Canada's Property Management Podcast

Strategy, Support & Scaling: Special Guest Episode

October 25, 2022 Carla Browne & Adrian Schulz
Canada's Property Management Podcast
Strategy, Support & Scaling: Special Guest Episode
Show Notes Transcript

We're back with a special guest episode, and this time Carla is sitting down with Brett Skrupski, the Franchise Success Associate at Real Property Management Home Office.  Brett originally joined RPM as a Business Development Manager at one of our franchise offices,  but is now on the other side and part of the home office team working alongside existing RPM community members and new franchisees as they go through the on-boarding process. In this episode Brett will be sharing his insight into RPM and how his background in coaching and mindset training has allowed him to be the best support person that our offices have. 

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Welcome to Canada's Property Management Podcast, your number one resource for investing, managing and maximizing the value of your real estate assets. And now here's your host, Carla Browne and Adrian Schulz, Canada's rental property experts.

Carla Browne (00:18):

Okay, welcome everyone to Canada's Property Management Podcast. Today, I have my Starbucks in hand for our listeners only to the podcast, they can't see that, but it's a very vital part of the podcast, is Starbucks. And I have our second official guest, Brett Skrupski is a franchise success associate with Real Property Management Canada. And I'm bringing him on today, not because Adrian isn't around, actually I think Adrian is around. So I don't want him to feel slighted. This time, last time we brought in a guest when he was on vacation, but Adrian, don't worry you're coming back next week if you're listening to us.


But I really thought it was important that our listeners realize that Real Property Management is not just Adrian and I per se, but we really do have this team behind us. So getting to understand who the team members are that I am so fortunate to work with every day is something I wanted to share. So Brett, as our franchise success associate, why don't you tell our listeners a little bit about yourself and then we'll dive into some questions on strategy, support and scaling, this thing we call property management?

Brett Skrupski (01:26):

Sounds fantastic. Carla, thank you so much for having me. And as Carla said, Adrian, I am just keeping the seat warm for you, do not worry, we'll be here when you get back. So, no stress about that. Yes, I am so proud and happy to be a part of the podcast here. It is so successful and I know that's because of the hard work Carla, Adrian and the whole team have put behind it. For myself, it has been an absolute treat, an absolute pleasure to be part of Real Property Management. Going on, I think 15 months now is my entire career, but I did not start in property management. I have a bit of a muddled or modeled background as it were. I started in accounting and finance and found my passion in coaching and connecting with people, found property management as a source.


I knew about it in exploring the potential of investing in property myself, and so I knew the value coming in and never thought that I would be on the other side of things. But it's been an absolute treat to learn the industry from the inside to work with incredible investors, and now in my position here to support, and coach and handle so much of the contact with our franchisees. It is very, very powerful and really, really exciting for me to be a part of the entire team, and then work with great folks like yourself, Carla, and the entire home office team.

Carla Browne (02:41):

Aww, thanks for that. Let's talk about your past, because your past actually is what brought you to this present. Your coaching background is something that I found extremely intriguing to me when I worked with you in the local office here for a period of time and that it really brought a light about what we needed to do as a franchise organization, in order to better support our offices. And having obviously support, day-to-day support is really important. But do you want to just talk a little bit about how coaching, why is that important in business? Whether you're in property management or whether you're in selling Starbucks, we'll go back to my Starbucks that I love so much. Why is having coaching and the type of coaching that you do so important?

Brett Skrupski (03:30):

It's vital for whether you're an entrepreneur, whether you work in a business, your mindset is what is so important and a coach, someone or someone, ones that you have to work alongside can help bring additional perspective. So many people can get wrapped up working in their business and not on their business, or conversely the other way around. And it is not the full and complete perspective of what you need to grow to expand to become successful. And working with a coach or as I said, even a team of coaches can be so helpful, because it provides that additional external perspective. It provides a sounding board to be able to bounce ideas off of back and forth, and be able to move forward in a way that you can creatively and collaboratively expand whatever business that you happen to be in.


And so, the power of a coach is to help really with the mindset, the coach is not there to deliver answers to you. A coach is there to help you achieve the answers you already know. You just need to discover for yourself along the way to help you set the goals that you know need to hit. You want to hit there as a cheerleader, there to help you figure out the steps, not to just deliver the answers in hand. I would be a coach that would be very, very rich, if I had all the answers, and could just have clients come to me and be able to do that.

Carla Browne (04:49):

I think it's phenomenal that you have property management experience behind you, so because you really can relate to our offices that are in the field. But there's a couple really key things I think you just brought up, it's like that working on the business, not just in the business because as business owners, we get bogged down with a lot of things. And also as business owners, we don't necessarily know when is the right time to hire that person or what does that person do. The other thing that I think was even more key that you mentioned there is your goals. So it's not about our goals as real Property Management Canada, when you're working with our offices, it is about digging into their goals and how we help them achieve their goals. Because all of our offices really might have a different perspective on that and I think that's really important in a good coach.


