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An Inside Job

An Inside Job – Plan Your Heist for 2020 Budget “Loot”

by Nov 20, 2019Spotlight0 comments

Trigger Warning – No guns needed for these heists. And the “Inside” refers to ASM insider, Chris Moeller, our Operations Manager. For insight into Chris’s personality, he recently emailed the ASM team informing us it was “National Annoy Your Co-Worker Day” and proceeded to do so.

CHILI – To give readers a peak into your background: What do you consider your 1st job?
MOELLER – My first paying job was delivering pizzas, when I was in college.

CHILI – Did that give you valuable skills you still use today?
MOELLER – The skill to drive as fast as possible, and not get tickets. Driving a red Fiat Punto fast and safely, was not easy.

CHILI – Wow, sounds like good training for a heist. What will your last job be?
MOELLER – Operations Manager at ASM.

CHILI – So you’re going to the grave with that one.
MOELLER – Yes, or maybe an astronaut. Or better yet, the ASM CEO.

CHILI – Take that up with Andrew; I bet he’s not ready for you to take his job. Back to heists, and how owners and managers can find untapped revenue. Willie Sutton had a famous quote about robbing banks because that’s where the money is. So where is the money for them?
MOELLER – Most finds for our clients are with telecom agreements and common area laundry.

CHILI – How do you find them or what should property managers and owners be on the lookout for?
MOELLER – Well the first thing we do is track all checks and measure them against the past payment history. Not all companies are good at that, so they rely on ASM.
I monitor every contract and “watchdog” trends. If revenue goes up, I’m happy. When steady, we continue to watch, and with decreases, as in the graph above, we investigate.

CHILI – What causes the telecom shortfalls?
MOELLER – Three most common reasons – provider mistakes, property sale or is newly occupied. If I see an outlier, I hunt down the discrepancy and correct it.

CHILI – How much money are we talking about Chris…hundreds, or thousands of dollars?
MOELLER – Most monthly payments discrepancies are in the hundreds of dollars but can mount up to thousands over time. The ASM record is over $61K for a client who asked us to negotiate a telecom agreement. We contacted the provider and discovered an agreement was in place.
The provider only paid the upfront payment but never paid revenue share. Seven years of outstanding payments mushroomed to over $61K. We made that client very happy.
One other telecom issue I didn’t mention. We know cord-cutting impacts cable revenue, but other factors may as well. For example, we’ve seen an assigned property marketing rep leave, and penetration fall off. We contact the provider and get activity restarted.

CHILI – Good summary of the telecom opportunities, what about common area laundry?
MOELLER – For laundry, there are more factors resulting in downward trends. Examples are laundry rooms locked for renovation or closed because of flooding. Sometimes it’s a simple as the provider not able to access to the rooms for collection.

CHILI – So more can go wrong and collections vary more than with telecom?
MOELLER – Yes, for example seasonality, with more wash activity in summer. We’ve even seen errors with collection trucks breaking down. Just more links in the revenue chain.

CHILI – So you track all agreements?
MOELLER – Yes, it’s part of our due diligence, a big upside for each property.

CHILI – Are you a big guy who knocks on a provider door and intimidates if they don’t pay correctly?
MOELLER – No strongarm tactics, I’m more scrappy terrier, than bulldog.

CHILI – Anything people can do now to jumpstart 2020 with a budget bump?
MOELLER – Know your contracts, although ASM does for our clients. For 2019 agreements, be on the lookout for upfront payments.

CHILI – To wrap up, and change gears quickly like you did with that Fiat Punto, do you have any great book recommendation for folks?
MOELLER – I doubt most people are interested in my reading recs, which lean toward physics, and might put people to sleep.

CHILI – Hey don’t insult the ASM audience – they’re smarties, especially if they read all the way to the end of the interview. Give it a shot.
MOELLER – OK, two good ones are “In Search for Schrodinger’s Cat” and “The Fabric of the Cosmos”.

CHILI – I know Schrodinger’s Cat is thinking outside the box. Thanks for your insights.