Automate Your Rental Management with Dave Spooner

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Podcast Transcription

Dave Dubeau [00:00:09] Hey, everyone. Dave Dubeau here, another episode of the Property Profits Real Estate podcast today, zooming in from Cincinnati, Ohio, we have Dave Spooner. How are you doing today, Dave?

Dave Spooner [00:00:20] Dave, I’m doing great. Thanks for having me.

Dave Dubeau [00:00:22] My pleasure. So I’m excited because Dave is one of the founders of a very cool software program called Inaugural. And it’s for us real estate weirdos, US real estate nerds, US real estate investors a.k.a. landlords, and how to manage our properties and our tenants. So very excited to find out more about that. So Dave, why don’t you just let us know a little bit about yourself and your background and how this whole and doggo thing came up and what, what need it’s really feeling for people?

Dave Spooner [00:00:55] Yeah, absolutely. I got started in the real estate tech world pretty much right after graduating from Miami University here in southwest Ohio. Me and a couple other people that graduated from Miami were trying to build a platform that would allow landlords to more easily list and manage particularly student housing rentals, which is an idea that’s, you know, hundreds, maybe thousands of people have had and attempted. And for a wide variety of reasons, it’s a really hard thing to nail down. So we tried that for a few years and, you know, had middling success. But one of the things that it did provide me was exposure to a lot of landlords that tend to be small and midsize and independent. A lot of do it yourselfers even a lot of property managers that have a portfolio that kind of fits within that that range. And we kept hearing again and again and again that they just weren’t satisfied with the tools that existed out there, whether they were too expensive to bulky, too many features or features that weren’t flexible enough because their clientele was unique or changed after hearing it the time we finally said, You know what, maybe we’re doing the wrong thing here. Maybe we can shift things up and go in a different direction and meet another guy that we’re working for. That company we founded and now got together. That was back in 2017. And ever since, we’ve been working hard on it, trying to build tools that are simple and easy and effective for small and midsize landlords, and I think we’ve done a pretty good job delivering on that.

Dave Dubeau [00:02:18] Excellent. So what is your definition of a small landmark?

Dave Spooner [00:02:23] Yeah, it’s a great question. So we typically say that we’re designed for landlords that have roughly one to 100 units now, one to one to 100. That’s usually who we’re targeting, but that’s really who we’re targeting from a marketing standpoint. That’s the low hanging fruit that’s the easiest people to give our pitch to. But part of the intent behind it, Nago, is that it’s designed in such a way that it’s really not meant to only work with that cross-section. One of the things that we came to realize is that sure, there’s commercial landlords there, student housing landlords, there’s landlords with the thousand units, there’s landlords with 100 units. They definitely have some business problems

Dave Dubeau [00:03:01] or landlords with one or two or three units, for sure.

Dave Spooner [00:03:03] Absolutely, absolutely. And each of those different types of landlords have different business processes that are unique to them, right? But there’s also this giant umbrella that we internally called tenant management tools that every single one of these landlords does, right? That’s the rent collection. That’s the signing of leases. That’s the screening of tenants. That’s the communication back and forth. And those are the tools that we’ve zeroed in on. So while we focus our marketing efforts on one to 100 units as we build a tool internally, we harp every single day on making sure it’s got that flexibility and that that kind of simple complexity built into itself, that it can work with landlords of various types. And you know, it’s a testament we have landlords that have two thousand units. We have landlords that do exclusively commercial with landlords of all different kinds that use Indigo.

Dave Dubeau [00:03:53] Let’s walk through a scenario. Let’s say I’m a landlord with three tenants. I’ve got a single family home and perhaps another single family home with a basement suite in it. And that’s it for right now. But I’m looking to scale my business. How would how would this program make my life easier, better, faster, more efficient, less headaches? Yeah. Walk me through that in that scenario, if you don’t mind it.

