Toys for Tenants
We all appreciate that each person is, to some extent, a commodity. We've all been assigned a dozen identification numbers by the time we hit 16 and there are people who get paid a lot of money just to estimate how many cans of Diet Coke each of us is likely drink before we croak. And that's fine -- capitalism, the invisible hand, the almighty dollar -- we're all after a piece of that pie. But sometimes, occasionally, it's nice to be treated warmly by someone who hasn't just got a plan to make a buck out of it. It's humanizing to look down while you're swinging from branch to branch and see something other than a hungry leopard wearing a sawtooth grin.
We're in the property management business. We're in the everything business, really, and managing the houses what we sell to our clients is the best way to keep them content and wanting more. Keeping your tenant happy is central to managing your house well. That poor, bedraggled tenant, busting their hump day in and out, nine to five, 24/8, all to put a good meal on the table for their kids, save up for a weekend up north and, all-importantly, pay their rent. We're keen on that third part of the plan.
I'm not being arch here, we really care for our tenants and want them to be happy, and not just for personal gain (although if personal gain is a consequence of being nice, we don't object). That's why last year we started our "Toys for Tenants" program. It's simple: we buy a few treats and toys for our tenants and their kids, stop by unannounced and do the whole Santa Claus song and dance, and then leave them to enjoy the things.
Have you ever looked into a child's eyes after they've received an unexpected toy? Melts your heart like butter, doesn't it? It's a good feeling all around. This is charity with a point. Toys for Tenants does good for people who are just trying to make it to the next branch, surrounded by big cats with disingenuous smiles. It does good for the kids, who can be made happier by an unexpected present than, admittedly, anyone reading (or writing) this article is likely to ever be again. It does good for us too, because doing our tenants this small favor goes a long way toward forging trust and a mutual respect between us. Be magnanimous and give your tenants a present during the holidays -- it'll pay off ten-fold by helping you to sleep and keeping your house's denizens happy with the way the universe is treating them.
-David W. Scheller, Calhoun Ventures