Allan and Peg Miller purchased their first investment property two years after graduating from college. Today, they own a small property management company that includes twelve units in three buildings. Surprisingly, they credit the success of their small company to their telephone answering service. We bought our first rental property when we first got married,” recalled Allan. “It was a run-down duplex. We lived in the upper unit as we renovated it. Then we moved downstairs to repeat the process while we rented the remodeled upstairs unit. It was fun and provided us with a way to make some money on the side along with providing a place to live.” Peg smiled and said, “We sold that after about a year and bought a four-plex. We did the same thing, updating one unit at a time. Soon we were able to buy a second building, and then a third. By that time, things had grown out of control.” “It had always been a fun hobby for us, but we never really planned on running our own business. We’d both liked our jobs and weren’t interested in abandoning our careers to become full-time landlords,” said Allan. “By the time we had eleven tenants, we were really getting stressed. Property management was taking over our lives. Whenever a tenant had a service issue, we were on call.” “I told Allan we needed to sell them all,” said Peg. “But neither one of us really wanted to do that. But if we didn’t one of us was going to have to quit our job to manage everything if we were going to keep the buildings. It was a really hard time for us.” Fortunately for the Millers, a coworker told Peg about the 24-hour hotline that handled service calls for her own apartment. Initially, Peg dismissed the idea thinking that it would be impossible for her to hire and manage staffers to answer the calls. Then, she discovered how she could outsource the work to an answering service. That made all the difference. “I was amazed that you could just hand off your calls—all those little headaches—to someone else. Best of all, you could hand them off to trained professionals who could do more than just take the calls. We developed a plan for the answering service to answer the tenants’ calls any time of day or night. Then, Allan and I negotiated service contracts with a plumber, electrician, and HVAC contractor to take the service calls tenants might have. The service not only takes the calls but also dispatches the contractors. I was amazed.” Peg and Allan both agree that the answering service was a turning point for their business. “It was time to make a serious change. The maintenance phone calls were too much for us to handle. Plus, back then we tried to do most of the work ourselves. It was overwhelming,” said Allan. “Today, our tenants are happy, we are much more content, and the service our tenants are getting from our contractors is outstanding,” said Peg. “Our answering service made a tremendous difference in our lives—so much so that we’re looking to buy another building!” Peter Lyle DeHaan is a freelance writer from Southwest Michigan. Contact us to learn how a telephone answering service can answer your tenant calls 24/7.