Property Management Blog

Utility Concierge Service


Bob Preston - Thursday, September 10, 2020
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The following blog post is a time-stamped, full transcript of Bob Preston’s interview of Peter Hernandez, Vice President of Citizen Home Solutions. The episode was recorded September 3, 2020 and published on the Property Management Brainstorm Podcast. The audio version of this podcast can be found at this link of the North County Property Group website, as Episode 44- Setting Up Utilities For A Tenant Move-in: Property Management Brainstorm Show.

Bob Preston:                     01:10                    Welcome brainstormers to the Property Management Brainstorm show. I'm Bob Preston, your host, and I'm broadcasting today from our studio at North County Property Group in Del Mar, California. If you're new here, please subscribe. So, you get access to all of our ongoing episodes. And if you like what you hear, man, we would really love to get your positive review. So, this landlords and property managers, have you ever experienced what I call a blackout at your rental home? When you show up to the property and the electricity is not on, or the utilities are out simply because someone forgot to work on transferring the utilities to the tenant’s name for move in or worse. Yet you move the tenant in only to find that you're still getting the bill a month later because they never put the utilities into their name or transferred the utilities properly. Well, I have with me as a guest on today's show Peter Hernandez, who's Vice President of Citizen Home Solutions, and his company provides a concierge service to handle the details of setting up utilities and move in and to make sure that this happens right every time. So have a listen. I think you'll enjoy the episode. Peter, welcome to Property Management Brainstorm. 

Peter Hernandez:            02:19                    Hey, well, thank you very much for having me. It's pleasure. Looking forward to spending some time with you. 

Bob Preston:                     02:24                    Yeah, I am eager to hear about your background and the company. So maybe that's a good place to start. Just tell us about yourself and about citizen home solutions. 

Peter Hernandez:            02:35                    Absolutely. So, um, Peter Hernandez, vice president over at home solutions, we were a, uh, free utility concierge service, uh, specific to the property management industry. Uh, and company has been around for about going on five years. Now we did start, we did start in Texas, Texas is, uh, is, is home to us. So, our headquarters is there in Dallas. And, uh, so naturally this was, this was our first market. Uh, didn't really know, uh, how far it would go. Uh, but, uh, but yeah, now we are covering the entire country. So, it's a utility concierge service meant to help, uh, to help residents in property management to, uh, to set up utilities, uh, across the board. We've, uh, like I said, we've been in business for about five years. We're very active within the, uh, the NARPM, uh, circle, a great organization to be a part of. And we're, we're happy to be involved in many levels with that organization and the many great partners that we have across the industry.

Bob Preston:                     03:41                    Well I’ve been waiting for you to get to California. The first time I checked you guys out; you weren't in California yet. When did you expand beyond Texas? And for example, when did you, when did you get into California and maybe some of the other States?

Peter Hernandez:            03:51                    Sure. So, um, so Wes Owens, he's our, he's our one of, one of the owners and founders of the company. And they started here. He started here in Texas for about the first year and a half. Didn't really know if, if, if they could develop a footprint across the country. Uh, and so I came, I came into the picture, uh, shortly after that and, uh, had already established some relationships across, across NARPM and across the country. So, uh, probably I'd say probably within the year and a halfway mark, uh, maybe two-year mark of the company being around. So, we've literally only been, uh, servicing the entire country for the last, maybe two, two and a half years or so. So, we're definitely in California now.

Bob Preston:                     04:33                    And how did you get into the business? How did Wes is the founder, right? How did you, how did Wes bring you in? How did that happen? 

Peter Hernandez:            04:39                    So that's, that's a, that's an interesting story. So, we, uh, uh, like I said, I've been around the industry for a while now. Probably a good, probably a good 10 years or so. Uh, and I was, but I was in a different and a whole different industry, uh, or a different, uh, vendor industry, affiliated industry, if you will, uh, worked with a different company at the time, but that company also catered to the, to the property management industry and had great, uh, just great relationships, uh, with NARPM and all of its numbers. So that's how I got to know a lot of, a lot of, uh, our partners and just, uh, longer relationships now throughout the year.

Bob Preston:                     05:14                    So you had the mental Rolodex, if you will, too, if you were able to reach out. Yeah. Well, that's cool. And I'm glad to hear your comments about NARPM. I don't know if you know this, but I'm the president of CAL NARPM this year. And so, it's pretty interesting to be involved at the state level, which is a, you know, California is an interesting state to be involved in. So, I'm eager to talk to you about that, maybe offline at some point. All right. So, explain to me what that is. Concierge. I'm probably going to muff your description here, but concierge utility services, I think kind of how you described it. So maybe you can say that again and tell us what exactly that means?

