While attending Kansas State University, founders Bryan and Chris Elsey bought an older property they could fix up and flip as condominiums so they could have more money post-graduation. However, after the recession occurred, their lender wouldn’t loan them money for repairs if they intended on selling the property as condos.
They had to pivot the property into apartment rentals. That loan refusal turned out to be a blessing in disguise. Since finding success with that first community, The Prime Company now designs, builds, and manages multi-family and student housing properties across the U.S.
OpenPhone is a great product and a great fit for us. Give it a try.
The Prime Company initially had each property’s managers carrying around a cell phone dedicated to work-related calls. They had no way of sharing access to the numbers on those individual devices, making it more difficult to serve prospective and current tenants.
“It was annoying for a property manager. You had your phone and your personal number. Then you had this separate phone and if they couldn’t answer no one else could use it,” says Josh Adrian, Vice President of Development at The Prime Company.
They moved over to Line2 so their leasing and on-site management team could answer calls from a shared office number. With Line2, calls forwarded to their community staff’s cell phones. They could tell if it was a business call. “But they had no idea who was calling,” Josh notes.
Along with no caller ID, call transferring wasn’t possible with Line2. “If you had a 19-year-old leasing agent on the phone with an angry student’s parent, they had to take their pink iPhone over to their manager. Then the leasing manager had to continue their conversation while holding this phone with bunny ears hanging off the top,” says Josh.
Their shared number on Line2 also only allowed one staff member to be on an active, outgoing call. “We do renewal parties where we have part-time staff all work the same hours and call tenants to remind them to renew their leases. We could only make one call at a time with Line2,” Josh says.
A big part of using Line2 was the ability to bulk text tenants community updates like fire alarm tests through their Zapier integration.
“That capability with Line2 went away. That was super frustrating as it’s so useful to us and our tenants,” says Josh. “Students don’t check emails or care about that. If you send an email about the water being out and then shut the water off, they get immediately mad.”
As a result, their staff had to manually copy and paste texts to each tenant, wasting extensive time and staff resources on a basic task.
The Prime Company first tested OpenPhone onsite at Prime Place MHK, their multi-family community in Manhattan, Kansas.
“We rolled it out there since it’s close to our corporate office so we can have oversight — and partly because the GM there isn’t tech savvy — if he can use it, everyone else can,” Josh says.
After seeing how easy OpenPhone is to use, The Prime Company has since expanded to deploying OpenPhone to all their communities throughout the U.S. Each community has:
“With OpenPhone, if a GM wants to make a tenant feel special, they can give them their direct line,” says Josh.
The Prime Company also doesn’t have to worry about the line being busy now with shared numbers. Anyone with access to a shared number can be on separate outbound calls at the same time. Unlike Line2, they can now also see the caller ID of any incoming caller. That way, they can pull up the conversation and have context before answering a call — or know if the incoming call is from a salesperson.
No physical handoffs of devices are needed anymore; The Prime Company can easily transfer any call internally to specific teammates or a shared number.
Copying and pasting texts to hundreds of tenants is also a thing of the past. Using OpenPhone, they can automatically send text messages to a community’s tenants once again.
"We love that we can do bulk texting through the OpenPhone Zapier integration. That's so wonderful for us," says Josh. “These are massive improvements to our community staff’s day-to-day lives.”
The Prime Company now also utilizes OpenPhone in their corporate headquarters and remote architectural staff. Automatically recording all their calls is a big difference-maker for them. Typically, their team’s architects are on the phone with city officials.
“If staff there refers me to article 9.72.F, I know I don’t have to take notes. I can go back and listen to the recording,” Josh says.
Their construction department uses OpenPhone to gather sub-contractor bids and call recordings as a point of reference in case of sub-contractor disputes.
“It's not uncommon on the construction side for a sub-contractor to claim, ‘I didn’t say that!’ If they make a claim like that, we point them back to the recording as an efficient way to communicate with them,” Josh says. “Having all the recorded calls, texts, and voice messages in one feed is super valuable.”
As The Prime Company opens up additional communities, they can easily add more phone numbers and teammates into their OpenPhone workspace. “OpenPhone will be there for us,” says Josh. “OpenPhone is a great product and a great fit for us. Give it a try.”
OpenPhone helps The Prime Company communicate effectively at every point from planning to day-to-day property management.
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