Pete Neubig: [00:00:04] And welcome back, everybody, to the Open Radio Podcast. And as promised, I have my good buddy Paul Kukowski here. So Paul, thank you so much for being here.
Paul Kankowski: [00:00:14] It's great to be on the show. So happy to spend some time with you.
Pete Neubig: [00:00:18] So, Paul, you and I have something in common where we're kind of a weird bunch. We love systems and processes and details and all of that stuff. And most people that start property management firms are kind of like the visionaries or from the sales side where you and I came from a different side of things, like we're just process oriented people. Tell me, why is it important for property management firms, especially to have systems and processes in their, you know, in their, you know, in their business?
Paul Kankowski: [00:00:53] Well, I'm going to start off by saying my process is eight years ago, they were awful. They were God awful. They were bad. And I actually went and got help to start working on my processes because I didn't like having a job. I wanted to own a company. And when you have no processes, you just have a job. You work all these hours of the day, you work so many hours, but you don't know what. You know what you did, but no one can replicate it. And that's why it's so important. Do you want to do you want to own a job, or do you want to own a company? And if you're if you if you're fine doing that, that's fine. But I went through a study with Daniel and Jordan and all that way back in the day when they were doing companies and I was paying myself, I think like $28,000 a year or something like that. So my company was profitable and they went through it and they're like, your company is not profitable. They're like, you might as well just well, I said this. They didn't say this. They're too nice to say this. But in my head, I said I should just get a job at McDonald's because right now I could make more money working at McDonald's than I am by having this company. And yes, I was growing it and building it, putting money back into it. But by creating processes, I was able to make a profitable company that was more efficient because there's things that are better done by other people than me.
Pete Neubig: [00:02:18] So by having a process, basically it gave you freedom.
Paul Kankowski: [00:02:24] Yes.
Pete Neubig: [00:02:24] Here, right now. When you have a process, it gives you freedom. But it also it allows you to be profitable. And is that because by having a process, you can hire lower wage or virtual assistants to kind of run that process or you need less people to because the process might have some automation in it. So how did it change from becoming a job to becoming a company and being an owner and being profitable? How did that help?
Paul Kankowski: [00:02:51] So I was very much into remote remote assistance, getting remote workers. But even if you're going to be hiring people in the US, you need a process because, you know, unless you find a unicorn, most people can't replicate what you're doing or do something better than you, so it allows you to have. Less expensive labor that can get things done better than you because they're more like, I'm a visionary, Pete. Like me and you, we hang out, we can, like, get caught up and doing different things. And it's really, really important to me to have people that can sit at a desk and just get something done throughout the day to get it done, because then I can focus on my visionary roles. I can focus on being a BDM. I mean, that wasn't something that I outsourced for a while. And then I finally got a BDM. But I could focus on being more appointments, getting more deals, getting more things. And when I got more efficient, I also felt better about raising my rates, about charging more because I knew I was giving a higher level of service. So everything is just better by getting processes down.
Pete Neubig: [00:03:59] I know one of the things that that really helped Empire. When I owned Empire, when we created these processes, a few things happened. Number one was we started giving the same customer consists and client experience, both on the resident side and on the owner's side, because now the team is following a process. So they're not, um, you know, they're not kind of thinking on the, on the fly. Right? There's there's less, um, there's less. What do you call that when like, you're just kind of winging it. There's less improvisation. Right. And so that provide the a consistent customer experience, which to me to empire it actually reduced churn. Right. So because you're getting the customer experience the same, you reduce churn. It keeps you out of federal fair housing too, right? It keeps you out of out of fair housing issues. If you have the same process going over and over, it's easier to train people because you now you have a process. And also with us, we found that we made more money because with the process it's like, oh, here you have to charge for this, then you have to do this. And what we had found is when we were. Quote unquote, winging it, a lot of that stuff would get missed. And we and we would miss a lease payment or a lease charge or a lease renewal charge or some type of charge because it wasn't documented in the process.
