The following blog post is a time-stamped, full transcript of Bob Preston’s interview of Dave Spooner, Cofounder of Innago. The episode was recorded March 19, 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 34- A New Approach, Tenant Management Software: Property Management Brainstorm Show.
Bob Preston: 01:06 Before we get started today, I would like to give a shout out to my friends at Buzzsprout, the podcast hosting platform I use for producing Property Management Brainstorm. To start your own podcast and get a free $20 Amazon gift card. Follow the link in the episode notes. Let Buzzsprout know that I sent you, it helps support our show.
Bob Preston: 01:29 Welcome, welcome, welcome to the Property Management Brainstorm show. I'm Bob Preston, your host, broadcasting from our studio at North County Property Group in Del Mar, California. If you're new here, please subscribe so you have ongoing access to all of our great episodes and if you like what you hear, please pay it forward with a positive review. I can remember back when I was starting North County Property Group many years ago, I was using notepads, sticky notes and spreadsheets to manage my business. No joke, seems archaic now, right? But at that time software as a service was just emerging and the concept of property management software was in its infancy. As a property management software market evolved, though I started to explore the solutions available and found I needed a critical mass of properties in my portfolio to justify adding that monthly expense of a subscription. Well for those of you who are individual self-managing landlords or smaller sized San Diego property managers, I've got some great news for you because that is no longer the case. I have with me today as a guest on the show, Dave Spooner, who is the Cofounder at Innago, a company that is offering property management software with a novel concept. They actually refer to it as tenant management software intended for people like me when I was first starting out with a smaller number of properties and get this, it's completely free for landlords. Hey Dave, welcome to Property Management Brainstorm.
Dave Spooner: 02:49 Hey Bob, thanks so much for having me. Excited to be here today.
Bob Preston: 02:51 Yes, it's always a good place to start on these episodes by telling our audience about yourself, how you happen to fall into this perhaps, and you know what Innago is and how it might help some of our listeners.
Dave Spooner: 03:04 Yeah, absolutely. I'll give you the short version of how I got into real estate. I was involved right out of school. I graduated from Miami University in Oxford, Ohio. Go red Hawks. I graduated from Miami University in about summer 2013 and I immediately started with a company that was trying to design a real estate listing platform for student housing. Now that idea is a dime a dozen. Ultimately it didn't end up working, but I met a great guy that I ended up partnering with afterwards that knows a lot about technology. He became the CTO of Innago, and we together started Innago because we found a lot of landlords, a lot of independent, smaller landlords that were looking for tools to better manage the properties. So, we decided to start Innago and that's kind of how it all got kicked off.
Bob Preston: 03:47 That's interesting. And just about yourself and your background, I guess you had Ohio native, you went to Miami of Ohio, right?
Dave Spooner: 03:54 Yes, I was an English and history major actually. So, came in a completely different direction here to now be involved in a software as a service startup.
Bob Preston: 04:01 Okay, so you did sort of, you did sort of fall into this industry then.
Dave Spooner: 04:06 I absolutely fell in, so it was a roundabout way of getting there.
Bob Preston: 04:08 Well, it's kind of a cool angle that you came in through the concept of student housing, right? I mean, it's a big deal on most college campuses and certainly the surrounding communities, college campuses.
Dave Spooner: 04:19 Yeah, it definitely, it was, it was very much, I mean, you know, I think for most people, certainly their first venture and maybe every venture afterwards, if they're smart enough, you go with what you know. And at the time I was a struggling college kid that had a hard time finding a place to live. So, I figured we could try to solve that problem.
Bob Preston: 04:36 Okay, cool. Hey, I've heard you refer to your product not as property management software, but as tenant management software. What does that mean and what's the difference?
Dave Spooner: 04:45 Yeah, we, we really use that distinction internally and externally to a smaller degree. But, um, the reason we say tenant management software instead of property management software is because when you're managing properties, I'm sure you, you know this and feel this. When you're managing properties, there's a lot of things that you can control. You can control what you invest in, where you invest in, what you clean up, what you fix up. You can look at your P and L is, you can look at your proformas, you can balance everything out. The one thing you can't control, the biggest variable in property management is your tenants. And Innago is designed to be software that helps you control that variable. So, to put some system and automations in place that makes it easier to manage those tenants that you can focus on the things that grow your business and make your business more successful.
