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Rental Express

Rental Express to become fully digital.

Property management organisation Rental Express has reduced vacancy rates for its rental properties to half the industry average by developing and implementing a digital strategy. Looking forward, the company plans to digitise 100 per cent of its operations.

Launched in 2006, Rental Express has used a digital platform to rapidly become Queensland’s largest and Australia’s fastest-growing property management organisation.

Managing director Chris Rolls credits the tight profit margins in property management for forcing the company to develop a leaner operation.

“An eight per cent management fee over the rent, which equates to about $800 per year on the average property, doesn’t go a long way if managed traditionally. There is continual pressure at an operational level to become more efficient,” he said.

“When you’re managing thousands of inspections and applications, hundreds of owners’ inquiries and tonnes of keys, it becomes complex.”

Additionally, with 4000 properties worth approximately $1.5 billion under management, Rental Express handles about 100 times more property than the average real estate agency. In order to handle this, a digital strategy and platform was sorely needed that could integrate and scale its systems operations while simultaneously delivering high levels of customer service at every touch point.

Following the implementation of this strategy, Rental Express customers now seamlessly interact with the company, via different portals such as:

  • The owners’ portal, where property owners can check key information such as when the rent is due and see statements as well as invoices.
  • The online portal, where customers can book inspection times, submit an electronic application, and track the progress of their application.

This platform has enabled Rental Express to reduce the vacancy rates for its rental properties to half the industry average. Mr Rolls credits this result to being able to increase the “show up” rate to inspections by 30 per cent and, in turn, increase demand for properties.

Mr Rolls said property owners and tenants went to Rental Express because it was “less of a hassle”.

Thirty per cent of customers use the electronic application process which enhances customer service by:

  • Providing an up-to-date status on the application process to the property owner, along with potential candidates.
  • Allowing applicants to complete the application form without having to print or hand-write anything, and receiving alarms when pieces of info are missing.

Encouraged by its success, Rental Express plans to eliminate all manual processes and digitise 100 per cent of its operations.

Mr Rolls remembers when “one day we received 1000 calls – that’s one call every nine seconds”.

Ultimately, as he put it: “In this environment you need to support growth by providing a platform where new ways of doing things can emerge.”

This case study was prepared in November 2012. 

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