Rick Mubarak has steadily grown his property management company from a single property 10 years ago to as many as 80 properties today. In those early days, he used Excel spreadsheets to run the business, which involves everything from selecting qualified tenants and collecting rents to managing maintenance people and dealing with property owners.
As the number of properties increased, Mubarak, president of Mubarak Realty Management in Marlboro, Maryland, quickly outgrew the spreadsheets. One day, he heard about a software program designed exclusively for property managers, so he decided to give it a try. Over the next several years, he went through three or four different property management programs, never quite finding one that met his needs.
“Billing and tracking was my biggest problem,” says Mubarak. “I had vendors sending in multiple invoices, I had property owners who wanted to get paid by direct deposit, and I had tenants asking questions about this or that particular charge. I had no way to manage and document it all. At one point, I was using four different software programs. It became very expensive and still did not solve my needs.”
That’s when he found Bill.com, an all-in-one solution that finally let Mubarak get his financial house in order. The first item on his to-do list was fixing the accounts receivable process. The bulk of his receivables are rent checks. Prior to Bill.com, tenants mailed their rent checks to a secure lockbox with its own P.O. address managed by his bank. The lockbox service was expensive. What’s more, Mubarak was traveling between the lockbox and his office at least a dozen times each month, which was eating up valuable time and resources.
“I would have to go back and forth to that lockbox to see who had paid what,” he says. “And then I was manually making copies of those checks, depositing them, recording them on a spreadsheet, and applying late fees. Let’s just say it was a very complicated process.”
Bill.com enabled Mubarak to streamline the receivables process and save money at the same time. Today, the majority of his tenants are required to enter their banking information into Bill.com and pay rent directly through the system. Mubarak says his tenants actually prefer this because they have greater control over the rent process and always know how much money they owe.
Now, ten days before the first of the month, tenants receive an email from Mubarak and Bill.com with a PDF of their invoice and a reminder that rent is due. That simple reminder has significantly cut down on late payments, says Mubarak. It has also reduced the number of inbound calls to his office from tenants asking how much they owe or if any additional fees have been added to their accounts. Now, they can go directly to Bill.com and see exactly how much they need to pay.
“When it comes to receivables, I’m easily saving up to $400 each month with Bill.com,” says Mubarak.
Paying bills is also much easier with Bill.com. Today, almost all of Mubarak’s vendors—plumbers, gardeners, repair people, and the like—submit invoices via email. Mubarak uploads those invoices directly into the Bill.com system and, with a single click, places them in the appropriate vendor file.
Mubarak likes to wait until the rent comes in before he disperses funds to the vendors or owners associated with a particular property. The beauty of Bill.com is that he can go online and see exactly which tenants are up to date, and which vendors he is now free to pay.
“Bill.com has an amazing calendar feature that shows when deposits are coming in and when payments are due for each property,” explains Mubarak. “That kind of visibility is so critical to my business, and it’s something I never really had before. In terms of cash flow, I can instantly see what is coming in and what is going out, so I’m never caught short.”
The Bill.com system immediately notifies Mubarak when a rent check bounces or funds are insufficient. In the past, that was always a problem because he never found out in time. Returned checks would be mailed to his lockbox and might sit there for a few days before he retrieved them.
“Now, if one of those rent payments comes back, Bill.com automatically sends me an alert,” he says. “At that point, I can go into Bill.com and stop payment to the owner of that property or to a particular vendor. I love that I can catch those things in time before the money goes out of my account.”
Before he started using Bill.com, it took Mubarak about 30 minutes per property to pay bills. Now it takes about five minutes for each. “When you’re managing anywhere from 40 to 80 properties, that is a huge times savings each month,” he says. “There are also significant monetary savings with Bill.com because I don’t have to contract a bookkeeper. That alone saves me at least $300 every month.”
Bill.com has found a permanent home at Mubarak Realty. “In the past my clients would joke with me, ‘Hey Rick, what software system are you using this year?’” he says. “But since we made the switch to Bill.com, all that jumping around has come to an end. We finally found the Holy Grail in Bill.com.”