It is a common childhood dream of many to become a pilot, but what about pilots who dream of working in property management? How does that make any sense?
Well it made plenty of sense to Andrew Hancock and Luke van Dongen â€“ who are airline pilots and friends â€“ and share a passion for improving the property management sector.
Over coffee about two-and-a-half years ago, Hancock and van Dongen discovered they both envisaged using aviation policies and procedures to better property management and to increase its professionalism.
A year later in April 2015, MyPropertyPro was launched in south-east Queensland offering property management services and headed by van Dongen, who has a degree in business and economics, as its principal agent.
The agency also offers national property investment advice, which is provided by Hancock, who is a qualified property investment adviser, has a science degree and is a successful investor with a portfolio that includes national and international properties.
Former pilot Luke van Dongen launched MyPropertyPro with business partner Andrew Hancock in 2015.
“We conducted a huge amount of research and planning into what we wanted the agency to look like, including what investors really wanted and what we were missing in our own experiences as investors and tenants,” van Dongen said.
“We actually have a phrase that’s banned in the agency among all staff, which is ‘this is the way it’s always been done’ … so we could literally come into property management with a fresh slate looking at the most cutting-edge products and the most cutting-edge technology. Continual improvement is also something we always focus on.”
The agency’s property management systems draw on many aviation principles including standardised policies and procedures to ensure a consistent product; separate and independent accountability, service and communication guarantees; a focus on doing a small number of things very well; and a formal internal training and development program.
While it might be difficult to believe that aviation and property management have any synergies, Hancock and van Dongen believe the two sectors benefit from the same systems.
Van Dongen said aviation uses strict procedures and check lists, which ensure that pilots know exactly what each other will do, even if they have only met for the first time an hour before take-off.
By implementing such standardised aviation techniques into their agency the pair also hopes to improve the reputation and professionalism of the sector.
“Property management has always been the ‘poor cousin’ to real estate sales with associated low service standards,” Hancock said.
“If the industry doesn’t recognise the importance of quality property management and the difference it can make in the investment equation for property investors, it is little wonder the general public do not recognise it either.”
The agency now has five staff and is continuing to increase its rent roll via referrals and professional affiliations but in a sustainable way.
The pair is committed to viewing property management as a service business that operates in the field of property, which means that communication remains the core focus of their agency.
“Our goal is to run a successful and sustainable business,” Hancock said.
“I think that people who shoot too much for a dollar figure or a set number of properties can sometimes not see the forest for the trees.
“Our biggest goal is to provide a service that’s different to what’s out there on the market and that’s something that we work towards consistently on a daily basis.”
Nicola McDougall, Domain.com.au, 11 January 2017