Peter Hernandez:            05:51                    Concierge utility service. Absolutely. So, we, we try to, uh, best way to best way to it is, is we always like to refer to ourselves as a, as an extension of, of our partners and their business, property managers. Right? So, uh, we we'd like to say that we, we like to handle the, the move-in experience for all of the residents or tenants for San Diego property managers. So, a utility concierge means that we we're here to assist in every way, shape or form, uh, assist that resident as they're moving into their new home. And I always like to think about it as you know, in this industry, we, we travel a lot, right? So, uh, we, we all, I've been to a hotel where someone comes up to us and welcomes us and maybe will ask us if they can take our bags or if they can valet our vehicle or whatever it might be. Uh, and so it's their job towing the hats that, that welcome, right. To enhance that experience as you're, as you're getting there. And so, we'd like to definitely think ourselves, think of ourselves as not, not as a utility provider in any way or a utility setup company, but more of a concierge service. So, we're there to assist and enhance that, that movement experience for them.

Bob Preston:                     07:04                    All right. And so, the focus is on utilities. What utilities are we talking about?

Peter Hernandez:            07:07                    Yeah. So the utilities are made up of, of the basic, uh, the ones that every resident will absolutely need when, when they move into their new home, which is water, gas, electricity, those make up the, uh, the foundation of, of the concierge service. If you will.

Bob Preston:                     07:21                    Got it, got to have power, got to have water, the other stuff might be, might be optional. Although trash, trash is pretty important too, I guess.

Peter Hernandez:            07:29                    It is as well. Yeah. So, so those are the, definitely the ones that, uh, that are, are, are the main or, uh, focus or the foundation of the concierge service. And then we expand into other services like internet, cable, security, satellite, and so forth. So, any services that that resident may, may either need or want for their new home.

Bob Preston:                     07:50                    So I kind of joked around in the intro to this episode where I spoke of arriving at a property to move a tenant in. And there's a blackout, you know, only to find that gosh, the tenant never really put the utilities in their name and this kind of stuff happens, right. Somebody forgets to do it. Maybe the tenant forgot to do it, or maybe it didn't get done. So, what would be great is if you could walk us through a scenario, pretend that I'm a tenant. Okay. And you don't, we don't have to role play here. It's not going to go that far, but you could just walk us through the scenario. I'm a tenant and I've just signed a lease with North County Property Group. That's my San Diego property management company. And just kind of explain how it works. I mean, what, what happens now, if I'm a tenant?

Peter Hernandez:            08:27                    So again, keep in mind, uh, or let's, let's, let's focus on, on that piece of, of the experience for that resume, right? So, you're moving into your new home. Your property management company has already provided us, uh, your contact information and has already given you some information about us and has basically made a soft introduction.

Bob Preston:                     08:45                    That's good to know. So, I'm expecting your call, I guess, at this point.

Peter Hernandez:            08:48                    Absolutely. Absolutely. And we love it. We, we, we absolutely love that because that soft introduction on behalf, uh, uh, on our behalf from the property manager to the resident does exactly that. We get it every day where the resident is actually expecting our phone call or expecting some kind of communication. And so your property management company has given us, the information has already told you as the resident that, uh, they've got this, this great utility concierge service, that's going to be reaching out to you, uh, to assist you with all your utilities. As soon as we receive your, uh, your information from your property management company. We'll, we'll do a couple of things. You'll receive an email and you'll receive a text message. And again, if we focus on, on the experience, the, the, this first communication, that email and that text message, we'll welcome you to your new home. So basically, it'll say, Hey, Bob, welcome to your new home. Uh, we're Citizen Home Solutions, and we're here to assist you in setting up your utilities. Wow. Um, so it's, it's, it's again, it's, it's part of that welcome package, if you will, right. That, that greeting and making you feel welcome to your new place. And, uh, and then right away, you will have a way to, uh, set up a phone call with us. So, in that text message, and in that email, uh, you'll, you'll have a way to set up a call with us. You can hit a link, schedule a call on a day in time that's convenient to you. The other thing that happens is let's just, uh, let's just say you missed that phone. You missed that email, or you missed that text message. You you've been at work all day with an hour, hour and a half of receiving your information, our agent, uh, assigned to you will reach out through a phone call and do the same thing, basically welcome you to your new place. Let you know that we're here to assist you, uh, ask you if you'd like to, uh, use our services to set up and we'll go down the list and, uh, and we can either do it right there. And then while we've got you on the phone or, uh, we can just schedule a call for a later day in later time. And so, we try to make it easy and we try to make it pleasant, uh, so that we're not calling and say, to say, Hey, we're, we need to set up your utilities. We're, we're again, we're welcoming you, we're greeting you. And we're letting you know that we're here to assist you in what would be a good day and a good time for that.

