External Communications: Tools to manage your communications with clients, buyers, and tenants—and everyone else!
Traveling Mailbox is a virtual post office box. With this service, you get a physical mailing address and they scan all your mail or accept and redirect packages for you
- Forward your mail to another address
- Send it to you as a PDF
- Shred it for you
Traveling Mailbox removes the necessity of having a physical office to receive mail. That's worth its weight in gold for the self-starter or for the small company who wants to minimize overhead costs.
Regus is a rental workspace service to complement your virtual post office box. That’s right—Regus is a virtual office! This program enables businesses to share rent for an office space, enabling each business owner to claim that office as their own. This is more than just a nominal office, though. Not only does it make you look legitimate, but you can actually use the space to meet clients or work in one of the offices. It's your office, only when you need it.
It's very affordable, too. Using this service is how I started Serene, and it enabled me to create my own property management company on the cheap, without paying thousands of dollars per month on office space, desks, and administrative staff.
Ring Central is a digital phone line. If you have employees working from out of the region, state, or even from abroad, they can have a local number in your area. Plus, all faxes are digitized and made into PDFs. Companies like Ring Central make for the highly efficient paper-free operation you want. They now offer virtual meeting rooms (video conferencing) that can be used with any device and integrate with your calendars to totally remove any need for a physical office, or physical meetings for that matter!
It’s great because you don’t want to give out your cell phone number to tenants or to others involved with your real estate operations. Using something like Ring Central gives you a way to insulate yourself from your business so you can maintain your own privacy, too. It’s an office phone that you can keep in your pocket! Also, you can have phone conferencing, voicemail, and faxing capabilities without having physical landline.
Click2Mail is your out-going mail service in digital form. (As such, it's the reverse of Traveling Mailbox.) Click2Mail removes yourself from having to deal with outgoing mail. It enables you to send letters or notices digitally. The process is relatively simple.
- You upload a document with addresses
- They print it.
- They stamp it.
- They send it!
For example, if you're communicating with tenants who respond best to physical mailers, then you need to efficiently communicate by sending physical letters and notices. Click2Mail's fee is nominal and totally worth it to me.
Zendesk is a way to manage and track customer service interactions. Zendesk integrates with other platforms we use. I've tried Desk.com and ZipN, but this one best fits my needs. It’s simple and functional—that's why I like it. Zendesk offers a myriad of choices for your customer service needs. For example, you can add chat windows to your website, tracks phone calls, and triage incoming communications through their platform! Basically, Zendesk organizes your communications between vendors, residents, and owners. If you have maintenance orders for work orders, Zendesk funnels those to your team and communicates with those involved. It’s absolutely great.
Call-Em-All is a way to manage your relationship with residents. Call-Em-All offers voice broadcasting and group texting services, and these help you communicate effectively with residents. For example, if you need to send a mass message to everyone through voice or text messaging, you simply create the message, send it, and analyze the results!
Point2 Homes is marketing software for leasing and selling real estate. Point2 Homes allows you to market on most real estate websites by using one singular platform. There may be more sophisticated software platforms out there, but this one works for me and it always has worked for me. Very efficient—helps us spend less time on Craigslist!
I hope that these tools are as helpful for you as they have been (and continue to be) for me. In our digital age, I literally can’t do business without them. If you’re at all intimidated with this list of *17 digital tools for real estate* start with a few of the core tools you need and expand from there.