Manager ("greeter") compensation

We live 2 states away from our 28 space park. Since its a smaller park and no park owned homes (3 were sold on contract) we consider the manager more of a greeter. She handles making deposits, emailing us about late rent, posting notices, informing us about sewer or other issues, and mows around the perimeter.
She is paid free lot rent plus $230/mo, plus $250 bonus every time a house goes vacant and she has to do showings, sign contracts etc. Since things are running smoothly, I’m wondering if we’re compensating her too much. I checked my e-mail history, and in the past 3 months we averaged only 4-5 short messages per week. Is it worth it to try to cut costs? Find someone else to mow? At this point, is making a few deposits and emailing us with park happenings worth lot rent only?

No, leave it like you have it. Here’s the reality. If you try to lower it, they are going to lose trust in you and that bond is forever broken. In cases where they’d go the extra mile they’ll think “screw the owner, he doesn’t look after me”. If they quit, you’ll spend travel cost to find and train your new manager, and even then they might not work out. The travel and your time could be as much as 10 times what you were trying to save.When you have a good manager situation, leave well enough alone. Be cheap, but don’t be miserly. 

What about adding to her duties? In the past, we’ve paid her extra here and there for going to court, cleaning, misc small jobs. Now that I feel like I’m not getting my money’s worth out of the $470/mo its costing to have her, I told her we expected her to do more around the park since work was slow. She wasn’t too happy about that. In our other park, the manager has no problem doing whatever we ask without expecting extra every time. Is it worth firing her to find someone more helpful- a more “all inclusive” manager?

you may be able to evaluate the bonus payout to see how often this occurs. you may be able to increase her pay a little, but be clear that she will not longer be paid the bonus as her normal pay is now increased. you may be able to create a win-win for both of youhowever i do lean towards the saying, if it aint broken do not fix it. is part of the smooth running part attributed to this individual

I have a park that is roughly the same size.  Compensation plan for manager is nearly identical.  Job duties are as well.My question is, how do other park owners compensate for employee vehicle gas?  He will not use that much, but will occasionally have to go to gas station to refill gas tanks for mower, hardware store for supplies, bank for deposits, office depot for supplies and courthouse to file evictions (hopefully not often).  Not a big issue, but curious how you other park owners handle this?  I have hired and non-hired auto on my GL policy so covered there. 

You can’t distill that down to a science, so just give them $20 every so often, and agree in advance as to the fact that it’s satisfactory. You know that you’re going to probably overpay, but remember that gas is only one part of the government approved depreciation charge on cars (the rule is around 50 cents per mile) so you’re still getting a bargain in the big picture.

Just for another viewpoint:We have our managers write down the mileage and multiply by the federal rate, for which they reimburse themselves out of petty cash on a monthly basis.  We trust them to go to the store in the first place, so we trust them to write up the correct paperwork.  The places they go are pretty usual places – Lowe’s, Home Depot, the bank, the dollar store, etc.  They write down the date, the place they went, and the mileage (which is easily checkable on google) and just add it up.  No need to mess with the odometer.  The cost is pretty small and it’s more about reducing the hassle factor.Brandon@Sandell

In addition to agreeing with Frank about the likelihood of creating more problems than you solve, I’d look at it from a financial perspective. Assuming 100% occupancy, your gross potential rent excluding her lot is 27 x $230 x 12 = $74,520. Right now you are paying $470 x 12 = $5640 per year with $2760 of that as non-monetary compensation. For that, she deposits rents, provides some type of “owner’s rep” work on sewer digs, posts notices, goes to court, and mows a portion of the property.Since we know that there’s a base cost to having a manager, I’d encourage you to think about how much you would realistically save by replacing her. Once you have that number, ask yourself if you receive more or less than that in stress reduction by not worrying if the property is well maintained. To me, $117.50/week or $16.79/day is a pretty good trade off for not worrying about something.If you feel that expenses are too high, take a look at your other costs before cutting back on the personnel. Work with your contractors, look at your utilities, insurance, or real estate taxes first. Then think about a rent increase and be glad you’ve got someone else to field the complaints.