An entrepreneurial spirit has propelled Tricap Residential into recently adopting a centralized leasing and operational model that is paying dividends for its properties, residents and employees.

Suzanne Hopson, Executive Vice President of Sales & Marketing at Tricap Residential Group; discussed her strategy with Kristi Fickert, VP of Enterprise Growth, during the Apartment Innovation and Marketing (AIM) Conference session “Blueprinting A Centralized Leasing Model That Dominates” on Tuesday in Huntington Beach, Calif.

“We really flipped the switch on the traditional model of operations,” Hopson said. “We inverted the org chart. We use a formula of generate-convert-engage to provide excellent customer service and reduce marketing expenses.”

Tricap has 19 communities over seven states with 8,000 residents and 76 employees; and its goal is to reach 20,000 units in the next seven years. It employs one property manager (Tricap calls them Engagement Managers) per 500 units, a ratio much wider than the norm.

Its leasing team operates 100 percent remotely and members focus on the full portfolio, not just one community – another break from tradition.

And they are paid well. Hopson said that her leasing payroll has spiked with agents earning about 70 percent more than before, partly due to their 1 percent commission on any leases signed.

“We’re attracting the absolute best leasing professionals in the business,” she said.

Employees Focus on Their Craft

Tricap has redefined most of its staff positions and adjusted their job accountability so that employees can focus on what they do best, and not have to handle many of the menial administrative or financial tasks they did before.

The maintenance team serves a larger and more important onsite role as part of its “resident engagement” team.

“We let them work harder at their craft and that leads to improvement,” Hopson said.

She said that the company’s resident satisfaction levels have improved – as well as has most financial metrics.

“You keep hearing that today’s residents are more angry, impatient and stressed than ever, but even with that, our scores are up.”

She said getting buy-in from upper-level management can be a challenge for something this dramatic, “but you have to take the first step,” Hopson said. “You have to start somewhere. And the more we operate like this, the more data will be able to be generated to track and manage the process.”