Dan is the adopted son of SVN | Saunders Ralston Dantzler. Really, he's the Property Manager & Facilities Director. He has served in various roles with the firm, starting as a market researcher, then drone pilot, and now serves as property manager. Dan discusses why it's important to have open lines of communication with clients and tenants.
Below is an excerpt from the interview. Listen above for the full podcast.
How did you start at SVN | SRD? Eight and a half years ago, Dean [Saunders] put me in to assist the researcher in verifying sales. I later said, "Listen, I have a film degree. How about I merge into that?" I convinced them to let me do that, and we started the drone program. I was the second commercial drone pilot in Florida, and I did that for a long time. I did some of our website stuff as well.
How important is drone footage in marketing these properties? Oh, it's massive. You see more than you ever could. Even walking every square inch, you're not going to see what you're able to see from the drone and get a full understanding of the property all at once. It became so efficient.
How did you move into property management? I was with Tyler Davis when I started. He had just come on, and we started doing that together. That's something I never thought I would be doing, but I was told I'd be good at it, and I unfortunately am.
The weirdest thing about my first week of property management was hiring a contractor. I never once did that. I never saw plumbers. I never saw electricians and never saw roofers at my house growing up. Never, ever once. I mean, my parents built their own house. So you don't call a plumber to come to fix something when you're the one that installed the plumbing. The hardest thing to get used to is calling somebody and making sure they're doing the job. I'm very particular about that stuff because I've done it my whole life. I did construction from the age of 13.
The property management team. Lauren [Smith] does a lot of the accounting and the early tenant relations of putting tenants into the space with leasing. Once they're in, for the most part, that's when I take over. I keep that relationship going and make sure that they're happy. The other side is that the building and the properties are maintained to keep the tenants pleased but also for longevity. I have an eye for keeping the cost of repairs down throughout the years by keeping up on certain things.
Why is it important to hire a property manager? I've been able to successfully build relationships with contractors, plumbers, electricians, and with roofers. Many people will call someone and say, "Hey, I need this job done," not understanding anything about it, not understanding what goes into even the smallest project. Because I have that understanding, I've built a stronger trust and relationship with my contractors. Because I understand what they're doing and how much work certain things are. I also understand when they're charging too much to do something.
Everyone has noticed how much the world has changed in the past year, and things have gotten harder. Well, my job has gotten substantially harder. You can't get a roof for nine months because of materials; you can't get anything. Without the relationships I've built, it would take months to complete the smallest of projects. As we were saying the other day, time kills all deals. So the faster you can get something done, usually always the better.
Reasoning with people. I'm a firm believer in "you get treated the way you treat people." It's always good to be nice to people and be respectful. You're not going to get very far calling somebody and yelling at them, saying, "you need this done." You really just need to explain the situation and be polite about it.
Now the hardest thing is you might be waiting six months for these floor tiles to come in because of the world we're in, or they might have to charge more to get it done because they have 10,000 other projects. So I tell people, "if you're not picky about what you're wanting, we can get it done in 30 days… "if you want this very specific thing, you're gonna have to be patient."
Cool as a cucumber. I tend to handle any difficult situation relatively calmly to the point where my wife finds it concerning. When your kid gets locked in the car or a wheel falls off a Jeep while we're driving, I don't make a noise. I'm cool as a cucumber. I'm calm, naturally. I'm more chaotic when it's not crazy, but so much stuff happens to me that I'm just calm about it.