Periodically NSC holds lunches with Collier Company Team Members who send in questions. The following are drawn from those events.
1. Sir, I see all the time the “WeCare’s” and other forms of resident feedback complaining about noise/smoke/etc. that our lease prohibits but the office has done nothing. As a TM who does live onsite and regularly experiences random loud noises that I can’t block out with my TV or music, even with the office speaking to the resident, how do we improve our resident’s noise satisfaction during their tenancy? I generally encourage our residents to communicate with one another as they are neighbors who see each other every day and I feel as though sometimes the office stepping in is like “Mom” stepping in which could turn the situation towards pettiness/retaliation versus cooperative living.
One key is to have the conversation up front at lease signing where we make our polices re quiet enjoyment clear; we are implementing policies intended to increase LS retention (and thus be able to stop the gerbil wheel of endless repeating of basic training and move to higher level training). Hopefully more experienced TMs can deliver this message with more gravitas.
2. What are your thoughts on Gainesville’s continued growth, not just in student but also in conventional housing? Do you see this being sustainable? How will it impact TCC locally, and what long term changes in our market will it create?
UF does not wish to grow beyond a few grad students a year; GNV itself will probably grow 1 to 2% a year.
3. Locally, do you anticipate growing the regional MNT department for HVAC and Plumbing to keep up with demands?
Most of growth will occur outside GNV.
4. As you look towards goals to double the portfolio what is being done to unify policies, legal considerations etc. How is the HO and support staff growing?
Keeping Tail to Tooth Ratio Tight is mega concern. We are looking at adding an in-house attorney and a Site Assessment TM, eventually another Construction Project Manager when we get 2 or 3 in the ground. If leasing stabilization overlaps, may have to up leasing team. Goal is to stay lean.
5. What do you feel is the most important amenity or community feature for both student and conventional housing?
Customer Service. Responsiveness.
6. As the company grows where are your target markets? When building, are you wanting green buildings, sustainability, LEED certifications?
Our target market is the I-4 corridor. We build what we believe our Customers want. Personally, one priority is greater sound insulation!
7. Are you also looking at retail and mixed-use developments or strictly garden style residential?
We are currently Master Developer in our Apopka project i.e. 80 to 100 acres with ASL, Hotel and Retail components. We did it in order to get the 25 acres or so we needed to build apartments and there is no doubt we will do it again. We are looking at 4-story elevator as that is what is necessary to make many sites work. It will be awhile before we get into true mid and high-rise but I can see it happening someday.
8. What will the portfolio look like 10 years from now and will Gainesville still contain the majority of properties?
We are already 50% outside of GNV! Goal is 22,000 apartment homes by 2030, putting TCC in Top 50 Apartment Owners in America!
9. I feel that second to the property your employees are the biggest asset for success. What are your thoughts on growing talent and reducing employee turnover?
We’ve hired a new recruiter and, reflecting the importance we attach to the position, now has their office right across the hall from and reports directly to TCC’s CEO. Reducing turnover is a significant part of their job challenge.
10. What benefits can new technology provide and what makes sense for TCC? For example, online leasing, electronic keys, wifi controlled systems, surveillance, etc?
We are incorporating more and more technology, primarily in our new developments.
11. With home purchases in Ocala on the rise, how certain is TCC that our upcoming development will not negatively impact the occupancy of the 4 current assets? Can the Ocala market handle more inventory?
Two of our Ocala Communities are Partnerships with Apex; they have a rather short hold period; Tuscany Place is already on market as is Ocean Oaks in Port Orange. Partners’ limited hold period is one reason why we do not actively seek them out. We’ve made an offer on TP; will see what happens.
12. Do you fear any potential recession in the near future and how is TCC preparing if at all? What lessons did you/TCC learn from the last one?
The last one was the Great Recession, longest and deepest by far since the Great Recession 75 years ago. Most recessions are much milder and often only impact one sector of the economy (one before was mainly dot.com bust). TCC has a strong balance sheet.
13. With the industry being so fluid and ever changing what do you most want from us? What can the team on the front lines do to be the best?
Become TCC Brand Ambassadors, Evangelists of the TCC Company Culture, of the Collier Way. Need every TM to carry the torch, a love of excellence and a burning desire to embark on a journey together of never ending personal and professional growth.
