All right well hey everybody today we want to talk about what is the easiest way to set up automatic billing or electronic payment for your rental real estate. How do you collect rent electronically, whether you have one duplex tenant, or 50, we want to show you the three easiest and least expensive ways to collect rent as a landlord… especially if you're owner-occupying a Duplex or Triplex in a place like Minneapolis.
Really quick, this is not an exhaustive list, there’s about 20 different options, but I wanted to show you what our clients and ourselves have really liked for easy, free, and comprehensive options for rent collection.
When you get in the rental real estate, whether you own a duplex and you’re owner occupying, or you own multiple units, it's incredibly important to do THREE THINGS: stay efficient, professional, and profitable.
Efficiency means getting more done with less work, professional means that your tenants won't walk all over you, and profitability is pretty obvious, but we really think that these three things are critical.
Vacancies and missed rent payments can eat into your profitability really quick, so it's critical that you continuously improve on your ability to collect rent and keep your properties filled.
The easiest way to do this is to allow electronic payment rather than requiring checks, cash, or any manual effort whatsoever. So having the ability to easily collect rent through ACH or credit card can be critically important to having a profitable business as a landlord.
Now really quick, we want to acknowledge that we believe electronic payment through ach and credit card is important for landlords, but we also know there are some situations where it’s best to collect rent in person, and that there can be some real value to collecting rent in person. Collecting rent in person allows landlords the ability to perform a walk through each month to hold tenants accountable, and it also can help you build great relationships with your tenants.
So if you have a property that’s maybe in a high turnover area, or if your tenants are problematic, you might want to collect rent in person.
But outside of those reasons, we’d ad that there are multiple additional problems that arise when you collect rent in person. First off, you’ll either be handling checks or cash, which can be lost or stolen. Besides that, it’s time consuming and can kill your productivity, as well as increase the processing time it takes for your accounts receivable. Lastly, if you collect checks, there’s that age old problem of bad checks or insufficient funds…
So for what it’s worth, we recommend working hard to stay professional, profitable, and efficient, and one major way is to collect rent electronically through an ACH system or credit card processing.
And here are three of the easiest, lowest cost options to collect rent electronically.
Remember, in almost every situation, ACH, which is essentially a bank account transfer, is going to be very low cost or free, where as processing a credit card usually has a fee of about 3%, or as low as 1.5%, so ACH is preferable.
Besides the fact that ACH is going to be free with the solutions we show you here, credit card payments are more annoying because every time a card expires, you have to get the new information, and there are additional problems with small banks sometimes making it tough to charge the card.
So there’s multiple reasons why we think collecting rent through ACH is better than credit card.
There are dozens of different payment processors that will allow you to collect ePayments or electronic fund payments for your properties as a landlord, but we've narrowed it down to our three favorites.
There are certainly dozens of property management software tools and property management accounting tools out there, but we found that these three tools are the lowest cost and easiest to use.
Venmo is a slick and easy way to send payments, and it's owned by PayPal. Venmo originally created to help friends and family send money to each other for free, but it's quickly turned into a powerful tool for electronic transfers. The problem with Venmo, is that there are not provisions within its user agreement to protect sellers like there would be with credit card payments or other tools such as cozy or Zenlord Pro.
so Venmo is certainly the easiest way to have somebody shoot you over some money, but you should be wary that there are no protections for you as the seller or landlord.
Our next two autopay solutions are true property management tools, that not only process your payments automatically and free for ACH, but they serve as accounting systems, listing tools, and have a robust set of features for landlords.
Cozy has been around for a while, and ZenLord Pro is a little newer, but we’ve really come to love ZenLord pro for a number of reasons, but primarily because of how it allows us to not only collect rent fast, easy and free through the ACH, but it allows us convenient management of work orders and vendor payments when you have maintenance requests and charges.
So these next two are quite similar.
So, Zenlord Pro is a free property management software that is equal to cozy in its features, but has a sweet additional system built into it that helps landlords with their work order vendor systems.
When it comes to collecting rent, Zen Lord Pro offers free and easy ACH rent payment, a credit card processing system for about 3%, and you'll also be able to add on late fees and other types of charges within your system easily.
Not only that, but ZenLord Pro replaces the need for additional bookkeeping or accounting systems, so there’s no need for quickbooks or xero!
Cozy and ZenLord Pro are pretty much identical, but cozy has the ability to automatically report rental payments to credit agencies in order to help people build credit, as well as a credit reporting automation system. Zen Lord Pro is currently developing a credit reporting system, but they also have all the tools necessary to keep those documents and request credit reports and background checks easily.
So Cozy has the credit reporting, but ZenLord pro has their vendor pool and work order system.
You might roll your eyes at that, but anyone who’s had rental property knows how much time can get gobbled up when a client has a request, and you try to get a contractor out there to fix it. Vendors and contractors have trip charges, you need to manage an invoice, pay it, and then you’ll have that slightly awkward and frustrating tension if you think the tenant needs to help pay for the repair…. With Zenlord pro, you would just create a ticket, and it would automatically send a proposal text to either their built in vendor network, or to the vendors you’ve placed within the system.
The vendor then receives a text and they can see photos a description, and you can even store models, serial numbers and warranty information about any appliances you might have. Once the vendor decides if he’d like to take the job, it’s a first come, first serve system for your vendors.
Then the work gets completed, and you can pay them right within ZenLord Pro through your bank account, close the ticket, and then decide to pass along any percent of the charge to the tenant - all automatically.
So to recap, both cozy and ZenLord Pro have free, easy ways to collect rent electronically, and they both offer so much more. Both of them are free to tenants, and the way they make their money is by taking a part of application fees that get charged or percentages of the credit reporting, background checking and vendor payment systems.
These two tools are worth a look for sure, and we hope this helps you along as you build more financial momentum with rental properties!
Hope that was helpful.