Bono and Associates, a startup Central Florida community management company, provides management, governance and accounting services to seven community associations with approximately four thousand homeowner, condominium and townhome units. Mike Bono, the company President, and an experienced Community Association Manager and former Community Board Member himself, launched the company January 1st, 2013 with the cloud-based community management system, TOPS Professional Hosted.
Bono and Associates increased first quarter revenue by $50,000 and saved $10,000 in labor costs with a rapid conversion of association history data to TOPS Professional Hosted. The easily accessed, scalable, cloudbased solution improves collaboration and allows the startup community management company to expand rapidly into new markets with no capital investment in IT.
Mike Bono wanted to get the right tools for his startup management company to meet the unique requirements of community associations. “I’ve sat on both sides of the table,” says Bono. “As a former HOA president and an experienced LCAM I understand the challenges that you face.” To maximize revenue in their first quarter of operation, Bono and Associates wanted to start billing associations for services January 1st but faced a short conversion time window. Bono considered his options to get the operation going quickly and to allow for rapid future expansion.
Short Conversion Window
Bono and Associates considered the rapid conversion of client data to be an important factor in their decision to select software to manage the new company. “We realized we had to convert about 3,000 homes between Christmas and New Years,” said Mike Bono, President. “It becomes a tremendous problem to work effectively without all of the history. The need to have a very successful conversion outweighed other considerations.”
To conserve capital Bono wanted to outsource his printing, phone system and IT. “I looked at the cost of buying servers and a part-time IT resource to install and maintain the server environment,” says Bono. Considering the high maintenance costs associated with server management, Bono saw that TOPS Hosted was a more economical solution. “We decided to minimize startup costs and launch the business without a large capital investment.”
Easy to Expand
As the company expands, Bono and Associates will be looking for full or part-time portfolio managers in other cities. “With a cloud-based system,” Bono says, “I can bring them on-board remotely and provide them everything they need. I’d like to have the collaboration between everyone without a big corporate office.”
As he planned the launch of his new company, Bono considered other hosted solutions but decided on TOPS. “The key thing was the short conversion window and the ability to bring over the history,” stated Bono. “We looked long and hard at other solutions. It was definitely the right call.”
Bono and Associates hit the ground running with expert assistance from the TOPS conversion team. “We picked up the files from four clients on December 22nd and were on the phone Christmas Night with TOPS and Trapp Online,” explained Bono. “January 1st we had 3,000 accounts up and running – one hundred percent – with all of the history. There were absolutely zero glitches.” Bono and Associates billed clients for services on the accounts from that point forward.
Bono and Associates implemented their TOPS Professional Hosted solution quickly without a large capital investment in IT infrastructure. “I don’t need to have special cooling or any kind of special environment,” explained Bono. “I don’t have servers running 24/7, which means less energy consumption and, compared to the client version of TOPS, we have much faster access to our data.”
With TOPS Professional Hosted, Bono works from anywhere he has an Internet connection. “If I’m at home, at work, out doing a drive-thru, or at a board president’s house, I’ve got full access to the entire TOPS system on my laptop or PC,” explained Bono. “Yesterday we had tornado warnings so I decided to work from home. I logged off, went home, and logged back on – so I didn’t have to worry about it.”
More Revenue, Less Cost
Bono and Associates realized an extra $50,000 in first quarter revenue, made possible by the quick conversion of history data. “January 1st, I was able to generate revenue from those companies immediately,” stated Bono. “Without TOPS I would have been able to manually convert only one client per month. My first four clients would still not be up and running four months later.”
The quick conversion saved Bono and Associates $2,400 or more per client, or approximately $10,000 in total labor costs. “We would have had to bring in additional staff to convert the data—a minimum of two people for two weeks for the first 900 unit client,” said Bono.
With TOPS Professional Hosted you pay as you go, making a capital-free investment possible. “It took all of the up-front IT-related costs away,” stated Bono. “If I want to add another user I just pay a little more to TOPS. Otherwise, with a client-based system I’m looking at more IT infrastructure to add additional locations.”
TOPS Professional Hosted simplifies collaboration between Bono and his accounting manager. “Anywhere I’ve got an Internet connection I’ve got the full TOPS version,” explained Bono. “No matter where I am we’re looking at the same data, where before, I’d have to be back at the office with her.”
Bono always takes a laptop to board meetings. “We talk about AR and we’ve got a lot of history and violation reports to look at,” explained Bono. “Instead of presenting static data, we can respond immediately to questions and requests for history. Our boards are impressed that we have full access.”
The option to quickly add resources to TOPS Professional Hosted simplifies expanding into new markets. “I could add another office within days,” said Bono. “All I have to do is buy another user, a phone, and a laptop and they’re up and running in a town 200 miles from here.” Recruiting new community association managers will also be easier. “My growth is going to be in managers who work remotely and come into the office once a week,” said Bono. “The flexibility will be attractive for them, which will help in recruiting good people—absolutely!”
A Successful Startup
Bono and Associates considers TOPS Professional Hosted an essential component of their success. “I could not be where I am now if I had gone with a client-based system,” stated Bono. “The rapid conversion, flexibility, increased collaboration, ability to work from anywhere, and competitiveness the product brings to me makes TOPS a valued partner in my success.”
This case study is for informational purposes only. TOPS Software makes no warranties, express or implied, in this document.