14. Have we contemplated changing our lease for conventional communities to cover items such as all buildings should be uniform from the outside, absolutely no alterations, inoperable vehicles will be towed at owners expense, no working on vehicles at the community, no washing vehicles at the community (unless there is a specified car wash station, etc.)?
We want to provide an enjoyable living experience for our Residents, don’t think I’d ban a normal activity like car washing, also not sure what falls under “all buildings should be uniform from the outside, absolutely no alterations” but I believe both inoperable cars and working on vehicles are currently banned.
15. Credit checks – Entrata allows for applicants with no income to be approved with a deposit, this of course creates future skips, evictions and late payments. Can we look into tightening up our criteria?
YES! I’ve asked our Sr. VP of Ops to raise ASAP.
16. Will the TCC training program eventually cover step by step instruction for onsite staff with Entrata procedures such as transfers, sublets, what reports give you what information?
Inquired of Sr. VP of Ops via email 9:49p 11/14/19.
17. Will the outdated instructions on required reports such as the OLR be updated?
Inquired of Sr. VP of Ops via email 9:49p 11/14/19.
18. Will the server be cleaned up and organized, making it an even more useful tool for our teams?
Not fully following? Our online server? Cleaned up how?
19. TCC is transparent in many areas, however onsite staff would like to know where they are company-wide with such things as occupancy, EGI, NOI, same store sales, etc.?
JSL report goes out to CMs every Tues; I’m fine with it being shared, it has occupancy, GPI, OSR, OLR for every community.
20. How does each region compare in these areas? By sharing the information publicly could we learn more from one-another?
I’ve always wanted to run a company with as flat a hierarchy as possible where info was widely shared; however I get a lot of feedback that folks are suffering from info overload/too many emails including from me, that I do too many Deep Dives (Jack Welch of GE’s term.
21. Other than neat, clean, and friendly, what specifics do you look for when visiting your communities?
TCC owns a broad spectrum of communities from work force to mid-market to high-end luxury to student housing. When I do community walks, I always am aware of the type of community I am visiting: It helps no one to make workforce unaffordable. Materiality/Prioritization are always on my mind. It is never possible do everything so we must learn First Things First. True Life Safety (not Chicken Little) and Real Asset Maintenance (not puttering or wish list) always comes first then it is what the market place will reward, what our CUSTOMERS want. Sparkling vacants, attractive approaches to the vacants, cleanliness, curb appeal. Would I want to live here? Are we providing for our Residents the level of care we would want to receive? Does it appear that the site staff is engaged? Hustling? If I’m walking on a Saturday morn, I always check the trash receptacles in the common area; if they were not emptied at close of day Friday, it tells me the needed attention to details may not be occurring.
22. So many of our team members would like to grow professionally with TCC. Would it be possible to have a written “path” to help guide the team members to their specific goals? What training mechanisms do we have in place currently to assist with employee growth with TCC?
I usually deliver Collier College every other year and we’ve talked about trying to do a mini-MBA in house. You are the CEO of your life; TCC puts a big emphasis on Self Directed Learning. We are considering sponsoring an Elite, speeded up version of the Book Club program that meets once a week (doable if willing to give up just a few hours weekly of TV/social media). At the same time we are moving away from softer, self-help books (I love them, and continue to recommend them and devour them personally) since our priority is to assist TMs in obtaining hard business skills.. Ramping up our training and creating clear career paths is one of our Training Director’s Priorities; on the Office side, a simplified version of it is Leasing Specialist, Assistant Community Manager, Community Manager, RCM, VP; often starting out at smaller communities in each role, then larger communities before moving to next level. Helpful to “punch your ticket” at as many of our different property types as possible and even work in different markets. The most promotable TM is the one who goes out of their way to learn all they can, not only about their own position, but about all those that affect it; they bombard OV’s with insightful questions until they learn all they can about maintenance and construction, they learn their supervisor’s job, they understand our business model, they inquire about the details of the jobs to the left and right of them, they have 360 degree curiosity.
“It’s hard for me to understand why [getting an MBA]
is a better use of time and money than actual experience combined
with a dedicated reading of 30 or 40 books.”
– Seth Godin
As always, I share what I most want and need to learn. – Nathan S. Collier