How To Scale Your Apartment Locating Business

How To Scale Your Apartment Locating Business

I was talking to an apartment locator client of mine in Dallas last week because she was interested in buying online leads. As Sarah and I kept talking we both concluded that she doesn’t need online leads, she needs a system to help her close more deals.

If I would have sold her online leads, it would be like drinking water from a fire hydrant.

Sarah has been a locator for seven years and she loves it. She’s a strong closer, has no issues with invoice collection but the average number of leases she closes each month has been about the same for a year. She occasionally does have a great month where she closes more than her average, but she can’t figure out how to duplicate it.

As we talked through her entire process from lead generation to invoice collection it became clear that she can’t increase her average because she doesn’t have any more time in the day. She can’t scale unless she automates some of the tasks that don’t require her personal touch. I told her if we automate her process then we can track what she’s doing during those occasional months when she closes 10-15 leases.

After we track it, we can duplicate it so she can close 10-15 leases every month. THEN WE TURN ON THE FIRE HYDRANT.

Add Hours Back Into Your Day

My conversation with Sarah is not uncommon. Most locators who call me for a consult do not have a comprehensive CRM or email marketing system. You can’t scale your income if you don’t use automation. Identifying tasks where you use the same wording of an email or text message over and over are examples of automation. I’ve included my top 3 CRM’s I recommend to locators at the bottom of this article. 

There are tasks you can automate throughout the entire locating process. Many tasks can be automated to generate and nurture leads, obtain the lease verification and facilitate invoice collection. Tasks that must be performed by a person, like phone calls or forms filled out and sent to the property, can still have an automated reminder via email or text. When you turn on your computer in the morning you should see a pipeline of each client and where they are in the process.

Your email database is the most profitable asset you own. Your email database has big advantages over social media followers. Email is a level playing field because you don’t compete with an algorithm or need to spend a lot of money on ads to get in front of your audience. Your brand shows up in the inbox the same as big brands spending millions of dollars on advertising.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not suggesting you shouldn’t grow your social media followers; I’m simply pointing out you have more control over your audience with email marketing.

I grew Rental Advisors from 10 markets to 34 markets and had my first six-figure month in 2022 without posting on social media.

Your Email Database Is The Most Profitable Asset You Own

Last week was the first time I posted on @rentaladvisors social media since January 2021. I grew my business exclusively with email marketing. The secret is having different campaigns for different audiences.

Audience: Online Leads

When I generate online leads for apartment locators it can feel like drinking out of a fire hydrant if you don’t have an automated system that includes automated email and texting to follow up. Online leads are warm leads in the sense that they are looking for an apartment but you haven’t established a relationship yet. As a strong closer you will need to call, text and email online leads to convert them. After conversion you add them to the pipeline in your CRM. Despite your best efforts some leads will not convert but your conversion rate will be higher with the right automated system.

Audience: Long Term Leads

How much money are you losing each year from clients who aren’t moving for 6-8 weeks and you’re simply too busy to follow up? As a successful apartment locator, you’re probably focusing on the clients who are moving next. This is where a CRM with a pipeline feature is helpful so you can see the next deal that needs your attention. However, your CRM should also be automatically emailing and texting the clients who are 6-8 weeks out until they move up in your pipeline.

Audience: Online Reviews

Another example of relevant email marketing is asking previous clients to help you build your online presence by writing a review on your Google business page. Since 2017 the impact of Google reviews on SEO has increased by over 20% year-over-year. You could possibly improve your website rank from page two to page one by simply asking your previous clients to write a review. Yelp reviews are nice too, but Google is always going to give more ranking power to Google products.

Audience: Repeat & Referrals

Lastly, ask your email database for referrals. For example, create a relevant email around school ending and college beginning. “Is your [son, daughter, friend, cousin, anyone you know] going to college and need help renting their first apartment? I can help click here.” When they “click” it should take them to your website with the most frequently asked questions by first time renters and a lead capture form.” You should not ask them to “email you back.” Emailing you back is not an automation, and you can’t scale if you don’t automate.

Jodi's Apartment Locator CRM Recommendations

These are my top 3 CRM’s I recommend to locators. They are easy to set up, fast to import existing contacts, tracks if an email is opened and clicked, and offers email and texting automation. I have a spreadsheet of all the CRM’s I’ve researched. Call me if you need some advice before you buy.

I can easily connect your Rental Advisors account with any CRM. I have an enterprise account with Zapier so my clients don’t need to purchase a Zapier account.



SalesMate is simple but has many features. It emails, texts, and automates for $25-$45 per month depending on if you need texting or not.


Bigin is a new one I found for $7 per month. It’s super simple to understand. You must purchase an add-on for texting but it’s pretty cheap.


FollowupBoss is a boss but it is more expensive. It’s easy to integrate with your existing systems and has many cool features.

Buyer Beware

Recently email services like Gmail and GoDaddy changed the criteria that determines if your emails are spam or not. Before you start sending email from any CRM make sure you follow the CRM’s instructions to authorize your email. Basically telling the CRM they have permission to send email as you. This may require you to add a SPF and DKIM record to your domain otherwise your email marketing will go to the spam inbox.

About Jodi Southwick

I am a data engineer

I deploy data strategies for apartment locating websites to generate leads.

Do you have a skill or talent that comes naturally to you? And since it comes naturally, you absolutely love it? That’s me with data! I started in commercial real estate at CB Richard Ellis in 1997 where I managed huge databases. It was a natural fit. Commercial brokers rely heavily on data to drive sales and so my love for data and my love for real estate was born. I started this company in 2005 with one market in Houston, and I’ve grown it to 35 markets because I’m still obsessed with what I do. Thanks to Google, data will always be necessary to generate leads.

Please contact me if you need help using data in your business. Or help our journey by sharing this article on your social media platforms.


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