A Reputation Built on Service

Larlyn Property Management

“Where we are today in our growth cycle is only the result of listening to the clients and implementing the things that they want. We’ve grown from one client to another from referral, which is how we would like to continue to grow,” he says.

Every successful business acknowledges that a commitment to reliable and efficient customer service is its greatest asset. Excellent customer service is the platform – the foundation – from which a business earns a reputation for being the best and being the best requires the ability to not only meet clients’ expectations, but to exceed them through wise investment in talented and experienced people.

Established in 1975, Larlyn Property Management is family owned and operated with approximately 600 employees and is one of the largest property and asset management companies in Canada. Headquartered in London, Ontario, Larlyn Property Management embraces a customer focused approach to business – the mainstay of its vision for expansion and growth, not only in Canada, but into the United States and internationally. For Larlyn Property Management, it’s a question of timing in securing that growth.

“We are not opposed to looking at opportunities outside the marketplace,” Michael says. “We’ve developed a number of best practices over the years which allow us to keep our services at a high level regardless of where we’re operating… it’s just a matter of the right opportunity for us.”

Michael knows that in the property management industry, no two properties or clients are alike. It’s not a rigidly moulded industry and the marketability of any given property is constantly changing; the need for flexibility is constant.

Within a Condominium Corporation, for instance, Board members are elected every year. “When you get different bosses you get different expectations and just because what you’ve been doing has worked so far, it doesn’t mean you don’t need to change to meet the new expectations,” says Michael. “Our whole approach is service based, so we’re focused around managing people.”

Listening to clients’ needs and expectations allows for the decision making required to put the appropriate programs and personnel in place to meet those expectations. “Our clients are people sitting on the Board that have jobs elsewhere, having different expectations, skill sets and education levels,” continues Michael. “So we have to closely listen to what everyone wants and make sure we provide that.”

Indeed, Larlyn Property Management’s client services department’s only role is to follow up with clients to ensure that Larlyn is meeting their expectations and to establish, “What we can be doing to better our relationship going forward,” adds Michael. This feedback is then forwarded to Larlyn’s operational team.

Being in a customer-centric industry, Larlyn Property Management ensures the establishment of solid relationships with diverse stakeholders who are not only property owners and managers, but suppliers and vendors. It’s essential that these relationships are based on trust and reliability or a business can easily lose credibility. When speaking of Larlyn Property Management’s relationship with vendors, Michael relates, “We like to ensure that our vendors are paid promptly. They’re usually small businesspeople as well who rely on provided service but also rely on being paid. We ensure that bills are promptly paid.”

Certainly, a return on investment is crucial to business survival. This holds true for Larlyn’s philosophy of engaging the right people to move its property management business forward. Larlyn believes in hiring the best. “People are the strengths of our business,” says Michael. “We don’t necessarily require people who have the experience when they join us; we look for people with the right attitude and the desire to service other individuals.”

Larlyn ensures that staff members are engaged in the fundamentals of how to be good property managers. The company’s training and development institute – Larlyn Institute of Training – offers funding for courses and programs. “That allows us to not only train our property managers, but train our assistants and our client accounting department on the fundamentals of the provincial Real Estate Acts, Condominium Acts and other provincial Acts within the property management industry, so that we can ensure that we’re providing a high level of service,” relates Michael.

Larlyn was the first Property Management company in Ontario to hold authorized provider status from the Association of Condominium Managers of Ontario, (ACMO) and offers in-house ACMO college courses to those in management, Board members and staff. “Based on our accreditations that we’ve earned over the years, we have a lot of best practices in place so that individuals coming in, not knowing the business but having the right skill set, are easily able to follow our philosophy.”

In addition to its ACMO 2000 certification, Larlyn Property Management is the only management company in Canada recognized as ISO 9001:2000 registered, the first management company in Canada to receive both certifications. “The ACMO 2000 certification is a best practice within the industry, meaning that you’ve met certain ethical and best practice minimums,” explains Michael. The ISO recognition “has allowed us to keep the roots intact within the company while we continue to grow what we call our best practices,” he adds. “The original owner philosophy is engrained in what we do day to day… All of our property managers reach the same level of training, regardless of location… getting recognized in the industry continues to acknowledge internally to our staff that we’re doing the right thing.”

Larlyn Property Management engages its corporate philosophy of putting clients’ needs first and foremost by constantly improving its services through technological advances and instant access to information. Enhanced communication enables knowledge transfer quickly and easily so that Larlyn Property Management always maintains its position as an industry leader. Its IT management and developmental department, makes information published in various articles within the industry and makes that readily available to the company’s clients. Michael says this allows them to, “better themselves by reading directly what’s happening in the industry.”

He also notes that Board workshops are conducted in each region, on a monthly basis, covering topics relevant to what clients want to hear and what’s relevant to industry happenings at any given time. Included are webinars so that those unable to attend in person can participate over the internet. In this way, “They’re able to make better business decisions for their properties,” notes Michael. “People are becoming more technology based, wanting instant access and communication. We need to be able to service those needs. Because we’re dealing with different individuals, their needs all vary.”

Michael sums up by emphasizing that reputation is essential in the customer service industry. “When we’re talking to clients, it’s really important for us to understand what their challenges have been – what they’re trying to accomplish. We tailor our programs to be able to give them options to achieve that.”

June 21, 2018, 11:27 PM EDT

A Proactive Approach to Resolving a Longstanding Debate

About forty skilled Central and South American workers from Ecuador, Peru, Columbia and Costa Rica came to British Columbia, Canada as temporary foreign workers (TFWs) in 2006. This story incited Labourers’ International Union of North America (LiUNA) call for reforms to Canada’s TFW program (TFWP) and the International Mobility Program (IMP). LiUNA, a powerful voice within the construction industry with over half a million members – 110,000 of whom are in Canada – has been the only Canadian union to address the issue.