Bob Preston:                     11:05                    That's interesting. And it's got to be done friendly way, cause it's not like well required in your lease is that you put these utilities in your name, we're here to make sure you have that done properly. You know, that could be a little ominous, right? Yeah. You don't want to come off like that here in the San Diego area, we have one gas and electric company, you know, so that's pretty easy. I'm sure in other cities or metros, it's carved up a little bit. The area where it gets complicated is cable services. You know, Wi-Fi the connection of those sorts of things are, and trash and water is very carved up by zip code. So how do you, how do you navigate all that? I mean, how does, how has that done and how do you find the right service to match the tenants, zip code, where they happen to be moving in?

Peter Hernandez:            11:45                    What we, uh, what we like to, you know, as we have an, a discussion and then a discovery call or onboarding call, if you have with the property manager, we like to ask them sometimes, sometimes you all have a list of existing providers for the area or a list of, uh, providers for a specific property. Now you don't have to have, if you have it, it's very helpful. Uh, but again, we're, we're the concierge service, right? So, what we do is, uh, once we receive your, your resident's information, then we have a team in place that starts researching what services are available, uh, for that property. And you're absolutely right. There's, there's definitely going to be some markets where there may not be any, a, any options. There might just be one company that takes care of water or one company that takes care of gas and that's it. And if that's the case, then, then we let the resident know that there isn't unfortunately, any other options for that service. But when there are options, then again, our team will research those options, look at pricing for, for the different provider. And when we're having that phone call with that resident, again, we're not just because, you know, we're, we're not the service provider. So, we don't have a magic button in our office that we just, we hit in that water or that electricity or comes on. But, uh, uh, we, we let them know that we've researched the property. We've, we've found some options. And so therefore, would you like to, in a couple of minutes to go over those options and see what those, uh, what the pricing is? So we're, we're there to also educate them on any options that are available and help them make some good decisions based on, on their lifestyle, based on how many people are living, at the home, uh, how many devices are being used, let's just say for internet purposes, how many devices are being used in, in the property. So, we go through different scenarios and again, we're educating them and it’s kind of helping them make a formative decision based on, on, on the options that we present to them.

Bob Preston:                     13:42                    Yea, that could kind of get complicated too. I mean, like I'm just thinking of at U-verse or something like that, or DirectTV, because there are different packages. Do you guys get into that, like really dig down into, you know, hey premium channels and what do you want and your service and all those kinds of things?

Peter Hernandez:            13:55                    Absolutely. So, and I'm not going to take any credit for any of that. Cause I, I, you know, and I tell them, I, I tell my team at the office, I, I, I could never do what they do, but they absolutely do get into, into the weeds with, with that the, the different options. And, uh, and they know they're very up to date with, with different packages, the pricing and all of that, so that they can effectively communicate that to the resident. So, the resident doesn't just feel like they're being told what internet package or what cable package they have to sign up to. Right. Do they, again, we're, we're here to present the options and help you, uh, choose and then set up whichever option you decide.

Bob Preston:                     14:35                    Yeah. You don't want to come off. I mean, if anyone's ever been on the phone with, ATT or DirecTV or spectrum or whatever, they can be pretty, pretty pushy. 

Bob Preston:                     14:46                    What's going on. Brainstormers I'd like to offer you a copy of my new eBook called best practices for renting your home. It's a quick read and offers all of my tips from being in the property management business for over 20 years, navigating the pitfalls and safety nets that come with being a landlord. The eBook has recently been published and is offered as a free download on the North County property group website. Find it at the web link below at ncpropertygroup.com/ebook. That's N C as in North County, NC property group.com forward slash ebook. 

Bob Preston:                     15:28                    Couple of other questions. So sometimes I think deposits are required, or maybe there's some sort of an application that needs to be filled out, do assist in that process as well?

