From advertising rentals and scheduling viewings to managing move-ins and recording rent payments, Property Button’s marketplace manages the commercial transactions and tasks relating to over 42,000 properties, 143,000 products and €60m of revenue per annum.
At our MOMENTUM`16 London conference, we chatted with CEO, Jim Urell, to see how Property Button digitised the property management lifecycle for 800 housing associations, estate agents, private landlords and local councils.
Can you tell us a little bit about your organisation – what are your objectives?
So we have a very clear purpose at Property Button – we maximise occupancy at residential properties. We set up Property Button in April 2012, right at the bottom of the property bust in Dublin, during traumatic market conditions. The business grew aggressively during that period because the rental market was very strong.
What challenges was the business trying to overcome?
There were no properties built in the Republic of Ireland for about seven years and the rental market during that period was growing. People needed to live somewhere, they always do, and there was no property being built so the return on investment on those properties in the rental market was increasing – the supply was crimped – so it was crucial that we could get the most efficiency from the property in the country.
We looked at those properties and found they turn over every 27 months. But there’s a period of time where they’re empty, almost five-and-a-half months in the public sector. We analysed it and could see that there were many little tasks that needed to be done and they were being done manually on paper.
So as you were looking at a solution, what was it that you were specifically looking for?
We wanted full workplace automation; we wanted it fully compliant with the regulations in the country, we didn’t want to have to enter any of that fight; we wanted a partner we could really trust; we wanted to integrate it into Salesforce. DocuSign ticked all those boxes for us and more. The team were so easy to work with and are really helping us with our key decisions along the way. They continue to support us and introduce us to customers for our business so we couldn’t ask for more.
How important is security to your company and your customers?
Security and trust are crucial for us. We’re dealing with high-value assets and we’re working with some of the biggest brands in the UK and Ireland; they wouldn’t work with us unless we could turn around and say, “Here are the companies that we work with; here are the people that you can trust. We work with DocuSign; we work with Salesforce – these guys are the best in the business.”
What kind of integration is are you working with? You mentioned Salesforce was important.
Our business is totally based on Salesforce. We use Salesforce for everything, both for acquiring customers and also managing our customers in life. DocuSign is deeply integrated into that. Our customers experience us through a Salesforce community where they create and issue new documents to their customers using DocuSign.
Could you share any results the business has experienced so far?
We’ve removed paper with DocuSign, Salesforce, and other technologies by automating our business processes. This has reduced the vacancy period by a month-and-a-half across 127,000 properties in the Republic of Ireland and in the private sector similarly. There’s a societal benefit to that, which is reduced homeless, and there’s a benefit of course to the owners of those properties with an increased return on investment.
If there’s any issue at the end of a lease term with someone saying, “I didn’t damage that piece of property” and they can’t get their deposit back for example, you’ve got a full audit trail, you’ve got all the pictures, you’ve got them signing accepting the property and understanding the rules. It’s very, very clear; it’s lovely for everybody involved.
How has this impacted your customers? Any interesting stories?
What we really want to do is enable our customers to have those stories. A lot of the landlords that we work with are based internationally, one of which is in Saudi Arabia and he would tell us about being able to sign off a document on a building site in the middle of a desert. That’s our cool story!
Thanks for joining us, Jim! Watch the full story below, then discover how to DocuSign and Go in your business.