The two got talking, shared some ideas about real estate leasing, and came up with an idea for a different type of property management business.

Interview with

Eric Cleary
Eric Cleary
Leasing Manager, OrangeList
Maxine Davis
Maxine Davis
Accounting Administrator, OrangeList

“We realised that the demand for investment property management was very significant,” says Eric, Leasing Manager at OrangeList. “People didn’t just want property managers to lease the houses, they wanted us to collect the rent, deal with maintenance, screen tenants. They needed a company that was young and innovative and willing to invest in systems, and five or six years ago there was no solid option in our market – so we became that company.”

But while Bryan and Eric had an innovative business model, delivering on it would prove to be a challenge once the admin started piling up.

The downside of growth

Bryan and Eric had clearly identified a gap in the market, and soon clients were coming to them in numbers.

We started to pick up a ton of businss, remembers Eric. There wasn’t much of a system. I was just cold-calling all the leads I could find and running around handing out business cards.

But while their list of clients grew, their payment administration processes weren’t scaling well enough to keep up.

Managing payments used to take me a week, says Eric.

I was this little stress case: don’t talk to me, don’t text me, don’t call me. I was processing everything manually, I designed spreadsheets myself to track everything. It was manageable at 60 properties, but I did it this way until 120 or 140. Eric Cleary, Leasing Manager
No items found.

“Everything was manual then. We were only at 200 units and it was madness,” says Maxine. “We used to collect all the incoming rent payments into a trust account, and we’d wait until we got all of the rent for the property before paying out. So with a multi-unit property, we’d wait until maybe seven of eight units had paid then deduct all the fees manually and type up the statements by hand. We had sticky notes all over the wall.”

Rationalising rental payments

Maxine didn’t just bring an extra pair of hands to OrangeList, she also came with an outsider’s perspective – and an appreciation for the power of PropTech.

“I came to OrangeList from the hotel industry,” she explains. “Hotels always have all kinds of software to make administration easier. Nothing is manual. I knew we could apply that to property management as well, so we started looking for solutions.”

“We had a choice,” agrees Eric. “We could either do it the archaic way by hiring more people and spending days in the office doing payment admin, or we could implement some software.”

Above all, OrangeList needed a system that fit their business model. It had to massively reduce their payment admin workload, and it needed to be able to scale quickly to keep up with the company’s rapid growth.

“Bryan and I are really good at looking a year, five years, 10 years down the line,” says Eric. “The systems we design and adopt have to accommodate our clients’ needs today, but they also have to work for us as we grow.” Unfortunately, the first platform the OrangeList team tried didn’t quite live up to its promise.

“We started out with a market-leading cloud-based property management software system, but found that it just didn’t meet our needs,” says Maxine. “We got all our data loaded and started doing the training and immediately realised it wouldn’t work for us. There was still a lot of manual work. I think they’re a little behind the times.”

Better for business

After that short-lived first attempt at improving their processes, OrangeList turned to PayProp and began using the system in July 2018. PayProp’s bank-integrated platform automatically matches incoming rent payments to the right tenant and property, makes payments according to rules users set, generates reports in real time and reconciles accounts down to zero from live bank files in just a couple of clicks.

The OrangeList team immediately saw a difference. For Maxine, payment administration is much more streamlined than before – as are many of the tasks that go along with it.

“The tenants in arrears feature is really helpful for us,” she says. “I can see immediately how much money is outstanding for each tenant. I love that we can communicate directly through it too. If I’m too busy to call, I can send reminder e-mails or texts using PayProp.”

Accessing statements is much easier too. It used to be manual, and I had to calculate everything myself. Now I can just download a statement for any date range I want – and we can give investors direct access to real-time statements through the PayProp Owner app, which they love. Eric Cleary, Leasing Manager

Better for investors

Without inefficient admin processes holding the company back, OrangeList’s property portfolio has more than tripled since adopting PayProp. Maxine now handles payments on around 700 properties across the Niagara region – but thanks to the power of payment automation, it’s easier than ever. As Eric explains, that growth isn’t just because PayProp has freed them from time-consuming processes. Payment automation has also become a selling point for the company.

“Our clients love PayProp,” says Eric. “It’s a big thing I talk about when I’m bringing on new clients: the monthly statements, the sheer simplicity when they’re doing their taxes.”

We’ve even sent a pretty significant number of other property managers to PayProp. I believe in the system enough that I’m willing to put my reputation on the line. It’s a really functional, versatile product. Eric Cleary, Leasing Manager

For Maxine, it’s PayProp’s client money protection that really convinces landlords of its value. As property managers, the OrangeList team are responsible for their clients’ most valuable assets, and the platform’s array of security features helps to convince investors that their properties are in good hands.

No items found.

“We often get owners who have a lot of questions about how their money is going to be handled,” says Maxine. “It’s really great that I can let them know that we have PayProp managing it. They each have their own trust account, so their money will always be held separately from other landlords’ and never mixed in with our operating expenses.”

A lot of companies, especially new ones, still process payments manually, and money can get lost that way. Knowing that we have PayProp gives our clients real peace of mind. Maxine Davis, Accounting Administrator

A permanent solution

More than two years on from picking PayProp, the OrangeList team see it as an integral part of their business model – not just because it slotted neatly into their existing processes, but because it has helped them to be the business they want to be.

“I speak for both Bryan and myself when I say that we want a company that’s monetarily successful, but that is also a fun place to work and gives people opportunities – and I think everyone here would back me up on that,” says Eric.

“I want to deliver the best client experience, and at the same time have people delivering the service who love working here. I think we do it better than most – we have good systems and good staff. I want OrangeList, like PayProp, to be the company that’s recommended. PayProp helps us with all of that.”

See PayProp in action

Let us show you how to get more out of work and more out of life!

  • Real-time property management
  • Real-time bank integration
  • Real-time reconciliation & payments