Peter Hernandez:            15:37                    So we do, and here's, uh, we, we, we like to say, cause we can always help a resident. We can always help them. Uh, even in situations like those where the provider may require a deposit or believe it or not, there's still municipalities out there that require for the, for the resident to walk into an office and drop off a physical application, uh, for a service. So, we can always help. Uh there's there is an, in some instances, some limitations as to how much we can do. And, and, but there's very few so providing that the, that the, uh, as long as the service provider has an online application and online portal, we can always submit a request for service for that property, um, and, and help the resident that way, the only scenario where we wouldn't be able to, obviously we wouldn't be able to help. And again, there's, there's a caveat to that is in the event that the, um, that the service provider requires for this person to go in, to physically walk into the building, show an ID, or drop off, drop off an application, or, or drop off a check for a deposit or something you you'll be surprised. You'll be surprised. There's, there's some States out there that have some counties that just, just don't, uh, haven't started. I haven't started using computers, I guess. I don't know.

Bob Preston:                     17:02                    Well, we have a second home up in the mountains in California. They required me to come into the office to pick up the cable box, you know, and I was just like, and its a, you know, an hour away. So, I'm just like, are you kidding me? You know, this is so archaic, but so I guess that's kind of an example of that.

Peter Hernandez:            17:16                    An example of that that's still, that definitely still happens. But even in those situations, we obviously can't walk into it ourselves, right. To help. So, we'll at the very least let that resident know Mr. Or Mrs. This is, this is where you need to go. Here's the address, here's a phone number. Here's a, maybe the application that you need to submit. And so, you might want to fill it out beforehand. So, we'll give them everything that they need. So, they can just go and not have to wonder about where they're going or what they need to do. So, we'll provide them with all of that ahead of time in the of deposits. And that was, that was really your question. We can absolutely help with that. And we, there is a, when we have, when we're on the phone with this resident, there's obviously some, some regulations that we have to read out that our agents have to have to read out to the, uh, to the residents. So, they know that as we're collecting this data, uh, that they know that it's secure, right. So, we can absolutely collect that deposit on their behalf and submit that payment directly to the provider. But if for some reason they just don't feel comfortable with doing that. Then we will email them or text them everything that they need again. The link that'll take them straight to where they need to submit that the deposits, if it's a credit card that they're going to use or whatever, and they can do that well around the phone with us. If, if, if they're at that point in the day where they can just fill out that information, submit it, and then we can continue with the rest of the services, if that's what they wanted.

Bob Preston:                     18:40                    I guess, if they're not comfortable, uh, I mean, they could still cook up their water and their, their electric and all those other services and say, you know what, I got this on my, uh, cable or Wi-Fi or whatever it is, because it occurs to me that, you know, before move in, they probably don't have access to the property to let the cable guy in anyway. Right. So, there's going to have to be some, some tenant interaction. I would think in scheduling the appointment. 

Peter Hernandez:            19:00                    There is going to be, and there's going to be some, uh, yes, definitely some scheduling. And so, we also help with that so that they, they may not want that cable provider or technician to, to show up the day right after they moved in. Maybe that's just not going to work for them. They're still trying to get settled in. So, we coordinate that with them and for them, so that the installation of whatever service takes place when they want it, when they're more comfortable with some

Bob Preston:                     19:26                    Some tenant’s bring their account with them too. I know Direct TV, which is, I guess, AT&T now they, they allow the transfer of an account. You guys, can you guys assist with that or is that pretty much up to the tenant themselves?

Peter Hernandez:            19:36                    No, we can absolutely help with that. And here's, here's the best part about that is at this, let's just say that they're, they're planning on just transferring their service over this happens. And this actually happens a lot where the, the resident may not know that maybe they're no longer under contract for, let's just say internet or cable. And they're thinking, well, all I'm going to do is just contact the cable company or the internet company and just have them transfer it. But if, if we get on the phone with them, if they speak to us, we could look into those details. And if they, if they're no longer in the contract, then it always allows us the opportunity to maybe put them into a different package at a, at a better rate, at a better price and that kind of stuff. So, it does, it does happen a lot. We can absolutely transfer and that's okay. We welcome those because again, we can assist them and maybe even save them some money.

Bob Preston:                     20:25                    Do you get any volume discounts because you're calling these guys a lot, like AT&T or Spectrum, or I don't know, there's probably a bunch of cross country?

