Have you ever had an invoice that you just could not get paid, or they ask you to upload it into some service that you’ve never heard of? Well, these are invoicing platforms.
Some of the major players are Ops Technology which is run by Real Page, Vendor Café, or Entrada.
What exactly are these “invoicing platforms”?
Most of the time, the vendor must pay a fee in order to access the invoicing side of these platforms after the requirements are met and the property has added you as a vendor from their side of the service. Typically, they need to send you an invite for the invoicing platform so you can sign up with that property. This can either come from the on-site manager, or the accounting department within the management company.
Why do companies use these platforms?
Answer is, they automate the invoicing payment system for not only the management company but also for the vendor, and the vendor can get updates through the platform instead of having to call and bug the property or wait for management to get to it.
This lessens the workload on their employees, it also ensures that they are only working with qualified vendors, and makes the entire process easier for the management company.
Do they cost money?
These platforms are pretty much a pay to play situation. You’ve got to pay them in order to be able to get paid on your invoices because the management companies that use them, will not pay otherwise in most cases.
The cost varies depending on the service but an example would be Ops Technology which requires you to pay for each invoice that is submitted through their system.
How to these systems work?
Some of the platforms require you to submit your invoice using their invoicing software or a specific “bill” email address, and others like vendor Cafe require you to create the invoice using their system, and upload the original invoice.
How do I get setup with them?
You will need to contact the service when you run into a property that uses a specific platform. Then ask to setup an account. This may or may not cost anything to get setup, it just depends on which service you are trying to get access to. Ops Technology will want you to buy a package of invoices when you setup the account.
The properties or management companies will not tell you that they have to send you an invite, you have to ask for it. With Ops Technology, you would need to call the vendor support line, and have the property added to your account so you can submit an invoice.
There are pros and cons like anything, but overall Invoicing Platforms make life easier for everyone.
If you are fortunate enough to have someone that does invoicing and collections for you, they will need to be very knowledgeable about these platforms and which management companies use them, and is up to date on which properties belong to which property management company and which invoicing platform that management company uses.
Some management companies can take up to two or three months to receive payment, but that’s per their requirements. However, companies that use invoicing platforms tend to pay quicker once you are setup as a vendor and you submit the invoice according to their process.
The other Vendor Services you will have to get and pay for will be Vendor Compliance services.
Management companies utilize these services to make sure that a vendor is fully qualified to do business with them. They are designed to manage all types of vendors, like pool cleaner, roofers, and other contractors which includes apartment locators.
They collect your w9, your insurance, the information about your brokerage, and of course they collect a payment. RMIS and Vendor Credentialing(Formerly known as Compliance Depot) are the two big players but there are a couple smaller compliance services that you may have to signup for.
Most apartment communities will just have you complete a vendor packet and send it back, but properties that are managed by the bigger property management companies tend to use services like what we mentioned in this article.
If all of this just sounds too daunting, I get it. Here at Spirit we have been doing it for years and have been grandfathered into a lot of the services. That and our collection team is just really good. If you would like to know more out our invoicing and collection services or if you would like to move to our firm so we just do it all for you, just let us know.