Pinnacle is a privately held national real estate provider specializing in third-party management of multifamily communities. As one of the nation’s preferred third-party managers, Pinnacle’s portfolio includes more than 172,000 residential units and 2.1 million square feet of commercial assets. Headquartered in Dallas, Pinnacle has more than 4,300 employees at properties in 30 states.
Potential Revenue Uncaptured
Pinnacle wanted to increase efficiency in the utilities management aspect of its business. Two specific goals were to reduce late fees and increase vacant unit cost recoveries. Achieving these goals required receiving better information on the company’s utility consumption and billing practices. Extracting information from its previous solution required extensive and cumbersome manual research that consumed valuable staff resources.
“We needed a system capable of automating the entire process—payables, receivables, consumption data analysis and reporting that drilled down to a granular level of detail,” said Nicole Ellery, ancillary performance manager for Pinnacle.
Yardi Energy Suite
Pinnacle adopted the Yardi Energy Suite, a suite of products for utility billing, energy management and submeter data administration, for a large portion of its residential portfolio. Yardi Utility Expense Management receives, validates and completes payments for Pinnacle’s utility bills. Another solution, Yardi Utility Billing, monitors and bills tenants for their utility consumption, helping Pinnacle recover vacant unit costs, monitor usage, forecast utility revenue and cut waste with consumption alerts.
New Efficiency, Better Cost Recovery
The implementation was smooth because Yardi Utility Expense Management and Yardi Utility Billing are built into Pinnacle’s Yardi Voyager property management and accounting platform, eliminating the need for interfaces or data transfers. This integration also enabled what was most important to the company: consumption data visibility, end-to-end invoice processing, comprehensive analytics and on-time billing and payments. In addition, “Yardi’s late fee handling and reporting were an eye-opener for us. We’ve saved thousands of dollars a year by nearly eliminating late fees. We’d be missing a lot of information and money without automated tracking and collection,” Ellery said. The company can post its utility charges the day after the accounting month’s end, offering the convenience of reviewing them before the first of the month. This data also helps Pinnacle comply with ENERGY STAR® reporting requirements, Ellery added.
The Yardi Energy Suite also eliminated the problems associated with using a third-party utility billing provider and having to integrate data from multiple systems. Housing all data in Yardi Voyager as the single system of record creates a seamless experience, streamlines the billing process and offers complete visibility into submetered consumption data and charges on the resident ledger. It also maximizes utility billing recovery. “Fully transparent utility billing enhances resident comfort and satisfaction with on-time billing,” Ellery said.
She added, “Integrating RentCafe puts all of our resident payments, including utility billing and communication, on one platform. The resulting efficiencies and data integrity are invaluable.” Seventy-five percent of Pinnacle’s residents make payments electronically through RentCafe, a powerful marketing, leasing and resident services solution from Yardi. The company also takes advantage of the solution’s capability to email conservation tips, reminders about bills coming due and new residents’ responsibility for setting up their accounts.
New efficiency among Pinnacle’s staff has been another key benefit of the Yardi Energy Suite. “The automation and ease of use eliminated the time previously required for manual auditing and frees up valuable time for me to focus on other duties,” Ellery said. “Without the Yardi Energy Suite, I would need to hire a whole team just to handle the complexities of utility billing. The efficiencies created by Yardi have allowed us to successfully manage utility billing without hiring additional resources as our portfolio has grown.”