How Property Management Barrie found its competitive edge in PayProp

Prominently displayed on Property Management Barrie’s website is something any marketer would give anything for – a string of testimonials from happy clients, landlords and tenants alike.
Ontario, CA

Prominently displayed on Property Management Barrie’s website is something any marketer would give anything for – a string of testimonials from happy clients, landlords and tenants alike.

Interview with

Richard Brisson
Richard Brisson
Company owner, PM Barrie

Company owner Richard Brisson is rightly proud of his firm’s reputation for great customer service, and recognises it as a big selling point, as most of his business comes from referrals. The company, which manages around 400 tenancies in Barrie and Simcoe County, says it owes much of that success to a recent development. In September 2018, the PM Barrie team enhanced their offering when they adopted PayProp – and they haven’t looked back since.

When I’m selling or speaking to a potential new client, I explain that we use a back-end system they’re going to love – and it’s called PayProp,” says Richard. “I tell them it’s really valuable to my service and it will be really valuable to their property portfolios too. Richard Brisson, Owner

In short, PM Barrie, like other innovative property management agencies around the world, treats PropTech as a key competitive advantage and uses it to deliver top-shelf service to their clients. And clients are recognising it too.

But what exactly is the PayProp difference in the day-to-day business of a property management firm?

Faster payments

Richard explains that speeding up rental payment processing with PayProp helps PM Barrie to deliver on one of their biggest selling points to landlords.

“Our mission statement is that we will release funds to landlords before the 10th day of the month,” says Richard. “Most management companies around here wait until the third week of the month.”

Paying out sooner than its competitors would deliver a significant benefit to investors, who tend to have substantial outgoings on their properties.

“Landlords really appreciate getting their money sooner because of mortgage payments and other expenses. Getting their rent earlier means that they don’t have to leave money sleeping in their bank accounts to cover those costs.”

PayProp enables all this by streamlining the reconciliation process, which now takes Richard just a couple of clicks. Outgoing payments are made according to iron-clad rules that he sets on the PayProp system, so he can have his management fee deducted automatically. And because of PayProp’s system of ringfenced trust accounts, all of his clients’ funds are kept separate at all times – so he never has to worry about paying one landlord with another landlord’s rent.

And it isn’t just the owners and property manager who benefit – Richard says the system also enables automatic payments to third parties like contractors, ensuring everyone gets paid quickly. Like many Canadian property management companies, PM Barrie provides maintenance services including cleaning, lawn care and snow removal. Paying these service providers automatically using PayProp cuts down on admin further still.

Streamlining communication

Streamlining payment admin through automation of incoming and outgoing payments means the PM Barrie team can focus on tasks that require a personal touch – overseeing maintenance and renovations, finding and screening new tenants and solving problems on behalf of their clients. According to Richard, it’s the best part of the job.

“This industry is extremely people-oriented,” he says. “I like the one-on-one conversations with our clients or potential clients.”

But while some client interaction can be rewarding and productive, other kinds are primed for automation. Before signing up with PayProp, a lot of the firm’s one-on-one conversations were requests for invoices, or landlords checking whether or not their tenants have paid yet. Richard’s team had to take time out from other responsibilities to answer routine queries, while landlords had to wait for information.

The PayProp Owner app solves both problems at once by giving landlords self-service access to their invoices and other financial data. Once invited by the property management company to use the app, landlords can download it to any Android or iOS device and check in on their properties – anytime, wherever they are. Just like the PayProp dashboard that Richard and his team use, the Owner app is updated in real time – and landlords even get pop-up notifications when their rent arrives.

Richard says it’s a win-win. Landlords can check on their portfolios more easily, even outside PM Barrie’s office hours, while he and his team spend less time fielding calls and sending out statements.

As soon as the Owner app was released, we noticed that incoming calls and e-mails from landlords dropped by 90 percent. It’s a huge time saver for us, and the landlords absolutely adore it. Richard Brisson, Owner

Growing together

PayProp isn’t just a selling point for PM Barrie. It has become a key part of their way of doing business – and their plans for the future.

“We had fewer doors before enrolling with PayProp, so it was easier to manage – but even then, the logistics were a nightmare,” says Richard. “We were using simple Excel spreadsheets and e-mail transfers to keep track of everything, so even the paperwork was a disaster.”

Now, instead of tracking payments manually, Richard can see the status of any property in his portfolio at a glance using the PayProp dashboard. Because PayProp is integrated directly into the Canadian banking system, all account balances are updated in real time for complete accuracy.

The dashboard is awesome,” says Richard. “It gives you real-time information on all the properties. Once you understand how to add a landlord or tenant, it’s so easy to use. Richard Brisson, Owner

Once Richard saw how PayProp was making his business more efficient, the ease of adding new landlords and tenants became very useful.

“When we were onboarding, we started with a few properties and then gradually added more,” he explains. “I thought that was the most logical way of doing it – in part because I was very busy with growing the business.”

“But in the past six months, we’ve redirected a lot of our rental income through PayProp, because of the value I see it can bring to us. We take care of approximately 400 tenants, and almost all are now managed through PayProp. We’re still learning more about how to use PayProp to streamline payments, so in the future it’ll save us even more man-hours.”

I’ve looked at other platforms, but I have no reason to go anywhere else,” concludes Richard. “PayProp fits into my business model so nicely – and actually, it’s helped me to improve my business model. It’s made us a lot more streamlined, a lot more digital. I would say it’s my business’s best friend. Richard Brisson, Owner
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