Peter Hernandez:            20:31                    There is a bunch of cross the country, and yes, we actually, so because we have due to our contract, we have contracts in place with these providers across the country. So, we definitely get better pricing even sometimes at those advertise on different, different medias. 

Bob Preston:                     20:48                    That’s interesting. You know, I make the practice of probably not so much at home because I don't have as much time at home, but with a business I make the practice of every year. Like in January, I'm looking over the budget and I make a call to our internet and phone voice provider and just say, okay, I know things have changed. What can you do for me this year? And with the goal of trying to carve 10, 15% out of the fee or the, or the monthly service.

Peter Hernandez:            21:10                    Sure. But, you know, you'd be surprised. You'd be surprised how many people don't do that. Their contract has expired, but they, they continue to pay that high price, but we can help.

Bob Preston:                     21:19                    And they're on some legacy service. Yeah. Like at home, I still have the genie box or whatever that doesn't work very well. It's probably been in for eight years. So, the big question, how much does this cost for either the property manager, the landlord or the?

Peter Hernandez:            21:31                    Yeah, sure. So, the answer is, is very simple. Uh, the services free to the resident, it's, it's free to the property manager and it's free to the, to the owner. So that's, that's the easy answer, right? It's an easy question. The follow up question is always, well, then who pays for this and how do you guys get paid? Uh, so yes, the service, our service is completely free across the board to, again, the property manager, the owner and the residents, the way we make our money is on the additional, what we call the ancillary services. So, water, gas, and electricity again are the, the foundation of the concierge service. So, we don't, we don't make any money on those. And yes, there is times when we assist the resident with just those services and they, they just decide they don't want to help with the others. You know, it is what it is, but we.

Bob Preston:                     22:18                    It kind of comes with the territory. Here's an offer to help. Yeah.

Peter Hernandez:            22:22                    Uh, so we make our money on the other services, internet, cable, satellite security, and so forth, and they pay us. And then, uh, we've um, we've developed a revenue share program where we, then we have ancillary revenue that we, that we share with, uh, with the San Diego property management company, for using our services.

Bob Preston:                     22:41                    Do you only deal with property managers or do you deal with individual landlords as well?

Peter Hernandez:            22:44                    We, we deal with, we deal with, with a little bit of everything, uh, uh, property management, uh, sales in real estate. We, we help those as well. So, there's, there's, there's not really, there's no nothing that impedes us from helping, regardless of what, what block they fall into. But definitely we, I would like to say that our community is a property management, uh, industry, but we can absolutely help with the sale side. And we can help with even an owner that wants, that doesn't have a property manager.

Bob Preston:                     23:13                    I have a lot of investors that listen as well, right. Not just property managers. And so, they, you know, they, I guess they could figure out whether it's a benefit to them to sign up and you can help them make that decision. Okay. So, it's pretty clear to me the benefit for the, for the renter. I show up on the, on the day of my move in, I know my power is going to be on my gas, my water. I know my trash is probably arranged. I'm still getting the bills though, directly at my property where I'm moving. Right. You guys aren't getting involved in that aspect, correct?

Peter Hernandez:            23:38                    Correct. All we're, all we're doing is assisting in getting the, uh, again, the request for service set up on your behalf and making sure that the billing information is accurate and it's going to go to you. 

Bob Preston:                     23:49                    Yeah. So that benefits seems pretty clear. What about for the property manager? You mentioned the revenue share, so we get a little spiff on it. Uh, perhaps I suppose you're taking the hassle of pushing all these buttons and pulling levers for the tenant or pointing them in the right direction.

Peter Hernandez:            24:02                    No, no, well actually, uh, we have covered a lot of what the benefits are for the residents and, and, uh, and yes, there is a lot of them, uh, but, uh, and I'll, I'll touch on, on the benefits for, for the property management company. And they're, they're very obvious, but until we start discussing them, you know, then, then we'll, we'll, uh, we'll understand. But so here, here's the thing, all San Diego property management companies will likely let that resident know you're responsible for your utilities before you move into your, into your new home. And they may ask them to provide proof of that. They may not, but they do communicate at least that piece. Mr. Mrs. A resident, you are now responsible for transferring these services over to your name before you can even move in, or however that might work. Well, you provide that. You provide them with that direction and either a welcome email, an approval letter, some, some way you let them know you're responsible for these things.