Paul Kankowski: [00:05:22] You missed it or you allowed it the charges to go away. An owner would complain, he'd be like, oh, we'll just write that off. When you had a process in place, it wasn't them talking to you, it was them talking to your employees, and they couldn't write off the charges. As owners, we are sometimes a lot worse at dealing with clients than our employees because our employees are set. This is your job. This is what you have to do. And when they call, they're like, yeah, well, I'm sorry, that's above my pay grade. I can't, you know, get rid of your renewal fee. And then when it comes to me, I have to back my employee, which means I have to have a consistent way that I talk to every owner. But before, the owners were like, my friends knew most of my owners because I was beginning and they'd have my cell phone number, which ended once I got processes and they call me up and be like, hey Paul, you know, this has been a bad year. Can you just, you know, waive that lease renewal fee this year and be like, oh, yeah, sure. You know, it was this, uh, it wasn't as organized and and, you know, at the end I'm like, look, I don't want to work at McDonald's. If you want me to manage your properties, then I need to make money. I'm sorry, but there's a thing where a lot of times, property managers, we don't value our time as much when we're growing our business. We're just like, getting out there. And we don't realize we're working 80 hour weeks, and we need to be getting paid that you wouldn't go tell, you know, your doctor. Oh, by the way, can you just cut my my charge in half? And, you know, he might say, well, what part of the surgery don't you want done? I mean, you know, it's like and so, I mean, I'm like, my doctor's making money, my lawyer's making money. I'm a professional. I need to be making money also.
Pete Neubig: [00:07:03] Yeah, I would say that also with with the processes. Before, we had good, clear, concise processes. We had a lot of chaos, and the way we solved the chaos originally was we hired a lot of people, a lot of bodies, thinking that would solve the challenge. And what it actually did is actually created more chaos, because now there's more people involved, there's more cross cross communication. Right? It's it's exponentially more difficult because you have more people with with different lines of communication. When we when we really dialed in our processes, I was able to increase the number of units per person operationally on our on our team, which also meant more more money in our pocket. Right. Because we can have more revenue with less expense.
Paul Kankowski: [00:07:54] Well, and you only solutions, you've probably seen this problem. People will call you and be like those people in Mexico. They're just not smart enough. They can't get it. They don't figure it out. I need to hire an American so that we can get this job done right. And they hire American, and they call you back and be like, Americans are idiots. None of them know what's going on. Everyone's right.
Pete Neubig: [00:08:14] No one wants to work. I can't find any good people.
Paul Kankowski: [00:08:16] Yeah, if I could just find that unicorn, I'm like, okay, well, how do you tell them what to do? Well, I texted them what they needed to do, and I'm like, you texted them? Like, I had someone actually tell me they texted their people in Mexico what to do for the day, and they were mad because the person didn't get the thing done right. I'm like, you know, I have videos, I have things they can follow. I have things that are step by step. I have ways they can watch, and then I'll get the people that say, I don't want to hire anyone until I get my process in place. That's wrong too. So it's a combination of to hire the people and have them help you create the processes, hire the people. Because if you hire the people and they get a little bit done, all that extra time you have, start spending on your process because it's kind of a, you know, if you don't hire anyone, you're running with your head cut off trying to manage your doors. You can't put things on paper, you can't do that. So you kind of have to go both directions. But when you first hire people every time things are going wrong, understand the point, the finger at yourself. It's because your processes suck, and as they get better, then your employees will get better and they're going to grow with you.
Pete Neubig: [00:09:21] So that's a good segway. So all right so let's say someone's listening to this like yeah man. They're they're talking to me like that's me. Um, now after listening to Pete and Paul, I understand I need processes. So in your opinion, what's the next step like? Okay, so I think I need processes, but where do I begin? Do I do all of them at once? Do I start with one. Do I hire somebody. Like what? What is the what's the process to to to to document your process or create processes in your company?
Paul Kankowski: [00:09:53] Well, I have people all. The time come to me and say, I got a couple of weeks off, I'm going to get all my processes created. And I kind of chuckle at that. Like, really? Seriously, I'm working on it for, you know, seven years and mine aren't all done. Um, I don't think processes are ever, like, done, like, oh my gosh, we completed them. All companies are going to run perfect and nothing's going to change. Regulations are going to change. Things are going to change. Life is going to change. So what I tell people is let's look at what is one of the most important processes for your company. A lot of times it's the application process. If your application process is different for every person, then you're going to get in trouble with the law. So let's get the application process right. So I would tell someone let's document what your application process is and then let's get it on paper. I don't care if it's paper and pen, I don't care if you use process and you're.
Pete Neubig: [00:10:43] Documenting what's happening currently, right.
Paul Kankowski: [00:10:46] Documenting what you currently do and you need to look at, then you need to go to everyone who's part of that application process within your company. If you're a one person company is pretty easy. You just look, point your fingers back at you. But if there's three of you and two of you are involved in the application process, then get those people in the same room as you. If they're in Mexico, get them in the same zoom as you. And let's go through the process and let's have them figure out ways to make it better and what's going to happen. And then you start to write it. Now you could get that thing written in two days. You get that process for application written in two days. Great. You have the start in two days. You wrote the process down. You have it on writing.
Pete Neubig: [00:11:23] It's going to find. I'm sorry to interrupt, but did you find that when you were creating the processes with clients and with yourself that you're like, oh crap, there's some things here that we don't do that we probably that I thought were being done that should have been done, or people are stepping on each other saying, oh, well, I do this well, well, I do it this way. Right. Do you find that every time a lot of stuff.