First you understand the business, I think that's awesome. And secondly, being able to work with them on their goals and trying to often turn the mindset around, because business is challenging and property management business definitely has its challenges. I mean, we can't escape it like any other business. So, let's talk about the property management business side of it. So when you are working with a new office and they're now just getting into property management, how do we start? What does an office need to do to get going? And this could be general, Brett, it could be someone who's maybe coming into our system or maybe someone who's just starting their own property management. What kind of things should they be looking at?

Brett Skrupski (06:21):

It's really important for them to understand how they want to scale. They do want to know what their community is, what kind of an area, where their niche markets and spaces that they're going to be able to expand into, that they want to know. Because this entire industry of property management is based on scale and what you want to scale to, but what you have the capacity in a certain area to be able to scale into. And so, certainly knowing your territory, knowing where you want to target and focus on the investors that are going to align with you and fit with you and your services are super important naturally. And being able to understand your community, because each community is going to be different. You have, whether you're in D.C., or you're in Ontario, or in Saskatchewan or Manitoba, every single province is going to have its own different situations, but even the communities within that.


And so, it's so important to understand where you're able to find yourself placed within the community in the area that you serve, and understanding that scale is so important, where you want to go and what you can feasibly achieve. But the complexity of property management as a whole, is so important to understand, because it's not just set up a room in the back of your house and make a few calls to maintain and collect rent every month. There are so many factors when looking at scale. It's not just growing your business from an investor side of things, it's growing your business from a staffing, from like you said, a company perspective. And then when is the right time to grow and expand, to be able to better serve your investors and better deliver the services you offer to those communities that you find yourself in?

Carla Browne (08:01):

Yeah, Adrian and I talk a lot about technology. Adrian always listens to these when he's not on, so that I'd call him a tech geek, but he's definitely a tech geek and I love that about him. But we get into these conversations about technology and the power of technology and all that it's done in the property management space. I mean firsthand, because you help coach and train on the pieces of technology that we have in our system, but it's that human connection that I truly believe technology allows individuals to have more time for. So this is a people business, I mean relationships matter so much. So I guess when you talk about that, the fit and being able to do everything that you need to do, the moving parts in a property management business, I would even say that the fit comes on the tenant side, being able to fit that piece and the relationships that have to go on with our tenants, whereas we're kind of that middle person as the property manager, right?

Brett Skrupski (09:02):

Yeah, Absolutely. Absolutely. It's not one sided, its, there's so many facets and you talk about people. One of the most eye opening, [inaudible 00:09:11] even if just a few words that I saw that really helped from a perspective, we talk about mindset, a perspective. Property management is people management. And not managing in some kind of a negative way, but that you are connecting with people, whether it be your investors, whether it be your tenants, it's all about connection, communication and people.

Carla Browne (09:29):

And, that is the number one complaint that I hear when investors are coming to us from possibly another company or something like that. I'm not dissing any other companies because at all, but communication is the thing that they are most, most, most, most, most needing. They want to know what's happening. This is a huge asset. This is a huge thing that we are managing, can't take it lightly. And the other thing is that I don't think we can take lightly is we're putting people in homes, that is a significant responsibility on our offices and as investors who are listening to us today, you are providing housing for people. An essential need, right?

Brett Skrupski (10:15):

It is, you get right down to that hierarchy of needs. Shelter is right there. And yes, there are other options perhaps, but it is so vital to be able to respect how important that is for people, certainly. I mean, certainly from the investor side on asset protection and asset management, but when you get to that tenant level, it is that basic need of shelter that we are helping to manage and provide. And so, that carries so much weight and power with it.

Carla Browne (10:39):

Yeah, I think I know what you're going to say on this question, but when you are starting to work with an investor or tenant, what is one of the most important things you need to communicate to them?

Brett Skrupski (10:50):

It's setting expectations, it's being able to manage that along the way, because everybody comes in with their own assumptions, their own ideas, their own goals and expectations along the way, and bringing and looping back to that concept of fit. In order to find that fit, we have to be on the same page on so many different things, expectations being one of those. And of course, that you see with communication being that main problem source and that main pain point, if you're not clearly communicating as a property manager to your tenants, to your investors about the expectations that they should have in stepping into the property that you are going to be leasing to them or in this service that you're able to offer to that investor for their property, there's going to be such a disjoint and such a mixed communication, mixed message. It is going to sour the relationship.


