Apartment Rental Company Turns to HappyCo to Automate Its Inspection Process & Speed Up Repairs
Case Study — Student Housing
Because the company is based in a large college town in the Midwestern United States, the majority of Royse & Brinkmeyer tenants are students who sign leases that coincide with the academic year. As a result, the majority of its properties need to be inspected, cleaned, upgraded, and re-rented at the same time.
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Royse & Brinkmeyer is a property management company that offers more than 1,000 one, two, and three bedroom apartments, townhouses, duplexes, and house-apartments in 16 locations throughout Champaign and Savoy, Illinois. Because of its proximity to the University of Illinois, the company primarily rents units to students. Royse & Brinkeyer Apartments had its beginnings over 40 years ago when two brothers-inlaw, John Royse & Gil Brinkmeyer, began a venture into real estate sales. They differentiated themselves by offering a flat fee for real estate sales and also offered a “buy your home” option which led them to own multiple properties and eventually enter the rental business.
Royse & Brinkmeyer is a well-established property management company that offers its tenants a host of cutting edge and innovative resident services, including a “Resident Portal” that gives tenants control of their apartment experience, 24-hour maintenance, concierge package handling, retention incentives, social events and educational opportunities, as well as social media facilitation and engagement.
The company was faced with a monumental challenge at the end of each academic year, however, when the vast majority of its tenants – students at the University of Illinois – moved out in droves. It was required to conduct physical inspections of every newly vacated apartment to determine condition of the living space, figure out what needed to be upgraded or repaired, and make sure that its apartments and houses were move-in ready.
Traditionally Royse & Brinkmeyer managed this labor-intensive process with a paper-based system, meaning inspectors were required to fill out unit and fax them to the head office for processing. It also meant that inspectors – who were out inspecting dwellings six to eight hours a day – couldn’t even begin their paperwork until they returned to the office late in the day. When they finished, the leasing office would then fax paperwork to the maintenance team to finally begin scheduling the work, and precious time would have evaporated. The process also delayed the company’s ability to make prompt security deposit refunds.
As the company grew to managing more than 1,000 units, this process became both time-consuming and inefficient, so its Chief Operating Officer, Colin Carlier, began to search for technology that would hasten and streamline the process.
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“HappyCo has completely transformed our inspection process, which has improved every aspect of our business. It really is a transformative technology for the property rental industry.”
Chief Operating Officer
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“We were looking for HappyCo before we found HappyCo,” Carlier says. “We had been talking about implementing a mobile tool for a while because we knew that our move-in/move-out process needed to be modernized. When our CEO and I went to the National Apartment Association conference, we met the HappyCo leadership team and were immediately impressed by what they had to offer. We talked about it on the plane back to Illinois, and realized that it was exactly what we’re looking for. We had a few meetings and then signed up. The deployment happened very quickly, and we were up and running in a matter of weeks. It really was that simple.”
With HappyCo’s automated solution in place, inspectors can now collect data and instantly distribute it to the right people at Royse & Brinkmeyer, drastically speeding up work flow.
We manage over 1000 units, and each inspection takes about half an hour,” Carlier says. “As you can imagine, any delay is magnified because of the scope of our business. The bottom line is that we couldn’t afford to lose a half a day waiting for paperwork to be completed before doing work on the units, and we wanted to write deposit checks to vacating tenants as quickly as possible. Thanks to HappyCo, we can actually write checks within two hours after the properties are inspected, and we can begin repair work on damaged units immediately. It allows us to create a great customer experience, as well as improve our own operations.”
Royse & Brinkmeyer has also been impressed with the company’s willingness to take suggestions and make product modifications. “We really feel like HappyCo is a partner, not just a technology vendor,” according to Carlier. “They’ve been great to work with, and the results speak for themselves.”
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“We really feel like HappyCo is a partner, not just a technology vendor. They’ve been great to work with, and the results speak for themselves."
Chief Operating Officer
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