Dave Spooner [00:04:21] Right, right. That’s the name of the game. You’re kind of describing me. I own I own about six units myself and I use a nago for my properties, and I’ll just tell you from my personal experience and I go automates all the rent collection for me. It automates all of the late fee enforcement for me. So I’m never chasing down checks and I’m never calling people up and saying, Hey, you owe me fifty dollars than waiting for the check to show up in the box before I write a notice to quit. All that’s taken off the table. The screening is streamlined, so I just send a link off to them and it takes care of the rest. I can review it and approve them, moves them into a property. The lease signing process. We allow you to create digital templates that can be reused over and over again. So it’s really simple and easy, especially in the age of COVID to get a lease signed from afar. Not outstanding in person. Communication can be automated. You can create templates to send canned messages to attendant things that you typically send to them for things that come up just every part of the process that is, that tenant relationship is going to be taken off the table for you, which allows you as a landlord to invest your time in in more meaningful things that grow your business, right? Networking with other landlords or real estate professionals seeking out better deals working on your finances. The stuff that really actually matters for your business, not the day to day kind of busy work that that you just have to get done to collect your rent.

Dave Dubeau [00:05:41] So does the program answer the phone at two o’clock in the

Dave Spooner [00:05:45] morning is kind of like toilet, we won’t believe. I wish you could.

Dave Dubeau [00:05:50] So please everybody. Yeah, right? Well, that’s very, very cool. So we were talking a little bit about this before we got the call. So it’s you’re based in the states. Most of your clients, most of your customers are in the states. You do have some Canadian customers as well, but obviously things are a little bit different up north and they are down south. So how does it work differently in Canada versus?

Dave Spooner [00:06:12] Yeah. So all the features that I just mentioned are going to be included in Argo wherever you’re accessing it from. So if you’re accessing it from Canada, you can access all those features. The two exceptions to that are one online payments and two tenant screening. Those tools are all localized for basically every country, Canada, etc. So it can be difficult to cross borders with that kind of stuff. So at this time, we don’t have the infrastructure in place to allow online payments and tenant screening in Canada. But the rest of the features are available to folks and they’ll still automate a lot of their processes. We fully intend to add Canada to add the functionality that we get a lot of inquiries from folks from Canada saying, Man, this looks so great, I wish I could use it for those features. But at this time, it’s just, you know, there’s a lot of regulations, there’s a lot of stuff to set up to get that done. So right now everything’s available except for tenant screening and online payments in Canada.

Dave Dubeau [00:07:03] All right. Very cool. So let’s all landlord and I’m kind of, you know, what’s been your experience with the majority of your clients? What are they liking the most about using this software? What, what? It does a whole bunch of different things about what’s like the number one thing people go, Geez, I wish I’d have known about this earlier.

Dave Spooner [00:07:23] Well, let me I’m going to give you a two. Part of the beauty of it is that people say a ton of different answers, right? You know, some people just love the screening. It’s so simple and easy they can grab a link and share it. Some people love what the online leasing does for them, especially if they’re a document heavy kind of person, as you know, the 25 page release that you see some folks lugging around. So it depends on what you’re looking for, and it does so many things well, which is great. But I’d say one of the more interesting ones that we hear over and over again that I think really changes things once you go digital is that late fee piece of it. So when you’re doing things on your own and you’re collecting paper checks that they’re mailing them in or whatever it may be, let’s say you have a late fee that kicks in on the fifth of the month. That’s pretty common $50 in the 5th the month. Right. Traditionally, if you don’t have a platform like a Nago helping you enforce it, you have to call up the tenant. You have to say, Hey, you owe me another 50 bucks, send it in the mail or drop it off to me, or I’m going to evict you, right? And the tenant gets scared. They say, Oh boy, I don’t want to get evicted and they cut your check and they hand it off to you. But nine times out of 10, that check does not include the late fee that they are right. And you look at it and you say, Man, do I really care about 50 bucks? I got my thousand or 800 or whatever it is, do I care about 50 bucks? Not really. I’m not going to hassle over this. Let’s move on. Well, you’ve just taught your tenant a few different things. One, you’re going to call them up to let them know in their late two, you’re going to give them an opportunity to pay it before they get evicted. And three, they don’t actually have to pay the late fees. They don’t have to do it. So having all of that automated and enforced by a, you know, kind of nameless and faithless takes the humanity out of that equation is actually a really, really good thing. And it shows the tenant that you mean business doesn’t mean you can’t waive late fees, but you can do that under your own volition. Right? It’s not them dictating how that’s handled and how that’s managed. So that’s one that we hear over and over again where people say, Man, you’ve just made the collection process so much easier, even just by automating the communication and the enforcement regarding late fees.

