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What it's like working in Ailo (Panel)
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23 August 2023
Our resident property manager Juliette Hughes recently sat down with Katelyn Beard from Ray White Mittagong), Dina Alexiou from Ray White Brighton Le Sands, and Carmen Jackson from Ray White Maitland to hear about their experiences moving over to Ailo. Watch the video or read the transcript below.
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The following transcript has been shortened and edited for relevance.

‘How has Projects changed the way you work?’

Since moving to Ailo and using Projects it’s just… mind blowing.
Everything is there and it’s assigned to somebody, it’s allocated. Even the fact that you can customise, it is fantastic.
I’ve been off sick since Thursday and only yesterday did I log back in to look at my Projects and I can see my leasing agent has been on the ball.
Things are getting done and I don’t have to stress. Without Ailo I would have come back in and my head would have been all over the place knowing that I’ve got so many things on but it’s just up to date.
I actually had Covid recently and it (Ailo) gave me peace of mind coming back to work knowing that Lara, my assistant, could just go in there and sort out the Projects. Just not having the stress of all the lists and pieces of paper for maintenance since it’s all done in the chat now it’s nice and easy.
I can see my lease renewals, there’s a screen for that. I can see how many properties I’ve got vacant and how many I’ve got under management. It’s a real game changer that you’ve got everything in one spot.
Our office is really liking the chat feature. A lot of our tenants use the chat feature to just say “Hey, my oven isn’t working” and we can just quickly reply “Ok, we can get onto that for you today”. It’s just nice and easy.
Our arrears are pretty much at zero percent since we have come onboard with Ailo which is just a game changer for us. We literally only have one person in arrears today.
Our tenants get a reminder now to pay rent through the app and they now know that the owner can see that they’re paying and we can see what they’re paying so there’s no more saying they have paid when they haven’t.
It’s especially good for holding deposits for places that we’re leasing.
We used to send text messages, we used to do the email template ‘you are this many days behind in rent, please pay to our trust account’. We would call, we would phone tag with people telling them how many days they were behind and asking them to call us back. There’s just none of that.
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“We would call, we would phone tag with people telling them how many days they were behind and asking them to call us back. There’s just none of that.”

Carmen Jackson, Ray White Maitland

Katelyn, I know when you came across to Ailo your office had also just gone through an acquisition so you had two rent rolls coming together. Tell me about that experience.

It was a very chaotic one that’s for sure!
We acquired the rent roll in October and we didn’t actually transition onto Ailo until November/December so we actually had to transition them to PropertyTree and then transition them again. The rent roll that we purchased was actually an older school rent roll so it was a lot of tenants that had been on there for donkey's years and a lot of landlords that had had these properties forever. They were used to all their communication coming via the letterbox so to get them to sign onto Ailo was definitely a challenge at first. We had to really go into detail with them about who and what Ailo is and work with them. It was a challenging time at first but with our rent roll, the one we had grown ourselves, it was a lot easier as they are a different generation of tenants.

What are you using in Ailo that helps you do your work given that you’ve got such a variety of profiles on your books?

If I could do it again I would probably host an event with our clients to help them get onboard. Give them an opportunity to chat with us so we can tell them the benefits of Ailo and tell them the options if they decide not to use it.
A few of our landlords have just told us what they want and we’ve been able to jump in and set it up for them.
We’re now fully using emails. Our tenants are responding to emails from Ailo and they’re communicating through the chat. Having all the information there has changed a lot.
We still have a few of the older clients coming in to tell us about maintenance but we’re being able to tell them ‘there is an easier way’ rather than coming all the way down to our little Mittagong office.

Technology doesn’t replace the relationships. It helps everyone get what they want without property managers having to do all the legwork. Do you agree?

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“We still have a few of the older clients coming in to tell us about maintenance but we’re being able to tell them ‘there is an easier way’ rather than coming all the way down to our little Mittagong office.”

Katelyn Beard, Ray White Mittagong
We’re definitely seeing the sun at the end of it. The clients are really appreciating it. There are just so many ways they can communicate with us now.
The owners can see absolutely everything about where their tenants are up to - There is no hiding anymore and it’s just incredible that they can see absolutely everything.
We were the same as what Katelyn said. Some tenants took to it straight away whilst others are paying through the app, but not on the app.
Just this morning I had a conversation with a tenant who was in arrears and he said “how can I see when I am in arrears” and I was able to say “if you get yourself on the app you can see!”
Since being on Ailo I’m not having to have call tenants or landlords about arrears, repairs, or any of the little things because it all comes through chat. I can get a little notification on my phone - it’s fantastic.
I’ve been away for four days and there was a massive repair that came in and my team were able to deal with it straight away.

It’s amazing how something as simple as chat can change the way that we work. No more of the big long emails we used to write. All that waiting time after asking for permission then waiting for a reply - it’s just gone. Has that been your experience?

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“Since being on Ailo I’m not having to have call tenants or landlords about arrears, repairs, or any of the little things because it all comes through chat. I can get a little notification on my phone - it’s fantastic.”