Bob Preston: 05:28 Okay, interesting. So, when I started the show, I reflected a bit on when I was starting up my San Diego business and a lot different than you. I was a lot older than you are. But anyway, and this was in a day when I started to look at property management software and had trouble finding what I could afford because it was just a different age. But today fast forward, there's quite a few platforms out there and it seems that if I look at it the right way and I curious to see if you agree with this, I could kind of put them on a spectrum. So, at one end of the spectrum would be the lower end offerings. Cozy would be one example for smaller landlords, maybe just a handful of properties, and at the other end of the spectrum would be perhaps companies like Yardi in their product, Yardi Voyager, which I mean that's meant for thousands of properties, probably New York high rises and commercial buildings and things like that. Where does Innago fit on that spectrum?
Dave Spooner: 06:25 That's a really good question and that's something that we thought a lot about when we were first getting started with Innago cause we were aware of, you know, Cozy, we were great admirers of them early on in the process. And you're also aware of the AppFolio and Buildiums. The is the world. If I could flip it really quickly and ask you a question. So, you got started. How many units did you first purchase?
Bob Preston: 06:44 Well when I first started, and this is back in the year 2000 right? So this is a long time, 20 years ago, basically we've been in business, it was kind of a schedule sole proprietorship where I'd moved, I had just moved to San Diego and I was looking for a property manager because I had purchased some of my own properties. I had like, you know, three or four or five and I just couldn't find anybody that I trusted. And, and I've, I've podcasted about this, right? So, this is pretty, this is pretty cool conversation. And so, I'm just like, okay, I'm going to do this myself. And I was using archaic means, just, you know, folder file folders and handwritten leases and sticky notes, you know, I mean, you know what it was like in 2020 so yeah, I like that for a lot of people. Yeah. And then one by one I had people approaching me, Hey, I hear you're doing this for yourself, could you do it for me? And then I realized, Oh God, I got to have my broker's license if I'm going to take other people's business. So, what I really decided, okay, I need to look at something to help me manage my business. I probably had about 15 okay. And this is, again, this is like 20 years ago. Today we have hundreds, so much different scale today. Does that help answer?
Dave Spooner: 07:53 When you decided that you needed software, when you had 15 you adopted something, what did you end up going with then?
Bob Preston: 07:58 Well, eventually when I scaled to the point where I could afford it, I went AppFolio. Right? But even at, even at 15 I didn't necessarily yet have a property management software package because it was kind of before the age of the software as a system type online programs you see today, I think there are a few that were still using CD's and stuff. If you can believe that got to be crazy.
Dave Spooner: 08:23 There were some DAS ones that could have been counted out in the wild. It's pretty wild. Yeah. The reason I ask is the narrative and kind of trying to suss out is that for most landlords, you know, they start just like you and they get a couple of units and some placements start with one unit and they say, I've got to have software to help me manage this thing. And they find something like Cozy, which again were great admirers of. It's a great platform but it's really simple. I mean it's simple by design, but almost to a fault and they quickly outgrow it. They get five units, they get 10 units and Cozy doesn't operate. It doesn't fit their needs anymore. So, they move on to something new and they start using that until they get 25 more units and they're like, Oh, this is not working anymore. And they get something new and they move on to a hundred units and they get something, and it keeps happening over and over again. With Innago, we really wanted to take something that kind of emulated that simplicity that cozy brought forward back in, what was it, 2011 when they were founded, but expanded that with flexibility and with effectiveness to the rest of the markets that people could look at Innago with a single unit. They could say, this is perfect, this does what I need, and they could grow and they could add units and ad units and ad units and the whole time Innago as they're digging deeper and learning about new features and learning about new flexibility, it can do even more for them. So, we have landlords that have a single unit. We have a lot of them. Our largest landlords have over 2000 units and we work with people anywhere in between. Now we mostly target from a sales and marketing standpoint, people that are under a hundred units, that's just a bluer ocean. There's, there's less fighting over those folks. But we work with people all over the place and it's all about building a platform that's flexible enough for them. It's intuitive enough for them that works as they grow their business.
Bob Preston: 09:56 That's really interesting. I mean we're, we're happy today with AppFolio. I mean I'm in full disclosure there, right? But I can remember when we finally did commit to them, I can't remember the exact property account I had at the time, but it's kind of feature rich software, but a lot of the features I wasn't even using and probably didn't utilize until further down the road. And it sounds like you guys are trying to make it so that anybody can jump in at any time and scale their business along with the software without the need to kind of have this sequential hopping or, or serial property. You know, property management software does your, as you grow your business.
