People ask me all the time about the genesis of Mobile Doorman; where did I get the idea for a customized community app? 

It’s an easy question to answer . . . Six years ago when I was an apartment resident in San Francisco, I was frustrated with the inability to communicate quickly and easily with the management staff. Apps had really exploded in popularity, and I was using apps personally to accomplish a lot on my smart phone. Just like that, it made sense – my apartment building should have an app! Need to request maintenance? Simply open the app. Pay my rent? Open the app. Approve a visitor for entrance? Open the app. You get the picture.

Fast forward to now – with a lot of bootstrapping and building in between – and not only is Mobile Doorman a fast-growing solution for operators throughout multifamily, but here I am in Chicago finding myself once again an apartment resident. Guess what? Yep, déjà vu all over again, I need an app for that!

Don’t get me wrong – my fiancée and I love our apartment, especially as it’s the last step to our new home, which is in progress. It’s been a great experience, the staff is extremely accommodating, and the neighbors are really nice. One of the coolest aspects for me is that, as smooth as the experience has been, it still validates the value of what we do here at Mobile Doorman.

Let me walk you through it . . . when we moved in, we tied up the elevator for a big part of the day and found ourselves apologizing again and again to our fellow residents for the inconvenience. Everyone was terrific about it, but the sentiment was the same – it would have been nice to know someone was moving in. If the building had an app, a push notification would have been sent out informing all.

Did I mention we have two awesome golden retrievers, Walter and Frank? Our building is very dog friendly, and if I had an app I’d be able to see posts from other dog parents and share information about dog walkers, nearby dog parks, play dates and other cool canine counsel.

Also, our maintenance technician is the best! But I really didn’t want to text him at 10pm the other night when the dryer stopped working, because who wants to bother someone late at night? There’s no way for him to remember or record a text, either. If my building had a customized Mobile Doorman app, however, I could have submitted a maintenance request that night, which would have been in the system waiting for him first thing in the morning. Problem solved.

Another thing I would have loved to do on moving day is fill out the app’s move-in checklist. I would have been alerted with a push notification each time I opened the app to submit it, and when you are busy moving you need reminders like that. I could have documented the missing screen and the small item that needs attention in the closet, and the staff would have a record as well as a photo of the closet.

The most recent example was an email I got just last week letting me know the power in the building had gone out briefly, advising that COMED had been notified, and informing me of the number to call if I’d had a problem. Wouldn’t it have been awesome if a push notification had gone out to all residents? Especially since average open rates for email in our industry are less than 40%!! Heck, yeah!

I could go on, of course, because the app has so much functionality and I’m just a little passionate about how it benefits both residents and management. My point is, I’m really thrilled that so many of our customers already benefit from leveraging the smart phones that have become a big part of our daily lives; and I’m even more excited to know that the need for an apartment app is more valid than ever. For those of you who are wondering . . . yes, I’m working with my building management to get their own app up and running!