Dina Alexiou, Ray White Brighton Le Sands
I had a landlord who was against Ailo thinking that it was some kind of conspiracy and the month that we moved over to Ailo they got their end of month statements and we got a message through Ailo saying: “Thank you so much, I love that I can just go in and not have to bother you and I’m able to see not just my statement but where the tenant is paid up to.” He’s just one of those old school, elderly people that would prefer to get on the phone but given the fact that he can now get onto Ailo and check these things by himself - it is a game changer.

I hear from some property managers that some of their clients don’t have email and won’t give us one and once they move onto Ailo they suddenly say “here’s my email address, I want to get on!” Carmen’s nodding, did that happen to you?

Yes it did!
We had people who thought it would be a security issue and were nervous to download Ailo. We would call them and tell them it is a lot more secure than our previous system and it’s going to be better for you to have access to your Ailo wallet with your funds so you can take them out when you want them.
A lot of our landlords are old school and didn’t like change so it was just about letting them know the benefits to them to get them across.

I want to ask each of you - what you do with the extra time Ailo has given you or the team?

We are going into prospecting, we follow up on our appraisals, we attend seminars and events like this one to help us grow as property managers and learn more. We just smile and laugh more.
End of month and mid-month was really stressful to us because we were still writing out cheques and not just a few cheques! We were writing out lots of cheques and for us to not have to do that now is just huge. We don’t dread ‘end of month’ because it’s already done - Ailo does that for us and produces a statement for our owners. What more could we want really!

I love that you just said ‘smile more’. So you’re having a better time at work?

I am! Yes.
With the time that we have we actually spend it communicating with landlords - which I know is a funny thing to say because Ailo does it for us. Being able to have the flexibility to just pick up the phone and check in with clients and manage those relationships is the biggest thing for us.
In our agency we’re all very different property managers, we all do things differently so having that freedom and flexibility to be able to communicate with clients, spend more time at ingoings and outgoings, talking to tenants at routines and not constantly having to check your watch and being in a rush.
I think that’s the best thing about it - Having the time back.

How have you found customisable workflows with Projects helped your property managers work slightly differently?

One of the best things about Projects is that you can customise the Projects to each individual property manager. If you were to log into our Projects you would see that whilst my coworker and I have the same task to do, Ailo caters for us to do those tasks the way we prefer. We still obviously have the same principles but we like to focus on different aspects. I think that being able to customise for different property managers is essential. Not just having a ‘one shoe fits all’ because it definitely doesn’t.
We all put our little sparkle on it that’s for sure!
Leaving the office! Going to have lunch or a coffee. Meeting up with people in the area. I’ve been here nearly ten years and people see my face out on the board at the front office but that’s it. When they come in they say “you do exist! There is a Dina here!”. More time to be able to do that. I’ve never had that time before.

Dina, how has Ailo shifted your thinking and feeling towards your role?

I was at my wits end, very stressed and under the pump. I wasn’t getting the support I needed. I look after part of the commercial as well, so doing mid-month, doing end-of-month in PropertyMe, doing repairs, doing maintenance - It all became too much and I handed in my resignation.
I thought about it and I thought about it and I just thought - I can’t do this anymore. (My resignation) was put on hold because I was asked to attend the PropertyMe conference, which I did. We came onto Ailo a week after we came back from the conference and I’m still here.
It’s just changed everything. I’m a lot calmer and I can think better. Someone can come up to me and have a conversation without me biting their head off.

What would you say to a property manager who was looking at bringing Ailo into their agency?

Yep, just do it.
Just do it! You won’t be as stressed and it’s going to benefit the whole business as well.
It’s a game changer and that’s being completely honest. From what we were using before to Ailo - I wouldn’t change a thing.
I wish I had this when it was just me as a property manager but I’m very thankful that we have it now.

What system did you use before Ailo?

I’ve used Rest and Console in other offices but in this office we were using Palace which I hadn’t used before. But we made the switch and look at us now. Our owners and tenants are on the app and you can actually pull up a report through Ailo of who is on the app and we’re always surprised that people we thought weren’t going to be on the app do jump on.
Dina, how did you find your onboarding journey?
Most of my landlords were easy. New tenants were easy to get on. Some tenants didn’t understand the fee free option but once we explained what it was and how it works it was all good.
In the beginning of onboarding we had a few hiccups but it’s just smooth sailing now and we love the reports to help us keep track of transitioning.

Can you tailor Ailo to what your office needs?

There are a few different ways that you can tailor Ailo for you. You can be set up in pods, teams, portfolios - It’s designed to be set up for any type of structure. Beyond that you can tailor all of the Projects. You can decide how many steps you want to have and create a Project for anything you want. Baked into Ailo we have all the standard Projects for inspections, repairs and maintenance, new tenancy, new management and everything, all fully customisable and ready to go and then we have something called ‘Custom Projects’ and you can any flow you like and you can integrate reminders, messages, and forms. It really gives you the freedom to tailor and create procedures for your office with everything you do so everyone is following the same process or to cater for different styles amongst your team.
I feel like being able to get a bird's eye view of what you’re doing day to day then going straight into the details is like a genuine superpower of Ailo. Plus you can track it all and get a handle on what.