Joseph Heckel joined Property Management Inc. (PMI) as a franchisee in 2008 when the brand was just getting its start. A decade later, he’s signed on as PMI’s first 10-year renewal partner.
“I’ve been here from the get-go. Major changes have happened over the years,” reminisced Heckel. “I saw the direction PMI was headed back then, and that’s where the brand is now. Leadership has structured the branding, the processes and the controlling of costs. That’s why I renewed.”
Property Management Inc.’s evolving use of technology over the last 10 years has been a highlight for Heckel. “When I started, we had paper everywhere. I love PMI’s streamlining of management processes and I love the open communication,” he said. “We use technology to get franchisees together on the same page. Those platforms are solid and growing. PMI is in the high-tech world now.”
Heckel also appreciates the marketing tools, including social media, that PMI offers to franchisees to help expand their businesses, as well as those third-party partnerships that help keep down costs. “Property Meld is a third-party vendor that helps handle maintenance,” he explained. “Your business’s phone is answered all the time and it’s not by a direct employee. I’m not paying for their payroll taxes, insurance, 401k and all those costs that bring down your overhead, but my business benefits from the service.”
Heckel began his real estate career flipping houses alongside his brother in 2002. The next year, he obtained his license and began practicing full-time as a buying and selling agent. “When the market tanked in 2008, a lot of my investors said they wanted to buy in bulk, so I needed a property manager,” he said. “I decided to get my broker’s license and search for a property management franchise.”
By the time he discovered PMI, Heckel had several years of experience managing residential properties under his belt and was ready to break into the commercial market. “I looked at all the big franchises as well as Property Management, Inc.,” he said. “What caught my eye was the branding. I was one of the first five franchisees to sign on.”
Heckel was sold his franchise by Steven Hart, founder and president of PMI. Over the next decade, Heckel and his team grew every aspect of his business, expanding across real estate categories thanks to the resources provided him as a member of the PMI franchise system. Unlike other property management companies, PMI manages across the four pillars of residential, commercial, association (often HOAs) and vacation real estate.
When he first started, Heckel didn’t have any properties or real estate agents to claim. Today, he employs more than 15 agents and operates across all four of PMI’s pillars. “We manage 125 single-family homes, 50 vacation homes, which is the equivalent to 500 single family homes, and have acquired commercial property,” he said. “We’re set to close up to 10 deals this month alone.”
Heckel is proud of where PMI has helped him take his real estate business. “We are a full-service brokerage that can handle anything dealing with real estate,” he said. “The only thing we haven't touched yet is development—that’s going to be further down the road.”
Indeed, Heckel has plenty to look forward to over the next 10 years. “I want to have every tier that PMI offers up and running full-boat. I want to run every division separately, from HOA management to single-family, vacation, commercial and multi-family dwellings,” he said. “I’m looking forward to growing with the PMI family.