Dave Spooner: 10:32 Right. Exactly. And the key is I think one of the problems that people encounter, and again, AppFolio is a great platform, especially if you're entrenched in it. If you know how to use that AppFolio, it's really, really powerful. The problem is there is a big commitment there, right? There's a huge learning curve with adopting something like AppFolio. We always do this exercise. When we first add a new employee, we go through it, we hop on LinkedIn and we'll search for something like Yardi or AppFolio. We're not actually looking for an employee of one of those companies, but we're actually looking for is somebody that works for a different company whose role is AppFolio expert or Yardi export, or they're our consultant that gets hired by property management companies that want to implement a Yardi system. And we always say to the employee, if we ever find somebody that is a job role that's listed as Innago expert, we're just shutting the whole thing down. We have not, we have not done our job.
Bob Preston: 11:22 You're not fulfilled your promise.
Dave Spooner: 11:25 Exactly. So the key is the really tricky thing that we agonize over and try to get right is bringing that flexibility, bringing those deeper features and feature rich software, but not overwhelming people and making the natural flow of a single feature there can actually accomplish the same thing that somebody else might look at and say, well, that should be five different features, but if we can make one thing, do it all and do it in an intuitive way, we're much better off in our, our customers are much better off too.
Bob Preston: 11:53 That's interesting because back in the day, I remember we were still doing all of our property accounting and trust accounting on QuickBooks. Sure. Even though, even though we had AppFolio we could, it was so challenging to learn the AppFolio accounting platforms and eventually we, we've flipped over, you know, and again, as we continued to scale, it got to the point where then QuickBooks was no longer efficient. But in the early days it was like, okay, this is just easier to do it on QuickBooks and to invest in sending someone to school to learn how to do this on AppFolio. Yeah, no, it's, it's for sure. So, if Innago can deliver that promise of kind of, Hey, come in, the software is a quick study, you can grow with it. That's a pretty cool value proposition. So, let me ask you this, I mean, is that your primary, a differentiation from these other software’s today? And I'm not sure I'm really clear yet on where you sort of fall on that spectrum. So, I guess what you're saying is, is you could be at any point in the spectrum of kind of low end to high end, Cozy to Yardi, depending upon where you're at in your scaling of your business. Is that, is that kind of a way to look at it?
Dave Spooner: 12:56 Yeah, absolutely. I mean that's, that's pretty accurate. Like, like I mentioned, we, from a sales and marketing standpoint, we, we've positioned ourselves in the market in that one to 100 range competing with people around that, around that skill. And that's primarily who we see people comparing us to. But we do have lots of folks that come in from other platforms that come in as first time customers that were using pen and paper with 2000 units that suddenly say, Hey, we need a new property manager gets put in place. And they're like, we got to update these things and they find us, and it works really well. So, it just depends on where you are in your business, but it does scale nicely even at greater sizes.
Bob Preston: 13:32 Well I suppose in terms of viewing San Diego property managers as a target market, I would think at this point it's pretty saturated from a property management stuff. So targeting newer entries or people who are either starting or maybe have a lower number of properties would be a good way to go because you can get those people like into your, into your software and then they grow from there. So that's a pretty, that sounds like a great strategy. And then differentiation, I mean is it, is it that scalability? What is it? What are the key differentiators you would propose? Or if I came to your website, what would I find?
Dave Spooner: 14:04 There's a few different things. One is definitely the scalability and just the natural intuitiveness of the software as you scale with it. It does seem to really resonate with people when they first get started. Man, this is, this is easy to use. This is easier than most things that I've found out there. That's one big one. Kind of two more meat and potatoes. One are one, we offer direct phone support and we give every account a personal account representative, so instead of just having a 1-800 number and a email@example.com they actually have a name and a phone number and an email for a person at Innago that they can reach out to anytime if they have questions or need assistance. We're really big believers in early success needs to future success. We encourage people to use us early on to make sure that they're comfortable. That's a second big differentiator and a final one is we moved the money really fast. We get the funds into landlord accounts after one business day hold. So, we're, we're a lot faster, especially than most folk’s kind of in our range and at one to 100 range they were oftentimes competing.
