Mat ZalkMat Zalk is the President and Property Manager at Keyrenter Property Management which has offices in Tulsa, Oklahoma City, and Arkansas. He focuses on the acquisition and management of single and multi-family residential properties on behalf of himself and a small network of investors.

Before founding Keyrenter Tulsa, Mat was a Strategy Director at The Property Finder Group, where he worked closely with the CEO and senior management team on various international acquisitions, scaled local teams in the group’s Saudi Arabia and Egypt offices, and executed a number of strategic projects in the business’ core market of Dubai. Mat has been an active investor since 2014 and is a licensed real estate agent in Oklahoma.

 

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Here’s a glimpse of what you’ll learn:

  • The importance of establishing core business values
  • How Mat Zalk maintains Keyrenter Property Management’s core values
  • Mat shares how he executes his company’s four core values
  • Why is it essential to have a positive outlook?
  • Mat’s strategy for hiring qualified candidates based on core values
  • The significance of employing problem solvers

In this episode…

Core values are integral to business success as they accelerate growth and decision-making. So, how can you identify and execute the core values of your company?

Entrepreneur and property manager Mat Zalk has identified and systematized four core business values based on previous successes. By recognizing effective processes, he communicates and implements each value into his company’s operations. Mat maintains the importance of strategic communication and documentation to inform each business decision.

In this episode of The Same Day Podcast, Chad Franzen of Rise25 interviews Mat Zalk, President and Property Manager at Keyrenter Property Management, about his company’s core values. Mat discusses the importance of identifying core business values and having a positive outlook and his strategy for hiring qualified candidates based on core values.

Resources mentioned in this episode:

Sponsor for this episode…

This episode is brought to you by Keyrenter Property Management.

Keyrenter Property Management is a full-service property management company who helps their clients buy, renovate, and operate real estate assets.

They help clients build wealth while taking the headache out of property management.

That’s why, no matter what rental you have — single-family homes, condos, townhomes, or apartments — they can give you the management solutions you need.

To learn more about their services, go to https://keyrenterpmc.com/ or send them an email at [email protected].

Episode Transcript

Intro 0:05

Welcome to The Same Day Podcast where we discuss driving incremental business growth and other topics related to real estate, property management and entrepreneurship. Now to the show at hand.

Mat Zalk 0:20

Mat Zalk. I’m the host of The Same Day Podcast where I connect with top business experts and real estate leaders. Today, I’ve got Chad Franzen here of Rise25. He’s done hundreds of interviews of successful entrepreneurs, investors and CEOs. And we flip the script and he’s going to be interviewing me, Chad, take it away.

Chad Franzen 0:39

Hey, thanks so much, Mat. Great to be here. Before we get started, and I’ll let everybody know that today’s episode is brought to you by Keyrenter Property Management at Keyrenter Property Management. They are a full service property management company, helping clients buy, renovate and operate real estate assets. They help their clients build wealth while taking the headache out of the property management. In fact, they’ve helped Ryan and Jason turn turn a nonperforming 14 unit property into a 100 plus unit portfolio of renovated single family and multifamily properties. That’s why no matter what rental you have single family homes, condos, townhomes, apartments, they have the management solutions you need go to keyrenterpmc.com, or email them at [email protected] Mat, thanks so much for having me today. How are you?

Mat Zalk 1:24

I’m great. How are you? Thanks for being here. Yeah,

Chad Franzen 1:27

hey, great to be here. Hey, today, we’re going to talk about the importance of core values and the core values at Keyrenter Property Management. First of all, what do you what do you feel like it’s important to establish core values of your company,

Mat Zalk 1:39

you know, I think there’s, you’ve got to have a guiding star, you’ve got to have a number of things upon which the business was built, that can help the organization grow over time, and help you make the right decisions around hiring and firing, frankly, so that as you grow, everybody understands kind of the direction that you’re heading, what got you to the place that you’re at currently, and how to make important decisions on an everyday basis, you know, going forward,

Chad Franzen 2:07

when you found it Keyrenter Property Management, did you have these core values that we’re going to talk about in mind? Or did they kind of evolve? You know,

Mat Zalk 2:15

we started doing what we were doing, and after, you know, originally, it was, it was me, and it was, you know, we just grew up grew little by little. So we added, you know, a person, another person or third person or fourth person, at some point, we realized that we were that we needed to make, we needed to extract what we were doing what caused us to be successful in the first place, why our clients really loved us doing what we were doing, and be able to, you know, just give those to the rest of the people in the organization. I mean, very simply, there were things like putting our clients or clients interests first that we didn’t necessarily have written down, it was just how do we allocate this? How do we make this decision at this moment? And without having the core value written down? Like, you know, communicate it, right? How, why do we do certain things communicate? It’s one of our core values.