It is going to be very difficult to recover from, if that isn't laid out at the start of the conversation and the start of the relationship. It's not one side wins and you just lamb base them, this is what the expectations are and this is what it's going to be and lay down the law as it were. It's more about finding that common ground, but knowing this is what you have for your services and this is what you expect. You need to be able to reach that common and communal ground of expectation, and then have that clearly communicated to all parties involved.

Carla Browne (12:14):

Yeah, I listened to something really interesting the other day and it was all about negotiating. And negotiating is really, we're always negotiating whether people are negotiating with their kids, their employees, their spouse at work, you're negotiating with yourself, you talk about mindsets, I mean you actually negotiate with your own mindset at times, but it's it that the setting the expectation in the beginning of that relationship and communicating that can really solve a lot of problems later on. So I think that's so important. And it's hard for I think sometimes first time investors because this is so emotional for them. They've got this new investment property, they've met these tenants, they love them, they think they're so nice and they're going to move in.


And then the tenant is asking about certain things and you're almost willing to give them all they want, not even realizing it, but it's emotional. It's like you're on this high that I'm renting this property, and this investment property and I'm getting things rolling. And I think that if you come into it with less emotion, not that I don't want to have any emotion because that wouldn't be good either, but less emotion and really being clear on the expectations that will serve you much better later on. Wouldn't you agree?

Brett Skrupski (13:29):

Oh, absolutely. It's tough, because in dealing with investors as I have in the past, maybe they had a soured relationship with a preexisting property manager. Maybe they have been a property manager for themselves just managing their own and had a difficult time with tenants. And so often, it's juggling expectations or a ones that are skewed perhaps, in a way that is not favorable even for themselves and they don't understand it. And so, it's helping get to that point. You don't come at it from, like you said, that point of high emotion because if that's emotionally charged in a conversation, a lot of people can become defensive if they're not hearing what they want to hear and are going against their thoughts, or expectations that they may have even just coming into a conversation.


And so, setting things out in at least a logical way, it's not robotic, like you said, we are not devoid of emotion in that capacity, but making sure that we are clear and not charged up emotionally when getting into those conversations. And let the gleeful and positive emotions come from that, once we've set that base of understanding and collaborative communication between everybody involved.

Carla Browne (14:37):

Yeah. Okay. Just switching, I was just thinking about the title of this podcast, the strategy, support and scaling, SSS, I don't know what else that could stand for. But these are three words that to me are so important in business, and when we talk about having somebody who is coaching, as we're across Canada now and growing. We have lots of markets that are still available, of course, but we do have a number of markets that are now really going for us. And you work with all of these offices, so I think bringing you into this space was important for me, because we needed to realize that we couldn't, I guess, coach by a support hotline, where you call us when you have a problem and it became very reactive and similar to a property management business, if you were only reacting instead of trying to manage the properties more in a preventative or proactive way. It doesn't work as well. So, can you walk us through?


In your mind, what is growth coaching or strategy coaching? What is all behind that? Because I think it's important for people to understand, even if you're in business for yourself, you still have to have all these in play, you have to have strategy support, like you said, in order to be able to scale as you started out this conversation. But do you want to talk about growth coaching, mindset coaching? We've covered that mindset piece, but let's talk about the growth piece.

Brett Skrupski (16:03):

Yeah, absolutely. It's whether it be on an individual level or on a business level, there's a lot of similarity and so much of it, because we are all people. And whether you're running a business, or you're running just something for yourself and figuring out for your own personal mindset, it all boils down to an individual or individuals that are working within an organization. And in a business coaching perspective, so many times in the same way it is for individual coaching and personal coaching, it's the limiting beliefs that we hold, that hold us back from being able to set or accomplish our goals. It's the kind of language that we use to ourselves, that negative self-talk that can bring us down, that so many times if we have a frustrating call, let's say with an investor, that we weren't able to get those expectations set out. And so, we get down on ourselves and start to not even trust our ability to convey or did I... Am actually cut out for this industry because of what I did here and that I'm not seeing success? Or as we know, this is a cyclical business.


Real estate is cyclical and property management is cyclical with how things operate. And so when we have a bit of a downturn, it's important to recognize and have that strong mindset, that strong belief in yourself and that consistency of being able to weather the storm, to be able to move forward and be able to move with a way that it is a cycle and it is going to get better, because you have that strong belief in yourself, the value that you add for your tenants, for your investors. And it's sticking to that point and knowing this is where I need to be, this is what I do, this is where I belong and I am adding value to so many people's lives. It's that small shift that you have and being able to understand, as I said, that it's the smallest shifts that make the biggest differences I feel, especially when we're looking at perspective and mindset.


