Making a house a home. That’s what Bob Dressman does on a daily basis as an investor, property manager, lender and fundraiser. Dressman has been helping turn around Ohio’s recession-walloped real estate market, one house at a time, through his company, Heritage Financial Services, Ltd.
“We do a combination of property management [as well as] sell a lot of properties with owner financing. So, typically, our target market is somebody who is looking to rent a house but has the skills to take care of it,” says Dressman.
Bob Dressman’s business model helps people who have less than stellar credit and have the skills to repair properties by helping them with financing and getting them on the road to home ownership through a rent-to-own type of program. “We’ll typically sell a house with a monthly payment that is $150 to $200 dollars less than what comparable rent would be. But, they’re responsible for fixing the house up, getting it occupiable, taking care of all the repairs and maintenance.”
In other words, Dressman has created a clever way to get people into homes cheaply who also have the skills and means to make it a proper, comfortable and functioning place to live.
After incorporating more than a dozen Ohio companies to acquire rental properties throughout Cincinnati, Dayton and Columbus, Dressman has successfully listed and rented more than a hundred homes in the last few years. And, because business is good, Dressman needed a more organized way to receive calls from prospective renters that didn’t keep him tied to his phone all day. That’s when he discovered CallFire.
“If you just put a “For Rent” ad in the paper that says “Handyperson Special Rent,” what happens is that your phone just blows up,” says Dressman. “You get to the point where after you’ve answered the 400th phone call that day, you want to just scream, ‘What do you want?!’
“What we do with CallFire is we drive all those calls to an automated message that gives the basic description that says, ‘This is a great opportunity if you want to own a house, but the house does need work, you need the skills to be able to do that,’ to get the people somewhat pre-qualified.”
Dressman does this using CallFire’s Call Tracking solution and has been doing so for more than a year. With an average of 15 homes listed at any given time, Dressman has a unique, local phone number tied to each home. “Another thing that is nice, too, is that we have a voice mailbox for each house, so we can then track everyone who has called about that house.”
If the prospect makes it through the pre-vetting process and stays on the line, they get transferred to a live person. By this time, Dressman says, they already have the address and the basic information of the program, so by the time they’re speaking to a human they know what the deal is. “It works really well for us [and] the nice thing is that the [local] numbers are relatively inexpensive.”
Another benefit to CallFire’s Call Tracking tool is that Dressman can tell whether the advertising they’re doing is generating enough traffic. With easy to use data feedback, Dressman can access his account online and see how many calls each house received.
Heritage Financial Services, like other companies, will advertise across several platforms ie online, newspaper, radio/TV, etc. However, without solutions like CallFire’s Call Tracking, companies are flying blind and throwing marketing dollars out the window. Call Tracking saves money by streamlining and maximizing a marketing budget toward successful advertisements.
But, Call Tracking isn’t the only solution used by HFS. Dressman says he uses CallFire to do text and call blasts to existing tenants if they’re late paying rent. When those efforts still go unanswered, Dressman uses CallFire’s Cloud Call Center to connect to those individuals for payment.
This is where the scalability and portability of CallFire has been a major success for Dressman and HFS as he uses an employee stationed halfway around the world in the Philippines to do his collections work.
The beauty of using CallFire is that businesses can have any number of people in all corners of the world because information is kept in the cloud. As long as employees are furnished with an internet connection and a phone, there is no limit to a company’s connectivity.
“This system is a thousand times better than the alternative,” says Dressman. “It reduces the manpower and it makes the manpower more productive. It allows people to do what they enjoy rather than being frustrated.”