Chad Franzen 3:15

When you first started Keyrenter Property Management, did you have these core values in place? Or have they evolved over time?

Mat Zalk 3:22

I don’t think that they’ve evolved over time. But I do think that starting Keyrenter, we did something really well. And at first, it was just a couple of us, it was me that it was a couple of other people. And it was very easy to cascade ideas and philosophy and in essence, what the core values were, even if we hadn’t written them down or codified them, over time, as we grew to be a larger team. And as we’ve continued to be a larger team, it was important or it became important to to write down what made us successful in the first place. And I think communicate it, which is one of our core values is basically around never leaving people in the dark, right? owners want to know constantly what’s going on. For many of our owners, this is a critical component of their retirement asset portfolio. This is this is for tenants, this is their home, right? So they don’t want to know they don’t want to be left in the lurch about whether the plumber is coming today or tomorrow, the next day to fix a toilet, which is a critical component of their happiness on a daily basis. Their kids need to use the restroom in there, right now their kids are in their bathroom, or maybe there’s only one toilet in the house. And everybody needs needs to know what is what is the status of whatever’s going on in either the the, you know, the portfolio, the asset and the owners case or their home in that in the residence case. In addition to that, you know, people on our team need to know what’s going on. So communicate, for example came about because we just recognize, we’re really, really good at communicating. One thing that our owners really loved is that we kept them in the loop on everything. But as we grew the team size, you know, maybe they didn’t get a weekly the new property manager didn’t understand why we sent out a weekly update of weekly leasing update and so So it became critical for us to codify those original core values first to extract what we were doing in habits and process and make them kind of a core part of what we do.

Chad Franzen 5:11

You mentioned communicated being one of your core values, that’s one of four. The other ones are own it, live it and improve it. Right? Why don’t we get into into each of those kinds of a little bit more in depth? And we could start since you brought up communicated, why don’t we? Why don’t we start with that one? What are some of the kind of the key elements to that community to that core value communicated?

Mat Zalk 5:32

Yeah, I mean, I think in essence, we want people to always keep all the stakeholders that are involved in a property up to date, right. So sometimes we, that means again, making sure that we inform the resident of a property that the plumber is going out, the owner also needs to know that a plumber is going out, because you know, there’s going to be an expense associated with that. But the plumber also needs to understand. And I think, again, these core values, they transcend just the the core team, but they also go to the people that we work with. And if people that we work with, including vendors can’t live by these core values, we also just don’t do business with them long term, they need to recognize that somebody’s waiting for them at the home to fix a problem, whether it’s electrical, you know, and they think that a light socket, that’s, you know, a light bulb that blew out is gonna cause their house to burn down, which it probably won’t, or that they have a toilet that’s going to be snaked and fix it, they can use the restroom. But they need to know that if they are late running late for their for their appointment at two o’clock, that they let somebody know that right, somebody’s sitting at home waiting for them to do that they’ve often taken off work from their, you know, for a day or for half a day or whatever, to meet that plumber and let that plumber in, they need to let them know that, hey, I’m running half an hour late. So I think all of it is just about making sure that that what we’re doing at a property is communicated effectively, to the team, to to the to the President and to the owner. And you know, that people are just never left in the dark, because nobody likes to be left in the dark.

Chad Franzen 6:57

Sounds like Punctuality is a big part of communicating it. What about transparency? How important is that?

