Firstly, a huge thank you to each and everyone who participated in our recent quick survey about what product/feature we should work on next. Here we will outline the survey results.
We had so many responses that we had to pay to upgrade the service to view them! This was very much worth it!
We wanted to ensure subscribers were fully anonymous with the responses which is why we didn’t ask for an email address but in hindsight this was a mistake. There were some suggestions that we would have liked to reply to or ask for further clarification. Lesson learnt: next time we’ll make it optional to add an email! We will answer some suggestions/comments later in this post.
Although the majority of respondents have 1 – 5 tenancies, the others combined represent a significant proportion.
What feature/product next?
Interestingly, we thought the repairs’ suggestion might have won, but it lost by some margin.
It was near enough equally split between a Tenancy Manager app, online inventory tool and fire risk assessment tool.
Respecting the “other” selection, in the most, the replies were basically “don’t do anything, just keep the information and website running”! There was a genuine fear by many of the responses that we might lose our focus on content. We therefore wanted to respond to those comments directly here.
About two years ago, we were growing to a point where more staff were needed (and we are still growing). The question though, was, what staff should we employ? Should they be admin to do the day to day running, more helpline or web development?
In the end we went with web development because in essence that’s what we are now – a web company.
Over the last two years, we’ve built a private Tenancy Manager system for our property portfolio (more on that in a moment). In addition, we’ve built the brand new Tenancy Builder which is now consistently the most visited part of the website except the home page.
As mentioned in the survey, we are next working on an online application system for prospective tenants to apply for your property after a viewing. The current PDF form just doesn’t cut it any more!
But, once that’s done in the next few weeks/months, we either put the web developer on more of a part-time maintenance duty or give the developers more work. There’s no way the developers are just doing maintenance, so that’s why we need a new project. We’re looking at the next five years not just the next few months.
That was why we wanted to do the survey to see what next online development we should work on, so we can keep the developers working.
Nothing whatsoever is changing respecting information and updates to changing legislation etc. That continues as normal.
Another popular request in the “other” selection were tax and in particular a system linking to HMRC Digital. We’re afraid that will never happen for us. To be approved for using the HMRC Digital system, we would need to have dedicated accounting software of significant size. Whereas, we just want to focus on landlords who manage their property and how we can make that job more productive. There are lots of accounting products already out there and one that is great (which we personally use) is Xero which fully integrates with HMRC.
Finally, for the comments, we had a comment asking for a HMO room let tenancy agreement. Our Tenancy Builder already covers this. In the tenancy address field, just enter Room ‘x’ (or whatever) to identify it’s a room and not the whole house, and you’re good to go. Utilities and other relevant terms can be changed within the Builder to accommodate a HMO tenancy.
What feature/product have we decided to do next
The virtually equal split has slightly thrown us!
The plan therefore is as follows: we already have a Tenancy Manager app which we personally use. When we built it, we built it specifically to allow others to use it in the future. But, (and this is a big but), it’s highly unstable at the moment. It’s super complex doing lots of things (it tracks rents, has direct debit integration, sends text messages, email, tracks repairs, tracks routine inspections and more). We feel it’s too complicated at the moment, and it will only be suitable for landlords having a larger portfolio (50 – 500).
That being said, because it was a popular choice, we now know we should continue working on it and refining it ready for subscribers to use. The advantage is, because we use it personally, it’s in constant test, and we’re almost every week asking the developers to fix or change things.
In addition to continuing working on the Tenancy Manager, we will start work on the online inventory tool and fire risk assessment.
The slight problem with a fire risk assessment tool is the Fire Safety Bill is working through parliament. We don’t want to make a product and then the rules massively change. We will monitor and consider how best to approach. It’s likely any tool will only be suitable for small buildings up to 4 storeys maximum and no more than 10 occupiers at first thoughts.
Whilst we wait to see what happens with the Fire Safety Bill, it’s likely we will start with the inventory tool.
We’ve done some research on inventory tools and there already looks to be some excellent products on the market, so we will probably go for something super simple for smaller landlords. There’s no point in us trying to compete with some already great-looking products out there for example, Inventory Base looks good if you do many inventories.
We are super pleased with the overall satisfaction result!
We should note the small number of not satisfied at the bottom were in every case very satisfied but used that option so they could leave a lovely comment for us. The small yellow bar can safely be added to the green bar in the image above! (Again, another lesson learnt, always allow a comment box for any result not just one option).
Thank you to all who took the time to complete the survey.
You can find more products and services we already offer here.