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Growing Pains! Our size has changed, but our commitment and values have not.

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Growing Pains! Our size has changed, but our commitment and values have not.

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Hi everyone, Paul here from OwnerRez!  From time to time, I feel like there is something in the air that I need to sit down and discuss with you directly. 🧘‍♂️

Lately, there's been a lot of buzz in the air about OwnerRez's size, specifically about our ability to keep up.  You're not wrong - we are growing hand over fist and have been for a long time.

Over the past year, that growth has not let up; in fact, it's increased!  This is the part where I usually like to go down a rabbit trail explaining why we've grown so much, pointing out our trophies and medals, but I'll resist that urge and focus on what we're doing to address the growth.

Expanding The Team

First, as our Careers page shows, we are continuing to hire across multiple areas of the company.  Our Customer Success position has never come down - we read resumes, ask questions, and conduct interviews on a constant basis.  That has been a constant state of affairs for almost a year.

However, we are slow and deliberate with who we hire because we want our People-First culture to be preserved as we grow.  The longevity and happiness of our team matters as much as the happiness of our customers.

Baja Fresh (are those still around?) used to have a sign on the wall that said: "good food cannot be made at microwave speed".  Some of our competitors have built their teams at microwave speed, and the results are clear.  We are working to expand the team quickly, but not at the expense of what matters to us.

We also examine and reorganize our team, based on company needs and team members' strengths, every so often. You'll note that we're also looking for a back-office administrator, and that's because our current guy (Michael, who is awesome!) is moving into data analysis to help our engineering, sales, and marketing teams with their data needs. Michael is knowledgeable on many fronts, so we're going to let him focus on more advanced areas and hire someone else to do the back-office stuff. This kind of role change has happened several times over the past couple of years.

...But Staying Financially Responsible

Last year when our pricing increased, I shared how being Financially Responsible is a core part of our company values.

Not a week goes by when I am not hounded by outside investors wanting in, promising big pots of gold and guidance on how to travel the yellow brick road.  Chris and I do not want that kind of future and have taken steps to avoid it.

One of those steps is to make sure we hire for pain points, not as a projection of future growth.  Investor-led companies hire to meet the needs of where they want the company to be, at some point in the future, which means they "hire ahead".  They build up teams and then give those teams missions, and hopefully, it all pays off.  The strategy is growth at all costs.  Bigger teams, more leads, more sign-ups, project a giant image, then cash out based on that image.

While we certainly spend time looking ahead, we make sure to hire only where pain points are beginning to emerge, and only after we (the OwnerRez leadership) have been directly part of managing that pain ourselves.  That's why Chris and I continue to answer tickets on a regular basis, post in the forums, design new features, and meet with our onboarding team about pain points.  This creates a much higher rate of success with new hires, while also being careful to consider the current and future needs of our existing team.

Investing In Support

Expanding the team is not the only way to strengthen our support.  We've recently focused a lot of engineering time on creating better internal support tools so that we can track, measure, and become more efficient at the support process itself.

We recently built an internal interface that shows ProConnect status to our new users what their status is, in detail, while allowing them to submit files and comment on the work being done.  Instead of sending giant emails back and forth, we've built a process specific to the needs of ProConnect.  We are about ready to release several updates that will increase this functionality once again, including showing our "queued" ProConnect users where they are in the pipeline to get them ready.

We are expanding our phone support as well by engaging in a wider degree of phone calls and measuring the time required and the needs of the team members who do those calls.  This was just started a few weeks ago and we're already seeing interesting results.  Again, our engineering team has spent time helping us track those calls, in and out, and see where the needs are strongest.

We are also working on dozens of other internal tasks to streamline support and create happiness, both for our team and customers alike.

Investing in Infrastructure

As our systems (the actual app and databases and supporting technology) expand to deal with the growth, we've had to take a step back and make sure those systems are designed correctly for the future.

Over the past year, our monitoring tools have turned into fire hoses, blasting us with information.  We've had to re-design some of those monitoring processes to help us increase transparency while not being distracted by all the noise.  This has taken extra time, but we are committed to making it work correctly so that our engineers are not overburdened but have exactly what they need to make good decisions.

While doing that, we've noticed places where we can extend additional transparency to users (you!) so that you can make use of some of the same tools we use.  Again, this has taken extra time, but we are committed to getting it right.

Adding Video and Webinars

We now have more than 50 support videos in our Video Center and are continuing to add more each month.  At the beginning of 2022, we freed up some team resources so that we could double our efforts on making videos throughout the coming year.  As I write this, there are more than a dozen new videos that have been scheduled to be worked on.

Our Weekly Demo webinar has been a big success.  We started that last year and went from a dozen attendees to now around 30-40 attendees every week.  Some weeks, we have more than 50.  For our existing veteran users, we have added a Live Q&A webinar that will be one or two times per month.  You can use the Live Q&A to ask any question about OwnerRez you want.  As always, check out our webinars page to stay up to date.

Evolution = Success

In all of this, there is a consistent theme - the willingness to evolve so that our values remain strong.

