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QR Codes for Property Management

By Peter Lamandre, Better By Design Real Estate, Scranton, PA

I was out and about this week and while on the interstate I pulled behind a contractor that had a QR code on the back of their tow trailer. While I applaud them for embracing an emerging technology, it occurred to me that that may not be the best application of a QR Code. Some of you are probably wondering, “What the heck is a QR Code?”

QR code is an acronym meaning Quick Response code. It seems as though QR codes are the latest rage in advertising. But what are they? Without getting into the computer advantages of using QR codes versus standard bar codes; they are in essence a 2D bar code allowing you to pack a large amount of information in a small space.

The QR code was invented by a subsidiary of Toyota in the mid 1990s for tracking parts during shipment. The format of the code allowed machines to quickly scan and track parts on a conveyor belt and route their destination accordingly. Fast forward 20+ years and with the proliferation of smartphones with cameras what was once a way to track machine parts is now the hottest new way to pack more advertising into smaller spaces.

Would you rather see this…


3 BR, 1BA ½ double $xxx/mo plus utils call for details XYZ Management, Inc maybe with a picture, a phone number perhaps a website, etc.


A single image that when scanned will instantly display up to 4,296 characters of text, a website with multiple photos, perhaps even a virtual tour, a ready to send SMS message requesting a showing, a ready to dial phone number, and many other virtually limitless options.

The QR shown in this post will bring you to this blog, but it could have just as easily brought you to you a map or any other website.

As mentioned above the max QR code is 4,296 characters but the larger the amount of data you store the more complex the QR becomes and the larger it needs to be printed in order for it to be scanned. If this occurs you may want to post the info to a website and link there or simply rethink the use of the QR code. The key to any technology is proper use.

At the beginning of this post I mentioned that I did not think the contractor’s application was the best use. Whereas a QR on a vehicle is rather cool it was more the location & size I that took issue with; not to mention the safety issue with trying to scan while driving… YIKES!!! The fact is many areas don’t allow you to have a phone in use while driving. The QR on the vehicle was too small and would require you to be stopped directly behind the person in traffic to even be close enough to scan it and even at that distance I fear it would not be able to be scanned. It seems the only way to scan the code in this case would be to step outside your car and walk up to the trailer. It should have been bigger and in a location that could be easily visible without much trouble. I will outline a few creative & practical ways to utilize QR codes below.

Business cards

I recently just placed an order for new cards and decided to add a bit of tech on my cards by placing a QR code that links to my contact info to easily enable someone to reach me. When networking you want your business cards to stand out and what better way to start a conversation and be memorable than to have a QR code on the back of your card.

Rental Signs

Some apartment complexes print signs monthly or every time a new special of the month changes. Rather than constantly paying to have new rental signs printed with your hook you can place a QR code on the sign with a link to your latest rentals or specials.

Newspaper ads

Stand out from the crowd and place QR in your ad, linking to all your rentals with full color photos and more text then you could ever afford to place in the paper. I would be sure to place a line similar to this at the bottom of the ad. “Scan the QR code above to view our rentals or call XYZ Management, Inc @ (555) 555-5555” in case they reader doesn’t have QR.

Okay so now you know what QR codes are and you have some handy ways of using them for marketing purposes. But how do you get them?

QR Readers

Here are some QR Readers I use: Google Goggles, Beetagg, Scanlife, AT&T Scanner.

QR Generators

Google offers a QR code generator. I don’t find it that user-friendly for a basic user but it has some cool advanced features.

Kaywa offers a more user-friendly version.

There are many more but those two should get your started.

With these tips and tools you are well on your way to reduced advertising costs and showing your owners that you embrace technology. Also keep in mind your audience – QR codes clearly appeal to a more “techie” crowd and may not be well suited for all your rentals.

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