How data protection turned Brian van Wijk of Just Property into one of PayProp’s longest-standing clients

Most new PayProp clients sign up after talking to a Regional Sales Manager and arranging a product demo. For Brian van Wijk, owner of several Just Property franchises across Gauteng, the process was slightly different.
Johannesburg, South Africa

"I already knew about PayProp because some of the Cape Town franchisees were using it and they were really pushing it," he says. Still, he wasn’t sold. Then one Friday, fate intervened – staff arrived at the office to find all their computers had been stolen.

Interview with

Brian van Wijk
Brian van Wijk
Franchise owner of Just Property
"I thought, no problem, I knew we had daily backups that we did by USB drop. So I got set up with a new computer, we were ready to go – and then the backups didn’t work, they weren’t complete. We had nothing. I called PayProp straight away and that afternoon they signed us up." Brian van Wijk, Franchise owner

Data protection

Because PayProp is bank-integrated and based in the cloud, Brian no longer has to worry about data disasters. All transactions are recorded in real time, so he and his team don’t need to manually transfer or export data. Instead they can access a complete history of every transaction they have ever made through PayProp, and generate reports for any time range at the click of a button.

Backups are created automatically and stored in the cloud, meaning that the Just Property team aren’t reliant on locally-stored data – they can access their PayProp accounts from anywhere, on any device, with user rights restriction and access control. In fact, even the backups have backups: data is synchronised across four separate locations several times each hour and at least one live standby replica is active at all times.

PayProp also has bank-grade data protection in place. Its data centres employ a suite of physical and electronic security measures and all data entering the PayProp system is passed under 256-bit SSL encryption. To ensure that no cracks are left in these defences, PayProp regularly invites external security experts to conduct penetration testing.

Neither is security the only advantage of PayProp’s partnership with Amazon AWS. PayProp’s cloud storage scales automatically to increase capacity during periods of high traffic, maintaining smooth access at all times to all of the PayProp features clients rely on.

Tax and audits

Live, on-demand, automatically backed-up portfolio data is useful every time a landlord wants to see a report on their properties. But according to Brian, there is one time of the year that it really shines: tax season.

"I remember March being an absolutely hated time for admin when we used other systems. Just on one property, it could take literally weeks to do the reconciliation for the last year and give the landlord something he could use. That problem went away with PayProp." Brian van Wijk, Franchise owner

"Even when it comes to our own audit by the Estate Agency Affairs Board, the auditors looked at our reports the first year and just asked a few sample things. Now I send them the complete report without even worrying about it, they’ll ask questions where necessary and we can easily supply any backup information they need."

Working together seamlessly

As the owner of multiple Just Property franchises, Brian always has plenty to oversee. "We’ve got a total of six portfolios on PayProp – so six different user accounts," he says. Coordinating all these requires great communication, so when COVID-19 struck, all Brian’s franchises were well-prepared. "Going remote was seamless," he says. "I think 99% of staff can work from home. They have uncapped Internet, so they immediately just went home and started work – no implementation required."

With many tenants facing financial hardship at the moment, the Just Property team has also found PayProp very helpful when setting up temporary payment arrangements.

"The rental collections side of the business was easy to implement with PayProp – even with complicated cases, where we allowed tenants to take a rental break and then repay. And with deposit utilisation agreements, PayProp enabled us to make sure that the rent was going to come back over whatever period was agreed with the tenant." Brian van Wijk, Franchise owner

No better system

Brian has now been using PayProp to automate payments for 13 years, and as far as he’s concerned, there is no better system.

"After just short of 20 years in this industry, we’ve tried everything. We’ve probably used six or seven different systems and personally, I wouldn’t leave PayProp." Brian van Wijk, Franchise owner

"I think there’s no alternative – and that’s a lesson I’ve learned the hard way. As a group, we tried to develop our own platform to emulate what PayProp does and it was just impossible. I know others have tried the same thing recently and it’s been a total disaster. Even if they succeeded, they’d be 10 years behind."

"Now, when people approach me with alternatives, my regular answer to them is ‘OK, tell me when it’s working’. And system after system comes, and then they go again." Brian van Wijk, Franchise owner

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