Our People-First philosophy itself has not changed, but everything we do (hiring, tooling, webinar'ing) is constantly evolving to meet the needs of that philosophy.  We believe that evolution is a key ingredient to success, and so we are committed to changing even if that change makes us temporarily uncomfortable.

Could you do me a favor?  If you feel like OwnerRez is not the company it once was, check in with us and get a fresh look.  Reach out and talk to us.  Attend a webinar, and ask questions.  Meet us in person at an upcoming conference.  We know that rumors will swirl from time to time, but internally, we are as committed as ever to building the same quality product with the same quality support as we always have been.

18 Comments (add yours)

Mar 16, 2022 8:02 AM
Katherine H says:

I’m thankful for not just this candid email but the teamwork and help I’ve received over the years. I will be a die-hard OR user for as long as our property is rented.

Mar 16, 2022 8:26 AM
Kacey J says:

Thank you Paul and team! 

Mar 16, 2022 8:50 AM
30Ez says:

Thank you Paul. Understand completely as we have grown right there with you over the years and there are times we feel like we don’t have the time to check out and understand all of the updates you do. Your commitment to hold your values is why we love OR. Thank you for taking the time today. We appreciate it. 

Mar 16, 2022 10:30 AM
Stephanie F says:

Paul - Thank you for this information.  I love OwnerRez and l have seen it grow over the last few years. I am extremely happy with the customer service I receive, even when I ask the same question twice!  You have a lot to be proud of and I appreciate you not selling out to the big guys.  Keep up the good work.

Mar 16, 2022 10:50 AM
Adria says:

I agree with the others, thanks for the transparency and thanks for not selling out! Great products are never the same once they are sold to the big guys and that would be a sad day indeed if OR sold. 

Mar 16, 2022 11:31 AM
Mike and Debby G says:

Us too! Thank you for taking the time out of your busy schedule to pass along this info. OR, by a long shot, is the best software to manage our business. It continues to advance (thank you engineers), the support team is so professional & responsive. And all those in between, doing hard work, has not gone unnoticed!   Keep up the good work! 

Mar 16, 2022 11:43 AM
Alece says:

I appreciate y'all and all your hard work!!!

Mar 16, 2022 12:36 PM
Hostfolio says:

Transparency and communication are the two vital keys to success in any business, and we (speaking for the community) very much appreciate your willingness to engage and set proper expectations with us. Thank you for all you've done and continue to do to make our hosting businesses stronger, more scalable, and most importantly, more profitable!

Mar 16, 2022 1:26 PM
Warren Beach Ren says:

Paul, growth and scale is never easy.

Warren Beach Rentals growth and success is largely a result of our partnership with Ownerrez.

We truly value our relationship with you and are committed to continuing growing, together. 

Mitch Warren

www.WarrenBeachRentals.com

Mar 16, 2022 1:49 PM
Dave Bruder says:

Thanks for your continued dedication and transparency. OR is so ingrained in our STR business it would be a sad day if sold, or allowed outside investors.

Dave & April 
Peaks & Palms Vacation Rental Group
https://peaksandpalmsrentals.com 

Smokies multi-owner "Property Sharing Widget" (powered by OwnerRez)
https://www.smokymountaincabinsbyowner.com

Unofficial OwnerRez Support Group on Facebook
https://www.facebook.com/groups/702265430182289 

Mar 16, 2022 4:09 PM
Fun Coast Rental says:

Thank you for your candor and commitment to doing the right thing. Always wonderful to see the slew of updates the OR puts out regularly.

Mar 17, 2022 9:13 AM
Southbound Stays says:

I love you candor here. I know it's tough running a growing business but you all are doing amazing! OwnerRez is still by far one of my favorite tools/ vendors/ support teams to work with for my rentals and I feel like all I have seen are continued improvements from taking something great to greater. :) Keep on keeping on! 

Mar 17, 2022 10:24 AM
Camelle R says:

Thank you do much guys. I appreciate all that you do. I will be an OR user for life. I love that you are not giving in to the corporate greed. 

Mar 18, 2022 6:18 AM
Staniel Cay Vill says:

We have been very happy with everything your team has provided and staying focused is extremely difficult during growth stages. As both a user and a portfolio manager if there was ever the opportunity to invest in your company we would like to be first in line as one of your customers of OwnerRez.

Cheers!

Mar 20, 2022 8:42 AM
cp9293 says:

You guys are great!  Thank you for your continued growth!

Mar 23, 2022 11:04 AM
Val Rogers says:

Thank you, Paul, for this candid and insightful message. It's one of the things that I love about using OwnerRez: all of the transparency and information shared with us by your team. Having been the Customer Support Manager of the original team that built Vrbo I know exactly the kind of growing pains you describe...and I appreciate your commitment to your staff, your clients and to your product. Thanks to your customer support team for always being quick to respond to my many questions, I appreciate it!

Mar 25, 2022 3:06 PM
BlueMtnCabins says:

Thank you for the update! I never tire to recommend OR!

Mar 31, 2022 12:25 AM
UstlcRentals says:

I think that you guys are doing a fine job! I give you 5 stars every where and I'm very proud to be part of this!

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