Mat Zalk 7:03

Yeah, I mean, I think just in general, we send out a PDF, email to an owner anytime there’s a maintenance request to the house, because what we found was, you know, the end of the month would come up, and an owner would say, Wow, I had no idea that there was going to be a, whether it’s a $300 400 or $500 expense on my property. And, you know, frankly, owners think oftentimes that we’re making, I don’t know, if they think this, we don’t get accused very often of doing this, but it’s kind of a, it’s the feeling I get when I speak to owners is perhaps we’re just making up maintenance properties, even you know, that we’re swamped with maintenance, and we have 15 maintenance, guys, and they’re all busy, they’re all running, you know, guns blazing, because we have way too much maintenance that, you know, we really can’t get to it all as fast as we’d like to. So you know, we never make our maintenance, maintenance requests.-So we send them the PDF from the resident of the property, saying, Hey, this is something that came through, if you want to provide some feedback, as to whether we should shouldn’t do this, do this maintenance service, or you have just something you want to say, for example, you know, an owner moves out of a house, we put a tenant in, the tenant now says the third burner doesn’t work on the stove. Well, the owner really has the right to say, look, that third burner never worked when I lived there, I don’t really care that it doesn’t work. And frankly, I’m not going to fix it. And we want to know that before we fix it. Because we can also go to the residents say, you know, you took the property as is you signed a lease that says it’s an as this condition, we’d love for you to make this work. But the owner doesn’t want to do this at this time, it might be six months, and he’s willing to or she’s willing to reconsider. But at this point, we’re not going to fix it, I think that’s a reasonable thing. It’s not like a single toilet, a single bathroom not functioning in a house, that’s different. But a third burger when there’s four or six, you know, is a reasonable thing for an owner to say, hey, I don’t want to fix that right now. My cash was really tight, and I’m just not willing to do it. So, you know, I think transparency is a great example of communicated, we want to make sure that everybody’s looped in at all times so that people can make the right decision for them in that period.

Chad Franzen 8:52

What about knowledge of, you know, of what you’re doing? Or have all the all the aspects of the business?

Mat Zalk 8:57

I mean, there’s some elements of that, but I don’t know, you know, I don’t know if if our owners really expect that level. I mean, at some level, they’ve, they’ve tasked us with managing the property to the best of our abilities. And we say, you know, I have many, many properties that are in our portfolio, I manage those properties the same way any owners properties would be managed, not directly myself, but with a property manager on our team, to say, mate, and staff and plumbers and electricians that everybody else, you know, would have on their properties. So, you know, I don’t think they necessarily need to know. I put it in a 20 amp breaker, I replaced it because it was bad, versus a 30 amp breaker, or, you know, they don’t need to know the extent how many feet of cable went down to remove, you know, a blockage in the sewer system. But we do want them to know, for example, that we pulled out that the blockage was caused by a child’s toy and the resident of the property has three children and one of the children’s likely put down a Lego or a Barbie doll and that’s why the blockage was that was there in the first place. And by the way, we’re going to charge the resident for that because that’s part of our planning addendum. And, you know, the owner didn’t do anything at Have is not at fault for that. And it’s really the residence. So they’re gonna end up paying for that that service.

Chad Franzen 10:04

As I mentioned, own it is another one of your core values. I think I think responsibility obviously kind of comes to mind first, can you expand on on it?