Paul Kankowski: [00:11:46] Every time. So then that's that's why I said then once you get it written, it takes three months of putting it in place. And every week you meet with those people that are doing it and you say, hey, what's going wrong with this? And then you make some changes and what's going wrong with this? And after like six weeks, you're like, okay, I think we have a process that's pretty good. Now let's not now, let's wait for three weeks and see what. It goes wrong with it, but then it takes about three months for you to say this process is done. And then guess what? That process is done. And a year from now you're going to revisit it. You're going to spend one day revisiting it, making changes. A year later of what? What you've done. A year later. So it's done. But it's not done forever. So I used to have a thing where we would all meet together, we'd break up the processes, and I'd put $100 bills on the, on the, on the, on the glass like it was in a room. And I said, whoever makes the best change that makes the most efficiencies for our company gets this money like that we vote on. And so and so every year we would read, we would look at like, we just spend two days and we'd go through eight processes because we already had them created, but we wanted to now make them.
Pete Neubig: [00:12:58] Now you're just looking for more efficiencies, more.
Paul Kankowski: [00:13:01] Efficiencies, more money, like, oh, this is something that we're not charging because we always miss this. Okay, well let's do that. That if you find an area that, oh my gosh, we're losing $25 a door because we're not charging this, that's going to win you the 100 bucks because that's a lot of money coming back into my pocket.
Pete Neubig: [00:13:16] Yeah. I also found that, um, you know, there are lots of things that break your processes, right? You talked a lot. You talked a little bit about, like, growth. Growth used to, uh, the process I created for 200 units broke at 400, broke at 800, broke at 1000. And so for for Empire, it was it was like, all right, we're the system is broke. Okay. Let's go. Let's go figure out. Right. So that's one way your process breaks. So if you're listening to this and you're at 100 units, I think you still create a process. But you know, don't try to create a process for 1000 units. Create the one for maybe 150 or 200 units. Do you agree with that? That mindset 100%.
Paul Kankowski: [00:13:58] Agree with it. One of the areas I'll just give an example is we had all of our leases end at the end of the month. That was great. And 100 doors at 200 doors. Now my branch in my area is over 1000 doors. They don't have that process anymore. That is not part of the process, because they wouldn't want 1000 doors to end on the same day. And I understand people in college towns might have it all their doors end in within the three day period, but that's just craziness. But you have to do what your what's good for your company. But now all of a sudden we have them on the 15th. The 20th, we they, we switched it because there's so many doors. Yeah.
Pete Neubig: [00:14:31] Staggered staggered 200.
Paul Kankowski: [00:14:33] Doors. It was very cool because you knew the end of the month, you had everyone moving in and out the middle of the month. You weren't worrying about moving and move out. You knew by the 21st you had to have all the yeah, the things back, the security deposits back. So it was a very set process, which was good for small amount of doors, wasn't good for big doors.
Pete Neubig: [00:14:52] Yeah. Um. What are what are your what's your take on like so another thing that can break the process or change it is bringing in automation or bringing in some, some software. So talk about like because automation is a big, you know, buzzword right now. And lead simple is kind of on the forefront of that. Um. So tell me, do I automate or do I build a process first? Like what? Tell me the tell me what the what the the line order is.
Paul Kankowski: [00:15:19] And I do love lead simple and they will give you this exact same answer. No no no automation. Do not automate anything. If you automate crap, you're going to get crap. Automate. Once you get something that's beautiful because you want to, you want to, and then you want to automate, you got to watch it for the first couple of months. If you are sending automated emails, you don't want that, dear owner, you want the dear. You know, Pete, you got to make sure those emails are automating, right? So you have to check with automation. Automation is amazing. It's wonderful. But if you're starting your processes and you said, I want to start my process and automate three months, I would tell you, don't even think about automation for a year. And yeah, you can use lead simple because lead simple can do everything. An automated lead simple can do everything where you have to physically push the button and do it. But then once that process goes for 3 to 6 months even and you know it's good, then you can click on the button and say, okay, now send these emails automatically. But until before that, I would rather everything that I'm looking at because getting zapped with Zapier, getting all those things, getting it so that it's working back and forth, it's great, but you got to start in the right lane. You can't. I mean, it would be like having automatic driver in a car, but you don't teach someone how to drive yet. Like, you know, you're 14 years old. Let's just put you in and, you know, let's just have you be the automatic driver. But they don't know how to drive it. Learn how to drive, learn all the problems, then automate.
