Gateway Properties, Redcliff

Gateway Properties is a family owned and operated business with over twenty years experience. Led by principal Doug Kennedy and wife Rosslyn, the company has a lifetime of local knowledge and experience. 

What prompted you to look into getting fileSMART?

We had heard about it through the Rockend newsletters and also on the REST newsfeed, we thought it would be great to have but couldn’t afford it at the time. Then in June 2011 we saw it being demonstrated at the REIQ Conference. There was a gentleman from First National Oxley who had been completely flooded in the QLD floods. He was telling his story about how he would have lost everything had it not been for the fact that he had everything scanned into fileSMART and within a day you guys had him up and running again. That was a big wake up call for us. If something were to happen what systems do we have in place to ensure we have all our documentation saved? If there was a fire or even just a burst water pipe down in the basement all our records would be damaged and lost. That really motivated us.

The other reason was just the time it takes to physically do end of month when you’re managing a rent roll of over 500 properties. I can’t afford to have two or three staff sitting down the back stapling, folding and collating all these documents and then having to post them out. For our office it was taking almost 3 days. Normally it was me having to do it because keeping the girls on reception was critical, you don’t want to take them away from the phones and the enquiries, having people off the front counter wasn’t an option for us. So it’s left to the property managers to see that end of month is run.

Did you look at any other similar products?

There’s nothing really out there that we’re been made aware of. We have the security of knowing Rockend. We’ve been a client for the last seven years and we’ve had nothing but praise for the REST Professional product. It’s always being developed, there are always little bits being added and improved on. I know that when I ring support and put a suggestion forward it’s taken on board. I’ve found that any feedback we give isn’t dismissed. If it’s able to be included in a future release, then it is. We know the REST support team, and the fileSMART support team has been equally as great if not better!

That was the other reason for getting fileSMART, Rockend is a company that we feel comfortable with and trust. It was a big investment to take on fileSMART but in seven years I haven’t had any major issues with Rockend, and that’s comforting. I’ve used many of the other Property Management software out there and know what it’s like being out of action for days so to have reliable software is brilliant.

What was your experience like implementing fileSMART?

The process was fairly simple, the biggest issue we had was shopping around and making sure that we had the correct server in place and the right document scanner. We only spent about a week setting it all up properly and making sure everything was functioning and as soon as we went to use the program it was excellent. We haven’t had any issues or errors. I’ve done two end of months now and not had one hiccup. We’re using the print mail side of it once a week when we send all of our inspection reports and we have started sending our landlord lease renewal instructions with it as well.

How long did it take you and staff to be comfortable with fileSMART?

The actual interface and functionality is very simple. You have clear functionality buttons on the top which when you hover over them they tell you what they do. What you do need to think about is “Okay this is the document, what are we actually doing with it?”, “What do we want to label it as?”. The labelling side of things has been tricky and the support team gave us some suggestions as well as a document audit and flowchart to see what other agencies have been doing. We have implemented some of the suggestions and we’ve also worked on our process. It’s been working really well and the hardest part, if anything, is just making sure that everybody’s filing the documents in the same way. Luckily though if someone does make a mistake it’s just so easy to go in and change it. You just look it up, find the document and alter the tags.

How has fileSMART improved your business?

I don’t spend an hour or two filing documents every Saturday morning! As for having to go to files during the day, you don’t have to get up and sift through files to find a document, it doesn’t happen. We’ve started back-scanning and retro scanning all of our old documents so it’s making it so much easier to find something. When an owner rings and makes an enquiry you don’t have to say, “Hold on a second, I’ll give you a call back, I need to look up the file”, you can look it up right there and then. It’s at your fingertips.

What do you think is the best feature of fileSMART?

The biggest selling point for me the time it saves. You can scan everything you want to send to the owner at the end of the month and it collates it and does it all for you. The whole paper side of your end of month doesn’t exist anymore. If you work it out on an hourly basis you’re probably saving a good 8-10 hours a week of paperwork.
Once you run your end of month in REST you start your audit backup, jump out of REST and into print mail, run the print mail programme and that whole process takes less than an hour. We have over 500 properties and only about 20 landlords have their statements posted while the rest get emailed. You even have the option of running it after hours. The whole process is actually done before the audit backup’s finished.

How would rate the support Rockend provides?

The fileSMART support team provide service which is 10 out of 10 and I thought that the REST support team was great!

What would you say to anyone who is considering getting fileSMART?

It you're considering getting fileSMART, don't consider and just do it. It saves your business so much time and effort. For property management staff to be able to access information at the click of a button and email reports to owners and tenants at the press of a button is just magic. Taking a property manager off their work to do paperwork for a day or two to do end of month is time you'll never get back. Think of the missed calls, the follow up work and the stress that creates. Knowing they can come in and do end of month in half a day has already made a big difference to my end of month process.

In the words of Kris Conroy, of Gateway Properties.