If you become someone who is uncomfortable unless he/she is creating change, restless if things are standing still, and disappointed if you haven’t failed recently, you’ve figured out how to become comfortable with the behaviors most likely to make you feel safe going forward. – #sethgodin – The Icarus Deception
I don’t know about you but I get restless more than I care to admit. I think life should be moving along a lot faster than the borderline meaningless tasks that I partake in. I catch myself – more times than not – thinking about how – in the bigger scheme of things (read: cosmic sort of stuff) – half the to-dos I am asked for are just nonsensical. Add $5 bucks to this line item, take $40 off that line item, add a period after this comment or that comment, use affect instead of effect or reword this because it does not fit my view of the world. Nonsense.
What matters in our business? The perfect budget. Not in your lifetime. The real deal is – people. The real deal is – relationship. The real deal is – collaboration. The real deal is – synergy. The real deal is – character. The real deal is getting cool stuff accomplished. You can’t capture that on a spreadsheet. Never. But, guess it – that is what matters most. Financiers, bankers, hard money, investors, etc.. – makes not the difference. I get it – you are analytical. But spreadsheets don’t get business done – people do. Proformas don’t make it happen – people do. Data entry doesn’t make it happen – building energy does.
The Mark of a Leader
Recognize when the natives are restless. And, get the nonsense (as they view the world) out of their way.
Good business happens by default when your business serves the people who are serving it.
We continue this week with the next line item in our apartment budget: Parking Income.
Parking Income Defined
Parking is an interesting subject. Interesting in the sense that one could posit that it should come included in the rent. While the other camp would suggest that it is an ancillary income and thus should be accounted for on a separate line item.
To define it simply – it is income derived from renting the right to use space in your parking lot or parking garage. That space could be reserved for exclusive use or the right to at very least have access to a space.
If you have a stabilized operation this is pretty simple. Look back at your twelve months of trailing history, consider rate increases and straight line it. Or, ebb and flow it with occupancy.
If you are in lease up – the work is a little more difficult and starts with a full market survey. Not unlike we do competitive surveys for assistance in pricing apartments – we do this to get a sense for pricing parking spaces. Now – no matter if you have a surface lot or a garage, I think it important to understand the pricing for both. And, I think it important to get a sense for what the barriers are.
I define barriers as the 3 block, 5 block and 10 block radius. I also lump in nearby walkable attractions be it football or baseball stadiums, museums or vibrant cityscapes. It all matters in your pricing and budgeting strategy. It really boils down to proximity with a bit of supply and demand layered over the top.
Once you have your market survey complete – you have to consider how quickly the spaces will get absorbed. If you have a plethora of spaces this is not an issue. But, if you have a dearth this is a big deal. You don’t want to sell out too soon. Neither do you want to get to the end and have left over inventory albeit I would prefer this to selling out to soon.
The key is paying close attention to what the market is telling you, be nimble and don’t be afraid to increase rates along the way.
Why Don’t We Include Parking in the Rent
I have asked this question no less than a dozen times and still to this day don’t know that I have a clear reason.
The top two reasons that I can recall off the top of my head are, 1. Tracking 2. Financing/valuation.
Would love to hear your feedback on the subject – until then…
Your apartment budgeting multifamily maniac,
One in Ten Americans Has a Self-Storage Unit
“Human laziness has always been a big friend of self-storage operators,” Derek Naylor, president of the consultant group Storage Marketing Solutions – New York Times article. I would say to my apartment friends – we/you need to get a piece of that action. Build garages not for parking cars but rather storing junk. Do some dual marketing – call it storage and or garage. It’s a place to put stuff and things.
Storage is such an epidemic that we now have Storage Wars (reality TV show) aimed at celebrating the agonies and lamenting the defeats of would be bidders. It also doubles as a back door way of marketing the self-storage business – a post for another day.
Storage Income Defined
Simply put – this is income that comes from those dusty old basement storage spaces that everyone tends to forget about.
Storage Income is a way to drive revenue to your bottom line. If your property has the space (basements are great for this) – consider the option of building out some simple caged space that people can use to store stuff. Or, if you already have it, just remember to market it. Price it to sell, create scarcity and urgency. Heck, give it away (for short stints) just to get people hooked on having it. Trust me, once they move their stuff in – as suggested above – they will be too lazy to move it out. Boom – you chance to get an extra $5 or so a month.