Pete Neubig: [00:16:47] Yeah, I feel like sometimes people have this grandiose idea and it's so grandiose that you never like, you end up having analysis paralysis. You never get off the ground because you have like this idea of what you want it to be. And you never take step one, which is document your existing process. Then the next step, if I, if I heard you correctly, is is make adjustments, burn it in or make more adjustments over time. Get it down and then automate. Is that sound about right?
Paul Kankowski: [00:17:16] That is correct. Automation is not an early step. Automation is advanced writing. I mean, that's that's a that's an advanced way. And you know, like.
Pete Neubig: [00:17:27] I said, I love I love your garbage in, garbage out. Right? I love that that idea if you're putting crap in you're going to get crap out. You're just going to get it out at a much quicker pace than you did if you weren't automating.
Paul Kankowski: [00:17:40] And it's going to be a lot worse. I mean, it's going to be, you know, you you'll probably have a lot of bleeding when you start sending emails to owners that you didn't want to be sent.
Pete Neubig: [00:17:49] Yep. So you had talked about the application process. Is that the is that the recommended process to start with, or do you have a different like is there a different different strokes for for different folks so to speak. Yeah.
Paul Kankowski: [00:18:02] Look operation process is actually my last one of the, one of my last ones that I did. So for my company, every company is different. My company, my wife was in charge of two things and that was it applications and renewals. And no one messed with it. She did it. She had a little Excel spreadsheet, did it her way. The second that I want to change that process, the deal was that I had to fire her. Basically, she was like, I'm not working at all. I'm not doing it your way. And I'm like, great. I'm having my people do it. So for me, in the beginning, for my company, when I hired people, I was like, I was glad she was taking care of it. And it wasn't an area that were bleeding because she was very proficient at it. She was very good at doing what she did, and we were bleeding on move ins, move outs. You know, those things that she wasn't involved in and that I wanted to get better. So that was important for me to start applications, probably important for a lot of people. But if you have something like I have people that say, oh, their finance is done by this person and it's great, or that's an area that they're really struggling and that they're seeing that they could be in trouble. Look at where you're struggling and get those processes done.
Pete Neubig: [00:19:13] I agree, because a lot of people think, well, I'm just going to start at the beginning, right? Whether it's onboarding or application, depending on which, you know, the beginning is on the customer, on the resident journey or the owner journey. For me, I took your same approach. I was bleeding, hemorrhaging on maintenance. And so that was the one that that we did first. And that's a hard one I can tell you. It's it's difficult. But but I'm with you on that. Start with the, with the bleeding. All right. So the next step now is is all right. So identify the process. You document the process you burn it in. You automate. What is the company look like. Is that it. Is there another step or am I missing anything at that point once?
Paul Kankowski: [00:20:02] No. Then you're making a lot of money. I mean then you're focusing. When you get your processes done, you can focus on the business and. Instead of working in the business. Before I sold my company, I didn't do anything day to day at all, like there was no day to day work that I did within the company. Everything I did was, oh, how can we adjust this so we can be more profitable? I could take my time and focus on what are we making like these are the questions that you should ask, not how many doors you have. What is how much do you make per door? What is your revenue percentage of what you bring in? Those are things that like, we're so busy working, we don't have time to like, analyze our books, analyze our income, analyze things like that. When you get process going and everyone's working on that, you can start analyzing the fundamentals of your business and starting to tweak things that, oh, we're making 28%. Okay, I'm going to tweak this. Now all of a sudden we're making 35%. And you really get to see. And I know that that was for you with your company too. Like towards the end before you sold, you were really starting. That was your focus point. In the beginning it was growth. And what are we doing and getting the processes. So there's a it's a great change when you as an owner can can focus more on the economics.
Pete Neubig: [00:21:21] I will say as as owners of property management firms, a lot of us have come from the real estate or investor side and we take a lot. It's almost like a badge of honor that, hey, how many hours a week do you work? Oh man, I work 80 hours a week. Right. And we're such doers. And I got to say that I have I have never met a group of more hardworking, passionate people than when I go to a property management conference. It's amazing what you all do and what I have seen, and I had trouble with this myself, is once I freed up my time, you almost have to learn a new skill like that skill that you're talking about is like looking at the percentages and looking at financial reporting. Many of us don't have that skill. Like, you almost have to teach yourself how to become a CEO because you've been a doer for years. Building the company. And and now you have to become a CEO. And I'll throw a shout out to profit coaches. Probably a good as as good as company as any to kind of help you at least look at the numbers. Did you have any troubles like getting from doer to CEO in your journey?
