods you accept, etc.

Marketing at move-in: Welcome materials & emails
Here are the 3 channels to focus your marketing efforts on to encourage digital payments at move-in.

The lease
Let your residents know early on about their payment options. Add a payments clause to your lease or rental agreement, and go over the details with each new resident. List all of the acceptable forms of payment, but accentuate the fact that digital payments are preferred.

Fliers, letters, and other print materials
Although paperless is the ultimate goal, the effectiveness of print marketing, in some cases, cannot be denied. Consider including information about your payment portal in print materials such as your new resident move-in packet, welcome letter, signage directing residents to make a digital payment instead, etc.

Digital communications
Your resident marketing program should include communications via emails, texts/sms (for those who opt in), and in-app push notifications. Onboard new residents with instructions on how to use your payment portal. Use digital communications to deliver a stream of practical information while being careful not to overwhelm or “spam” them.

Finding the right online rent payments provider can make a difference in helping your business achieve 100% digital rent payment adoption. But choosing the actual product or service itself shouldn’t be the stopping point, you will need to take additional steps to help educate and train your staff members and residents on how to fully adopt digital rent payments.

Zego™ Pay offers a sleek and modern mobile-first platform for quicker and more efficient online rent collection. Contact us to schedule a demo.

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