Lessons From the Front Lines

Living in one of my mobile home parks for the past five months has taught me many things about the industry in terms of operations and tenant base. 

First, the negative stigma about the people and living conditions is largely a reflection of the management. Mobile home parks can be nice places to live. For instance, this month one of our parks will have a Christmas light contest for best decorated yard.

Treat people with dignity. I've tried many approaches with tenants and the most effective is to be calm, understanding, and respectful. I've evicted good-willed people out of their homes. It's not fun but a necessary part of the business. One woman even thanked me for working with her, even though she has an eviction on her record, because I tried to make it work. 

People will test your boundaries weekly. Appearance of yard is similar to the broken window theory. Enforce yard clean up to show order in the park. Even financially vulnerable people want clean and safe living environments. This is the first thing new prospects will notice. 

Rumors spread like wildfire. Word of mouth is a powerful force. Don't underestimate it. Encourage open communication with tenants so they know the truth.