Boss Talks

Episode 11 with Marcel Thomas

Recorded on: August 31, 2022

Hey, Boss, hold on to your headphones! Because Marcel Thomas from Be Home Student Living is giving us an inside glimpse into The Turn—the busiest time of the year in student housing. He also shares about his Boss-status leadership skills, culinary degree (yum!), and life in Las Vegas.

  • 01:39 - Meet Marcel Thomas, General Manager & High Priestess of Property Management
  • 05:12 - What is The Turn in Student Housing?
  • 10:14 - Time-saving integrations
  • 12:17 - Student Housing Professionals Facebook Group
  • 14:33 - Celebrating a 60% renewal rate
  • 17:47 - Life in Las Vegas vs other schools
  • 22:22 - Leadership philosophies
  • 27:24 - Final questions: Building community, dinner guests, and a cuppa joe

Every Boss has a sweet story, and here’s Marcel’s. While he was studying pastry in culinary school, he worked part-time in the student housing office. “I don't think anybody ever plans on being in this industry. It just happens…at least that's what happened with me.”

Flash forward to today, where Marcel is the General Manager of a Be Home Student Living community in Las Vegas, Nevada—although he prefers the self-proclaimed title of High Priestess of Property Management.

During this multifamily podcast episode, Marcel explains the biggest difference between student housing and multifamily: The Turn. (Also aptly named Superbowl, hell on earth, nightmare on Elm Street, etc.) This two-and-a-half week window occurs when all leases turn over from late-July through mid-August.

Part I of The Turn is the unit part: inspections, pictures, damages, carpets, appliances, furniture—everything must take place with the help of staff and third party workers. Part II of The Turn is the admin side: moving packets, keys, FMO, bills, charges. In other words, Marcel becomes the manager of “organized chaos for two and a half weeks.”

One of the reasons his property has boasted a 60% renewal rate is because of his Boss-style leadership philosophies:

  1. Be tough but fair. Marcel calls himself, “a tough coach, but like a cool mom” because he blends attention to detail with constant improvements. By listening to residents, not letting the small things pass by his staff, and maintaining a high standard, his team and properties have thrived.
  2. Plan for your legacy. “When I leave here, then this property will still be like my legacy. And so it doesn’t reflect well on me if I leave here and it just tanks.” Marcel prioritizes training his staff to fulfill his shoes to replace him at some point. That increases his value and empowers his team at the same time.
  3. Have fun! Daily dance moves, bring-your-dog-to-work days, homemade desserts, and staff dinners are just a few of his fun-filled Boss tactics. (Also, don’t we all agree that Marcel would flourish on TikTok?!)

Other factors that have boosted his success include must-have automations, such as Community Boss and the Amazon hub locker system, plus his Student Housing Professionals Facebook community.

Do you have a Boss-worthy story, just like Marcel? We’d love to hear it! Reach out to our host, Evan Happel, and share why you’re a Boss in the student housing or multifamily industry. Then send this podcast to your friends to help them Manage Like A Boss!