And in that business realm, sometimes all it takes is the smallest tweak, the smallest additional perspective. I know in my coaching calls, even just this past week, we had some really great breakthroughs because I was able to just simply offer a slightly different perspective on something. And it helped change, I think in a lot of ways the course of where a franchisee is going to take themselves, where they're going to set their goals and be able to make that. Because one small outside perspective, as I said, coaches don't deliver the answers to you, they are skilled in the language that they use, the questions that they ask to help bring out the knowledge within you, so that you can then implement it in whatever facet, in whatever capacity that you are, to move forward with.

Carla Browne (18:47):

Okay, so growth coaching is really mindset coaching. I'm going to sum that up, but and not lightly because I think this is super, super, super important for our listeners to understand, is that usually businesses who get in a rut, it's the mind that's in a rut. And I know a lot of people like mindset, mindset, they just don't pay enough attention to it. It is everything when you are running a business or in the property management business, this is not an easy business at times. I have been in it for a long time. I will not ever, ever tell somebody it is an easy business. I think we do a lot of things to make things a lot easier and smoother with our systems, and technology and someone like you to help people, to bring them along through the process.


But you have to be able to shift that mindset, you have to find a way to have a regular mindset reset sometimes, whether that be books, speakers, coaches, there's a number of ways that people can do that obviously. But in order to grow or scale in this business, you need to have some strategy and you need to have the support. And that's why I named this podcast, that is those three things, I think are so, so important in business in general. So Brett, is there anything else that you want to share from that coaching and support perspective to the listeners?

Brett Skrupski (20:07):

I would say one of the biggest things, regardless of where you're at with this and certainly looking in the property management realm with all facets, I mean, know your why. Three words that I could say that are so powerful, know your why. And from a mindset perspective, why have you set out as a property manager? what are you seeking to be able to fulfill in people's lives, in your own life and tie what you do and the value that you create to your why. That way, when we just talked about weathering storms, and then going through potential hardships and cycles, when you are met with adversity, when you are met with difficulty along the way, you could always go back to your why and it will remind you of the value that you're creating and what you are doing. And it will fuel your success moving forward, in times, even when it is an upswing.


And when it is positive, you can go back to that why, and it can energize you and it can drive you forward to set loftier goals, to push yourself to deliver even more powerful value added services to better communicate and connect with your tenants and investors. It will fuel everything. And so, it's so important to be able to get that nailed down for yourself and be able to always be able to return to it. And the other point, communication, we touched on it at the very start of how it is, one of, if not the biggest issues that we run into in the property management realm is your communication. That clarity, that directness, how you communicate with everyone in the industry, regardless tenant, investor, vendor, whoever it is. It is so important to have that clarity of communication. Those expectations can be managed through it, but being able to clearly and consistently communicate with all parties, is going to help everybody to win and everybody to succeed. And so, that's where I would say would be one of, if not the most important aspects to have as a strength in you alongside your why.

Carla Browne (22:05):

Awesome, awesome. I think that is something that, I mean, we hear it all the time, the why, but I think just the passion that you bring to how you talk about it, just makes me realize again, how important that is. And that's why we have a why, that is why at Real Property Management, why we have a why, because we do have things that we want to accomplish across this country.


And, I think we're doing that pretty well together. Okay, so we are going to wrap this up. Is there any small pro tip that you want to leave or maybe just repeat one more time for anyone that maybe wasn't totally listening to everything that's like, this is the one thing that you need to do in property management, if you do want to scale.

Brett Skrupski (22:45):

If you don't want to scale it, work for the coach, have support, because that support filters all the way down. Even as a business owner, as a franchisee, as whoever you are in the property management realm, if you have support for yourself and you getting your business moving and in the direction you want to go, that support inevitably trickles down. Because the more supported you are in your space, the more support you can offer your investors, the more support you can offer your tenants, because you don't feel like you're having to manage every aspect, even if it is just you being the property manager and you're in a smaller scale business to start. The more support you have, large or small, is going to help trickle down and offer more value to everybody involved through your entire web.

Carla Browne (23:30):

Yeah. One thing we always say that in the franchise organizations, many franchise systems out there, but you're working for yourself but never by yourself. And that is one thing that I think is very, very important for people to understand. If you're looking at getting into business, I've been in the franchise industry all my life, really, my whole professional life, so I truly believe in what it can bring to a business. But Brett, thank you for joining us today. You are always a pleasure to have around, as I tell you, on a daily basis. And if anyone is wanting to learn a little bit more about Brett, he can be reached at His coaching prices come with a very high price tag, I will warn you. Just kidding.


But yeah, if you want to reach out, he'll always give some tidbits of information, that's just who he is. So thank you so much for joining me today, Brett.

Brett Skrupski (24:24):

Thank you, Carla, its been an absolute pleasure.

Carla Browne (24:26):

Okay, and that is Real Property Management.

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