Paul Kankowski: [00:22:30] Paul was a math teacher and I was a principal before that for school, so I'd been used to looking at books. I just didn't have time. Like, I just, I was just doing so much that that wasn't something that I was focused. I love numbers, I love looking at numbers. And I agree with you. If you don't look at someone like Daniel is that guy. I'm like, when I have a conversation with him, I'm like, oh my gosh, it's like two nerds. We love it. I love talking to that guy. It's like.
Pete Neubig: [00:22:56] You know
Paul Kankowski: [00:22:56] When I talk to him
Pete Neubig: [00:22:57] I'm like
Paul Kankowski: [00:22:58] I feel like.
Pete Neubig: [00:22:58] I have an IQ of about four. I'm like, oh man, he's so smart.
Paul Kankowski: [00:23:01] He is very smart and it's very fun having conversations with him. But, um, but yeah, no, I mean, get the help you need. But no, for me personally, it was the part when I really started loving property management. When I was able to look at the investment side. And I know for you too, Pete. I mean, we had those conversations when you started to really get to move out of the systems and start working on how your operations were and how you could streamline operations to make more money and meet more efficiency. I know that's when you really loved being at at.
Pete Neubig: [00:23:34] Yeah, yeah, I enjoy the efficiencies. I believe this business, this industry has so many inefficiencies and the the software is getting there. But like you said earlier, it really starts with that blueprint. And the blueprint is knowing exactly what's happening in each one of your processes, documenting it and then adding the automation. And it really like, you know, it used to be where you needed X amount of people for X amount of doors and that, that that door count per person will only increase if you have systems and then it increases again when you have automation.
Paul Kankowski: [00:24:14] Agree. Yeah. And the other thing this is a really important thing is as business owners, I remember early on business, it was like, I can't take a vacation during the summer because summer is too busy. I got to the point where it was like my staff, it's July and my kids are in high school and we're going for three weeks away to Europe or wherever we're going, because I was able to just a couple hours a day, go on my computer while I was on vacation, I still, I'll be honest, I didn't completely like, you know, disappear. Yeah.
Pete Neubig: [00:24:45] Like Peter Loman. Right. Peter Loman is was he he disappeared for 40 days or something like that. You you still had a you still had to to jump in and check things out.
Paul Kankowski: [00:24:55] I'm just anal about that. Like it was more of that. Like I was checking it out like, oh, this is going on. And I would check things out and make sure it was going okay. But it was so nice because like my number one, you know, he was working his tail end off because, you know, he was had to get everything done. And, and I was having fun and. So if you're in a business like I always hear that I can't leave because I'm too busy in the month of July, I can't go with my kids somewhere. I can't do this. Then you still you own a job, like you need to get to the point where you own a business, where it doesn't matter if it's a big, busy season, you can go away because you are not in the trenches. They don't need you. They actually probably will perform better with you gone because they're going to have to follow the system. They're gonna have to follow the processes and they're going to have to grow up. So it's a good thing when you get to that stage.
Pete Neubig: [00:25:44] Now, Paul, what do you tell somebody who let's say they're they're super visionary, not super detailed. They own the business. They want to do the they want to do the processes, but they just don't have the capacity. Right. They're just not I can't my old business partner Steve, if we sat him in a room and gave him, you know, a flow chart of stuff, and we had to sit there for eight hours going over the details, I think he would he would just like his head would explode. He just didn't have the capacity. So if somebody doesn't have the capacity, what are some of the ways they can, you know, skin this cat?
Paul Kankowski: [00:26:18] There's a lot of people out there that will do it for you and help get it done for you, and they'll interview your staff. I know I've done that before. Where you go in, I interview the staff, I find out what they want with the thing. And you're a visionary. You can still spewed out information to that person that can do it, and then you have someone who can sit there and get it done for you. One of the things that happens a lot of times is I had a guy with David, David Flores. David Flores was my because I'm also like all over the place, starting new companies, doing things like that. And so I would tell David, this is what we want to do and I'd work on it. And I would be like, probably like Steve, like working really quickly. And then I'd be like, David, get this. So it works in the computer, get this out. Works technology wise. Because my thing was I didn't like technology that much like I do technology, but I don't want to get into the nitty gritty of technology. I don't want to deal with that. You get this app to work, you get this to work. I found that and David was in Mexico and he started he was my first employee that I had from, you know, Mexico.
Paul Kankowski: [00:27:25] And he stayed with me my entire time. I had my company. And I ended up when I started a remote hiring business back in the day, I made him CEO. He ran that. He ran all the systems, all the processes, everything. But I taught him like what he needed to do. And then I would give him time to take classes on certain types of things that I needed to learn. Like he didn't know Zapier. Well, he learned it. We I paid for classes. I paid for stuff for him. So you can get someone, you can bring them in to supplement you. But I think as a business owner, you have to have a pulse. You have to have a tab on it, but you don't have to do what you suck at. You can pay people to do what you suck at. You have things that you excel at. Spend your time doing what you excel at and spend the money on what you. I know what my weaknesses are marketing I'm horrible at. Like I'm not a marketer. That's just not not where I'm good at. So I would pay people to do the things I didn't like or wasn't good at.
