"Clean for a day" - A Renewal Idea and a Relationship Tip

My lease just came up for renewal.  Now, I love my current town home and the community that it is in, so Alan and I had pretty much already decided that as long as our rent increase was less that $250, we were going to renew.  We got the standard mailed out form letter stating the lease terms and set up our time to go in and meet with the leasing consultant.

Then, I started thinking about this process.  As stated in earlier posts, I firmly believe that when you are working on a renewal of a lease, you have to put as much effort in getting them to resign as you did in getting them to sign the first lease.  Renewals are not, "in the bag," so to speak.  And from an economic point of view, while we can never recover lost rent from an apartment sitting vacant, we also can't recover the $1700 on average that it takes to turn around a two bedroom apartment in this market (Unless we had an incredible deposit and even then we can't charge for marketing or salaries).  Why even risk it by taking your residents for granted?  Or by taking the fact that moving is an incredible pain in the bum for granted? Or assuming that your residents don't know about your current specials?

I was surprised at the fact that my renewal letter was mailed to me, quite honestly.  The community I used to work at made darned sure that those renewal letters were hand delivered so that you could cement that face to face connection and offer to come back by with the lease for the resident to sign and return to the office at their leisure.  It was much more retention friendly.  However, this community is also about 100 units larger than the one I worked for, so that might have made a large difference as well.  We can only do so much in a day, folks.

They offered us a complimentary carpet cleaning.  At the community where I worked we did this as well, and I think it's pretty much an industry standard these days.  It makes great sense, too.  You can give a reward for renewal, but what you're actually doing is investing in the lifespan of the carpeting in that unit.  But, if you're a consistent reader, you know what comes next in my mind...

What if we kicked that up another notch?

How many communities have Housekeepers on staff?  Why not offer to make someone "CLEAN FOR A DAY!" as a thank you for the renewal.  You can either use an on staff housekeeper to go in and do the vacuuming and little crevice cleaning out that so many of us despise, or you can pay Merry maids to come in.  Either way, your renewal reward is still investing in the longevity of the apartment, not more expensive than the refilling process would be, AND you're doing something that I bet the community down the street isn't doing.  (They don't read my blog.) Keeping a resident is the same as keeping a girlfriend.  Make them feel loved, valued and wanted, and don't "cheat" on them by making the newer residents more special.  Do that, and your resident, as well as your girlfriend, will stick around a lot longer.

Is Your Company/Community a Poaching Ground?

Want to up your retention? Take a cue from the folks in HR!