How to Start a Property Management Company



how to start a property management company

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Are you considering starting a property management service?

It’s important to note that the roles of a property manager and real estate agents have several points of convergence. Both roles exist under the umbrella of the real estate industry and share certain prerequisites.



A broker possesses the qualifications to operate as a property manager. What follows is an outline of property management activities and guidance on launching a business that caters to rental properties or investment properties.

The future looks good. The property management market will be worth 21.4 Billion USD by 2025. So, if you are looking at how to make money in real estate, property management is one sure way to do it.

how to start a property management company

17 Important Steps to Starting a Property Management Company

The process of starting a property management company is not a spontaneous one; it necessitates following a series of well-thought-out steps. Let’s delve into what these steps entail.


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1. Research Other Property Management Companies

Before you can start your own property management company, you need to know what you’re up against.

That means market research into the property management industry. Potential property managers need to know who their direct and indirect competition are.

Look at:

  • Who their customers are. These are your potential clients.
  • What products they offer. Do they sell properties too?
  • Their pricing. What’s a month’s rent worth?

Remember, direct competitors are other property managers. Indirect competition can include in house managers. And those who sell real estate.



2. Choose a Name and Brand Your Property Management Company

One of the first steps in setting up your property management company is to choose a name and build a brand around it.

An impactful, well-thought-out name can leave a lasting impression and help in establishing your identity in the market.

Here are a few tips for aspiring property managers looking to brand their new business venture. Remember, successful property management companies start their journey with a strong brand.

  • Make sure the name is unique. There’s legal issues about duplication in most states. Try a Google search to see what’s taken.
  • Choose the url carefully. It needs to be memorable. Don’t just focus on the SEO value. You’ll get traffic from one people remember. It shouldn’t be hard to spell or understand.

3. Write a Property Management Business Plan

Any successful property manager understands the value of a robust business plan in guiding their enterprise. Such a plan assists in multiple areas, including setting achievable goals, choosing an appropriate business model, and keeping the focus sharp.



In the following sections, we will cover a few crucial points that need to be addressed in a well-structured business plan.

  • Business Model and Services. Add the general structure of your business here. Plus a few words on who you are and what you do.
  • Goals. Property managers need to have long and short term objectives. Landlord resources written down can help you put these together .
  • Structure. Most SMBs have specific positions. Outline them.

Those are some areas a property manager starting up should cover. Here’ s a generic business plan template site.

4. Form a Legal Entity and Register

To operate legally, you’ll need to select a suitable business entity for your company and registering it accordingly. This crucial step not only legitimizes your operations but also defines the framework within which your business will operate.

  • Sole Property Management Business. Business losses and profits go on the personal tax returns of a sole proprietor.
  • A Partnership. Got a few commercial properties to look after? Partners claim business income on personal taxes. They are liable for claims too.
  • Limited Liability Corporation. Contrary to popular belief, an LLC isn’t an incorporated business. The property management company’s owners have limited financial and legal liability.
  • Corporation. Business and personal taxes get filed separately.

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5. Open a Business Bank Account

As a property management company, you could be working with various clients, including real estate investors owning multiple investment properties or individuals with residential property concerns.

Regardless of the client base, a business bank account is essential for managing your company’s financial operations. This involves more than just securing a business credit card.

For instance, some states require funds from lease agreements to be is kept separate from security deposits, necessitating careful financial management.

6. Make Sure You Have the Licenses and Permits Required in Your State

Property owners expect the professionals managing their real estate properties to hold the necessary licenses and permits. Compliance with these legal requirements is key to building trust with your clients.



In this context, having a real estate license, although not always necessary, can be an added advantage.

Property Management License: This is a requirement for some boards. You’ll need to pass a property manager license exam. Real estate investors favour these.

Real Estate Brokers License: This is a common requirement. The exam usually contains both property management and other questions. Here’s some easy steps to get a real estate broker’s license.

Leasing Agent License: Some states require these that specifically focus on activities in a defined real estate market.



7. Create a Business Website and Choose a Location

In the initial stages, an online presence can help you save on commercial office space and tap into the digital market, where most property management companies now operate.

Having a professional website will not only save you money but also expand your reach to potential clients. However, remember to consider associated costs such as search engine optimization for your website and hosting fees, which are essential to increasing your visibility online.

A business email hosting service is good. The setup fee should be low.

8. Consider Ongoing Costs and Fees

Your business will need to balance costs and fees to stay afloat. Here’s some of what you’ll need to look at.



  • Ongoing Management Fee. The money you get paid. Charge a flat rate or a commission on the rental value.
  • Lease Renewal Fees. Be sure to clarify these. Usually they can be a flat rate or a percentage of rent.
  • Legal Fees. You don’t need to pay these. They’re optional, but a real estate lawyer can help. Max cost is $1,500 USD.
  • Utilities. This is a cost if you’re going brick and mortar. Water, heat and hydro. Property taxes too.
  • Advertising. Business cards, signage and digital marketing are just a few possibilities. The national average for a business sign is $438 dollars.