Bob Preston:                     24:58                    And you cross your fingers and hope they do it. I mean, that's kind of exact, right. That's kind of how it works.

Peter Hernandez:            25:03                    That's kind of how it works. So, you give them that direction and sometimes you may even go a step further and give them the information for the service providers in the area. You may, you may tell them this is the water provider for this particular County, or here's the, uh, electric provider for whatever. Um, so you may go as far as doing that. Well guess what guess what happens? Move-in date comes around or gets closer and they've suddenly forgotten all of that. And they start calling either you the broker or, or someone or your team and they're calling or they're emailing and asking, who do I, who do I need?

Bob Preston:                     25:43                    Sometimes frantically. 

Peter Hernandez:            25:46                    Why call for water? Who do I call for electricity? And so, guess what, they start tying up your time or your teams, your staff's time. Right? And so, we are proactively, we're, we're reaching out, uh, we're not waiting for them to contact us. We we're, we're providing that experience way beyond that move-in date. And so that, that, that week comes around that day before moving comes around and everything's good to go. They're not there. They have peace of mind, and they're not calling you, emailing you or your staff, uh, asking for these, for these questions. So that's probably one of the most obvious, uh, benefits, but I'll be honest with you, even though that does touch on a, on a pain point. Uh, I, I have to go back to the experience because let's, let's be honest. We live in a, in a world now where we want to, regardless of, of the business, some of us may, may, uh, really rely on those on those reviews. Uh, some of us, you know, and so to be able to have this service and offer it to your resident as a free service, that's going to help them save time, save money. And, you know, you go down the list, it just makes, it just makes for that experience. And so that's really, I would put it right there, hand in hand with the pain point that that property managers experience, uh, with utilities. Now I would put the experience right there at that same level, because again, we want to provide you the San Diego property manager, the property management company wants to provide a great experience, because guess what, if that doesn't happen, we all know we're going to, we're going to see a review somewhere where it's, it's going to say, well, I didn't get this. I didn't get that. Or there's something some kind of a negative review but imagine if we're reaching out and right from the get-go, being a, if we're able to welcome them and say, Hey, we're here to assist you. And then walk them through that process that just right away makes for a, uh, for good feeling. And so that goes to us feeling like we're, we're an extension of your business, because at the end of the day, it's you providing that experience? And I kid you not, we were very proud of our reviews and every time that we help a resident, they either say, they say one of these, one of these two things, it's either, I wish I would have known over this service last time that I moved, or I'm just so thankful that my PM gave me the service. They always, they always go back and credit the property management company for giving them this free service.

Bob Preston:                     28:12                    Yea and as a tenant, I feel appreciated. And like you're taking care of me and your kind of setting me up for a successful move. And that's, that's fantastic. Okay. So, you alluded earlier, we talked about the renter scenario. If I'm a renter kind of how it works, and you alluded earlier to receiving information from the property manager. So if I'm on the property management side and I just signed a lease, and I'm assuming I have to virtually flip a switch or push a button for you guys to know that, Hey, we, you know, we got this new tenant time for you guys to jump into action. How does that happen? 

Peter Hernandez:            28:40                    That's, that's also very easy. So, we have, uh, when, uh, when it's one of two ways, depending on, on what software company you're using or software provider you're using for your property management company. There's some, some software, uh, that we're, that we've got integration with. So very easy, we could communicate, uh, information back and forth that way, if, if it happens to be a, a software company that we don't have integration with, and it's still pretty simple.

Bob Preston:                     29:06                    The company that doesn't play well with others, you know who I'm talking about, that's all, we'll just go there.

Peter Hernandez:            29:14                    Yeah, that's it. So, what we'll do is we'll create a, a portal, uh, for the property management company. And it's, it's very simple, uh, and we'll provide you with that link and you can bookmark that way. You could add it to your favorites, whatever you want to do, but you can just have it ready and available so that when you do have an approved new resident before they're moving, once you have an approved resident, you can submit their information through that portal over to us. And we make it, we don't want to create more work for the property manager, right? So, we, we, we've made this as simple as possible. There are six fields in that portal of just contact information that we need for that resident. You push the submit button, comes over to us, and again, we get to work. And so, it's that, that process is super simple. It always absolutely helps when the property manager has, has made that soft introduction through everything that we provide, whether it be the verbiage or the, the short forty second video that says we're CHS provided to you by so-and-so and we're here to assist.