Pete Neubig: [00:28:23] So we're recording this at the end of October. It's going to come out in December. And I know how passionate you are about systems and really, you know, helping people find financial freedom through systems in their in their property management business. Talk to me a little bit about, you know, you have the systems workflow. If I said that correctly did I say that correctly.
Paul Kankowski: [00:28:48] System systems workshop conference anything you want.
Pete Neubig: [00:28:51] Yeah. And and so you started out a few years back and it's gaining a lot of traction. It's a very unique conference. Tell me how you decide. Like, you know how you decided on that. And you know what people could expect if they decided, hey, I'm really interested. I want to go to this conference. What what can they expect from this conference?
Paul Kankowski: [00:29:10] So this is the eighth time we've had this conference. So it's been a while and I will actually you were one of the ones who got me to start this. You don't know that. But you did. Um, eight years ago.
Pete Neubig: [00:29:21] Did not know that. Yeah, yeah.
Paul Kankowski: [00:29:22] Eight years ago. Um, I, I'm cheap and I my system sucked. And so I went and hired one of your buddies and from Houston, um, arrow Allen and I hired him, and he was like 3 or $4000 a day. I think he was like $4,000 a day. And so I said, so I put on Facebook or whatever we had back then. Um, anyone want to split the cost and show up in Vegas? So you were the one who recommended because arrow had been working in your company? Yeah. And so all of a sudden I had like 12 or 14 people say, oh, I want to come, I want to come. So then, you know, arrow just worked on us and we just worked on our systems. It wasn't like he did a little bit of talking, but most of it was us working and him coming around and checking. And then I was leaving and it was it wasn't a workshop, it wasn't anything. It was just me trying to, you know, save money. And Jordan called me up and said, oh my gosh, you're the talk of Facebook about this amazing conference you did. I'm like, it wasn't a conference. I just was being cheap. Um, and so that's how it got started. And the same people have those same 12. Most of them have been almost all eight times already. So it's like not like, oh, they finished their conference. One of them's a speaker, Matthew Kallmyer. He's a speaker this year. He's been to every single one. And he has amazing systems.
Paul Kankowski: [00:30:43] But he will still go back because he wants to keep creating his systems to be better. So, um, it's not like, you know, you get to this point where you're like, oh, my systems are done. So this conference is not a conference. It's a workshop. We have tons of things where there's teaching things where I'm we're talking someone. We have 12 different speakers and they'll be talking, but then we also have things where it's coaching and a coaching session. You're going to go there, you're going to have your computer out and you're going to get start working on it. We're going to have a technology person in every coaching room, and we're going to have a property manager that's been through this before, and they're going to walk around and ask questions. You'd be like, hey, what do you think about? This. I'm a renewal process. And they're going to they're they're told to be blunt. They're going to say like well yeah I think that's not that good for this, this and the reason or that's great. But you might want to add this. So you have all that feedback and a lot of people will bring like 3 or 4 people from their team so that they work on it together. It's. And then every night, as you remember, you had one of the best bowling little cheers that we have. Every night we do something really fun. So we have like a dice tournament. One night we have a dinner to the process.
Pete Neubig: [00:31:48] Kings out there.
Paul Kankowski: [00:31:50] Yeah. And then we have a bowling, bowling bingo night which you had a cheer and everything because it got you extra points and we just it's it's small groups. There's never it's not in a big conference room. We have, we have about nine suites that are about 3000 square foot each. There's 20 or 25 people per room. You're working with people you. It's easy to ask questions because me and Wolfgang, who's now my co-founder, we both come from education. And what I learned is people don't learn that much by just listening. Really don't like it's a very small percentage of what you learn. What do you learn from by doing so? If I'm going to give you my tenant university, I'm going to tell you about my tenant university. But then I have an hour and a half block scheduled afterwards for you to get it done. So when you leave my conference, you're not like, oh my gosh, I have these five ideas I want to finish. You're like, oh my gosh, I have these three ideas and they're 90% finished. I just have to put the topping on when I get home. And so now you go home and you actually do it.
Pete Neubig: [00:32:49] I was there last year and what I liked is you had the breakouts where they, like teams of people work together or by themselves on their processes. So it is it is a working. Um, it's a it's a working workshop. It's a workshop basically. But it's a it's super fun and I highly recommend it if especially if you are, if you are sitting here listening and saying, man, my processes are terrible, I'm working too much. I don't have good help. They don't know. They don't have any direction. Um, I highly recommend you're not going to get all your processes done there, but it's the beginning of your new life, I would say.