Bob Preston: 15:00 Okay, cool. So, at one point I’ve seen demos, I'm pretty much all of these software packages I've seen AppFolio, Buildium on Property Wear, etc. And it seems like a lot of these software packages have what I call feature creep where they do a lot of things, but none of it is implemented particularly well. Do you agree with that statement and what do you guys do at Innago to avoid that feature creep and kind of keep it with a rifle shot to your particular target market?
Dave Spooner: 15:30 Yeah, it's, that is something we think about and talk about all the time. That phrase exactly feature creep. I think I said we agonize earlier. That's, that's pretty accurate over just trying to make sure that as we do add these new features, we're ensuring that they are intuitive. The easy answer to avoiding feature creep is the Cozy answer, which is keep it incredibly simple. Just don't, you know, don't add these new features. We're just going to keep things streamlined and focused and simple, which is great for a platform like that. But if you do want to add those features, if you do want to kind of grow alongside your customers, you've got to find creative intuitive ways to provide those features. So, we're very methodical in the features that we do decide to tap into and release. We go through pretty rigorous testing. We have a whole team of designers that are thinking about this kind of thing all the time. You know, the only way to really battle feature creep is to keep it top of mind, to make it a core value, to void it, to make it a core value, to provide an intuitive interface to your tenants and landlords and users and to just constantly, you know, kind of fight that battle as you, as you grow the platform.
Bob Preston: 16:33 Interesting. I'm going to blow your mind here a little bit and go off of our agreed topics here because we also do vacation rentals, which is completely different than the long-term, your typical long-term property management. And for that we use a different software package or property management software called Kigo. I don't know if you've ever heard of it, and Kigo uses a similar approach to yours, keep it simple, but then they've gradually introduced a series of modules that you sort of have to license separately. What do you, what do you think about that strategy versus keeping it, you know, the whole enchilada, right? Once I'd like, have you guys talked about that internally?
Dave Spooner: 17:08 Oh yeah, yeah, yeah. What I like about that is that it's very much opted in to, I don't know, let's just say you want to do listing syndications or a platform like Innago. You want to post your rentals to Zillow and everything. Let's say some landlords don't want that. Some landlords do and we decided to put it under a module. The nice thing is that the landlord is opting into it. They are making a conscious decision, I'm ready to take this on, I'm ready to learn it. So, them seeing those features interacting with other features isn't going to cause confusion. It doesn't clutter things as much because they're mentally prepared to see those things. That is a great piece of, uh, of using kind of the modular structure. The downside is that especially if they're licensing it, if they're charging for it, it's additional barriers to entry in that seems to weigh on people. If every time they want to get through a new gate, they got to pay a toll, you know, it can just make the whole exchange feel a lot more, you know, for lack of a good way of explaining it. Commercial, I mean even though it is, even though you're using our software and ultimately, we're making money off of that process, it feels more commercialized and I think it leaves a bad taste in people's mouth. And I think it can also be when you, when you do kind of cordon off certain features, maybe it's an easy answer to feature creep that prevents you from thinking through it enough to make it intuitive to make it naturally easy to use. So, we try to force ourselves into that.
Bob Preston: 18:31 I would agree with your last statement is keep it focused, keep it simple. Keep it whole. I mean, what happened with Kigo is we sign up for a bunch of stuff that we found out, didn't perform very well, like we were kind of talking about it kind of feature creep. And so, then we ended up disengaging some of those modules, which was a painful process, right? We had to actually go through that like, Hey, this isn't working to our expectation. You know, you've got a customer satisfaction issue here. We don't want this anymore. And then we, and then we're scrambling to find some other solution to fulfill the promise that they'd given us for that particular feature. So, I kind of agree with your strategy, keep it simple, keep it focused and keep it whole. And then when you decide to implement new features, you know, go all in and do it the right way.
Dave Spooner: 19:12 Exactly. Yeah. It's painful, you know, it's a tough process to think through all those different challenges, but I think it's a worthwhile endeavor to go through.
Bob Preston: 19:19 Hey, I'm guessing before you launched Innago, you did quite a bit of market research. Probably talked to a lot of people like me. Um, probably talked to a lot of tenants to figure out where to start, how to do it, what you thought were the right features to chase. What did you learn through that process? Well did you do such research and then in that process, what did you learn?
