“We feel that every association deserves to be able to reach their manager easily, get responses to emails and see a manager out on property inspection. That’s why we use TOPS.”
-Benjamin Isip, President

 

Small Management Companies

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Profile

In business since 2008, Towers Property Management (Towers) of Orlando, Florida manages 20 associations with about 3,000 homes. Isip says they are looking for communities, “that want to have better professional service and who don’t want to break their budget doing it.” Towers uses TOPS Professional for their association management platform and TOPS Go! for mobile/on-site activities tracking. Social media is also used aggressively to increase the effectiveness of their marketing.

Issues

  • Needed solid, scalable management software.
  • Time consuming inspections.
  • Traditional marketing was inefficient.

Solutions

  • TOPS Go! for iOS has increased inspection efficiency.

  • Social Media presence reduces marketing budget while being more effective.


Benjamin Isip, President of Towers Property Management, started his community management company in 2008 and has been using TOPS Professional from the very beginning. TOPS automation and efficiency gives him more time to spend on-site, helping him to provide personal service and hands-on management. “It’s so great that I spend most of my day as President of the company out managing associations,” he says. “Board members and homeowners see me and they know they are getting value.” With TOPS, Isip has realized his vision of hands-on personal service.

Two other business tools have allowed Towers to grow rapidly. TOPS Go!, TOPS’ mobile app for on-site management, has made Towers more efficient, and the use of social media tools has helped Isip increase the effectiveness of his marketing while reducing his marketing budget.

Business Needs

Hands-on Philosophy

When he started his own business in 2008, Benjamin Isip wanted the tools to provide excellent personal service at an affordable price. His wife had previously used TOPS, Yardi and VMS software while working for several management companies. Says Isip, “I looked at all of these and TOPS is the best. When I got into community association management I wanted to do things the right way and TOPS professional was the backbone of my management. We feel that every association deserves to be able to reach their manager easily, get responses to emails and see a manager out on property inspection. That’s why we use TOPS.”

Solution

Six years in business, Isip appreciates the accounting capabilities of TOPS Professional as well as its powerful automation processes.

Powerful Accounting

Isip’s initial core communities had problems with their QuickBooks and Excel accounting. “None of their numbers matched up,” stated Isip. “I explained to them that their accounting would be bulletproof if I used TOPS.”

TOPS is thoroughly CAM industry specific, even going so far as to incorporate the changing rules of state laws into the software. This is important to Isip who said, “TOPS is the only system out there I know of that handles Florida’s rules for applying collections to late fees, attorney fees, interest and assessments.”

To simplify accounting, Isip uses the automated lockbox for payments. “It’s bulletproof,” he says. “The money goes to the bank and never gets touched by anyone at the company, on the board or in the association. It gets applied to the right account and gets uploaded to our association websites that same day. Everyone knows exactly where the money is and what they owe. Our communities are amazed at the information they can access.”

When it comes to presenting financial statements, Isip says, “everything is done professionally.” “Instead of explaining financials to board members we can talk about things to do to make the community look nicer.” Isip also likes how collection amounts are already broken down for the attorneys. “You can pay attorneys $50 an hour or more to find out how much the interest is or you can just push a button on TOPS.”

TOPS Automation Saves Time

Isip relies on the unique automation features in TOPS to work efficiently.

Violation Management — With TOPS, managers can push a few buttons and send out a professional form letter to multiple homeowners. “That’s a huge timesaver for a small company. I want my managers to be out there rather than typing up a hundred different letters.” Isip added, “Almost all of the violations are taken care of the first time.” “Because there are pictures attached, the landlord’s first call is to the tenant. Now, instead of calling us to complain, taking up time from my office staff, they see what the problem is right away.”

TOPS Go! — In 2013, Towers added the TOPS Go! mobile application to his tool set. Before implementing TOPS Go!, Towers was doing well but saw things that could be improved. “Going onto TOPS Go! was amazing,” stated Isip. “Once you get used to the tablets out in the field it’s a huge time saver.” “Using TOPS Go! I can inspect 1,000 homes in one day whereas using a pen and paper it would take three. So that 2 extra days we work with vendors, work at other communities, talk to homeowners, and prepare for board meetings.”

“At board meetings, owners would try to play the gotcha game with the managers over violations,” stated Isip. Now with TOPS Go!, board members can look at violations right on the manager’s tablet. “That just reassures everybody,” explained Isip. At meetings board members can look at violations right on the manager’s tablet. “That just reassures everybody,” explained Isip. “As soon as the managers started doing that it was keepers. Whenever I hire a manager they say, ‘When do I get my tablet?’”

Towers also gets fewer calls from homeowners by using TOPS Go!. “Homeowners take action faster, the association looks nicer, and we spend less time communicating the violation,” explained Isip. “They see that picture with the violation and they know exactly what it is, what they have to do, and how much time they have to take care of it. It’s so straightforward it’s a huge time saver.”

Social Media Marketing

Isip also shared how he uses social media for marketing and to let communities know that he’s on top of changes in the industry.

Being Social Helps Business

“[Social media] gets our name out there and helps spread the information,” explained Isip. “If we help a homeowners association today by answering a few questions, next year they may be looking for a management company and they will remember Benjamin Isip or Towers Property Management.”

Isip publishes a mix of user created content and information from TOPS, Florida, HOA attorneys or other vendors. He uses HootSuite to post to all of the different platforms simultaneously, so it doesn’t take much time. “Everything I put out there is useful for homeowners or board members,” said Isip. “Any homeowner can read about how to take care of bats, alligators, or changes in the law from the blog on our website. People tell me that they follow my company on social media to get a curated list of articles.”

Growing More While Spending Less

Towers now spends half as much money on marketing because of social media. “Rather than have a booth at an expo and spend $1,500, I can use that day to post on LinkedIn and Google+ and get the same number of contacts.”

Social media has helped Isip grow the business. “In the last year everything really skyrocketed,” stated Isip. “I still participate in a few things to keep our physical exposure up, but for the most part we spend our time and effort on social media.”

Social media, explained Isip, helps Towers compete with the bigger management companies. “Once you get the hook out there, people contact you for proposals and information. I’ve had three requests for proposals this week.”

Ready for the Future

By leveraging the benefits of TOPS from the beginning, Towers has had a rock solid foundation for his current needs and future growth. Using TOPS’ built-in automation processes and advanced accounting capabilities, combined with TOPS Go!, Towers gives credit to the role of his software in his success. “TOPS enabled me to succeed. I don’t think I could have done this business from scratch without TOPS. That’s the bottom line.”

Experiencing rapid growth today, Isip looks to TOPS to help Towers compete and succeed in the future. “TOPS sets us apart from other management companies,” stated Isip. “They have always been one of the industry drivers. I can’t wait to see what’s next with TOPS so we can grow with them.”

This case study is for informational purposes only. TOPS Software makes no warranties, express or implied, in this document.