Mat Zalk 10:13

Yeah, I mean, we want our core team or property managers to think like owners when they’re making a decision, I think that Barbie doll examples a really good one in that if they owned a property, and they knew that the tenant was directly responsible by putting non flushable items down the down the sewer line, or they’re putting their children’s stuff to Barbie by accident, they would naturally say the tenant needs to pay for that, that blockage and that removal of that blockage. So I want the owners to know that our property management team, not only do many of them own rental properties and own their own properties, we’re also working on a plan so that they can take part of a Keyrenter kind of generally, like a REIT internally, in essence, but they own a part of a portfolio of property. So they feel that pain, right? I mean, when they go and tell an owner, your HVAC system is out, we need to replace it. And we have to make a decision between putting in more our 22, which is a scarce commodity, that costs a lot or a new, you know, 14 a, which is a different type of, of gas, you know, and there’s, there’s trade offs for doing those, putting in one, you know, one type of guests versus another or changing a system, they also feel that burden that pain themselves, they own rental properties, I do it myself, I’ve had condensing units stolen from my property. So when I have to tell an owner, you’re condensing unit was stolen, I think next time we put one in, we probably should put a cage around it so it doesn’t get stolen again, like I have felt that pain myself and I want our team to feel that level of ownership and, and to, you know, to own it. In essence, the other thing is we want them to kind of make the decision that a tenant would also want, right? I mean, how would you feel if you were a resident of a property, and you had one toilet and that toilet was blocked, you would want somebody you would want to know that the person working on your behalf, of course, we are agents for our our owners, and the tenant is our customer, but we want our customers to be happy, because that allows them or that encourages them to renew their lease, and it makes more money for our clients or the owners of the property. But we want them to know the residents of the properties to know that we’re working as hard as we can to get a plumber out immediately. We want our property managers and the rest of our team, including our maintenance team to think about, you know what they would want if they’re a resident of the property? Would they want a maintenance technician checking in mud on their house and into their house on their carpets? No. Would they want somebody that responds immediately? That, you know, that keeps their promise in terms of the time commitment to an appointment? Yes, absolutely. So think about it, you know, from a tenants perspective, deferred maintenance, how a property looks thinking about it from an owners perspective, same items, deferred maintenance, how a property looks, how you’d handle it, if it were your property and your money on the line, I think that’s the core of of owning,

Chad Franzen 12:41

as part of own and also you you would like your property managers to have a couple of orientations, you’d like them to be solution oriented and action oriented. Can you tell me a little bit more about those? Yeah, I

Mat Zalk 12:51

mean, we say a stitch in time saves nine. So, you know, obviously a common expression. But I think it what I want is a property manager that recognizes that a house that’s flooding at midnight on Tuesday is still their responsibility. There’s a burst pipe, what we can do in, you know, in our Tuesday night and midnight is, is far cheaper and better for an owner than letting that problem persist over a 12 hour period. So what I say to our property managers is, you know, we don’t control all of your time, we control a portion of your time, I don’t care whether you work from, you know, from from 6pm to midnight, if you get all of your emails out and your owners are happy and your residents are happy. But if you can work that critical piece for 20 minutes or 30 minutes at midnight, on a Tuesday, come into the office at noon on Wednesday, right? I mean, you everyone needs to sleep everyone needs to handle their their the private stuff happening in their lives with their families and their and their partners, spouses, whatever. But it’s, you know, a stitch in time saves nine, how can you solve it today, right now, so that it saves you a lot of time tomorrow, saves the owner a lot of money, et cetera, et cetera. And I think that’s part of it is just owning it. Like if you own that property, and that property was flooding, if you owned that property and the tenant couldn’t use the restroom, or couldn’t shower or had you know, an electrical issue that they were concerned that was going to burn down their house, you would probably take the 10 minutes or 20 minutes to fix that problem right now, to assuage the residents concerns to let the owner know what’s going on, you would do it, you do that in this moment, instead of waiting till tomorrow. And that’s the kind of ownership level that we want and expect from our property managers.

Chad Franzen 14:22

So we’ve discussed on it and communicated the third core value is limit. What does that mean?

Mat Zalk 14:28

I think that was also mean there’s some similar component to like, you know, we’re dealing with an owner’s core asset. We want you to understand what it’s like to own an asset. So we encourage all of our property managers to own homes if that means we need to help contribute something for the equity component of a house. We’re happy to do that. If that means we help them buy a rental property or portfolio we do that hence the the idea that we want to purchase a large sum properties and divvy out via an operating agreement. In a cap table, we want to divvy up the ownership so that people actually feel what it means to own a rental property and how it hurts when you have a certain expectation for cash flow on a monthly basis. And that’s hit by the need to install a new HVAC system or the need to, you know, replace a plumbing joint. And you know, what that actually means and how that feels. So, you know, we encourage all of our all of our property managers to own property on primarily on their own property, because that’s the level of ownership that we want, when a new roof or when you have a hole in your roof, or there’s hail damage or whatever. You’ve been dealt with insurance agents, you’ve dealt with roofers, you understand the pain. And you also understand the benefit, you understand equity upside, you understand, you know, bank leverage, but all in all, you’re really living the idea of property ownership and asset ownership.

