So, you’ve found a great software package to help you manage your rental properties and best of all….it’s FREE! But is it really? Can any software vendor truly afford to give away their product?
Let me tell you a secret, shhh – don’t tell anyone, businesses are in business to stay in business. If they don’t make money – guess what – they won’t be around long.
So, what is really going on? To put it bluntly – it’s a shell game. Property management software that is marketed as “free” have hidden fees that quickly add up.
(I know you’re shocked!)
A few years ago when I was in the medical software field, there was a “free” version of electronic medical records on the market. They received their funding from a foundation. They signed up thousands of practices. Then the foundation’s charity funds dried up. To adjust, they decided to run ads embedded in the software. It wasn’t long before physicians began to bail off that ship.
Recently I ran across“free” software for managing real estate properties. I knew there had to be hidden fees, so I started looking. There was a fee for each email and SMS sent, ACH, credit card, set-up and monthly phone number. On the surface, it doesn’t look too bad but consider this. They charge .25% for each online payment. If you manage 100 properties that average $1000-month rent, that’s $250 a month in online payment fees alone. That’s not counting all the other misc. fees.
Here is the problem. You sign up because you are frugal and want the best ROI. Soon you have invested hours of your time getting it up and running. At some point, you realize the true cost. Now you’re trapped!(to some degree)
Should you stay away from a software product just because it’s free? Not necessarily. Just do your due diligence and know all the hidden fees before you commit. Make sure you have a complete understanding of all costs and the software features. Then compare and pick the right one for you.
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