Every industry in the world is full of hard-working people striving to find the perfect work/life balance. But the community association management industry arguably feels this struggle the most. Your clients are homeowners, and they are homeowners 24/7/365, and as such so are their needs. You’re never truly ‘off,’ and finding a way to untether yourself from the desk or computer or office you’re tied to is no easy task.
Just ask Trever Midgley, accountant extraordinaire, full-time management pro, and fuller-time father of four. Even in the banking world, he felt the need for a more balanced work and life relationship. He envisioned spending long summer days with his growing kids, taking his boat out to the lake midweek. He craved a work life where he wouldn’t be tied down to an office, but could still have an interesting, thriving career that supported his young family.
A Familiar Story
In 2007, Trever moved into his first condominium and almost immediately realized the difficulties the community had with their financials. “I’d ask for a financial report and they couldn’t provide it to me,” Trever said.
He saw that the community wasn’t being managed well and, frustrated with the situation, got involved. Trever joined the board of directors to help the association look at other professional management companies. But many of these were no better than the current one. He realized that with his background, he could offer better services than the companies being interviewed.
Despite his corporate career, the idea of being an entrepreneur wasn’t new to Trever. “I kind of had that goal throughout my life. I liked having that freedom of a small business and being able to build things, put processes in place and make things better.”
In 2013, Trever officially set up his business, HOA Strategies. Starting out with QuickBooks and other off the-shelf products, Trever was able to deliver on the promise of financial excellence for his clients, but growth was slow due to his need to go back and forth between multiple programs.
Trever realized his side business could become a full-time focus. But was he willing to make the leap?
In his corporate career, Trever had guaranteed income, pay increases, bonuses, and benefits, but he had to commit to the company schedule and their idea of work/life balance. Going on his own would involve a lot of uncertainty, but Trever’s ten years of success with property management as a side business had proven his operation was solid.
Getting the Right Support
Trever knew that for this career change to be successful, he needed tools that would help him manage his business and help him carve out free time. Married with four children, aged 2, 4, 6, and 8, family time was, and is still, a high priority. “Finding automation tools that gave me that work/life balance was important to me to make that work,” he said.
Trever found TOPS [ONE] as he searched online for software programs, and it seemed to check all of his boxes. “One of my criteria was that [the product we chose] had to be a cloud-based solution,” he said. He also wanted a product that could be a core software for the company, and TOPS [ONE]’s integrated modules would give him that level of cohesion he was searching for. Once he implemented the software, he found that each one made a noticeable, positive impact on the business.
TOPS [ONE] Delivers Core Solutions
With an industry specific, cloud-based software solution at his disposal, Trever was seeing the kind of explosive growth he needed to really attain the balance he wanted in his work and personal life. TOPS [ONE] provided a constantly accessible, fully automated platform in which to grow his business.
Recording homeowner payments was once a time intensive process for HOA Strategies, Trever said. His company used a lockbox service, but that service didn’t completely integrate with QuickBooks. However, TOPS [ONE] included nightly data integration that saved a significant amount of time.
“Before, we were doing manual data entry on customer payment that could take you an hour, two hours a day,” Trever said. “Now that’s done in three minutes.” The time savings is similar for generating homeowner statements, Trever said.
Trever said that even though he is savvy with office products, completing violation statements for a community of 45 doors was cumbersome. “Before, to do forty five violations, I was spending two hours or three hours. Now I spend, maybe 15 minutes,” he said.
Assistants no longer needed to be versed in Microsoft Office products because of how easy TOPS [ONE] made the learning process.
As an added bonus, Trever said he can now create and share a CC&R report with the board, which he couldn’t do before implementing TOPS [ONE].
Each of these shifts in how HOA Strategies handled business affairs gave extra precious minutes back to everyone’s days, and the web-based structure meant no one was tied to a single desk or office to get their work done.
The Fruits of HOA Strategies’ Labor with TOPS [ONE]
Today, just eighteen months after implementing TOPS [ONE], Trever can work from anywhere. He attributes that flexibility to the cloud-based automation tools in TOPS [ONE]. He says that, whether he’s out on the lake or at the beach, or spending much-appreciated time with his growing family, “as long as I have a cell phone with me, I don’t have to sit in an office.”
But the laid-back schedule doesn’t mean Trever isn’t ambitious. Far from it. Since implementing TOPS [ONE], HOA Strategies have added 12 new communities totaling over 1,000 doors and 120% growth. And they’re still growing.
“We’ve set up the base and foundation so that we can take on as many communities as we need to. With TOPS [ONE]’s accounts payable system and integrations, that’s a full-time person that I don’t have to hire because the system will do it for me.”
This is Trever’s strategic vision. “We’re a small company and we are starting to grow. [The key] is having one central resource, where we can search on anything across the portfolio and get instant results.” With everything contained in the same database, and the flexibility TOPS [ONE] offers through customization, the software has become an integral part of HOA Strategies’ success.