scotts client reader

How to switch from one property management software to another

Is your property management system (PMS) struggling with an increased number of units? Are you fighting with the software when managing everyday functions? Are you using non-integrated software to cover the gaps in your system? 

There are many telltale signs that you’ve outgrown your existing property management system. When your PMS can no longer support your needs, it’s time to switch systems to one that can. This step-by-step guide will show you exactly what to do. 


  • Analyse what you need 
  • Create a PMS shortlist
  • Chose the right PMS for you
  • Prepare for migration
  • Onboard your team 

1. Analyse what you need 

As a crucial first step to finding the right PMS partner, write down your support needs. You should:

  • Write down your pain points. When you’re understanding your needs for a future PMS, there are two areas to focus on. Firstly, have awareness of your customers’ suggestions for improvement. If you don’t know, consider gathering customer feedback first. Secondly, ask your team what processes are taking up most of their time. For example, if you’re spending two days per month on invoicing, that’s a significant gap your new PMS could fill to save time and hassle. 
  • Rank the areas you want to cover. Whether it’s synchronised booking or automatic invoicing, it’s crucial to prioritise which key features of a PMS are must-haves and which are nice-to-haves. This makes it easier to cross-reference the criteria across a selection of property management systems. 
  • Consider your future needs. A good PMS grows your business. So, you’ll want a system that works for the company that you envisage to be, not for the company you are right now. Think about your 3-5 year strategy and what scaling pains might occur (i.e. if you’re having errors with 1000 apartments now, imagine the headaches with 5000 units).

2. Create a PMS shortlist

Armed with your priority checklist, it’s time to start filtering the available options for coliving management software. You should: 

  • Look for an industry-specific PMS. A hotel PMS might address some of your needs, such as taking reservations and secure payments. But these will not be tweaked to the nuances of coliving management, such as community-building features and accepting a variety of stay lengths. What’s more, a coliving PMS will constantly update with new coliving-related features as the industry develops. 
  • Focus on the ‘must-haves’. A coliving PMS might have a broad range of integrations and customisable features that align with your ‘nice-to-have’ list, but if they don’t provide the features and services essential to your business strategy, then you’re asking for problems down the line when your software is no longer meeting your needs and you’ll have to switch again. 
  • Take into account ease-of-use. All the bells and whistles don’t mean anything if the system is overly-complicated. Look for a PMS that is easy to integrate, use and develop as you grow. Ask yourself: are all the features available in one platform? Is there one simple dashboard that managers can access remotely? Do you need development work to add more sites? 

3. Choose the right PMS for you 

When researching potential PMS providers, it’s important to look beyond a flashy prospectus or fancy list of features. Make sure you’re getting true confirmation that the system can satisfy your needs. You should:

  • Research the PMS provider. First, check the websites of potential PMS providers to ensure they align with your checklist and budget. Second, look through the site for a general overview of their software. Are they demonstrating what the system can do? Are their videos showing the system in practice? 
  • Test with a live demo. Instead of watching a slideshow of unrelated features, organise a live demo with the PMS provider to really understand its suitability for your business. Use the demo as a live test for your specific problems by asking the PMS provider to show you how their system solves your pain points. For example, if you’re struggling with maintenance management, ask the demo to show how the system can seamlessly manage your maintenance headaches. 
  • Ask for references. While Googling reviews is useful, they vary in credibility. Instead, ask the PMS provider for case studies of similar clients and their contact details, so you can independently verify customer experience. 

4. Prepare for migration

Once you have chosen the most suitable PMS for your business, it’s time to prepare for migration. The PMS provider should have a straightforward migration plan that ‘holds your hand’ through the migration process, but you should still prepare in the following ways: 

  • Choose the right time. Migration timelines* depend on the size of your business (i.e. number of units in your portfolio). If you have lots of data to transfer, make sure you have sufficient time to make it work. In other words, avoid migrating during peak booking periods or when the team’s time is strained.
  • Get your house in order. Removing irrelevant information (i.e. outdated photos and rates) also helps speed up the migration process. Take this opportunity to ‘clean out your data closet’, so that you only transfer the most vital and up-to-date information that helps optimise your business performance. 
  • Put a senior person in charge. This is essential. Migration requires input across the company. If migration is led by an IT Manager with no company-wide authority, this can easily lead to bottlenecks, whereas a senior leader driving migration minimises delays.
res:harmonics' migration process

5. Onboard your team 

The migration process shouldn’t end with implementation. A great PMS provider will onboard you too. Here’s what to look for. 

  • A guided run-through. Lots of PMS companies only develop the tech, but having a knowledgeable guide (preferably someone who is part of the migration team) explain the new system first-hand is critical. At res:harmonics, for example, you are guided through the PMS with your operating procedures by the same team who set it up.
  • Training by doing. To get familiar with the new system features, your training should be specific to your needs, not generic to the system. Look for a PMS provider that offers one-on-one online training sessions and walk-through demonstrations based on your unique requirements. 
  • Ongoing support. No matter how great the onboarding process, you’ll always have questions later down the line. It’s invaluable to have a responsive PMS partner that not only addresses support tickets quickly, but listens to feedback and is actively invested in helping you make the most of the system. 

The perfect PMS partner 

A great property management system doesn’t sit still. It grows as your business grows, developing new features to meet your future challenges. It will also provide proactive customer support, treating you as a lifelong partner with a dedicated customer success manager. 

Download the Ultimate Guide to Coliving Management Software 2023 to learn how property management software supports coliving operators.

Request a demo to find out more. 

Don't miss these stories:

Join over 10,000 serviced apartments around the world who trust res:harmonics to run their business.

Request a demo