By Allison Brown
From the front door to the thermostat, everything is getting a “smart” upgrade, and SmartRent combines all those devices into one system, saving property managers and renters money and time.
SmartRent is an Airpark-based enterprise smart home and smart building technology platform.
Lucas Haldeman, chief executive officer of SmartRent, says he and other company leaders found a need for the product while they were starting their real estate careers.
“We discovered there were a lot of really good smart home devices — thermostats, locks, leak sensors — but none of them were designed to work together and then be deployed in mass,” Haldeman says.
The company provides property managers seamless visibility and control over their communities’ assets while delivering an all-in-one smart home control app for residents.
“We’re talking about people who own rental housing. Whether multifamily apartments or single-family homes, it doesn’t really matter,” Haldeman says. “It helps rental operators sort of better understand their assets, better protect those assets and increase their revenue, because resident renters will pay more to have a smart apartment.”
He adds that SmartRent has sold well because it helps everyone involved. It isn’t just for the property managers. Renters get a lot more perks than just a convenient app.
“It helps both,” Haldeman says. “Owners save money by not cooling an empty gym, and then as a resident, you might pay more for rent, but you’re actually saving $50 or $75 on your utility bill. It’s a bargain.”
Especially in Arizona, having a smart air conditioner can help save residents big bucks. Another way SmartRent helps residents and property owners save money and avoid a big hassle is by using leak sensors.
Haldeman says while most people don’t consider a leak to be a big problem, water actually causes 70% of damage done to apartments. SmartRent uses sensors that automatically write an emergency work order if they get wet. Without the leak sensors, residents must find it, send in a maintenance request that could get buried in an inbox and wait for a response, as the problem gets worse or is forgotten about. With an automated emergency work order, someone is dispatched immediately to fix the issue.
More than just saving residents money, SmartRent can help provide peace of mind. By using smart locks, residents can control and observe who is coming and going from their unit. Haldeman says this has many uses.
“It could be that you give your kids a code while you’re at work and you get notified when they get off the school bus and come home,” he says. “Or it could be letting Postmates to the front door or getting your dry cleaning put into your closet. There are services doing that.”
In addition, the smart locks can have a time sensitive code. For instance, a dog walker could be given a code that is only valid from 9 to 11 a.m. If the code is used outside that timeframe, it will not work and the resident will also be notified that someone tried to enter.
Other uses of SmartRent include parking management and self-guided tours.
What really sets SmartRent apart is the information can be viewed in one place. Haldeman says other units may have a doorbell camera and smart air conditioning but, unlike SmartRent, they aren’t really made to work cohesively for the entire unit. SmartRent has an app for the resident and the property’s sides.
“All of the devices in your homes — that could be the front door, the gym door, the thermostat, lights, outlets, whatever smart devices you have — are all controlled through one app and one experience.”
Haldeman headquartered SmartRent in Scottsdale because he moved there for work several years ago. He fell in love with the area, but he says the company has a wide reach. SmartRent is a national company with employees in 41 states and is used in over 300,000 units in the United States. It also has installations in the United Kingdom and Canada, and plans to continue expanding internationally. Haldeman says the company doubled its number of units in the last year and is on trajectory to do the same in 2022.
He credits SmartRent’s linear growth trajectory, in part, to having been on the other side in real estate and knowing the operations, language and frustrations people deal with when it comes to property management. The other part of it is, according to Haldeman, the product practically sells itself. He says it’s easy for customers to see the various advantages to SmartRent.
There are some who may be skeptical of the ever-increasing smart technology, but Haldeman says SmartRent is and has always been transparent with customers about their information. He says it’s even in their company policy that customers’ information will not be shared.
“We take safety, security and privacy very seriously. If you read our terms and conditions, we explicitly say, ‘We will not sell your data.’ We will not use your data for anything nefarious,” Haldeman says. “I think it is something to be concerned about, to understand what’s happening with your data and who’s using it, but I think in our case, if you’re living in one of our smart apartments, you can rest assured that you’re very protected.” ν