View from the other side
Having spent nearly 7 years working for various Managing Agents I took the decision to go “client-side” and join a well-known prime Central London developer. Throughout the early stages of my career it was always my ambition to do this at some stage to gain experience of being on “the other side” as the client. Having worked with a variety of RMC, RTM, Freehold and Developer clients on a mix of schemes ranging from 4 to 1000 units I felt it was time to have the opportunity to oversee a Managing Agent and see how different firms approached management within the sector. Needless to say, it was certainly not as I expected.
My personal style of management has always been to advise and direct clients rather than asking how they wish to do things. Of course, there are scenarios such as notifiable works or service charge budgets/accounts etc whereby this may differ but fundamentally, my view has always been that as Managing Agent we are the clients’ property consultant, and should be running the building for them and advising how best this should be done. The variant of this is that there will always be clients that wish to be more involved but if this is the case then as a property manager, I have only ever used their expertise or enthusiasm to my advantage.
Therefore, going into the position as client I expected the same from the Managing Agents instructed on the schemes I was managing. What I found was Managing Agents who seemingly preferred to ask me how I thought the schemes under management should be run rather than advise me how they were running them. To me there is a significant difference between the two and I believe across the sector the prior has become the norm for the majority of agents.
Whilst I appreciate the complexity of schemes across London continue to provide new and difficult challenges for Managing Agents I also believe that there are the utilities to assist with the management of these schemes which could be implemented within firms and help advise the client. During my time as client I would have much rather seen the Managing Agents be more creative and adaptive and use the numerous specialists and consultants that are now available to advise on more complex matters, rather than essentially saying “we’re not really sure”. The help is there, and agents shouldn’t be afraid to use it.
Therein lies what I believe is lacking from the property management sector - an adaptive and progressive agent who recognises this gap in the market to do things differently.
It was therefore refreshing to meet David Goldberg, CEO of POD Management and discuss this very topic. He is passionate about changing the way the industry works and he wanted to lead from the front. Shortly after I joined the firm as Business Development Manager.
At POD we recognise the opportunity in the market and collectively believe that property management can and should be done better. This is not only reflected within our services to the client but also as a culture within the business, which stems from a passion to provide an excellent level of service to our customers.
Quite simply, we make sure that we take care of it.