Collaborating with SFR clients to find flexible approaches to unique situations
On a typical day, Robin Droppa almost forgets she works for SiteCapture.
The company, which offers mobile and cloud-based solutions for streamlining property field operations, has been around for over a decade, and Droppa has been a part of the team since the beginning.
But in many cases, she becomes completely immersed in partnering with her clients. “I often feel like I actually work for them,” she says. “You know, there are times I feel like I could represent myself as a part of their team because I understand their businesses so well.”
As Vice President of Solutions and Customer Success at SiteCapture, Robin Droppa works hard to help clients in the single-family rental (SFR) space implement the technology and achieve their goals.
Keeping clients first from the beginning
In the dot-com era, Droppa started an agency that specialized in e-commerce. She partnered up with entrepreneurs, helping them to monetize new technologies they were building. She also found success doing market strategy and pitching venture capitalists, raising funds on behalf of her clients.
“From there, I actually branched out with some people that I met, and I ended up starting a company, which was called iConvention. It was a set of online tools in support of trade shows,” she explains. “The thing that was kind of interesting is at that time it wasn’t called software-as-a-service, but that was literally what we did. It’s kind of neat to have been involved in the earliest days of SaaS.”
Later, Droppa moved on to an investment group in a real estate adjacent space. It was there that she first met SiteCapture founder and CEO Kamal Shah, who came to pitch the group, Shark Tank-style. The firm ended up investing, and Droppa was brought to help SiteCapture grow.
“I’ve been here since the beginning,” she reflects. “I’ve grown up through SiteCapture and grown up with the markets that it reaches.”
Getting to know customers’ needs
In her role at SiteCapture, Droppa heads up the SFR side of the business. She spends time chatting with customers and potential customers, learning more about what they need. Then she brings those ideas back to her team.
“And then in addition to that, I work closely with all of our clients to help them get set up and configured and using SiteCapture successfully,” she adds.
Droppa also leads a team that includes customer support, customer success, and customer solutions.
“It’s a form of account management,” she explains, “but with less of a focus on selling and far more of a focus on how our customers can successfully use SiteCapture, what other areas of their business that they can adopt SiteCapture into, and then what other things we can add to our product that would allow us to further support their needs and grow with them as customers.”
Droppa’s favorite part of her job is getting to know her clients well, so she can help them find ways to integrate SiteCapture seamlessly into their workflows.
“I get a good sense of what their companies are doing, what their businesses are based around, their philosophies, [and] their challenges,” she says, “and I love taking this very, very, flexible system that we offer at SiteCapture and configuring it so that it can support the needs of these companies that I work closely with.”
Even after working for the company for so long, Droppa still expresses genuine amazement over the product and its many uses.
“On the SFR side, it’s fascinating. We end up configuring and reconfiguring SiteCapture and applying it so differently from company to company that it’s almost like it’s a different product.”
Finding flexibility in a tech-savvy industry
The single-family rental industry emerged as a category just in the last eight or nine years, and Droppa has noticed some trends over that time.
“One thing I’ve noticed is that it’s a very tech-savvy sector. There’s a desire to adopt technology for efficiency.”
Because the single-family rental space is so tech-forward, changes come quickly, and companies must adapt.
“This is an incredibly fast-moving industry, as you can imagine,” she says. “We’ve seen customers go from owning 7,000 homes to owning 40,000 homes in less than 5 years. With that kind of speed, companies have to be super agile, and they have to be able to iterate their processes quickly as they go.”
This is the kind of information that Droppa shares with the SiteCapture product team. Much of the feedback has to do with places where clients must quickly pivot and quickly iterate, in response to market changes.
In addition to the industry leaning toward tech-savvy, Droppa has also noticed some other trends over time.
“There’s starting to be a lot of interest in build-to-rent,” she notes. “I’ve also noticed that there seems to be a crossover between the single-family space and the short-term rental space—like the three-month rentals, the shorter, not-so-permanent living spaces.”
Finally, Droppa has noticed a rise in energy efficiency awareness in the residential real estate space.
“One thing I love is that there is absolutely a crossover between clean energy and the solar space in residential, and the people that are either building to rent or acquiring and managing single-family homes for rentals,” she states. “Energy efficiency is an important aspect of what people are doing when they’re there owning and managing these properties.”
Celebrating agility in a changing market
When asked about her favorite SiteCapture product features, Droppa doesn’t hesitate even for a second.
“There’s one feature–it’s a set of features actually that support a use case–that I feel like we are uniquely positioned to do in an excellent way,” she says, “and it has to do with estimating.”
While other types of software can create estimates, scopes, and job reports, those programs were typically built for large-scale construction projects. SFR projects are different: They deal with a much tighter timeline. Even before a company acquires a property, workers must go in and quickly assess how much money needs to be put into the property to get it rent- or market-ready.
“So that estimating piece is absolutely critical to the success or failure of a single individual acquisition. If they get it wrong, they’re in trouble, right?”
Besides estimating, the other pivotal stage in the SFR process is the “turn,” the time when the tenant moves out. At this point, the rental company has to be able to quickly come in to clean, repair, and get everything ready for the next resident.
“During those two places in the process–in getting it ready to market for the first time and then in those turns–this estimating use case is so critical. And trying to use ‘a brick to swat a fly’ doesn’t make sense for these guys, doesn’t give them the agility they need,” she explains. “So SiteCapture really has built the only estimating product that is specifically created for this single-family rental space.”
To support the renovation and rehab use case, SiteCapture puts to work a series of features. The software combines dynamic field groups, the service line database, line item management, mobile tools, and the ability to communicate quickly with people in different locations. With this unique combination of components, SFR companies can do an estimate, turn it into a scope, and manage each of the items that were estimated—from whether it was approved or not, to looking at statuses on the work itself, to sending to the contractors to do the work—all the way to closing the job out.
“So I’d say that that whole use case of renovation and rehab, from estimating to scoping to completing the work—that’s been super exciting for me to be able to deliver. It’s so unique and it fits our space incredibly well,” Droppa says.
Making time for adventure
When she’s not helping clients find success with SiteCapture, Droppa finds time to cheer on her beloved Kansas City Chiefs. (Fun fact: She’s never lived in Kansas City.)
She’s also very family-oriented.
“A couple of years ago I had an opportunity to meet an entire family that I did not know I had. I ended up finding out I had a biological father, a sister, and brothers, who I met about five years ago. So I ended up moving to Idaho, very far north in Idaho.”
In addition to spending time with extended family, she enjoys hanging out with her four sons and her husky mixes, Chief and Hunter.
And more often than not, she’s probably out in nature.
“I do a ton of hiking, skiing, non-motorized outdoor sports. This is a great area if you are into the mountains, skiing, kayaking, fishing,” she says.
If that’s not enough adventure for Droppa, there’s always more on the horizon.
“All four of my sons and I are going to go to Alaska for the first time ever. We’re going to visit Glacier Bay, which is something all of us are pretty excited about.”