So what is next for these rental relationship software companies? Well, as is the case for any technology services provider, your number one priority is staying up-to-date with the technology and constantly making improvements. If not, any other company can enter the market and not only copy your software but make it better and steal your customers very easily. Example, RentJuice just announced its Partners program
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feature which offers real time sharing of listings for ALL types of real estate services for FREE. Just like YouGotListings, it integrates with any existing property management software, however, in just a few weeks time, RentJuice has been able to attract almost 500 new companies in the Boston market alone
no images were foundby having existing customers add partners by invitation, making kind of like facebook where brokers can build their network of partnerships through shared connections. Also, there are four classification for partners in this program; owners, managers, co-brokers, and brokers, and a company can choose more than one classification. This is a drastic improvement to the YouGotListings network.
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While some features like a mobile app (hello RentJuice? Still waiting?) are obvious enhancements that should be added, others may or may not be relevant to the customers. Customers surveys/feedback forms are very important things to consider in this case
Secondly, marketing your product to new customers and looking for new areas of growth. I am not talking about geographical expansion necessarily. I think having a good product that satisfies your current market is more important. I am talking about vertical integration, reaching every possible consumer within the market. That means targeting individual agents, brokers, landlords, and management companies with a customized solution for each. In terms of Boston rentals, neither company has been able to attract many of the larger luxury hi-rise communities. Also, individual agents are a huge untapped market. True, while most of the listings in Allston/Brighton are owned/managed by large companies, (where YouGotListings has secured the majority of the market), in other areas of Boston like Back Bay, that is not the case. The rental listings come from individual agents working at agencies primarily focused on sales like Coldwell Banker for example. These exclusive rental properties that are a result of a sales transaction are usually put in MLS and shared with every broker with an MLS account on a co-broke basis. Now, with either service, brokers/owners can pick and choose which companies they want to share their listings with in real-time, for FREE. Let the race begin!
Lastly, to really own the market, providing additional paid services to those already using your free service is the next logical step. This would include everything from online rent payment services for landlords and tenants to integrated sales management software with a extremely advanced CRM and custom data reports. While this will take some time getting customers to abandon their current systems, providing an superior service with an even better price will eventually bring in new business.
Unfortunately, at this point in time, in my professional opinion, it will be RentJuice that will come out on top, assuming they keep their eye on the prize and don’t loose focus. They have the money to both improve and market their product and gain exposure in areas where YouGotListings cannot due to lack of funding.
What do think? Comments? Questions?