Chad Franzen 15:54

You talked about some tricky situations that you could find yourself in, when you’re in that role. How important is it to have a positive outlook,

Mat Zalk 16:01

oh, man, I mean, in our industry, realistically, you can do something, you can do everything perfectly for five years, and then you mess up one thing, and an owner hates you, and fires you, that tenants never going to be happy when they say, you know, I’m leaving my lease six months early, and you’re hitting me with a lease break violation fee, they’re not they don’t understand that, you know, in principle, we sign a lease, because an owner should feel confident that a residents going to be there for a year. And a tenant should feel confident that we’re not going to go and raise rents in the middle of their lease, right, and it’s for a fixed period. So we’re in an industry where you’re kind of bombarded by negativity on all sides. It’s also an industry that’s high pressure, right? You’re dealing with an owners core asset or assets. And that was a meaningful part often of their wealth. And so anything that we do wrong is looked at under a magnifying glass. And again, residents don’t understand if they’re, if it’s, if it’s summer, and it’s 110 degrees, like it was during the summer of 2022. And their AC goes out. And it’s maybe partly their fault, maybe they didn’t change the filter as often as they should, or maybe they, you know, they were getting a little bit warm. So they cranked their AC down to 62 degrees, which throws up there system, there’s probably a little bit of fault on all sides. But then understand that an HVAC technician, even our best that are fully fully dedicated to Kira, there might be a day or two or three out, and that’s three days better a week better than anybody else, if you just call him off of Yelp, or Facebook or, or Google, but still, it’s gonna be a couple of days, and we can do some stuff, we can get you a window unit, but your house is not going to cool the way it should. So you know, we everyone needs to have a little bit of grace during the peak periods. But in essence, everyone’s everyone is bombarding you with tasks with negative commentary. You know, and other things that frustrates you and ping pong around in your head in your head. And I think a positive mental attitude, in general, is a really, really good thing to have and makes for strong property managers.

Chad Franzen 17:49

So when you have that positive outlook, and you’ve got people, people that kind of trying to ping you or get in touch with you, how important is it to be pretty responsive in the moment?

Mat Zalk 18:00

Oh, my God, I mean, I always say, Look, if you just answer a phone call now, it will save you so much headache going forward. And if you just think about it, what happens is a resident puts in a work order for no cooling at their house, and it’s 110 degrees outside their house is now at 78 at 82. And escalating. They want to know that something’s being done about it right now. Right? That’s the communicated core value. If they don’t, this is what happens. You’re on the phone, and you’re and you just you don’t have the time to say Excuse me, Mr. Owner, Mrs. Owner, I’m going to take this phone call, give me 10 seconds and click over to the other line and say, Hey, I’m on this, this is what’s happening. This is the plan of action. Give me an hour, and I’ll come back to you. And then of course, you actually have to come back to them and communicate the next steps. But what happens is, they don’t get a phone call, they leave you a nasty message, they go to your supervisor, they then take up that person’s time, that person has to either click off a call or you know, go back and answer. In the meantime, they’ve got all these ideas about what’s happening, what’s not happening, you know, how things are escalating, it’s getting hotter, their kids are gonna come home from school, everyone’s gonna be upset. And then they go on, they submit another work order or two work orders more saying I haven’t heard anything, it’s been an hour, things just devolve right into chaos, and into just like additional levels of communication that aren’t necessary if you just communicate on the front end. So I think, you know, just picking up the phone and telling somebody what’s going on, saves you so much time in essence, because it goes from that from that property manager to that property managers, manager to the managers, Manager. Now, six people are on it all communicating internally going, Hey, did you get to this person’s call, and that, you know, ultimately, the property manager gets bombarded with three different levels of communication from inside or our organization, because none of us know that, you know, that person’s on it, he or she is on the task. They’re on the case. We’re just now it takes up everybody else’s time and mental energy and efforts to you know, to solve this problem,

Chad Franzen 19:51

so we’ve got own it, live it and communicate it the final core value is improve it and he stumped me a little bit about that.