Bob Preston:                     30:16                    Yeah. You know, as the owner of the San Diego property management company of North County Property Group and the, and the broker, I mean, it just gives me a peace of mind that I know someone is in the background working on this and that I'm not going to get an emergency call on Saturday or Sunday morning saying, Hey, I arrived at my property and my power's not on. Or, you know, Hey, you guys, you guys screwed up when actually it was probably their fault, whatever the case might be. That's kind of what I referred to, you know, in a joking way, as the blackout ride, you get to the property and there's no power, which is really frustrating and worse yet is when we discover perhaps a month later, when we get a nasty gram from an owner who says, Hey, what up, you know, you moved in this tenant into my property and I'm still getting the power bill. What did you know, what did you guys do? And how did you drop the ball? I mean, those are always embarrassing situations to now. It doesn't happen a lot, but it has. I mean, I'll admit it, it does happen. And when it does, you know, what kind of have egg on our face and apologies have to be kind of profusely made around the table.

Peter Hernandez:            31:12                    Absolutely. And you're right. It does happen. I'll touch a little bit on the, on the blackout situation. Wouldn't be able to even put a number on it as far as how many times has happened, but it does happen. So, we do everything that we need to do on our end. Uh, everything has been submitted. The resident has even gotten confirmation of that, that service request, maybe an email that says, Hey, your service is due to be activated on this date for this property. And then they open the door and guess what? There's no electricity or something. So, it does happen very, very, very rarely, but it, even if it does happen, that we always encourage that resident to reach back out to us and we'll, we'll get on the phone. We'll, we'll start making phone calls and we'll start doing whatever we need to do to figure out what happened and get them getting taken care of. So again, our service goes beyond the a, okay, you moved in and thank, you know, we're still there to assist. Even, even beyond that.

Bob Preston:                     32:02                    I know in our region, if power has not been on previously and it gets turned on, somebody has got to go to the electric meter and push a little button. I mean, it seems silly, but it does happen. So, they might get there thinking that they don't have power and all they got to do is go to the side of the building.

Peter Hernandez:            32:16                    Exactly. Exactly.

Bob Preston:                     32:18                    I love to tell stories, unique things that have happened. I always ask my guests; I'm hoping you'll share something. Some, some story that has had an impact on your life or perhaps the way you are today as a person in a business.

Peter Hernandez:            32:29                    Yeah. So, Citizen Home Solutions has a, we have a Facebook community of property managers. Uh, it's a group it's called the PM Health Group, uh, property managers, obviously property management health group. I'll tell this story because it's not just not just a way that it's influenced me or what it's done for me, but I, I loved, I love to see what that community of property managers are doing for each other. So it's a, it's a Facebook group that really focuses on helping each other, be healthy, eating, eating properly, exercising daily, but also enjoying it just enjoying life, enjoying life with your spouse, your children, your family, your pets, whoever that, whoever that might be.

Bob Preston:                     33:10                    Mental health too, not just, not just your weight or physical health.

Peter Hernandez:            33:15                    Absolutely. So. And we discussed maybe a, an audio book or a book that, uh, that maybe a property manager has, has found to be inspiring or educational. So, we touch on different areas of health, mental health, physical health, uh, and just well-being. So we, we put that group together about a year and a half ago about a year ago, and just started with just, uh, just a couple of us just getting on there and, uh, and discussing exercise habits, routines, and eating habits and stuff like that. Uh, and shortly after people, uh, friends, uh, partners in, in, in, in property management started reaching out and asking, how is so and so, uh, losing weight, uh, what are they doing? What are they exercising? What gym are they going to? What kind of routine do they have? And this became, honestly, it became a weekly thing where I was getting emails or text messages of property managers across the country, just asking what is, what is going on that there's, there's some folks that are again looking to healthier and making, making some changes in their life. So, it started with that. And then it grew to a, to a nice community of property managers that every day, uh, focus on health and on supporting each other, holding each other accountable, because as you can imagine, they're very competitive. So, they hold each other accountable and, uh, but they really support each other. And that could be through, we've done different events throughout the year, even this year. That's been a, you already know it, very, very different kinds of things

Bob Preston:                     34:45                    Completely. Yeah. I mean,

Peter Hernandez:            34:48                    But you're different, but we've put on different events. We've, we've put on a 5K, uh, we've, we've put on a mental challenge for the, for the month of August. So, we do different events throughout the year. And I'll tell you again, it's not about necessarily about me, but I love to hear the bear stories or property managers telling, telling each other and telling us that they find a good positive atmosphere environment within this, this Facebook group. So, if you're a property manager, uh, I invite you to join us again. It's, it's a PM Health Group in Facebook.