Dave Spooner: 19:38 Yeah, absolutely. We were fortunate, as I mentioned, I worked on that student housing listing platform. So, the nice thing is most student housing landlords are small to mid-size independent landlords, which is our target market currently. So, I had this great bevy of landlords that I could kind of tap into and ask them questions about things that weren't necessarily directly related to that business and that project. And that's where we did a lot of our market research initially. And that's where we got a lot of feedback from landlords and just kind of ask them what's missing in the market right now? What are you looking for that you don't get? What types of challenges do you face day to day? And of course, we looked at competitors as well. Like I said, we were great admirers of Cozy, still are great admirers of Cozy. And what they've been able to do and that really helped us identify that gap. Nobody really was providing landlords with that full journey. You know, people don't buy their first rental property and thank God my one, I'm all set. That's it. For retirement, they're trying to grow their real estate empire. So that was our big realization. That was our big aha moment to figure out this is our angle and it'll make us unique and make us a little different. Just that just the approach that we're taking
Bob Preston: 20:41 This episode of property management brainstorm is being brought to you by PointCentral Smart Solutions. Property managers and investors, let PointCentral help you reduce hassle and improve your income through smart property automation PointCentral's incredible technology allows us to eliminate keys through connected door locks, control utility bills and unoccupied homes and provide new services such as unattended showings. It also helps prevent costly maintenance projects through increased property awareness and real time alerts such as water leak detectors, humidity limits, and the new HVAC analytics program. That tells us early when an HVAC unit starts to misbehave, PointCentral helps us run our property management operations much more efficiently and provides a clear ROI to our property owners and I love that it's all controlled through an app. How cool is that? Click on the link in our episode notes to learn more and get a free HVAC analytics test. When you place your first order of PointCentral. So, you've really clearly identified your target market, small to medium size landlords or property managers. How do you find those people? How do you, how do you go after them, I guess, and I guess the question would be how are you attacking that market?
Dave Spooner: 21:56 Yeah, it's funny when you, when you first get started with something like this, unless you've got a lot of connections, it's all cold going. So, when we first got started, we just made lists. We looked, you know, we would target a location, we'd say, let's find all the landlords we can in that area and let's call them up and see what they're using and see if they're looking for something. That was when our name wasn't really out there. While we were doing all of that, we were also building, we it, the learning center, our blog. We were building a resource to provide answers to all sorts of questions for landlords not related to our software. We never tried to sell our software through our blog. We're always selling answers, trying to bring real value to them, and that's been a huge driver for us. People organically find us all the time just through our blog. They're looking for an answer to a question. They find it. They see a little bit about an hour ago and they explore it a bit, so that's primarily how we've been able to draw people in. We've transitioned away from cold calling. Thank goodness. I'm sure my sales team is thrilled about that every day, but most people come to us now. They sign up. As soon as somebody signs up, we always reach out to them. We'll give them a phone call, we'll shoot them an email, ask them if they have any questions, but some people are fine to go on their own and another people love having that hand holding along the way. But most people are coming to us.
Bob Preston: 23:03 And I don't think we've mentioned one of the really unique features, maybe, maybe you mentioned it already, your product is free, right? So, there's no barrier to entry.
Dave Spooner: 23:11 Right. That know that that is an important note but Innago is free to use. Yeah, we really wanted to remove as many barriers to entry as possible. Uh, and that, that of course is a big one.
Bob Preston: 23:21 Well, you know, to this day we still have both tenants and owners, owners, clients walk in the door who have had bad experiences sort of from both sides of the equation. Okay. If you will. We get tenants who show up that say, oh my God, my last property manager was so bad. He was 90 years old. He could barely hear us when we called was not savvy whatsoever. It was totally old school had only accept a check. Right. So, we were so happy to find you because we're happy to be working with a professional property manager. So, we get those types. We also get clients, new clients or property owners who walk in and say, oh my God, my property manager was so bad he didn't know what he was doing. Not automated at all. It made life difficult for us. So happy to have found you. So, it seems like, you know, some of the things you're offering could help some those types that you know are losing these types of clients or tenants because they're in the dark ages still.
