I like the idea of the PO box, but I don’t want to physically go to it several times in a month and take time out of my day. Furthermore, once I receive these checks, I have to open them and deposit them. I did see that Rent Manager has a automatic check scanner. That’s very cool. But, I still don’t want to physically pick up mail from the PO box.
Enter the virtual PO box, which is a service where they open and scan everything that is sent to a physical PO box and send to you. Can anyone tried this? But…once you have these scans, there’s no handy Rent Manager scanner to scan them quickly.
Basically, I’m just looking to expend the least amount of time on this possible very month. Online payments would be ideal, but not all residents will opt to do it.
I hate PO Boxes for payments not only for the reasons you mention, but also because USPS loses the mail and your tenants will use that as an excuse all the time. Sometimes USPS honestly will lose the mail. I sent a demand letter via certified mail + return receipt a couple months back. Guess what…it still hasn’t reached the destination. I submitted a lost mail request and now I get a monthly email from USPS saying, “we still haven’t found it, but trust us, we’re doing our best to locate it” - which further infuriates me using that service.
Because I don’t want to exert the effort and deal with excuses from my tenants and the frustration of the government mail service, I do a local checking account.
Once I get to a certain scale I would also use the Rent Manager automation as you mention.
The biggest implementation that made my life easier was when I required ALL tenants to either:
Pay online (bank draft is free, or they can use credit/debit card for 3.5%, processor takes that)
Pay at Walmart/Kroger or any money gram location with cash/debit card, the store charges them a $4 fee.
100% of the rent goes directly into our bank account, and we get an email as soon as they pay (with the exception of bank draft, it’s free to them but we pay a $1 fee). All of this is done through rentmanager.
You can also have rentmanager automatically send out late notices. And, you can shut off payments for tenants you’re evicting.
The Walmart/MoneyGram “Pay Bills” FAQ details how a payer (a tenant) can pay a bill at Walmart or Kroger. It appears that the payee (you, the park owner) can set up an account with Walmart/Moneygram to receive funds.
My educated guess is that the local utilities don’t send a clerk down to the local Walmart every time someone pays a water bill; billers must set up an ACH arrangement with MoneyGram. There’s an 800 number on that FAQ page for contacting MoneyGram. It might be worth a call to see what’s involved with setting up an account, the fees, and such.
One further thought — why not simply have tenants send their payments to your physical address?
If you have rentmanager, All you have to do is call PayLease, set up what bank account you want funds to go into, then select this in rentmanager for whichever property(s) you want. Then, you print out the tenants payment info (from rentmanager) which gives them each a unique account number, as well as instructions on how/where to pay.
As soon as they pay, you get an email stating so, and it’s marked as paid in rentmanager. Then you get an email in 2-3 days when the payment has hit your bank.
It takes a few hours to set up, but once it’s going, it’s easy as can be.
I agree with @TN. We are operating 17 mobile home parks in multiple states and we require all tenants to pay through Paylease (either Walmart or online option). It creates tremendous efficiencies for our on-site managers so they aren’t physically collecting rents and also helps immensely with reducing the chances for fraud.
If you want to make it easy on yourself, have tenants pay with a system like Schedule My Rent. Tenants can pay with their bank account, credit card, or with cash at MoneyGram. MoneyGram is everywhere…tenants can go into Walmart and pay their rent and the money is then transferred to your bank account. Late fees and return fees are automatically added to the tenant’s account so you don’t have to track it.