Construction/Asset/Project Manager

I was hoping to ask a question and see what the community could share. I have been struggling with a scaling problem lately.
There is only so much time in a day that I have and the part that I struggle with the most is that I seem to be the only one on my team at the moment that can find the contractors to rehab or turn units for sale, negotiate price and scope, and babysit the contractors until it gets done. This coupled with finding used homes (both activities have become increasingly more difficult lately) takes a different kind of talent or skill than a typical park manager or regional admin person.
I’ve been looking for info on how the larger operators facilitate this and haven’t really gotten a clear answer as to how they handle that component when the principal can no longer do it. I was wanting to know if anyone has hired a construction type project manager or asset manager or something along those lines? Did they have prior experience? What characteristics did you look for? How did you find them? What do you think they should be paid?
Any info you can provide would be greatly appreciated.

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I agree this is hard. We have had 5 different people in similar roles and they all were fired or quit within 3 months. Every other role is easy to fill, but not this one.

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You hit the nail right on the head. This is a huge problem and very, very hard to solve. It is, in my opinion, the essence of the business.

I have found the best way is to do it yourself, not with subcontractors. It’s not that contracting it out isn’t good – it’s great! But too often you get bad quality and maybe you’re even worse off than before and out some money to boot. As you said, someone has to supervise.

When you don’t have time, you’ll have to train someone else to supervise. I don’ t think you’ll be able to “hire for it” at a rate that makes sense in MHP-land.

You need to find, interview, hire, train, and try out many, many, many people to find the one that works out as a “keeper.”

I will add, as a final note, that I have not found “traditional” experience (as a property manager, as a construction worker, etc) to be of any value whatsoever in filtering for hiring.

I look for complete honesty and integrity, first and foremost. Can I trust what this person is going to say & that they will do what I ask, in the way I specified?

How do I communicate with this person? Do I “get” them? Do they “get” me?

How does this person react to guidance? Are they trainable? Can they follow directions? Do they have respect for criticism?

Does the person have good judgment? Do they know which are “big” decisions they should ask about? Are they keeping me informed about the medium things and taking care of the little things themselves?

Are they self-aware? Do they understand their weaknesses and recognize situations that are within and outside of their ability or role?

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Yep. You’re basically looking for a mini you. That’s not cheap. You’ll need to do it by yourself until you have enough assets under management to pay for it. Or infuse outside equity to fund your operations with the hopes you can scale quickly.

This is probably poorly taught at the boot camps and it’s the reason most folks won’t and probably shouldn’t get into this space as a GP. You’re basically buying yourself an underpaid job.

That’s the unfortunate reality but it can be overcome by acquiring right (hard to do in this market) and getting out of your own way (i.e. not micro managing the details).

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When you say do it yourself, are you referring to just hiring maintenance type people? Like a finish carpenter that just works at your park full time?

I totally agree with the questions you are asking and think trust, trainability, common sense, etc are more important that experience, but would think that person needs some construction experience or background perhaps.

It’s really a scaling question though. At let’s say 1000 lots, who is the person that is finding contractors or all of the trades and vendors to get things done. Who is approving scopes and bid amounts and then making sure that get’s done.

While not necessarily easy, finding a park manager is not overwhelmingly difficult. Finding offsite admin is not too difficult. Finding this person seems to be. I know the Jefferson Lilly’s and Frank and Dave’s and others have hired for this role, but what is the job title? And what experience are they looking for? I am also assuming that it is a job that is remote from the parks and can be done from an office to some degree.

Hello,
Thanks for the feedback. I wasn’t really expecting it to be cheap. We have the money to pay for it. I just don’t know what that position looks like. I mentioned in my response below to Brandon, when you have 1000 lots let’s say, who is that person, what is their title, how do the big guys hire for this (qualities/experience they seek), etc.

Thanks for the feedback. What type of job posting were you using? What experience were you looking for? What was the job title?

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When I say “do it yourself” I mean rehab in-house with employees who answer to someone other than you. You will have to train someone who has the ability to train and supervise others. That person supervises or hires employees or subcontractors.

District or Area Manager is the title I think I’d use.

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