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Former property manager and Second Nature Head of Sales, Bob Hansen, weighs in on mandatory and optional RBP rollouts.

So you’ve set up a resident benefits package and you’re ready to start rolling this thing out, but you’re not sure whether to make it mandatory for all of your properties or give residents the option to participate in it. Mandatory would result in more doors adopting it, but you fear the possibility of dissatisfied residents being forced to participate in it. It’s a tough call, one that Second Nature’s head of sales and former property manager Bob Hansen is here to weigh in on. 

Hansen and the Second Nature team recommend mandatory rollouts, and they do so for pretty simple reasons, the first of which is that optional rollouts create unnecessary headaches. 

“From running operations in a large management company myself in the past, if you’re making exceptions, you’re bound to mess something up. If you’re locking it in as mandatory, it’s a lot easier to manage from the property management side,” says Hansen. 

Constantly accounting for what services are on and what services are off for which properties creates a load of extra work that frankly does not result in a payoff worth the lift. This is because the perceived benefit of an optional rollout, which is typically resident satisfaction resulting from being given the choice, is never actually observed. That fear of a mandatory rollout resulting in upset residents is the most common reason to consider making it optional, but Hansen is quick to note that while “mandatory” may scare some property managers, it shouldn't.

“I think conceptually in their mind, they think it’s not going to work out and then when they do roll it out, they’re quite surprised at how easy it was. You have to look at the value that a resident benefits package brings to the investor and the resident, not just you as the property manager.”

Hansen hits on a key point here about resident benefits packages. They’re desirable to the residents. They’re crafted specifically to be that way, and that allows them to be adopted easier. Sure, there will be the occasional individual who is an exception, but very rarely is any pushback experienced on mandatory rollouts because the programs are creating value for the residents. Put simply, they consider them worth the increase in monthly cost. 

Hansen touched on how little headache resident pushback to mandatory rollout has actually created for Second Nature clients. “For those of you that are a little hesitant about rolling it out or unsure. I recall Director of Property Management at West USA Realty Dave Pruitt talked about rolling out his Resident Benefits Package on a podcast. He rolled it out to people real quick and I think of 80 people, one person pushed back.” That one person did not renew their lease as a result, but Pruitt filled the property with a willing renter a day after and never looked back. 

Once you can internalize the idea that adding a Resident Benefits Package is not an inconvenience in the eyes of nearly every resident, it becomes an incredibly simple decision to install one at each home you manage without worrying about negative perception of the addition. The cost to the business is simply not what you may fear it to be, and making it mandatory allows you to roll it out to the maximum number of doors and the whole process is much more streamlined and easy to manage.