Effective property management can make the difference between a thriving business hub and a vacant building. It’s the difference between running a property with a neverending barrage of complaints and completely satisfied tenants. But it’s a lot more than just a routine checklist. It’s an art that balances the immediate needs of a building with the long-term strategic vision for its growth. That’s why the majority of rental property owners use a property manager, according to a Business Wire survey.

What is commercial property management and the basics?

Commercial property management is a multifaceted discipline that involves the oversight, control, and operation of real estate intended for business use. It encompasses a wide range of functions, from the property’s day-to-day operations to the long-term strategic planning required to maintain and enhance its value. Key responsibilities within commercial property management include:

  • Lease management and administration: Handling lease negotiations, renewals, and enforcement of lease terms.
  • Financial oversight: Managing budgets, rent collection, expense payments, and financial reporting.
  • Maintenance and repairs: Ensuring the property is in good repair, managing routine maintenance, and responding to emergency maintenance issues.
  • Tenant relations: Serving as the point of contact for tenant concerns, facilitating communication, and fostering a positive relationship between tenants and the property owner.

The goals of a property manager

A commercial property manager aims to achieve several key objectives:

  • Maximize financial performance: Increase the property’s net operating income through efficient operations, effective leasing strategies, and prudent financial management.
  • Enhance property value: Find opportunities to boost the property’s market value with cost-effective improvements and effective space management.
  • Ensure tenant satisfaction: Keep tenants happy and engaged, which helps retain them and maintain a high occupancy rate.
  • Comply with relevant laws and regulations: Ensure the property adheres to all relevant local, state, and federal regulations, thereby avoiding legal issues and fines.

Understanding target audiences and roles in commercial property management

Understanding the target audience is crucial for tailoring properties to meet specific needs and expectations. Different types of commercial buildings serve different purposes, and the property manager’s role is to ensure that each property is optimized for its intended audience. This involves:

  • Market research: Keeping up-to-date on the latest working preferences in the industries your commercial properties serve.
  • Tenant mix strategy: Selecting the right blend of tenants to create a synergistic environment that benefits all parties and draws in the target audience.
  • Feedback loops: Establishing channels for receiving feedback from tenants and visitors to continuously improve the property’s appeal and functionality.

Different types of commercial property

Commercial properties are categorized based on their intended use, and each type presents unique management challenges and opportunities. Here’s a closer look at the common types of commercial properties:

  • Retail spaces: These include shopping centers, strip malls, and storefronts. Retail properties require managers to focus on tenant mix, consumer traffic patterns, and the overall shopping experience.
  • Office buildings: Ranging from skyscrapers to small professional buildings, office spaces are used for business activities. Property managers must ensure these buildings are equipped with modern amenities, reliable utilities, and a professional atmosphere conducive to the varying needs of different businesses.
  • Industrial properties: These are typically used for manufacturing, production, storage, and distribution. Their management involves understanding the industrial operations, ensuring compliance with safety and environmental regulations, and facilitating the efficient movement of goods.
  • Multi-family and apartment buildings: While typically categorized under residential properties, larger complexes are often managed similarly to commercial properties. The focus here is on resident satisfaction, occupancy rates, and maintaining community facilities.
  • Special purpose properties: This category includes properties designed for a specific use, such as hotels, medical centers, and educational buildings. Management of these properties requires specialized knowledge of the industry and custom operational strategies.

How to best manage commercial property on a portfolio level

Employing experienced property managers is a strategic move for portfolio management. These professionals bring expertise in local markets and specific property types to enhance the tenant experience. They can handle day-to-day operations, from leasing and maintenance to tenant relations, allowing portfolio owners to focus on broader strategic decisions. By delegating operational responsibilities to property managers, portfolio owners can ensure that each property receives the attention it needs without stretching their own resources too thin.

To assess the effectiveness of property managers and the profitability of properties, it’s crucial to track key performance indicators (KPIs). Modern portfolio management software offers dashboard functionality that provides real-time data on various aspects of property performance. These dashboards can include metrics such as occupancy rates, average rental income, operating costs, capital expenditure, arrears, and overall ROI.

How ProptechOS’s open standard can guide property managers and owners

ProptechOS is a platform that leverages the RealEstateCore open standard to redefine how property managers and owners interact with their properties. This open standard is the backbone of a system that allows for seamless integration of various technologies and data sources, enabling more efficient management of commercial real estate portfolios.

It provides a framework for property technology (PropTech) solutions, aiming to simplify operations, enhance tenant experiences, and improve portfolio performance.

The best practices

To maximize the benefits of ProptechOS’s open standard, property managers and owners should adhere to the following best practices:

  • Integrate diverse systems: Managers should integrate their existing property management software, IoT devices, financial systems, and customer relationship management tools into the ProptechOS platform.
  • Leverage real-time data: Real-time monitoring of building operations, energy consumption, and tenant behavior can lead to proactive management and rapid response to any issues that arise. You can even use ProptechOS partners FlowScape to visualize the way tenants use your commercial buildings and provide handy tools to your tenants like a colleague finder and desk finder.
  • Encourage vendor collaboration: The open nature of ProptechOS means it can work with a wide array of vendors and service providers. As their customer, you can encourage these partners to engage with the platform which can lead to more integrated services and innovative solutions for tenants.
  • Embrace scalability: The platform is designed to scale with the growth of a property portfolio. It enables a continuously expanding array of tools to accommodate new properties and business changes.

Get started and increase your operational efficiency

Embracing technology is a pivotal step for property managers and owners looking to enhance their operational efficiency. ProptechOS offers a robust platform that streamlines property management processes and reduces the complexity of managing multiple systems. Best of all, you can get started with ProptechOS for free today to see the benefits for yourself.

An example of how ProptechOS can make property management easier

Let’s take a hypothetical scenario to illustrate the impact of ProptechOS on the day-to-day operations of managing a commercial building.

John is a property manager overseeing a mid-sized office building. He juggles between different software for lease management, energy monitoring, and maintenance requests. The systems don’t communicate with each other, leading to inefficiencies and data silos. Reporting is time-consuming, as data has to be manually compiled from various sources. John often reacts to issues after they’ve already escalated, such as equipment failures or tenant complaints about HVAC systems.

After implementing ProptechOS, John has a unified platform where he can manage all aspects of the property. The open standard allows for seamless integration of the existing lease management software, IoT devices monitoring energy use, and a ticketing system for maintenance requests. He now has a dashboard that gives him a real-time overview of the building’s operations.

Dr. Erik Wallin

Chief Ecosystem Officer, and founder of ProptechOS and RealEstateCore is recognized as a leader in Building Operating Systems (BOS) and making the buildings of the world smarter. He holds an MSc and a Ph.D. in Media and Computer Science from KTH Royal Institute of Technology.

Read his full bio and information here.