According to a Zillow Rentals survey, 68 percent of apartment tenants leave due to bad customer service from property management.
At the core of the problem is the connection between the property manager, the on-site handyman or contractor, and the tenant. Much of the time, a renter with an issue calls the main office, the manager writes a paper order, and the maintenance person may see it much later or not at all.
This leads to a lot of money lost, says Amber Hayes, who was previously a property manager herself.
“They have to pay to get the unit flipped for a new tenant and pay the maintenance guy for a task he did not complete. We’re aiming to prevent that in one clean swoop,” she says.
Hayes and her team built the SecondKeys software to specifically target these types of scheduling issues. The platform enables repair ticket tracking and streamlines the customer service process for the manager.
Each side of the transaction has their own dashboard to follow the progress of the repair.
The property manager creates a ticket in SecondKeys when a tenant reaches out with a problem. The tenant can simply check their SecondKeys app for a status update. The ticket module shows when a repair person has been assigned and a suggested appointment time.
“We ask the tenant to upload pictures to make sure that everyone is accountable in this process,” says Hayes. “Everybody has to have a stake here.”
Another key component is a preventative maintenance tracking function for appliances. When a fridge breaks, for example, an extended timeline from ordering to delivery can mean a very unhappy tenant with a lot of spoiled food.
SecondKeys uses manufacturer and historical data to determine when an apartment’s appliances will fail. When the time comes, it sends a notification to the property manager to send someone to check on it using the ticket system.
If the apartment complex doesn’t have an on-site maintenance person or there’s a bigger project, the platform provides a list of vetted contractors within a 50-mile radius. They can select from competitive bids and pay through the platform.
The Memphis-based SecondKeys runs on a per-unit revenue model and easily integrates into existing property management software.
Pilots are live with customers across the Southeast, New England, and California.
The startup is currently raising a $300,000 seed round and will leverage the funds for sales, marketing, and releasing a real estate portfolio dashboard for owners.
They’ve also been busy pitching across the Southeast, first at Nashville’s 36|86, and then in Durham at the Google for Startups: Black Founders Exchange.
“I haven’t felt that type of community in a long time, where people wanted to see me grow without having stakes in the company,” says Hayes.