Last Updated on June 28, 2023 by Morgan Beard
Life Before Occupier:
- Printed PDFs with the lease renewal dates.
- Soft copies of leases on dropbox and excel spreadsheets.
- Manually pulling data rather than automated pushing information.
Life After Occupier:
- Streamlined lease management.
- Baseline of lease knowledge.
- Negotiate from an informed position.
- Having a baseline of lease knowledge and comparing multiple leases.
- Referencing leases is much easier and quicker.
INDUSTRY: Franchisee Hair Salon | LOCATIONS: 14+ | OCCUPIER USERS: 3+
Franchisees often hit a certain point in their business where they’re ready to expand — in order to reach a broader audience, improve sales, diversify revenue streams, and increase profits. Joseph Kissick II, franchisee owner of 14 Great Clips salons in North Carolina, can attest to that. Joseph’s parents started the business about 27 years ago, and he joined full-time six years ago. As they continued to expand, operations grew in complexity each time they added another location or layer to management. With real estate being a key component, Occupier was an obvious choice.
Occupier’s lease management platform goes above and beyond other software, allowing business owners to not only centralize lease data and integrate the information with ERPs but collaborate with stakeholders throughout the entire lease cycle — from the tenant’s perspective. That’s what Joseph was looking for come 2020 and COVID-19. At that time, leaving leases in a shared folder and printed spreadsheet no longer cut it. Excuse the pun. A means was necessary to track and review all the details of agreements in greater, well, detail.
Strategic Leasing Information Storage
A major pain point for Joseph was constantly trying to pull information rather than having it pushed automatically. He and his Father were always trying to remember their next renewal date, or lease expiration. They would often wonder if they had any other options in their lease, if they could negotiate a new deal and tie it with renovations, etc. The time and energy associated with racking their brains to remember critical lease information was tedious.
With Occupier, “I do find myself going in and looking at the software, particularly when I’m looking to negotiate a new lease to see what baseline we have in other clauses, whether it’s HVAC, or personal guarantor, security deposit, things like that. So we use that as a baseline of accurate information.” Occupier allows Joseph to know whether they have negotiated with a certain landlord before and even what areas to improve upon next time they negotiate a lease. Some of their Great Clips leases have a 20 year term including options, so for Joseph having that baseline of knowledge and comparing key clauses and options is incredibly useful.
Saving Time by Streamlining Data
Using PDFs and spreadsheets was a day-to-day task. With Occupier, lease management is more of a week-to-week, if not a month-to-month affair. Joseph and his team save hours each week by automating notifications on lease renewal dates. After all, missing a critical date like a renewal can result in thousands of dollars in unplanned moving expenses and loss in operating revenue. That’s no longer a concern.
Every critical date, lease clause, and financial expense lives in Occupier and is only a click away. Joseph is no longer flipping through PDF documents or questioning whether his excel spreadsheet is accurate. Nor is his bookkeeper, who is also using the platform to reconcile against the monthly rent roll to close the books. Whether it relates to a CAM adjustment or a potential security deposit refund, everyone is in the know.
Joseph negotiates directly with his landlord and the landlord broker. Occupier enables him to be proactive with those conversations as opposed to reactive. In the past, it was left to printed PDFs, calendar reminders, and memory to prompt Joseph that it was time to prepare. Now, Occupier notifies him when he needs to engage with a landlord. That better prepares him to open the lease and review key points to negotiate. Whether it’s time to exercise a particular option, leverage a specific clause, or come to arrange a new agreement with different terms.
Keeping Track of Lease Renewals
Before Occupier, Joseph had to cross-check their spreadsheet to their leases almost daily because he wasn’t sure he could trust the spreadsheets to have the right information. Joseph’s parents are the original lease holders since they have been in their spaces for anywhere between 5 to over 20 years now. It’s important for them to be able to capture crucial information in order to see if they can get security deposit refunds or tenant improvement allowances.
Joseph says he was a big pen and paper guy; he even had a bulletin board with the lease renewal dates. That all changed after 2020, when they had to digitize everything. “We had renewal dates, we had base rents, a few other things kind of memorialized in a spreadsheet. But there wasn’t that same level of detail that we have with Occupier’s software.”
Current Challenges in the Industry
“The economic climate poses an opportunity for tenants to lock in more favorable terms and conditions. For example, if your lease is up for renewal, now is a great time to negotiate a tenant improvement allowance, wave any rent escalations or align on free rent.” Joseph says, “For small business owners, being able to understand every lease data point and leveraging that knowledge to your competitive advantage will lead to better terms with your landlord. On the flip-side, missing a critical date like a renewal can result in tens of thousands of dollars in unplanned moving expenses and loss in operating revenue.”
What stood out to Joseph about Occupier was how it’s unique in the way that it’s built from the tenant’s perspective. Many tools are crafted for Landlords. But having a tenant-focused software solution that saves him time and automates his lease management processes is a no-brainer for franchisees and small business owners.