In today’s rental real estate market, most property management tools are still targeted toward large organizations who operate hundreds, even thousands, of units. But these software tools often fail to meet the needs of small to midsize landlords, who typically have more personable interactions with their tenants and may have fewer resources available to manage the property. That’s where Innago comes in. Their property management software gives landlords the power to manage and scale their business throughout Ohio’s major cities.
“We were hearing over and over again from these landlords, which are predominantly small to midsize landlords with 100 units or less, that they wanted better property management tools,” said Dave Spooner, co-founder of Innago. “The current tools in the market are difficult to use, expensive and not really designed with landlords in mind, so we decided to develop a solution.”
Spooner and his team found three common barriers that dissuade landlords from utilizing software to manage their properties – lack of technological experience, lack of time and high costs. So Innago addresses all three in a single platform, with one of its biggest benefits being improved communication.
“Landlords value their privacy. Many use P.O. boxes, email or platforms like Google Voice, but the problem with that is it fragments their communication with tenants across a variety of channels,” Spooner said. “We want to centralize that communication by creating a Facebook Messenger-like chat module within Innago that will provide landlords and tenants with an easy, fast way to communicate back-and-forth while also providing privacy and protection for both sides.”
Aside from streamlining communication, Innago is also designed to support landlords who may not be technologically savvy or have experience using software to manage their property. Innago’s interface is configured specifically with these landlords in mind, so that it’s easy to use even without technological training or experience.
“We put a ton of effort into every feature that we produce to make sure that it is as intuitive as possible, so anyone on the street could pick it up and use it right away,” Spooner said. “We also decided to make onboarding and assistance, the customer support piece, really central to what we do, to make our software as user-friendly as possible.”
Another prominent challenge for landlords has been the high financial costs typically associated with property management software. For smaller-scale landlords, every dollar in overhead costs can make a difference. That’s why Spooner and his team made their software free to use by incorporating value-added features within Innago, which are charged to tenants by default and in accordance with industry standards.
“When a tenant goes to pay online through Innago, they’re charged a small fee,” Spooner said. “The second thing we charge for is applications and screening for credit, criminal background check or eviction history, which is similar to the way a tenant would normally pay an application fee as they apply to a new property. Both of these methods are pretty standard practices across the industry.”
Innago’s foundation in Cincinnati, Ohio, has played an outsized role in their mission to redefine the rental real estate market with their disruptive software solution. Now, they’re further utilizing Ohio’s talent and resources to continue investing in their back-end coding to make Innago an even better and faster service as they scale up their company’s size and expand to other major cities throughout Ohio and the region.
“The past four or five years have really been all about building out the product-market fit and creating some momentum within the industry and we feel like we’ve done a good job of that,” Spooner said. “But to make sure Innago six months or 12 months from now stays as zippy and easy-to-use as it currently is, we need to invest in the way that it’s structured and we’ve certainly been adding a lot of team members that are Ohio-based to do that. There’s something to be said for the ‘midwest mentality,’ and the ability to provide a really friendly customer support experience to folks – which has been a central component to making Innago successful.”