Bob Preston:                     35:23                    I’m going to join today I already told you, you know, had a significant weight loss about a year ago and now have the quarantine 15 going, but I'm going to get back on. And I liked that part about the accountability, right? Cause I want it to be my thing and I want it to be of my, my drive and focus. And I've been successful with it in the past, but having someone who you're accountable to, whether it be a group, a friend, your doctor, or a personal trainer, whatever that is, I've found really helpful. Okay. So, if I'm probing too deep, I mean, what has it done for you? Is there a personal aspect of the group that's made some changes for you?

Peter Hernandez:            35:57                    Yeah, yeah, absolutely. So it did, it did start off, as I mentioned, it started off as, as something personal because I, I, um, I ended up at a doctor's visit when you're, when one day about two and a half years ago now, I guess. And, um, doctor obviously said, you know, there's, at the time I said, there's, you've got to make some changes, uh, overweight and a couple other things. And, uh, I did I've, uh, I felt like I had to, I had to commit to it. Yeah. And so, 65 pounds later here I am. 

Bob Preston:                     36:32                    Yeah. I, you know, I can remember we, our office building here and I, you know, this is kind of just fun to talk about. Right. Um, I always park at the, in the parking lot at the very lowest level. Um, just so I can climb up the, the two, three flights of stairs to get to our office. And I can remember when I was going through my weight loss, I guess this was a spring summer, early summer, last year. And there was this one day in particular, I can remember where I was just jamming up the stairs and I got up the top and I realized that was different. I was like, wow. Okay. What am I been doing all this time when we've been in this building when I was carrying all this extra weight around.

Peter Hernandez:            37:10                    Exactly. Exactly. Well, we'll, we'll be, we'll be so happy to have you and welcome you. And I'm sure you're going to run into, you're going to, you're going to see friends reach out and welcome you. I'm sure there's a bunch of people that I know. And just, yeah. And just write a, celebrate any accomplishments, because again, it's a great community. There's people that are posting and commenting and sharing things within that group that they they've flat out said that they would never share outside of that group, because again, the relationships, the accountability factor and all that. 

Bob Preston:                     37:40                    Perhaps the embarrassment, the dare I say, shame associated with some of those things that you've struggled with, you know, so, Hey, that's a cool story. I really appreciate you sharing and, uh, makes a positive contribution to my little group that I've got here and, uh, you know, called Property Management Brainstorm and congratulations. You're now a brainstormer too, because you've been on this show. So, I should give little lapel and say I'm a brainstormer, but I don't, I don't get that. That would be cool. I can't thank you enough for coming on the show today. Um, I'd love to continue, but we need to wrap up. We're both really busy guys, any last words or tips or input and, uh, how could somebody get ahold of Citizen Home Services if somebody wanted to? 

Peter Hernandez:            38:19                    Sure. So, what I'd encourage everyone to do that we have a pmcpartner.com is our website. That website is specific to property management, pmcpartner.com. You'll find a very, to the point information about what we do just to kind of recap, but, uh, you'll, you'll see some testimonial videos. So, your peers, uh, property managers across the country, letting other property managers know exactly why they use the service, how it's benefited their business and so forth. So, there is a, uh, uh, qualification form that you just need to fill out on the ready to start section. And, uh, we'll get you a, we'll get you qualified and get you a set up with someone and someone in our, in our team to, uh, to do a discovery call or, uh, an onboarding call and very simple, pmcpartner.com.

Bob Preston:                     39:06                    I will put that web link in my episode notes for the show. So that'll be out there and Hey, thanks so much Peter great episode. Um, I love the service and what it represents we're in the process of signing up, which is what led to this podcast episode today. So, I'm really excited that you're now in San Diego and that we've finally been able to connect. Uh, thanks so much for taking your time out of your schedule to do the show. And as we wrap up today, I'd like to make another quick plug to our listeners to please click on subscribe and give us a, like to a pay it forward with a positive review. So that more guests like Peter, who's been great for coming on. We'll come on the show in the future. And that concludes today's episode. Thank you so much for joining the Property Management Brainstorm show. Until next time we will be in the field, working hard for our clients at North County Property Group to keep their properties managed well and maintain top tenant relations.




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