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Payments & Billing: A Property Manager’s Peanut Butter and Jelly

Payments & Billing: A Property Manager’s Peanut Butter and Jelly

Some things are meant to go together. Peanut butter and jelly. Cookies and milk. In the property management world, having online payment options for your residents is a good thing. But when paired with other services, like resident billing, the results can go from good to great.

Not to mention that if you only offer online payments, you are (literally) leaving money on the table. Why? Because rent is only one of the expenses that residents are responsible for paying.

What if you could create a single bill for your residents that in addition to rent, included their portion of the shared utility bills? Pet fees? Parking charges? The bill could be delivered to your residents either by paper, or more likely, electronically, with a quick link for them to go ahead and pay online. This is what the industry calls resident billing, a.k.a. NOI Heaven.

Offering online payments without billing is like having peanut butter without jelly. Or movies without popcorn. Payments alone are good; but when combined with resident billing, the results are so much sweeter.

Why wouldn’t you pursue resident billing? Here are the most common responses from property managers:

  1. Utilities are built into our rent. This is a common response. The problem is, in this age of conservation, consumption-based billing is better for you, better for your residents, and better for the environment.
  2. We don’t have submeters. No problem. By using a Ratio Utility Billing System (RUBs), you can bill back residents in a fair and defensible manner. RUBs can be based on unit square footage, an occupancy factor, number of bedrooms or some combination of those factors.
  3. We don’t have the resources / we aren’t big enough. Third-party billing vendors remove the administrative burden by receiving copies of your utility bills, performing the calculations, adding one-time or non-utility fees (parking, pets, etc) and producing an attractive and easy-to-read bill. They can even grab carry-over balances from your accounting software for a more complete and accurate bill.

Some people joke that combining Resident Billing and Payments makes sense, and they just go together, like peanut butter and jelly. But it’s actually more than that. When used in combination, property managers actually see utilization rates for online payments go up dramatically, so there is a remarkable additive effect.

Maybe a better example is ice together with Kool Aid creates a snow cone. Or avocadoes and tomatoes for guacamole. Or tequila and lime juice for a margarita.

The message is clear. Payments alone, while good, have the opportunity to be great when combined with Resident Billing. What are you waiting for?

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