How to find the best commercial property management software for your business

Jon Park
Jon Park | 7 min. read

Published on March 28, 2023

There’s no dull day as a property manager. You’re not only managing the property itself, but making sure you keep both your tenants and landlords’ best interests in mind.

Commercial property managers,  in particular, have variables like foot traffic, public access, and tenants in diverse businesses and industries to consider.  You need to be sure you’re operating as effectively and accurately as possible, while still bracing yourself for the unexpected.

That’s where commercial property management software comes in as a combination of tools to make every part of your daily operations easier and more profitable. In this guide, we’ll walk through how to vet the right software for your business, the key features to look out for, and potential pitfalls to avoid.

What Makes Commercial Properties So Difficult to Manage?

Commercial property, such as malls, offices, factories, and storefronts, is real estate designated to conduct business. There are a few reasons why commercial property is harder to manage than other types of properties.

First, the size of the occupancy is much larger than residential properties. Dealing with public foot traffic makes it more likely that more things will go wrong and properties will have to be maintained more frequently. 

The urgency and complications of repair requests are bigger as well, when you’re dealing with businesses that need to operate at full capacity. Their inability to run their business is a direct financial loss for your tenants, requiring maintenance to be dealt with swiftly. 

Scheduling regular maintenance, such as HVAC system cleaning and inspections can be complicated and expensive, especially for commercial buildings that may be occupied 24/7. 

There are also unique safety and compliance issues. Building codes for commercial spaces can get stringent, so following local guidelines must be prioritized. 

Finally, bookkeeping for commercial property is so complex that it can’t be done with a spreadsheet. The scale of managing a commercial building requires commercial property management software that’s built for the job and can automate invoicing, bookkeeping, and tax reporting.

Why Won’t Generic Property Management Software Work?

With these commercial property-specific issues, features that may look good on the surface, even for smaller property managers, may not be applicable or work the way you want them to manage your portfolio on the platform. 

Generic business software requires too many workarounds and customization for specific tasks. It needs a way to integrate with all the other software you’re using to be effective and can be difficult to scale as your business grows. 

What Is the Best Commercial Property Management Software?

Successful commercial property managers need to be efficient, quick, flexible, and reliable—and so should the the commercial property management software you choose.

The main traits of the best commercial property management software include:

  • Industry-specific features that streamline your day-to-day workflow to ultimately save you time and money.
  • Professionalism: The software is reliable and easy to understand—you’re fully supported as a customer, and the owners and tenants that access the software feel fully supported, too.
  • Security and Accuracy: Data is stored safely and reliably and every business function, from rent collection to accounting, is recorded accurately.
  • Flexibility: The software should include features that you can freely add or remove to adjust to the size of your business and your unique needs.

What Commercial Property Management Software Features Should You Look For?

In a sea of never-ending options, how do you choose the best commercial property management software? Start by understanding your biggest needs and prioritize them by how much time and how many resources they’re costing your business. Itemizing a numbered list of your biggest priorities can help you shop and identify the best features that can genuinely move your business forward. 

Here are some specific characteristics that you should consider.

Marketing that Drives Quality Applicants

Marketing your commercial property effectively not only gets you more eyeballs on your listing, but also the high-quality applicants you need to fill your commercial units quickly. 

Commercial Property Management Software inline quote

A well-designed website where you can showcase your properties, host important documents, and help prospective tenants with specific needs, such as accessibility features, all contribute to elevating your brand perception and value.

A website can also link to central tenant, owner, and employee portals—another important feature to look for—where you accept rental applications, communicate with tenants, owners, vendors, and employees. This organizes and simplifies your communication channels effectively, so you’re not drowning in phone calls.

Streamline Your Workflow with the Right Leasing Software

Property vacancy is both expensive and inevitable. Not receiving rental income is only a part of the equation. You’ll have to pay for utilities, taxes, insurance, and advertising expenses.

Building a streamlined process from receiving an applicant to signing a lease is the fastest way to minimize your vacancies and start generating rental income. There are three key areas where property management software can help you bring on new tenants and re-sign existing ones. 

#1: Manage Applications

After you show your commercial unit, it’s integral that you make it easy to apply online. The best rental application software allows you to customize your form by adding, removing, or reordering application fields as needed.

The right software will provide a birds-eye view of all your applicants in one simple dashboard where you can accept, deny, or manage every applicant. It will even store individual applicants safely and move them throughout the rest of the signing process without the need to re-enter data at every step.

#2: Sign in Seconds

Now it’s time to dot your i’s and cross your T’s. Property management software can create templated agreements, allow prospective tenants to sign them from their phone or computer, and store them safely in the cloud. Who owns a copy machine these days anyway?

eSignature capabilities are a must and, just as with background checks, you should look for a solution that’s both simple to use and secure, while safely storing documents for access when you need them.

#3: Track Charges

Once a lessee is in, your property management software should help you collect and track triple-net charges. If your tenants are renewing their old lease, use your software to schedule rent increases.

Trust Your Numbers with Property Management Accounting Software

Accounting isn’t only about jotting down who is paying rent. It’s recording every transaction from paying your staff to getting your tax documents in order in time for tax season (and of course being compliant). 

To truly streamline your finances, you need a property accounting software that moves data across every financial touchpoint of your business: rent collection, vendor invoices, owner payments, insurance costs, and the many other transactions you’ll manage.

Having a single source of truth for each property you manage can help you identify any red flags and delinquencies quickly so you’re not wasting your time triple-checking and reconciling your records.

Better yet, software that speeds up accounting, while staying pinpoint accurate, with features like automatic bank reconciliation can quickly become invaluable to your bookkeeping.  

Employing property management accounting software streamlines the verification of tax numbers, ensures compliance, facilitates the filing of 1099-MISCs and 1099-NECs, and proactively addresses missing information, thereby giving you a head start during tax season. Find one that enables you to prep your forms before the IRS opens filing for the year. 

Flexible, Always-On Property Management Maintenance Software

The solution to all-too-common maintenance madness includes software features like ticket portals with reliable uptime and a white-glove maintenance concierge that’s available to your tenants anytime. This will simplify fulfilling maintenance requests so tenants won’t miss out on business. 

Here are the qualities of effective maintenance services.

24/7 Reliability: Tend to tenants more efficiently,  complete work orders faster, and avoid easily-forgotten texts and voicemails with a portal that tracks every ticket and makes it easy to submit a repair request. The right software can bolster your reputation for exceptional client service.

No Invoice Left Behind: Have a record of every invoice, and access all the information to fulfill requests swiftly and reliably. Commercial property management accounting software connects your tickets with your accounting system, so there’s no fishing for receipts, matching balances, or guesswork involved.  Link trusted vendors to specific tenant or property profiles so work order fulfillment is even easier next time.

Pull Data and Analytics for Your Commercial Property Management Business

Data helps making decisions much easier. An effective data and analytics hub gives you a clear picture on how your business is doing. 

Owners can run reports on important metrics such as revenue metrics and performance benchmarks, as well. They can get the details they need proactively, and can reach out to you easily when needed.

Get Started with the Best All-in-One Software for Commercial Property Management

Buildium is a purpose-driven property management software that helps streamline your business. With a variety of features to help property managers across various portfolios, and an ever-expanding marketplace of easy-to-use integrations, we offer each of the features you see above! Getting started with Buildium is easy—and you can give us a try for free. 

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Jon Park

Jon Park a Content Strategist who started his career by building an online community of 150,000 beatboxers. During the little time where he's not consulting or heads-down writing content, he loves playing gaming, traveling to escape the NYC weather, and eating hot pot.

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