Coventry Group Community Management Inc. provides a complete set of property management services in beautiful and historic Winchester, Virginia. Managing more than 30 associations, Coventry Group builds thriving communities with effective property management and convenient personal service. Coventry uses TOPS Professional for their Association management and accounting together with TOPS Go! to perform on-site management tasks.
In the beautiful Shenandoah Valley town of Winchester, Virginia, Coventry Group Community Management began building a business with a reputation for personal service. After a few years of hard work and dedication, Coventry was shocked to lose their largest client. However, it was this setback that propelled Coventry to improve their management operation. They quickly determined that automating their processes was key, so they searched for software that would enable them to manage their business better, and allow them to give more attention to the needs of their clients.
Back in 2006, Beth Schloemer and her business partner observed that the local association management companies in her area were lacking. “There were some companies operating here from out of town,” related Schloemer. “We knew that we could provide better service.” Seizing the chance to start their own management company based on personal service, Coventry Group was established.
Beginning with just one association, Coventry Group managed the business manually for a few years and experienced slow growth. “We did everything by hand with Microsoft Word and Excel,” stated Schloemer. “As we grew, it became very burdensome.”
About four years in, they hit a bump in the road. “Our largest client said to us, ‘You can’t keep up,’ and we lost the client,” related Schloemer. “It was very upsetting.” With 11 HOA’s, Schloemer and her partner were convinced they needed to look for a software solution that would automate their processes.
When Schloemer began her search for the right software, she contacted TOPS and one other solution provider. Schloemer noticed a difference in how the TOPS staff treated her, “They were very responsive to where we were as a business … they respected the knowledge that we had and just encouraged us. They didn’t make us feel small.”
“It’s about building a neighborhood that people like to live in, people want to grow old in, and that people want to raise their kids in. TOPS gives us the time to really work with the people and not just the process of the community.” Beth Schloemer, Vice President
Coventry Group Community Management
The decision was easy. And with help from TOPS, Schloemer converted her 11 HOA’s all at once. “During the day, I did a massive amount of work with [TOPS Corporate Trainer] Debbie White, who was teaching me TOPS,” explained Schloemer. “At night, I started converting my HOA’s.”
Once Coventry was up and running, Schloemer began to appreciate the powerful features of TOPS Professional. “Every module has something great in it, every single one,” noted Schloemer.
For example, the staff at Coventry uses the Owner Maintain screen to efficiently deal with homeowner issues. “I can see all of the communications and all of the attachments right there,” said Schloemer. “You don’t have to walk over to the file cabinet to pull a homeowner file.”
“The accounting side of it is very robust and very easy to use,” she continued. “I’m not an accountant, but anybody can learn how to do it because of the way TOPS presents it. I love how I can very quickly drill down into an account to see why I was off by five dollars.”
Scheduling features make Schloemer’s job less stressful. “I don’t have to remember on the 20th of the month to apply interest,” stated Schloemer. “It does it while I’m sleeping. That takes a lot of the stress off of the people doing administrative tasks. Once you automate it, it’s done.”
Working with TOPS Partners
Last year, Coventry attended an industry conference where they learned more about the integrated services offered by TOPS partners. “We put all of those things in place, and we are much more efficient,” stated Schloemer.
Soon after, Coventry was awarded four new contracts. “There is no way we could have handled that large growth without TOPS and the partners they put us in touch with,” stated Schloemer. “TOPS is more than the program that we use, it’s the way we run our business.”
Coventry recently implemented TOPS Go!, TOPS’ mobile app. “Our community managers can do more in less time,” related Schloemer. “They walk the neighborhoods with their phones and put everything in as they’re walking. With information always at their fingertips, they feel like they are more on top of things. A manager we hired from another agency said, ‘I just love TOPS Go!’”
With the efficiency of TOPS accounting and TOPS Go!, Schloemer saves several hours per week. “With Auto Check Reconciliation, I can reconcile 60 accounts in less than two hours!” stated Schloemer. “Before, it was an all day project. With Global A/P, what used to take four hours we can do in easily half the time. And the flexibility of TOPS Go! cuts the CCR portion by at least 25%.”
Using a lockbox and direct debit with TOPS saves three hours per week. “We used to do all of our checks in-house. It took hours to enter all of that information,” explained Schloemer. “Because TOPS and Alliance Bank talk to each other, we can enter checks into A/R in 30 seconds.”
TOPS frees up Coventry’s staff to provide more personal service. “We can do what we really like to do, which is to foster community,” stated Schloemer. “Our managers and admin have more time to work with the homeowners and the board members.”
“In presentations, I say, ‘We’re here to help you create community. It’s not about fining and laying down the law. It is about building a neighborhood that people like to live in, people want to grow old in, and that people want to raise their kids in. And TOPS helps us do it because we can efficiently run process.’”
Schloemer related a story about having the time to work with a woman in a new association who was behind in her dues and confused about the process. Coventry helped to get her out of collections and caught up in 12 months. “The individual attention we were able to provide made a huge difference in her life!” stated Schloemer. “She brought us a cake, hugged everyone in the office and said, ‘I would have lost my home if you had not worked with me!’”“That’s why we do this. We know that we’re making a difference. TOPS gives us the time to really work with the people instead of just the process of the community.”
Grow Without Adding Staff
The recent addition of TOPS Go! allows Coventry to grow painlessly. “TOPS Go! has given us the ability to do more and do it quickly,” stated Schloemer. “That allows us to grow without adding more staff, which keeps us in our same office space a little bit longer. We can bring on new HOAs without the stress of, ‘We need to hire somebody.’”
Appeal to New Clients
Schloemer often refers to TOPS in her presentations to potential new clients. “I say, ‘We use this system called TOPS. You should see what it can do for you! You don’t need [a separate] accounting package. We just do it all here.’ TOPS sells itself. And it sells us as well.”
“We’re this little company and yet, we can offer the same services and professionalism of a large company.”
The Future with TOPS
Coventry looks back on the event that set them back as the best thing that ever happened to them. TOPS empowered them to do what they love to do: build outstanding communities. Schloemer is proud to work with TOPS and knows that Coventry is on better footing. Said Schloemer, “That HOA that we lost four years ago, I’m pretty sure that we’re going to get them back.”
Schloemer sees TOPS as a key factor in Coventry Group’s success and its future. “If I sound like I’m in awe … We couldn’t have done it without TOPS,” summarized Schloemer. “TOPS made us better. And in the future we continue to get better and more efficient. We’re always improving.”
This case study is for informational purposes only. TOPS Software makes no warranties, express or implied, in this document.