No real strategy here. Look at your trend lines over the trailing 24 months and get yourself an average. Use that average to straight line your storage income account and think about adding some inflation for the coming 12 months.
Any Other Thoughts On Storage Income?
Your having an amazing and over the top day multifamily maniac,
I have taken a bit of a pause here at MBG due in large part to Mills Properties budget season. Every year around this time we dive head first into a process that takes the better part of two plus months to complete. We do our best to space it out so that any one VP, RM or AM does not get creamed. And, in the same respect it does take a good deal of focused time to do a budget right. With that in mind, I want to get back to posting to the blog as it provides good therapy for the day-to-day hustle of property management.
Today’s topic is telephone income.
Telephone Income Defined
Telephone Income is derived from a couple of different sources. Roughly twenty years ago plus or minus, it came from the likes of AT&T and or other local providers. Our on site sales teams would offer to transfer existing phone service or they would initiate the call for new service to be set up. For that, the property received a commission. It didn’t amount too much but it was income.
Around the same time, at least according to my aging memory, revenue share models arrived on the scene. Similar to cable and internet shares, in exchange for exclusive marketing rights, the providers gave the property owners a piece of the revenue. The share amount was equal to your ability to negotiate. These amounts started to mean something in the way of overall property value. Not huge but something nevertheless.
Cell phone towers changed all that. Providers would come in, especially in the case of high-rise buildings, and pay huge lump sums with ongoing payments. They would erect cell phone towers on your building and or land, sign mega long contracts (10 years plus) and be on their merry way. Huge deal when it came to adding value to your real estate.
I have likely left out a few income angles so feel free to fill in the blanks. And, thank you ahead of time.
This line item is a bit different from the prior line items. That is in terms of straight lining the income based on history. Because the income is based on contractual terms and agreements you can plug the income. That is to suggest that sometimes the payments are made annually, quarterly or monthly. And, they are specific in amount. Whatever the case, review your contracts, make note of the payment amounts and months they are to be paid and enter accordingly.
It’s good to be writing again. I really miss this part of my world. In the same respect, it felt good to take a pause.
Your looking forward to rockin’ the world today multifamily maniac,
Continuing along with the Apartment Budgeting series today. The topic this week is Internet Income. This provides another opportunity to share in the revenues created by your allowance for exclusive marketing access.
Internet Income Defined
Internet Income can be defined in a very simple way – it is revenue share from your local Internet Service Provider (ISP). Not unlike revenue share from cable companies – you have to give up some exclusivity. That is to suggest that you have to provide exclusive marketing opportunities to the provider in exchange for the share of revenue. Item of note: Don’t confuse exclusive marketing with exclusive access. In essence, the only thing you want to give up is the ability for one company to market their services exclusively. It will not mean that your resident is limited in their choice. And, choice is a good thing. Good for residents and good for owners.
For apartment owners, internet revenue share comes in a couple of different forms:
1. An upfront per door fee.
2. A percentage of monthly revenues generated from total collections on billable subscriptions. More simply said, collecting a percentage of every dollar that your resident base pays to the internet provider.
3. A combination of both. You may get a lower per door fee and a higher percentage of share. Or, a lower percentage share and a higher per door fee.
4. Bulk – you buy internet for every door in the community for a base rate and then resell it for a profit. For example: you buy it for $15 per door and sell it for $25 and keep the $10 margin for yourself.
When it comes to negotiating a deal – I would recommend consulting with a guy like Mike Whaling. He has the expertise to negotiate the best possible revenue sharing opportunities that first and foremost provide your resident base with the best possible choices in service.
*One item of note – I’ve not lived in a market where internet revenues were shared with property owners. Therefore, I don’t have a lot to share in the way of norms.
**Another item of note – As the internet becomes more ubiquitous sharing opportunities might move to smart phone carries in lieu of cable/internet providers.
Internet Income Budget Strategy
This is a math problem any way you look at it. And, it is all predicated on penetration otherwise known as subscriptions. One thing to consider is the economy as a whole. The reason being that people get behind on the their internet bills just like they get behind on their rent. Except in this case, internet is likely something that is easily sacrificed where a home is not.
My best advice is to call your ISP representative and ask him/her to run a twelve month trailing report for you property and like kind properties. Use that to look forward and consider any stop service percentages that might be included.
Your always looking for ancillary income multifamily maniac,