Don’t forget to add in your tools and a leasing fee if there’s no existing tenant.

how to start a property management company

9. Get Your Taxes in Order

Understanding and organizing your tax obligations is vital for running a successful property management company. Taxes in the property management sector can be complex, and they vary depending on your business structure and location. Here are key points to consider:

  • Research Local Tax Laws: Ensure you are aware of the state and local tax laws applicable to property management businesses in your area.
  • Consider Hiring a Tax Professional: An accountant or tax specialist can help navigate the complexities of real estate taxes, deductions, and credits.
  • Organize Your Records: Keep detailed financial records, including all income, expenses, and receipts.
  • Understand Self-Employment Taxes: If you’re a sole proprietor, be prepared to handle self-employment taxes, which cover Social Security and Medicare.
  • Regular Tax Filings: Ensure timely quarterly or annual tax filings to avoid penalties.
  • Explore Tax Deductions: Identify potential tax deductions specific to property management, such as operating expenses, travel, and office costs.

If you’re self employed manager of your own company, there are separate rules.



10. Purchase Business Insurance

Just like any other business, procuring business insurance is an absolute necessity for a property management company. This protective measure ensures that your business can withstand unexpected financial blows, thereby providing a safety net for your venture.

  • Errors and Omissions Insurance. Also called professional liability insurance. Protects against property manager mistakes.
  • General Liability Insurance. Covers day to day services.
  • Tenant Discrimination Insurance. Not necessarily covered under the general liability policy.

11. Plan Your Accounting System

Setting up an efficient accounting system is crucial for managing the financial aspects of a property management company. An effective system will help you track income, expenses, and profitability. Here are some important steps to consider:

  • Choose the Right Accounting Software: Select software that can specifically cater to property management needs, like tracking rent payments and maintenance expenses.
  • Maintain Separate Accounts: Keep client funds, such as security deposits and rent collections, separate from your business operating funds.
  • Regular Financial Reporting: Generate monthly financial reports to stay informed about your business’s financial health.
  • Monitor Cash Flow: Keep a close eye on your cash flow to ensure you have enough funds to cover operating expenses and plan for future investments.
  • Hire a Professional Accountant: Consider hiring an accountant familiar with real estate and property management to manage your books and provide financial advice.

Keeping the books straight is important. Look for software that can capture records for individual properties.

12. Set Up Your Business Phone System

Given the nature of a property management business, maintaining consistent communication is key. Opt for a business phone system that offers useful features like a mobile app, voicemail-to-email service, and the flexibility to add or remove users as per your business needs.



13. Hire Staff

Now, let’s talk about staffing. Here are some of the key roles you’ll need to fill to ensure the smooth operation of your property management company. In certain circumstances, you might need to look into obtaining a National Interest Exemption (NIE).

RoleDescription
Property ManagerThey are responsible for collecting rents, managing budgets, and overseeing various property-related tasks.
AccountantTheir role involves managing all financial records, keeping track of incomes and expenses, and ensuring financial compliance.
Maintenance OfficerAs the name suggests, they handle all maintenance requests, ensuring that all properties are kept in good repair and meeting all necessary standards.
Marketing Officer (If budget allows)Responsible for creating and implementing marketing strategies to attract potential tenants and increase the company's visibility in the market.

14. Finalize Your Services and Pricing Structure

Once you have a clear understanding of your services, it’s time to associate costs and fees with each service. This will allow you to calculate revenue forecasts and make necessary adjustments to the numbers, ensuring your pricing remains competitive while also profitable.

15. Consider Property Management Software

Financial tracking is crucial when dealing with rental properties, making property management software an invaluable tool. Features like rent collection and tenant tracking are essential to efficiently manage your property portfolio.

16. Market Your Business

An effective marketing strategy can significantly boost your real estate sale activities. Ensure your website is well-optimized for search engines and designed to be mobile-friendly, as the majority of users now access the web via mobile devices.

17. Expand Your Portfolio

Every property owner seeks a successful property manager to maximize their return on investment (ROI). Starting a property management business becomes more straightforward when following the steps listed here.

As your portfolio expands and your clients’ monthly rental income spikes, you’ll find more property owners queuing up to bring you on board.

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Starting a property management company requires careful planning, strategic implementation, and a constant eye on evolving market trends.

This path may seem daunting, but by following the steps outlined in this guide, you’re positioning yourself for success in the vibrant field of property management.

Always remember that, at the core, this business revolves around people and properties – a seamless blend of strong relationships and meticulous care for assets.

As your business takes root and begins to flourish, you’ll find the journey equally rewarding as the destination itself. Go forth and conquer the world of property management with confidence and competence!

What is a Property Management Company?

So, what does a property management company do? Simply put, these individuals or teams shoulder the responsibility of managing a property that is owned by another party.

Their jurisdiction includes various types of residential property, along with industrial and commercial spaces. Their tasks range from rent collection, property advertisement, to the regular cleaning and maintenance of the premises.

These companies are often the preferred choice for absentee landlords who seek expert management for their properties.

How Much Does it Cost to Start a Property Management Company?

You need to consider capital and operating expenses to start this type of business. Property management enterprises start out with costs averaging $19,267 dollars.

These businesses often collaborate with real estate agents to facilitate the sale of apartment buildings and contribute to other related activities.

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Image: Depositphotos


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Rob Starr Rob Starr is a staff writer for Small Business Trends. Rob is a freelance journalist and content strategist/manager with three decades of experience in both print and online writing. He currently works in New York City as a copywriter and all across North America for a variety of editing and writing enterprises.

3 Reactions
  1. Very helpful article

  2. Thank you Asif.

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