Mobile Home Park Managers


#1

I often get asked the question… How can you operate mobile home parks from a distance? I own parks in Kansas, Nebraska, Illinois, Texas, Indiana, and Virginia.

My answer to this question is that you must find a good manager to run the park. It does not matter if they are computer savvy or can even read or write. The key is that they need to honest, hard-working, and good with people.

I have 2 managers that work for me right now that do not even have an email address but what they do have is my respect. One of these managers has worked for me for over 5 years and I have never needed to visit the park that he runs.

Just like conducting proper due diligence before you buy the park, you will be ahead of the game if you find a good manager or team to run your park.

A couple of other suggestions:

  1. When searching for a manager, take a look at their yard and the inside of their house. They will often run the park like they do their own home.

  2. It is usually more important for a park manager to have handyman skills rather than computer skills. This will save you a ton of money.

  3. When you find a good manager, stand behind them and treat them fairly. If tenants are complaining about the manager being to tough this is often a good thing!

  4. When you raise the rents in a park, make sure that you raise the manager’s pay as well.(the manager usually gets most of the complaints and a pay raise will make it more bearable)!

Dave Reynolds

MobileHomeParkStore.com


#2

Dave, this is great info - seems pretty basic, but it needs to be said.

I am one of those people who asks about distance ownership - deals on parks are not very plentiful in WA, but I know they are elsewhere.

I am trying to figger the model for minimizing plane trips in finding, doing DD, and closing, much less managing, from a distance. I mean, if I am looking in Missouri, 2000 miles away, how much time do I need to expect to devote to being on the ground?

Thanks for the tips


#3

Steve,

That is a very good question. I have spent many thousand’s of dollars and valuable time chasing down park’s that seemed to be good and only to get there and find out differently. Other times, I have spent the time and money to visit a park and find out that it has been already sold or that the owner is not really interested in selling.

To minimize my costs and time chasing potential deals, I do the following:

  1. Get the park under contract before I visit.

  2. Get as much financial information as possible

  3. Get pictures of the park

This way when I do visit the park, I have many of the supporting details and a contract already. It typically takes one full day of being on site and checking out the area.

Post Edited (02-07-07 16:52)


#4

Hi Dave,

This is good information regarding park managers. Where would you suggest looking for a park manager? Does you look at experience managing other mobile home parks?

Thanks for your help!

-Rachel


#5

Dave, you provide some great info. The in park staff can make or break an investment. I own 4 parks from New York to Nebraska. In one park I have a manager who is so honest, organized, conscientious and just a privelage to work with. I enjoy laughing with and working with this manager by phone daily. It’s a blast and lucrative. In another park I am on my third manager in 3 years. This manager is the best one out of the 3 so far-yet I dread talking with this manager. He just always dwells on the problems. Thanks for your tips on hiring. May I ask a few questions? How many parks do you own and what type of staff do you have at your office to help you manage them? I want to purchase more parks and continue to grow but need to learn how to delegate properly in my office. I am just not sure of what type of people or positions I would be best off with and how to compensate them so they are motivated. If some one has 10 or 50 parks what type of positions or organiztional structure helps them manage that most effectively? Thanks again for your insights. Regards, Chris


#6

Rachel,

The first place I look for a manager is in the park. I would estimate that 8-9 out of 10, I get the manager from inside the park. If this doesn’t work, then I run and ad on my website, place ads in local papers, etc. The problem with this scenario is you usually have to provide the manager with housing and that is not always possible.

I do not believe it is necessary to have an experience manager, just one that is honest, listens to instructions, and is willing to work.

If the park is a turnaround park, then it is much more important to have a manager or team that understands marketing, sales, and so on.

Dave Reynolds

MobileHomeParkStore.com


#7

Chris,

I have had those managers that you just dread talking to. I remember a park I had and everytime I visited it, the manager’s attitude just left a sour taste in my mouth/stomach. That all changed when a new manager with a good attitude was hired.

I currently have an interest in 10 parks and to take care of the office work for these parks it takes about 20-25 hours a week. I would venture to say that one person could handle the office work on about 15-20 parks. As far as visiting the parks, some parks need monthly visits and others do not need more than semi-annual or annual visits. I have some partners and so we split up some of the visiting of parks so it is not like I have to be gone every month. If I were to own say 20 parks myself then I would venture to say you would need a staff of 2 people besides your park managers. One to do the office work and the other to stay in constant contact with the managers and perform regular visits of each park. If you jump to 50 parks you would most likely need double that. A lot would depend on the locations, stability, and size of the parks.

Hope this helps.

Post Edited (02-07-07 16:54)


#8

Thanks Dave! That really helps. Will keep that in mind. Appreciate you taking the time to answer my questions. Thanks again!


#9

Without a system, managing a park requires a high skill set. The better the system, the lower the requisite skill. The lower the skill, the easier it is to fill the position. You can see this idea executed in its purest form, in any successful franchise. Whether you are in a McDonald’s in Honolulu or Houston or Hartford, it makes french fries that taste exactly like the customer expects, using workers that may be high school juniors, senior citizens, or green card holders. Their system is so perfected, you won’t be able to tell whether the store has been open for 20 weeks or 20 years.

Park owners can use their management expertise to create a system by defining how each duty is to be performed and documenting it, creating a procedures manual. Take for example, the process of handling an eviction. What notice? Provide a copy. When is it to be served? What court documents? When are they to be filed? What is the preparation for court? If you win a judgement, what happens next? Break everything down to its simplest step by step elements, write it all up, and train the manager on how to follow it.

Daphne


#10

One of the best-run parks I’ve ever seen was managed by a retired school teacher. Her background dealing with children and managing a classroom was ideal for tenants and a park. She understood how to manage and communicate with people and why all the recordkeeping, rules and systems were critical. She didn’t put up with any nonsense, was firm but fair and the good tenants loved her.

Lin