Part 3: Billing Breakthroughs and Sharing Industry Knowledge
For the founders of Landlord Web Solutions Jason Leonard, David Koski, and Michael Mottola, celebrating LWS's 8th anniversary involved reflecting not only on the evolution of the company, but also on the industry that they have dedicated themselves to collectively for over 35 years. This reflection prompted the team at LWS to develop the following series, which offers a deeper look at LWS's growth alongside an industry that has dramatically changed throughout the last decade.
Over the next 8 weeks, LWS invites you to join in on this reflection as we look back at 8 years of history in the rental housing industry.
MISSED PART ONE? READ IT HERE.
MISSED PART TWO? READ IT HERE.
The American and Canadian rental industry markets have never quite been in sync, but perhaps that's because they didn't need to be.
Historically, most landlords held properties in only one country. In recent years, however, companies from both countries have been crossing the border and diving into their neighbouring markets.
This has sparked an increased interest in understanding the fundamental differences in how properties are marketed in each country. WEBCON, LWS's flagship conference, began introducing American apartment marketing experts to its roster of speakers around 2014 to explore and educate landlords on the differences between the two countries.
It was during the 2016 event when one of their high profile American speakers shared her perspective on the different ways Canadian and American landlords market their properties. She noted that Canadian landlords tend to promote their portfolios as a whole, competing with ILS's for coveted positioning in the search engines, while American landlords tend to favour focusing their marketing towards each individual property.
It was this observation that led to the development of LWS's single building Express Sites product.
The success of this product is found in the creation of a branded network of websites, which consists of corporate content, consolidated listings, and single-building sites that showcase individual properties in fuller form.
It's no wonder that Canadian property managers are increasingly turning their attention to these useful single property websites as well. These simplified sites bring lifestyle and unique property elements to the forefront of advertising, while capturing interest and generating leads even when the property has no vacancies.
Leonard, Koski and Mottola all agree that there's still much more to be learned from the American approach to rental marketing.
"We follow trends in technology and the rental housing industry," says Mottola.
"But we also start them," adds Leonard.
An international expansion was something LWS knew they had to navigate carefully. While picking up on American marketing trends helped broaden marketing strategies for property managers on both sides of the border, LWS felt there was something more they could offer.
That something was found in an unlikely place.
For years, the team had set their sights on building a billing system that was robust enough to address a myriad of needs from individual landlords. Incorporating the needs of landlords from another country stressed the urgency of the success of such a product.
LWS's groundbreaking billing and invoicing system was introduced to meet these needs.
"Each client has its own invoicing requirements," says lead developer Chris Jaques, who led the development of the new system. "To address this, we've tried to make our invoicing logic as flexible as possible."
This logic is built on the recognition that many property managers have portfolios consisting of dozens of properties with thousands of units. Prior to LWS's system, companies managing ILS's were in the habit of sending a single invoice to a property manager grouping all properties together. The property manager had to then unbundle the data for each landlord and each property.
In response, LWS introduced an invoicing system that offers complete customization. It can divide monthly billing totals by service, by property and by city. It can incorporate accounting codes into the bill and use these codes to group invoices together. It also accounts for different ownership groups, taking the strain off the property managers to collect and distribute invoices as required.
This unique system marks LWS's transcendence from merely modernizing the rental housing industry to pioneering solutions that other industries can justifiably envy.
"The entire industry now is far more efficient than it was even four years ago," says Leonard.
In the next post, we wrap up this series by giving a glimpse into LWS's future, and how it will continue to impact the industry.