Dave Spooner: 24:19 You are 100% right. And that's one of the ways, that's one of the ways we kind of talk about Innago to people is this is a way to, to raise your professionalism. And this is a way to give your tenants a better experience to make them happier. And when, you know, a lot of it is, it's not because the person has intention of being a bad landlord or that they even property manager does, they even, you know, aren't capable of doing a good job. It may be that they're working a nine to five on the side and they don't have enough time to do a lot of the little, you know, kind of administrative things. Or even there, they're just overwhelmed as a property manager, they've grown too quickly for themselves. They're having a hard time keeping up with those little things. Taking a lot of those little things that can easily be automated off their plate is such a huge help. And it really does give those tenants and landlords and the property owners and everybody a much more professional.
Bob Preston: 25:06 Sure. And it probably builds in processes for them that they should be following anyway that perhaps they've never done until they find your software. Exactly. Tell us about the platform itself. So, we've described it as a platform, property management software, you know, I mean, so is what is the user interface, I guess? And I, I see there being three stakeholders involved here. There's the, there's the landlord himself, there is the tenant and probably there are vendors involved, I'm guessing. Are the, is that an accurate way to look at who might be utilizing the system?
Dave Spooner: 25:37 Yeah. So that's pretty darn accurate. Of course, there's tenants, they have their own login portal that they can go to. They have their own account, we have a phone, you know, we have a mobile app for tenants that they can download and access, which you know, of course tenants love and landlords love to be able to offer that kind of thing. Landlords and San Diego property managers can also log into their own accounts and Innago also supports sub users. So, you can add a variety of different user types and also custom roles and grant them certain permission. So for example, if you have some maintenance people on staff, you can add them into Innago as maintenance personnel and they just have access to maintenance on whichever properties you assign them or whichever maintenance categories you assign them on any properties you assign them. You can also add property managers in this way, like assistant property managers. You can have leasing agents; you can have property owners. So, if you want your owners to have access to your portal so they can see, you know, how are my properties performing? Are they rented? Do I have leases going out, etc. They can log in and see that. But the beauty is property owner, user roles cannot do anything in Innago. They can only see things so they can't screw anything up. No dreading or getting anxious and make changes about your knowledge. So, there's lots of different users enrolls in Innago but the primary ones are the landlord or main login on the property manager side and the tenant.
Bob Preston: 26:54 Okay. So you have like one login page and based on your credentials and how you log in, it would take, you, would kind of guide you to the right area of the software to meet your needs if you're a tenant and owner or perhaps a maintenance technician, something like that.
Dave Spooner: 27:09 Yeah, exactly. You can think of it like when you log into Uber, if you're logging in as a driver, you're going to go to a different place than if you're logging in as a rider.
Bob Preston: 27:17 What would you say are the main feature sets of the software at this point?
Dave Spooner: 27:21 Yeah, so, um, Innago handles, uh, tenant screening, it handles lease signing. And document storage handles online payments and payment recording, and we also handle maintenance ticketing and tenant communication. Those are kind of the five pillars of the Innago. You said now there's a whole bunch of kind of in between and underneath each of those umbrellas, but those are the main, main systems that we have in place.
Bob Preston: 27:42 That's all critical stuff and stuff that needs to be done really efficiently if you're going to be successful as a landlord.
Dave Spooner: 27:47 Absolutely.
Bob Preston: 27:48 Okay, and what might you be looking at in the future? I mean, are there a little cherries out there that you're ready to pick and go, Hey man, that that's low growing fruit? We have to have that particular feature at some point in our software?
Dave Spooner: 28:01 Yeah, there's two big ones that we don't currently have that are on our immediate road map that are under development right now. One I mentioned before is listing syndication, so currently you cannot post on Zillow or Craigslist or realtor.com or any of those places through Innago. But we're working on that right now. It should be out in the next month and a half to two months.
Bob Preston: 28:19 Sure. Oh, good for you.
Dave Spooner: 28:20 Yes, that's coming soon. And then shortly thereafter, we're going to launch, I'm sure you've seen this on some platforms nowadays, a rental insurance marketplace. So, you can require renter's insurance for your tenants and there'll be able to just buy it through the Innago platform because then they feel value add, protect the landlords.
Bob Preston: 28:37 Well, I'll tell you the sky's the limit in terms of feature rich stuff you could add. But I, but I like your strategy. Um, like I said before, kind of whatever you do, do it right and keep it simple and keep it intuitive. Hey Dave, I, I'm a big storyteller. I don't, I don't do it exhaustively. But for example, when I meet new clients, I always like to tell some story that I think they might be able to relate to. It helps me connect with people. Right? And it's always kind of interesting. So, what do you got for us today? Can you tell us a story? Is there something you're willing to share?
