I wanted to introduce my latest project before I dive into more details about it in later posts. Tenant Talk is a concept I came up with in April of 2021 about 4 months after I killed off Page An Engineer (PAE). The main concept at a high level for Tenant Talk is a communication platform for landlords to better communicate with their tenants. This originally was targeted at small landlords who had less than 10 units. I quickly figured out this would never work and did a shift of target customers. Normally you would validate the problem a potential business would solve by going to the customers, I did that and got some feedback but not much… so I went to the end-users, the tenants. They gave good feedback on the concept and because of that, I moved forward with building out my idea.
Once I had figured out the small landlords would not be a good target customer I changed my focus to larger customers, mainly property managers. I have plans to expand into large apartment buildings – read enterprises – later on but for now, I am focused on property managers. I talked to a bunch of property managers by connecting with them on LinkedIn as well as looking on Reddit. Reddit is not only a good source of entertainment but also learning too. I didn’t get all the information I wanted from my research though got most just leaving one big question. What is the ideal company size of property managers for Tenant Talk to target as the initial customers?
I am still working through this to figure it out though I think based on research into the sales cycle for different company sizes I think property management companies with between 50 and 200 units under management make the most sense. The goal is to figure out which companies will provide the highest return on time investment for the sales process while also counting on the speed at which the contracts can be done up.
With the shift from small landlords to property managers – with future planning for other target customers – Tenant Talk had to change a good bit. It required a few system-level changes to happen such as the auth service which I ended up with Auth0. I will do a post on that major change eventually to explain the process as well as the gotchas I found out and the semi funny story of how I had to do trial and error to set up the production environment because the development one went away.
What are the future goals for Tenant Talk? Currently, I am in the process of switching over from a custom chat backend service to a hosted third-party one. I wanted to move away from my own custom one because while I did spend months learning to make it I also see it as a potential blocker later on when I am trying to ship features fast to keep up with customer demand. So what is going to be added new? The plan is multiple modules, including adding voice calling so you can call from your computer or you can receive a call from a tenant. In the same vein, I am also looking to add in video calling so that it is possible for tenants to show property managers issues with their unit on a call where they can discuss the issue. The other minor features are file and audio messages that can be sent from either your browser or phone. The one big addition that is planned is a mobile app. I have never coded an app before so it will be a completely new experience for me to manage to get that coded and working as expected. I think it might take a few months to code simply because I am new to mobile apps.
If you have any questions about Tenant Talk please reach out to me at my work email for Tenant Talk – [email protected] – with the subject of “JK Post Questions” so I know that you read this post before you emailed me.