I am coming up on the one year mark of an exercise Frank Rolfe engaged in himself - spending a year living in his own trailer park. Worthwhile? Waste? For me it’s been worthwhile and I’ve learned a few things. My park was run for years by a drug manufacturing and dealing pair of managers cheating their clueless out of state owner. As you can imagine it’s required some riff-raff cleanup (what an exercise that has been). BUT - it has also shown me that there are a lot of people who are ex-cons with felonies on their records who hold jobs, don’t make noise, keep clean & quiet households & yards - and are really damn grateful to have a home of their own because nobody else will take them.
When we came in and cracked the behavioral whip - most folks (yes even the cons - probably half the park has a felony) fell in line and have stayed in line. Ex-cons with violent records, twice my physical size, covered in facial tattoos are deathly afraid of me - skinny white college boy from out of town who has never thrown a punch in his life. I have the power to make them homeless if they get out of line. By this I mean: they don’t bump their music, they stopped speeding, they pay fully and on time and don’t complain, and they behave so we do not have a constant stream of police calls. In fact I believe we have cut police activity over 70% in one year with the same residents in place. I simply take no sh*t and I cheat nobody - two practices I have found that felons deeply respect.
What does this show me? My conclusion is that in a housing market which is anything but a “free market” for folks with felony records - strict behavior rules will in fact keep most of them in line.
I’ve heard tale after tale from ex-con customers that all amount to “Yeah the old managers robbed us blind and I’m glad you are not cheating us - but at least they let me in. I applied to 32 other apartment complexes and parks and this is the only one which accepted me. I made bad decisions in life and now I’m paying for it.”
I’m beginning to think these are possibly the most profitable of any customer - not only is the MHP product affordable - creating high demand in and of itself - but to the customer who is also a criminal - even most other affordable housing (other MHP’s) is off-limits.
This creates a dynamic in which you can charge prices well above market - that can offset the cost of high tech monitoring technology and staffing costs to enforce behavioral codes.
In another thread recently on technology I posted some of the consumer-level tech that is making property monitoring possible in ways that never were before.
Yet my old instincts die hard! I find myself wanting no felons - or, rather, no more felons. “My” felons are okay in my mind lol - aka the felons who never would have made it past my own screens but are here simply as a historical accident due to the prior managers. This of course merely proves my own point - that these customers are probably the most profitable ever. If market is $350 lot rent and an economy is gangbusters then you could probably charge $550 and still stay full if you’ll take felons. In a 100 lot park - $20,000 extra revenue per month will pay for a helluva lot of security cameras and a remote assistant in India monitoring cameras, keeping a database of faces, names, visitor patterns, etc. and mailing out certified letter violation notices like machine gun fire to anyone who gets out of line. This kind of extra revenue will certainly pay for a flotilla of the latest $2,500 4K weatherproof cameras from Sony & Panasonic, security gates at your entrance, automatic license plate scanners, extra lighting everywhere, microphones to conduct outdoor audio surveillance (with resident permission of course) to scan for altercations, noise disturbances, etc.
What are you thoughts?