The success stories about how small and big businesses increase their sales are quite often. However, it is rarely mentioned that it can be achieved by getting rid of a simple, everyday thing — paper. That’s what this story is about.
Rent Vilnius is a relatively small company providing buy-to-rent and rental property management services. It takes over from property owners all the work related to rental and property maintenance: finds the most suitable apartment for investment, selects tenants, takes care of property repairs and maintenance, solves problems that tenants face, collects rent and charges, etc. Such services are mostly used by property owners living abroad and those who have bought the property for investment.
A business dealing with housing management and administration faces a lot of paperwork: contracts with property owners and tenants, third parties, invoices, and more. Depending on the quantity of managed objects, the number of documents per month may range from a few dozen to several hundred.
Property owners who buy administrative service also have to deal with paperwork. The whole process becomes even more complicated if the property owner lives outside of Lithuania. Then all the documents are handled remotely or only when the owner returns to Lithuania. In both cases, this requires both time and extra costs. Naturally, processes get protracted or, in some cases, property owners even decide to terminate the service and leave property unrented, thus losing additional income.
To address these challenges, Rent Vilnius has had a goal for some time of reducing the property owner’s participation in rental process to the minimum, i.e., one day a year. But where did this goal actually come from and what can be done about it?
Boost for changes
All ideas and goals usually come from the experience and following understanding that some things could be improved. This is what happened to Rent Vilnius.
The first thought about changes came along when a Lithuanian who emigrated to the USA contacted them. “She contacted us for a simple and quite common reason: after moving abroad, her apartment remained empty. Why not rent it? But the client’s wish at that time was not to mail contracts across the Atlantic but rather wait until she comes to Lithuania in 4 months. Of course, we waited but during that period we could have earned 2,000 euros to the client!”, Jurgis Vilutis, Partner at Rent Vilnius, said.
A similar situation happened in Lithuania when a client from Utena who wanted to invest in real estate contacted. Rent Vilnius prepared a contract, printed it, added to an envelope and sent it our by a registered mail. “Even by registered mail sent documents take time to reach addressee. In this case, the client had to wait a couple of days to go get the contract. A few days later, we received a call with a request to change some details in the contract. We made corrections, re-printed the contract, sent it out once again. As it was the end of the week, the client received the contract only after a weekend. The whole process took more than 3 weeks as in addition the contract also got lost while mailing”, J. Vilutis explained.
A need for a new solution was noticed within the company itself as well. For example, when going to a conference abroad or simply to another city, contracts stack up as the signing process stops — without an e-signature the only way to sign a contract is by hand which can’t be done if you’re not physically at the place.
This is when Rent Vilnius started looking for a solution and found Dokobit. At that time, the company had started using e-document signing platform without even knowing the real return of investment. Within half a year, it was clear that their decision was more than right.
The first thing that the company managed to do was reduce costs. Today Rent Vilnius uses Dokobit portal for signing contracts with the clients, signing leasing agreements, recording housing conditions, signing power of attorneys, vacation requests and invoices. For a small company all of that comprises around 44 documents per month.
“It takes time to sign such a number of documents, while printing and mailed also adds additional costs. They are especially high when a property owner lives abroad. Specific documents such as recording housing conditions also comprise a big part of our costs. This means that before renting a property we take its pictures, print them and sign each of them separately, as does the client. The cost of one such recording is around 5 euros”, J. Vilutis counted.
After all the processes have been moved to Dokobit, everything has changed: the company saves time and costs for printing and mailing, meanwhile, the mentioned specific documents can be confirmed and signed in one platform by adding digital photos to one document, uploading it to the portal and signing. At this point, not only a reasonable amount of money is saved but also the process is much simpler as there is no need to additionally print photos and sign them separately.
Monthly savings amount to at least 137 euros which means that savings per year comprise 1,650 euros, meanwhile, within 5 years this number increases to more than 8,000 euros! For SMEs this is a lot of money, especially considering that it’s spent on document signing.
But that’s not all. In half a year after transitioning to e-documents Rent Vilnius “earned” almost 20,000 euros for their clients!
“Switching to an e-signature and Dokobit portal allowed us to rent properties faster as contracts with the clients can be signed the same or the next day. This way in half a year we’ve earned around 6,000 euros for our clients. We’ve also had a super successful case when we managed to help our client to buy a property for a very low price. It all happened in about half an hour: we found a property below the usual price, went to see it, called the client and the client signed a reservation contract through Dokobit. This was a huge win as we saved our client around 13,000 euros!”, Jurgis told.
It all led to an increase of sales and number of customers. E-signature and Dokobit helped the company to reach emigrated Lithuanians and property owners living outside of Vilnius. As new audiences emerged, sales grew by 20% in just six months.
In addition, the company managed to get rid of paperwork and those large document storage cabinets. Also, the processes got simplified — documents not only can be signed faster but also can be conveniently stored. Dokobit allows to add documents to categories, filter them, grant access to other company employees, so administrative tasks are also less stressful as everything’s in one place.
This post is also available in: Lithuanian