Dave Dubeau [00:09:21] Very, very cool. Well, excellent. Well, it sounds pretty exciting if you want to find out more about the program and see if it might be a good fit for them, what should they do?

Dave Spooner [00:09:31] Well, they can, of course, go to an Echo Dot com. That’s I and ago. You can sign up right from there. There’s a ton of resources available there as well. You can also reach out to us on social media or generally analogous software on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, etc. And people can contact me directly. I’m no stranger. I like to give up my email. Actually, it’s just Dave, Dave and now So if anyone has questions, they can shoot me an email and I do respond personally to those emails.

Dave Dubeau [00:09:58] Excellent, David. And before we wrap up, is there anything else people should know about the program or about managing their tenants that maybe they don’t know? Or maybe. You know, over the years that you guys have been doing this and working with so many different landlords and sizes of portfolios, what have been some of the very cool best practices that you’ve seen come up that you weren’t aware of before you started doing this?

Dave Spooner [00:10:23] Well, what I’ll say that I’ve really picked up on from some of the best landlords that I’ve had the privilege to work with and really learn from and try to replicate in my own real estate. Investing is really prioritizing a tenant relationship, right? That can mean a lot of different things for me. Just as an example, around the new year, we gave all of our tenants a gift card to local restaurants. We let them know, Hey, we’re spending some money on some local restaurants for you. We just want to thank you for being great tenants during a really difficult time, and that meant a lot. But then it wasn’t a lot of money. It certainly wasn’t whole out of their rent. We basically just, you know, took some of the money off the rent and turned it into gift cards. But it meant so much to these tenants. We get great recommendations for other tenants from our existing tenants. We have long term plans. It stick around for a long time. We let them know that we care about our properties and they in turn care about our properties. So really fostering that relationship with your tenants is such a critical thing to do. And fortunately, Indigo makes that easier. You know, you can communicate through an algo. You can automate a lot of that stuff. You can make sure they have a good relationship and experience with you. But even if you don’t use an Nago, prioritizing that relationship is going to make everything else in real estate investing so much easier.

Dave Dubeau [00:11:34] Are you able to send out things like digital gift cards and that sort of thing through the program?

Dave Spooner [00:11:39] You can email and message directly through an algo so you can attach anything like that? Absolutely. No. You can’t, you know, purchase the digital gift card, but you could absolutely send it through an. No problem. Very cool.

Dave Dubeau [00:11:48] While it sounds like a great program, Dave, and hopefully for our Canadian viewers and listeners, it could work well up here in Canada. Yeah, round later. Sounds like most of it already does, but maybe we get that those few little missing pieces going? Maybe. Yeah. Absolutely. Awesome. Very good. Thanks a lot. Dave has been nice meeting you.

Dave Spooner [00:12:09] Yeah. Thanks, Dave. You are too.

Dave Dubeau [00:12:11] All right. Take care, everybody. And we’ll see you on the next episode. Bye. Well, hey there. Thanks for tuning into the Property Profits podcast if you like this episode. That’s great. Please go ahead and subscribe on iTunes. Give us a good review. That’d be awesome. I appreciate that. And if you’re looking to attract investors and raise capital for your deals, we invite you to get a complimentary copy of my newest book right back there. There it is the money partner formula. You got a PDF version, an investor attraction book dot com again. Investor attraction, book dot com. Take care.

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