Congratulations, you’ve successfully acquired a mobile home park – now it’s time to get to the hard part! Knowing how to manage a mobile home park comes with a lot of highs and lows, and if there’s one thing to keep in mind it’s this: expect the unexpected. In addition to collecting rent and keeping the residents happy, the manager will also have to deal with more complicated issues like utility repairs and lease agreements. Understanding the basics of how to manage a mobile home park will help keep you from feeling overwhelmed. Take a look below for a summary of the general duties of a park manager and what to look for when hiring one.
Job requirements of a mobile home park manager
The mobile home park manager should have the organizational skills and patience required for collecting tenant rent. This isn’t as simple as waiting around for checks to arrive in the mailbox. Anyone who’s ever managed a group of tenants knows that roadblocks are always popping up. The manager may have to deal with tardy payments and be able to apply late fees, or work with homes where the rent is split up and complications occur among payees. This type of work requires a park manager who knows when to empathize and when to lay down the law.
It’s very common for a manager to have to act as a mediator between park tenants and sometimes between their own management staff. This isn’t a plush job where they get to sit behind a desk and bark orders. A lot of responsibility falls on the manager’s shoulders in day-to-day decisions. While everyone expects the manager to have answers, no one really cares about their experience or particular skill set. A tenant who got bit by their neighbor’s dog or has noise complaints will be banking on the manager’s authority to remedy the issue.
Since most mobile homes belong to the park residents and not the park, the manager probably won’t have to deal with home repairs. However, they’re still held responsible for issues involving utilities like hot water, sewer lines, air conditioning, etc. The manager will need to be capable enough to hire the right professionals for the job at the right price. Managers should also be able to anticipate future issues and have some common handy-man skills. After all, not all issues will require a professional, and park managers will end up saving a lot of money for the owner if they can make a quick fix themselves.
Executing new leases
Park managers may need to find new residents in addition to managing the current tenants. This can be a lengthy and complicated process depending on how experienced the manager is. Keep in mind that it isn’t enough to just fill the lot and get a payment. The manager should know what type of resident they’re looking for and have the ability to spot any glaring warning signs. Additionally, they’ll need the skills to look into applicants’ employment history, their track record with other parks, whether they plan to house an animal, etc.
Traits of a great park manager (and how to find one)
Comfortable living in a mobile home park
Managing a mobile home park isn’t especially difficult, but it does require unusual hours. The manager should be on or near the site as often as possible to tackle issues as quickly as possible. This is one reason why many opt to live in the park. Of course, they don’t need to be behind a desk in a suit and tie for 24 hours a day. Rather, think of this position as someone who is always on call and ready to help at a moment’s notice.
Great with people
Your future manager’s personality is just as important as their competence and employment history. Find someone who’s going to make friends with the tenants and other park management staff. Of course, they shouldn’t get too friendly as this could compromise their authority. Just keep in mind that residents will enjoy living in your park even more if they like and respect their manager.
Has experience with mobile home parks
While it’s certainly a bonus, we wouldn’t say you need someone who has expertise in managing a mobile home park specifically. However, the manager should know something about mobile home parks as this will help them understand the residents and their needs better. Someone who is unfamiliar with mobile home parks may walk into the job with a negative stigma of them. The manager will have a better knowledge of what makes a great park by having lived in a mobile home themselves or knowing a family member or friend from a similar background.
How to find a manager
This process won’t be the same for everyone as there are many ways to go about this. Mobile home park expert Frank Rolfe suggests first scouting out current residents who might be interested in filling the role. He says there are obvious signs you should look for when choosing a manager. For example, if their home is in disrepair or they’re constantly tardy paying rent, they’re not a good fit. Compile a list of interested candidates and continue from there.
You could also advertise the position online on job hiring sites like Monster, Indeed or Glassdoor, just to name a few. Your post should be detailed enough that it gives a good idea of what the job entails without overwhelming a prospective hire. Give a timeline for when the manager should start, and don’t forget to hold in-person interviews.
If you’re tentative about hiring a resident or a stranger you found online, consider scouting out family members and friends to fill the role. Working with family has a bad reputation, but this isn’t true in all cases. This may reduce the amount of stress on your end as you’ll have a much better understanding of this person’s abilities and motives.
Knowing how to manage a mobile home park means you’re one step closer to success!
If you understand how to manage a mobile home park yourself, you’ll have greater success finding the right candidate. Ultimately you’re looking for the person who can help your park thrive. As the park owner, you still have responsibilities but a good park manager can help shoulder the load.