Paul Kankowski: [00:33:30] And we have enough tracks that we have that beginner track, and then we have the track where we have a lot of companies are with a thousand doors, and they love coming every time because they're making they're learning and they're the ones bringing teams. So if you're a beginner, we have tracks for you. I will take you. We have the first day. We have a beginner and advanced track where we teach you what a good process is. We go through it and really try to tell you so that you're going to be able to be successful. So whatever your stage is in the game, you will not be disappointed if your team goes or you go.
Pete Neubig: [00:34:01] Give us the before we hit a quick break here. Give us the date and the website if you don't mind.
Paul Kankowski: [00:34:06] It is January 23rd through 26 and it is a PM systems conference.com pm. Pm like property management and then systems with an S conference dot com and my agenda is up on there. You can see the amazing speakers and the agenda is so like this is the biggest complaint I'm going to get up to this one. And I think this is going to be my best one. And I'm happy for this complaint. My biggest complaint is going to be you had too many options. There was too many things I wanted to go to and I didn't get to do it all. That is the complaint I want because I'm trying to give you, like, you know, this buffet that's just so big that you're going to be like, man, I'm too full. I can't eat another bite.
Pete Neubig: [00:34:50] Huge, huge value for for the price. Paul, we're going to be right back after this break and then we're going to hit the lightning round. Are you ready?
Paul Kankowski: [00:34:59] I'm ready.
Pete Neubig: [00:35:00] Round. All right, we'll be right back, everybody. All right. Welcome back to the Open Radio podcast. All right, Paul got you in a hot seat. The lightning round. The lightning round. Here we go. You ready?
Paul Kankowski: [00:35:12] I'm a little scared.
Pete Neubig: [00:35:14] What is the stupidest thing you did when you started your business?
Paul Kankowski: [00:35:19] Man, that is way too long of a list. Stupidest thing I did was I had about 30 or 40 doors, and I got audited by the Franchise Tax Board, and I had two people in the military who I hadn't sent out the form that you had to have signed that says that they were California residents, but they weren't California residents. They lived in California because they're in the military and didn't realize that. But they weren't California residents. So it was an $8,000 fine by the Franchise Tax Board. Thank you so much, California, for like, welcome to business. If you mess up a little bit, we are going to smack you across the legs. We will.
Pete Neubig: [00:35:56] Find you. They have a certain specific set of skills. They will find you and they will make you pay.
Paul Kankowski: [00:36:01] And I looked at it this way. My things with California never made a mistake from that point on. If I had 400 doors and I hadn't had that $8,000 fine, the fine probably been 100,000 because it would have been that many more people. So it was it was actually really beneficial. It was a beneficial fine because it taught me something. That's the way you need to look at it. You either look at it as they're out to get me or it was it was like taking a class in how to get screwed in California.
Pete Neubig: [00:36:29] Dave Ramsey, the the Christian Money financial guy, he always calls it stupid tax, right? It's a stupid tax.
Paul Kankowski: [00:36:36] It was a stupid tax for me.
Pete Neubig: [00:36:37] What is one piece of advice you would give someone just starting out in the business?
Paul Kankowski: [00:36:44] Just starting out.
Paul Kankowski: [00:36:48] Uh. Become a NARPM member would be an amazing thing was a big part of my success. Go to a systems conference. A lot of times when you start out, you say, I don't have enough time to take education because I'm too busy. That's the biggest mistake you'll make. Make time to educate yourself. Make time to get better. Which NARPM will do and which other things like that will do. Because that's how you're going to grow and be better. You don't want to be one of these crappy property managers who just does a piss ass job. You want to be like the guys that have been at those conferences for a while that were like, wow, they do a great job. They know what they're doing, and those guys are going to give you their information and help you become better, because the whole thing about community is share, care and help each other grow.
Pete Neubig: [00:37:41] Does pineapple belong on pizza?
Paul Kankowski: [00:37:44] Of course.
Paul Kankowski: [00:37:45] It's the best thing. Pineapple and none of this ham crap. Like, oh no, I do not like the Hawaiian pineapple. And pepperoni is the best pizza that there is possibly in the world.
Pete Neubig: [00:37:58] Our friendship has just ended. It was nice knowing you. What is your ideal vacation?
Paul Kankowski: [00:38:04] Is my ideal vacation. What time of year is it?
Pete Neubig: [00:38:08] Whatever. Whatever. Whatever. Whatever.
