How to Manage Your Property Like a Small Business

By Alyssa Grossman  


Managing a rental property, whether it’s one unit or an entire building, is a lot like running a business. Here, three small business owners share their tips for success.

Landlord life is full of multitasking moments. From finding ideal tenants to handling unexpected repairs (often while maintaining a separate full-time job), this task-juggle is a tall order. Many small business owners are well acquainted with the challenges associated with managing time and tasks in the world of business. Below, three small business owners share their experiences.

Amy Grossman

Amy Grossman: Owner and Chief Creative Officer, A to Z Promotions 

Amy Grossman has been an independent business owner since 1983, when she started advertising specialties business A to Z Promotions.

On starting a business... I started A to Z Promotions to be in control of my own time and have more flexibility. I knew the career path I was on wasn't the best fit. I was ready to start calling the shots and be more creative.

On building relationships...Management is all about building long-term relationships. In my case, those relationships are with product vendors and customers. Listening is so important—it helps me collaborate better and understand not just what a customer needs, but what they're actually looking for.

On communication... In the rare case that something doesn't go according to plan, I immediately call my customer. I prioritize being transparent and offer alternative approaches so they can weigh their options before deciding on next steps. The best way for me to get through tough conversations is to be honest and understanding of the other person's needs without sacrificing my own values as a business owner.

Dana Kelley

Dana Kelley: Owner and Founder, Broad Horizons Construction

Dana Kelley has worked in construction and carpentry for the last decade. He started his company Broad Horizons Construction in 2008 and was its sole owner and operator until he retired last year.

On starting a business... I left my job in the late 2000s, when the tech industry was going through a major slump. I have an electrical engineering degree and I knew a little bit about carpentry, so I started Broad Horizons Construction. I initially did some work for people I knew. It took a while, but I got the business up and running and I never left.

On getting noticed in your industry... In my business, if you do a good job at a fair price people will hire you again and again. And they'll tell their friends what a great job you did, too. Marketing is certainly part of it, but word-of-mouth is really key for getting discovered as a small business.

On finding the right person for the job...  Working in construction and carpentry, I know that DIY repairs aren't always the way to go. But choosing a contractor without doing research isn't a smart move, either. I always ensure I'm making the best choice by asking for examples of past work, talking to friends for recommendations and gathering price quotes before making a final decision. And when I do find someone who's great at what they do, I don't go anywhere else.

Becky Brackett

Becky Brackett: Owner and Founder, Pop & Circumstance

Becky Brackett is the creator of Pop & Circumstance, a style blog and online shop.

On starting a business...  I was looking for a creative project that was all my own. I started with a blog to build a following and gauge interest. Today, I have a mobile store, occasional pop-up market and a vintage furniture rental service. It's great to have full ownership and creative control over something.

On managing a side business...  Pop & Circumstance started as a side-gig—and still is. I work full-time, so I do most of the work on weekends or weekday evenings. To find a balance, I had to develop a routine and stay organized. Monday through Friday is when I'm in the office and working. On the weekends, I carve out time to photograph, upload new products and collaborate on photo shoots. Figuring out a routine is so important. 

On getting the details right... Always remember that the little things can make a big difference. When I'm choosing vintage items to rent on my site, I prioritize pieces that are most likely to pique the curiosity of everyone who sees them and leave a lasting impression.

Alyssa Grossman
About the Author:
Alyssa Grossman
Alyssa is a writer and editor who covers technology, lifestyle and personal finance topics. Previously, Alyssa worked on the editorial teams at New York City’s tourism department and Time Out New York magazine.