Mat Zalk 19:57

Yeah, I mean, I say in this organization there no say sacred cows, there’s nothing that we do that is the truth with a capital T, it doesn’t matter whether I as the owner, I’m doing something wrong, anybody else is doing something wrong, we should call it for what it is, we should seek to improve it. It’s our systems. It’s our logic. It’s our, it’s our process, everything that we do can be improved. And we don’t do it right all the time. So how can we make a simple system better? And one example is, you know, we, we don’t necessarily communicate. Our, for example, lease renewals, to an owner by picking up the phone call by picking up the phone and talking to them. We said, send an email. It’s a template that we use, we say this is what the rent is, this is what the rent we would like it to be. Are you okay with that? Yes, no, let’s schedule a call to discuss or and there’s a little feedback templates, they say, Well, you know, pushing it from 1350 to 1450 is a little bit high. Why don’t we push, you know, they can leave a comment that says, Why don’t we push it to 1425? Perfect, that’s a great example. But the owners in the know. And ultimately, the resident will be in the know, when we send them the communication that says your rent has been bumped to 1425. So that came about because, you know, we wanted to make sure that owners wanted us to renew the leases, right? Sometimes owners are moving back into the property. And if we don’t tell them, hey, we’re renewing this property 90 days in advance, they don’t have the opportunity to say, by the way, I’m moving back into this property, please don’t renew it. And you know, as much as we like to think we’re the center of the universe, we’re not an owners forget about us owners, the check comes in every month into their bank account. And, you know, they don’t think about us until it’s too late. So we want to give them the opportunity to make sure you know, to give us their feedback. But that was a process improvement instead of us picking up the phone. And then we don’t get anybody we leave a message the message isn’t heard. The, you know, we text the text isn’t responded to or it’s just a bad time to communicate whatever it is, we wanted to put it in their inbox and say, in the next 14 days, I’m planning on renewing this resident, or I’m planning on submitting to them the offer for renewal. If I don’t hear back from you, cool, no problem, I’ll assume that you’re off in Hawaii on vacation where you should be. And I’m going to take I’m going to take the initiative to actually renew this lease the way I would do it, if it were my property at this stated rate. If you do have a comment, please do let us know. And we’re happy to adjust our our plan accordingly.

Chad Franzen 22:03

You mentioned earlier that you’d like your property managers to think both like owners, and like tenants, I’m guessing that that helps improve things quite a bit.

Mat Zalk 22:12

Yeah, in general, I mean, I think so many of our processes, so many of the, of our philosophies have come from the idea that we can constantly be improving what we’re doing. And, you know, I, in essence, if our core, our vision, and our mission is around is aligned around taking the headache out of real estate ownership, then all of these core values can be looked at as supporting that mission. So if an owner doesn’t respond to us about raising the rent, or an owner doesn’t respond to us about, you know, paying a property tax bill or something, we’re going to do it because we figure that, you know, our job is to manage the property. Part of that is to pay the property tax, if that’s something that an owner wants, if the bill comes to us, we’re going to pay it. Because you know, and we don’t want to, we don’t want a late fee levied by the county on that property, we want to just run the property like we would do it if it were ours. So, so much of what we’ve done in terms of our of our of our process, and, and just philosophies around, improving it. And that’s, you know, key systems, for example, many times you walk into a property management company, and you say, Hey, I’m taking over this 10 unit property, and they hand you a bag of keys on one ring, it’s just disheveled. There’s no organization that full addresses might be on that ticket with on that tag of the key, which of course is a is a security liability in the event that you lose those keys, somebody has the exact address, street address and numerals for getting into a property, it says number 12345. And that’s dangerous. But oftentimes you go in and you say I need the keys for these 10 units. And it takes somebody an hour to pick them out because they don’t have a system. We just found that was happening to us. As we grew, we took a Saturday afternoon. And we figured out a great system that we can identify any key in our portfolio within 60 seconds. Partly using the computer partly using our lock boxes and putting them together yields a result that we want that was a very simply put an improvement moment.

Chad Franzen 23:59

Sure. Sure. Sounds like, hey, how involved are your core values in your hiring process?