Paul Kankowski: [00:38:11] It's my ideal vacation is skiing in the winter. And and it's being in, um, either some type of warm climate where I can just have pina coladas in the summer or in Belgium drinking beer on the river. I love being in Belgium too, but like. But I'd say my most ideal vacation is like all winter is one vacation for me. I just want to ski all winter.
Pete Neubig: [00:38:36] Nice. What is something most people don't know about you?
Paul Kankowski: [00:38:41] That I ran 100 miler before Tony Cline. Most people like when we think about all this stuff that they're like. Tony Clines, the ultra runner. Yes. I haven't completed it since, but got.
Pete Neubig: [00:38:51] It there first.
Paul Kankowski: [00:38:53] But 14 years ago I ran a 100 miler, finished it, did all that. And, you know, then Tony Cline goes and makes these 250 milers and stuff like that, and kind of just made my 100 miles seem like a small run.
Pete Neubig: [00:39:05] But that's I need to get him on the podcast just to talk about that stuff. Crazy. Um. What is a book that you're currently reading or one that you have read that is impacted your business or life?
Paul Kankowski: [00:39:18] Um. The book that I love was the that I thought was one of the better ones was the one the Navy Seals won. Um, what is it? Where it talks about how you. Everybody should have only three people they report to. And if you're reporting two more people, it's. What? Uh, I can't I can't believe I can't remember that book. Let me. Navy and the.
Pete Neubig: [00:39:43] Navy Seal guy that you're referring to, it's on the tip of my tongue. And people listening to this are probably yelling right now at the radio ownership.
Paul Kankowski: [00:39:50] Extreme ownership.
Pete Neubig: [00:39:51] Extreme ownership. Is that. Is that his name or Jocko Wilhelm or something like that?
Paul Kankowski: [00:39:56] Yeah. Yeah, yeah. Yes. And that book. Create for me a transform, because basically before I was all about like, control. Oh, I got to be in control this. And it talks about like in war and in business, how when you're trying to control 12 people in war, that it would be a disaster if the general was trying to control everybody, it would be a disaster. The generals controlling the three people of him, which he's controlling, the three people below them which are controlling. And everybody has to work together and everybody has to have good training. They have to be prepared. They have to have systems in place. They have to have all those things. Otherwise they, you know, because the general can't say, hey, you guys.
Pete Neubig: [00:40:39] Chaos. Ensues, right?
Paul Kankowski: [00:40:40] Yeah so and it was just it was just such a good book because it not only talks about war situations. Then these guys went in the business world and they talked about business. So they talked about businesses, war, like basically. And then the other really most important thing about this book is it talks about when your people fail, point the finger at yourself. You fail no one else because you have three options. You fire that person because they're untrainable and they're un working and they did a bad job. But it's still your fault because you knew it ahead of time and they failed because you know that or you didn't train them well enough, which is your fault, or you didn't have good systems in place, which is your fault. So he said, everything is your fault. Even if it was their fault, you should have known ahead of time and fired them.
Pete Neubig: [00:41:25] Right? What do you prefer, dogs or cats?
Paul Kankowski: [00:41:27] Dogs by far. I love my dog.
Pete Neubig: [00:41:30] All right. Well, it's if if you're listening to this and you're not a member of NARPM , please go to NARPM. NARPM. NARPM.org or give them a call at (800) 782-3452 and join NARPM. If you are compelled to say, hey, I want systems and I think I need some virtual assistant to help me with that. Please give VPMSolutions.com a try. We have over 35,000 remote team members now looking for work in the PM and in housing industry. And Paul, if somebody is compelled to reach out to you, they want to know more about the systems conference. How do they get how do they get in touch with you?
Paul Kankowski: [00:42:11] If you Facebook me, message me, I'll send you my cell phone number. So I'm on Facebook. You can you can look out if you Google Paul Kankowski. It's a very unique name. You'll probably find my information. Um, you can have my email below here. Just contact me. Happy to have a conversation. Happy to talk to people. I love helping this industry. I'm semi-retired, but I still love being a part of this industry and helping through this industry. It's just it's just an amazing industry. And as I said before, if you haven't joined NARPM, join it. It was I just joined NARPM. I was in from the first day I started my property management company. I went to San Diego and went to an event, and I was amazed at how helpful people were there. And I was like, really? These people, I'm I'm a competitor. This person's in my market and they're giving me ideas. So it's a very different than if you're in the real estate world. Real estate world is all about stabbing you in the back and cutting you up. That is not how napalm is. It's about a community. It's about we want to grow together, and there's enough fish in the sea for us all to be profitable as all be wonderful and do it right.
Pete Neubig: [00:43:20] All right. Thanks, Paul. Thanks, everybody. We'll see you next time.
Paul Kankowski: [00:43:24] Have a good day.