Overseeing multiple properties is challenging for any small team, but Richmond-based Acara Property Management oversees more than 200 properties in the Greater London Area. Founded in 2012 as a hands-on property management service, they quickly adapted to renovation work and development in 2015 with full-time contractors, then began operating in lending and real estate sales shortly afterwards. Today they manage hundreds of properties in the UK, still with a small team.
“We manage and look after properties for landlords. They look after tenants, we do building projects, renovations, that sort of thing. Many of us actually work remotely looking after the technical software side of things and the accounts, which can be challenging with so many properties to oversee,” said Sandra Owen, responsible for finance and operations at Acara.
Initial challenge: managing work for hundreds of properties with a small team
- 200+ Trello boards
- A team of 10
- Cards continually moving between departments
When Sandra introduced her team to Unito’s Two-Way Card Mirror Power-Up, she had no idea she’d soon become a highly-efficient power user with over 200 flows in Unito. After learning about Mirror through the Trello marketplace, she and her team experimented with syncing individual cards.
Mirror is fantastic for duplicating Trello cards across multiple boards and keeping them in sync. But Acara Property Management oversees hundreds of properties, each with their own Trello board. It quickly became impractical to rely solely on Mirror for automating work between over 200 Trello boards.
Sandra needed to map out an ideal, efficient way to sync work between so many Trello boards. So how could a team of less than a dozen oversee and delegate tasks from 200+ Trello boards? They needed an option that didn’t include untold hours spent scanning through board after board.
We sometimes needed cards to go to several different places and it was becoming harder to make that happen smoothly. Board syncing was more efficient than Mirror for what we needed because we’re working at such a large scale now.Sandra Owen, Finance & Operations, Acara Property Management
Solution: Syncing individual property boards to a single hub board with Unito to dispatch work automatically
- Switching from Unito’s Two-way Card Mirror to Board Sync
- Setting up a Trello Hub Board and several Master Boards
- Trello’s Butler Rules for additional automation
Sandra spoke with Unito’s customer support team to discuss a potential solution. The answer came in the form of Unito Board Sync. Instead of mirroring individual cards from board to board, Sandra set up rules in Unito to continually sync cards with specific labels or members to other relevant boards. But setting up Board Sync was only the beginning.
What is a Trello Master Board?
You may have seen our webinar on building a Trello Master Board with Unito. Master Boards are great for sharing visibility with stakeholders and keeping others in the loop. You can set up several flows with Unito to sync cards from multiple Trello boards to and from a master board for this reason.
What is a Trello Hub Board?
While a master board is useful for overseeing work, a Hub Board takes things to the next level. Especially if you’re working in a large number of Trello boards or you anticipate scaling to such an extent as Acara. Hub Boards act as the home and dispatching center for all of your organization’s Trello cards.
Here’s a general overview of how to set up your own Hub Board:
- Set up flows to sync all cards from every Trello board used by your organization to the hub.
- Then set up additional distribution flows to sync specific cards from the Hub to the boards your teams work in.
The benefit of a hub board is that it requires fewer flows and less maintenance as you scale. If Sandra had tried to replicate her current workflow without a hub board, she would have needed 1,000+ flows instead of 200.
Which kind of project board is right for you?
Talk to our live support team and we’ll gladly walk you through the different ways you can automate your work in Trello with Unito.
In the case of Acara, all the properties in their portfolio could routinely require maintenance work, or administration tasks, etc. So Sandra set up her hub to house all of those tasks in separate lists. That work would then be re-assigned to the board of a property manager responsible for a given series of tasks. In their case, any maintenance work would go to a maintenance board; admin tasks to an admin board, etc.
Fanny from Unito went through everything with me and helped me understand the logic behind what needed to go where and, and certainly how to sync labels and lists to and from the Hub Board.Sandra Owen, Finance & Operations, Acara Property Management
Results: 200+ fully synced property boards, $1,200 and 14+ hours saved per week
- The team can now send cards to over 200+ Trello Boards from a single Hub Board automatically.
- Trello Cards in the Hub are synced with individual user boards and separate team master boards.
- 10 team members can now do the work of dozens
- Additional Trello Butler rules changed the user experience from hands-on to entirely automated.
- Unito’s internal estimates of this customer’s usage assume 14+ hours and $1,200 USD saved per week.
Today, all 200+ Acara properties are now connected to a Hub Board, run by Sandra, which is used to automatically send out cards whenever certain labels are applied. Sandra also supplemented her work in Trello with a series of Butler rules. These have further reduced the manual burden and enable smooth, streamlined automation in her day-to-day.
The Acara team doesn’t have to spend countless hours each week manually assigning hundreds of individual cards across boards. Instead they can focus on scaling and growing their business.
I was really impressed by what Fanny helped us achieve. I don’t know if I would’ve managed it on my own. It’s really, really helped make us more efficient as a team. The guys just create their cards, assign themselves as members and the card goes across. They know that it’s made a huge difference for them.Sandra Owen, Finance & Operations, Acara Property Management
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About Acara Property Management
Acara started as a hands-on property management service in 2012 offering full service tenancy management and block management services. Over the past ten years, we have built a substantial portfolio covering London and have recently expanded to the surrounding areas and since which introduced a development and refurbishment arm with a full time building team in 2015. Landlords with rental investments use us to take care of their portfolios by looking after their tenants and maintaining the property, whether this be day-to-day maintenance, keeping on top of legislation, refurbishment works and related finances.