Mat Zalk 24:05

Yeah, so we hire and fire based on our core values we do you know, part of the the, the interview process is is really about is behavioral interviews based on our core values, even though the person that we’re interviewing might not understand that they’re based on core values. I want to hear about a time that you were at an organization and you saw something, it just did not make any sense. And you said to your boss, or your colleague, whatever, I have a better way of doing this. I want to improve this system. So we hire based on that stuff. And you know, sometimes our core values are phenomenal, but somebody comes into the organization, and they just don’t, they just don’t align they pass the interview process. But ultimately, they’re not they don’t own property, and they don’t have a desire to own property. And they will never understand what it’s like to own property. And they you know, they’re not aligned perfectly with the owner and we say, you know, this is probably the not not the long term place for you, wish you best and on your way

Chad Franzen 25:00

Why is it important to hire kind of a players?

Mat Zalk 25:04

Just again, kind of with that phone call situation, a players need fewer hours of their managers time solving problems, they know they have a get it, you know, a get it done attitude. They’re they’re problem solvers naturally in our business anyways. And it just things flow smoother when you hire the right people, people that just know how to communicate it know how to put themselves in the owner shoes know how to put themselves in the tenants shoes. And fundamentally, everything in the organization just flows much better. So I read Reed Hastings book, The No Rules Rules. And it really changed my perspective on hiring a players and he talks about it in terms of coders and coders. He says, you know, one, one coder that’s in the top decile of of of all coders is worth 10 or 15 or 20 times what a, you know, a middle tier a median players? Well, I don’t think in our industry, it’s as complicated. He says it’s sorry, it’s as it’s as significant multiple, I should say, but he says, you know, a top quality coder, runs into a wall knows how to backup manipulate and navigate around that wall with logic and code and, you know, just just raw brainpower, and a middle tier coder will spend hours and hours and hours, create an uglier solution, a less, you know, a less pretty logical solution or framework to a problem that they face. In our case, you know, again, I think, the ability to write a clean email to an owner that says, This is the problem. This is one solution. This is the second solution, this is the solution that I would choose number one, in this case, it’s going to cost you this. And the tenant has already said that this is okay with them. We’re willing, we’re offering a $10, rent credit, etc, etc. Is it saves you so much time because the owner can say confirm. Yes, I agree, as opposed to coming back with 15 questions. So if you can think through the second order of effects and say, the owner is naturally going to ask me the following questions. What would you do if this were your property? What happens if the first solution doesn’t work? What you know, how does that how’s the tenant feeling about this, etc, then you’re just much more likely to have an effective conversation that happens once instead of needing to go back and forth in 10 emails.

Chad Franzen 27:12

So how do you kind of determine who’s an A player and who’s not? I know, you talked about how you apply the core values. But how else do you go about it?

Mat Zalk 27:19

Yeah, so we do a written screening for potential property managers. I mean, I want to know how they think what their logic is, in terms of like, I think we have six or seven different scenarios where, you know, things that we faced in the business in terms of managing properties are laid out, and we want them to go through the solution that they would employ, if they were, in fact, in that in the property management role. We also just, you know, frankly, there’s so much of what we do that’s by email with tenants or owner by text, whatever, if we check their typing skills, I don’t want somebody that’s typing with two fingers, that’s pecking on a board. So there’s a bunch of stuff that’s just very practical application to to the job at hand. And then, you know, I think that now that we’re at 85 people, the team that does the hiring, that’s the product, that senior property manager, that’s also the head of people, you know, they just have a good feel for people that are suitable for the role people that that like fast paced, high challenging environments. And they just do a good job of filtering out the wrong people.

Chad Franzen 28:21

Okay, anything else we need to know about core values and how it affects your hiring process?

Mat Zalk 28:26

No, I mean, I love the core values, I love that we were able to encapsulate kind of what made us successful at the start of things and put them into four, you know, easy to interpret, easy to understand core values. We don’t generally talk to our owners or clients often about our core values. But internally, it’s a big, big thing that we you know, we use, it’s our Northstar, so to speak, and we really navigate according to those core values. And, you know, all of our all of our colleagues really live those core values. If not, they don’t stay colleagues very long.

Chad Franzen 28:55

Okay. Hey, Mat, it’s been great talking to you very interesting stuff. I appreciate you

Mat Zalk 28:59

chatting today. Thank you so much for being on. I appreciate you. Thanks.

Outro 29:06

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