Dave Spooner: 29:05 I'm going to do my best here. So, I'm going to tell you about a client we have here at Innago. There's not, there's not much of a punchline at the end, but I think it's a fairly funny journey. So, Innago as I've kind of mentioned in alluded to here, we really pride ourselves on building a platform that's incredibly flexible and works for lots of different landlords. You know, some landlords charge a percentage of late fee, some charge, a flat fee, some landlord's rent to college kid, some landlords rent to older folks. You need flexibility in whatever software you use. Right. And because we built it in this way, we've been really fortunate. We work with people all over the spectrum. We have people that run barbershops that rent out chairs. Will use Innago to manage the rental. Yeah, absolutely. We have a landlord out in California that owned these. They've taken these like warehouses and they've converted them into really high end kitchens and then nice restaurants rent out those kitchens and instead of having carry out come to the restaurant, they send them to this building and there's a little drive through window and they just hand them the food and they're able to generate a ton of extra business that way. We have all sorts of weird landlords out there, but we have a King of weird ones. This guy reached out to us, must've been a year ago maybe. I actually spoke to him directly myself and he reached out and he said, Hey, I got kind of a strange thing and I'm not sure you guys are going to be able to help me with it. I own real estate in the video game Second Life, and I had not heard of Second Life. I didn't know what that was, but he did. He did jog my brain and helped me realize that I had heard of it before. If anyone remembers Dwight Schrute starts playing Second Life in The Office shortly after breaking up with Angela as a way to help him cope with the fact that he can't deal with, with the breakup. So, Second Life is this video game where you, you create a second life for yourself.
Bob Preston: 30:53 Is that still a thing? Is it still, is it still out there?
Dave Spooner: 30:56 It must still be out there. He's doing stuff with it. So, it's this game where you create a second world for yourself and there's like buildings and it's kind of like the Sims if you've ever heard of that game. So anyway, he reached out and he said, I own all this real estate in the second life and I want to rent it out to people and I want to charge them money to have access to this real estate. So, he had like islands and he had buildings and he had all this stuff and people for them to be able to go into those places. In this video game, he had them register an account with his Innago account and they would pay monthly. Now they were only paying like you know, $3 a month or something for their, for their little unit. But he used Innago to manage his digital real estate in a, in a video game called second life.
Bob Preston: 31:38 Who knew? That's crazy. That's fun. That's a fun story and a way to generate income out off of is a passion for video games. And I have heard of Second Life before and I've never tried it but um, I have heard of it. That's a cool story. Thanks for sharing. Well listen, this has been a really fun conversation today and I would love to continue, but in the interest of time I'm going to have to wrap up here. Any last words or thoughts for our audience about Innago or any other thing related to your software or the property management industry?
Dave Spooner: 32:09 I always like to end conversations like this. Like I mentioned, we really pride ourselves on being available for folks if they need to contact us, giving them personal direct support and assistance. I always like to give out my email and phone number. If anyone needs to contact me, you can reach me at firstname.lastname@example.org and you can call me directly at (513) 543-0759 we love talking, talking to real estate. We love hearing about what people need and seeing how we can help them, and we'd love for you to reach out to us.
Bob Preston: 32:38 That's great. And if they wanted to see a demo, I guess they could just try the product right and they could do so by going to your website.
Dave Spooner: 32:44 Absolutely. It's free to sign up. There's no contract, there's no cost. So, there's no free trials cause the whole thing is free so they can absolutely sign up and start using it. There's some nice guides that are built into it naturally but if they do need a demo or if they have anything funky like you know they're running real estate and the video game they could certainly reach out and we can try to you know, figure out how to, how to make sure it’s going to work for them and their, their custom job.
Bob Preston: 33:02 Good stuff. Dave, appreciate you man. And uh, thanks for joining the show today. A really good episode and I think it's going to be good information for our listeners. As we wrap up today, I'd like to make another quick plug to our listeners to click on the subscribe button and give us a like pay it forward if you feel like it to leave a positive review to help encourage more great guests like Dave to come onto our show. And that concludes today's episode. Thanks for joining Property Management Brainstorm show. Until next time we will be in the field working hard for our clients at North County Property Group to maximize their property value and rental income and maintain top tenant relations. And we'll catch you next time.
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