With origins stretching back over 20 years, Peninsula Strata Management prides itself on providing customized services to strata corporations and properties within the lower mainland and Fraser Valley areas of British Columbia.
President, partner, and Senior Strata Agent Scott Ponuick has been licensed to work as a Strata Agent since 1998, and has been employed by several of the largest Strata Management companies in BC. He has experience managing a mixture of residential, commercial, and industrial strata corporations, and provides a hands-on approach to strata that has allowed him to become a specialist in the management of newly-built developments. By working with developers during the planning stages, he ensures strata’s foundation is laid for success. Mr Ponuick joined us recently to discuss the formation of the company, the range of services Peninsula offers, and the benefits of being a small company in a rapidly-changing industry.
“Peninsula Strata Management was formed in May of 2012,” Mr Ponuick says, “by myself and my past business partner. We purchased the strata management division and the contracts of another brokerage that had been in operation since 1998. So, we’re steeped in a long-term clientele.”
Mr Ponuick and his former partner took this existing client list and formed a new management company, a process which included keeping all staff and moving into new offices in South Surrey, British Columbia, where the company is still based today.
“One of the very first things we did was we hired Cecilia Hu, who is our CFO. I’d known Cecilia from a past employer that I worked with, and she was brilliant, super smart, a great accountant. Acquiring Cecilia to work for Peninsula was a definite asset and she was a great addition. It was nice at that time to have a familiar face that we could trust.”
In 2015, Mr Ponuick’s partner was diagnosed with cancer and left the business to focus on his health. The company continued, with Mr Ponuick and Cecilia Hu taking over management operations and moving the company forward.
“Ultimately, over the next few years it became evident that I needed to purchase the rest of Peninsula and purchase my partner’s shares in the company, and so I did that. In doing that I was smart enough to keep Cecilia around and I offered her to come in on a partnership.”
Since that time the company has grown significantly, averaging around 20% or more growth per year. Peninsula manages a portfolio of residential, commercial and industrial strata corporations in the Fraser Valley region in British Columbia.
“The demand for the services we provide has increased,” Mr Ponuick adds, “and has caused us to expand our reach to a number of other municipalities in the lower mainland. It’s been a great run, and we’re officially 10 years next year, so we’re doing well.”
The scope of the business includes offering strata and property management services to both existing and newly built residential, commercial, and industrial strata properties throughout the lower mainland of British Columbia., which consist of full management, accounting only, and consulting.
“With full management, we handle the day-to-day operations of the property, including full cycle accounting, strata agents involved every day, we process all the property forms; the agents liaise with council, the owners [and] trades, attend site visits and meetings, obtain quotes and so much more. Basically, it’s full service.”
In the case of smaller strata corporations and properties, cost and retention of a management has been a major hurdle for the company. The solution was to create an accounting only service, a more cost-effective option for smaller corporations and properties.
“Peninsula completes the monthly accounting duties, the management of the finances of the property in accordance with the Strata Property Act, and/or the required laws we’re operating under, and then should the client need any consultation for any special projects or tenants at meetings, we can assist with that at an additional cost.”
The final package the company offers is consulting services, which have been sought out by a some of the largest development companies in BC. Peninsula provides consultation during the initial planning stages, working with the developer to create proposed budgets and fees, bylaws and rules, and anything else needed to make the development a success.
“We hold accounting very high in our company, it’s something that we cherish. Based on my experience as a strata agent, accounting is the number one thing that strata corporations care about. If you haven’t got financial sense in your business, your situation with your customer is not good.”
One of the key differentiators between Peninsula and its competitors is adaptability, which it achieves due to its size. As a smaller company, Peninsula is fortunate enough to be able to make decisions quicker than its larger competitors.
“We have a high level of service and work ethic, our experience and our commitment to the quality is the difference. Being a smaller management company, we’re focused on providing value and a personalized level of service that the larger companies can’t offer, and then we’re focused on the needs of the client because of that.”
Even as a small company, Peninsula deals with some of the largest developers in BC, including Beedie Development, Mosaic Homes, Dawson & Sawyer, and Isle of Mann. It is a testament to what the company offers that developers of that size are coming to Peninsula.
“Our agents, are licensed to provide either strata or property management, so when it comes to real estate, we can manage anything. The majority of those agents have been in the business greater than ten years, and their past work experience helps them to anticipate, understand, and adapt to any of the situations that they may encounter.”
The experience of the Peninsula team members is varied but impressive, with one being a former real estate developer, one having been a contractor, another in sales and flooring on a national level. This has helped the company deliver exceptional services.
“The people that are involved are a major asset, not only because of what they do now, but because of what they’ve done. They have a different viewpoint, which has been a big asset. That is backed up by our support staff – our administrators, our accounting, and of course the management team.”
The company is big on encouraging staff to further their professional development and continue their own education, providing partial or full tuition reimbursement, as well as offering regular training sessions, bringing in suppliers and products, and providing presentations to help staff better understand the business.
“Embracing technology is another big thing for this industry. We’re a very small industry, so there’s not a lot of stuff that’s been created specific to property and strata management. But there’s stuff that’s happening, so when technologies do arrive, implementing those tools, policies and procedures has helped us to increase our staff’s efficiency.”
The company actively strives to bring in tools and procedures that will add value for clients, making informed and equipped choices to maximize those tools and utilize its size to its advantage.
A changing industry
“There’s been significant changes [in the industry] over the years,” Mr Ponuick says. “When I started in the business in 1998 to now, there’s been a lot of changes, but the biggest ones I think would be legislative changes that have been brought in by the government.”
Changes in legislation have happened in order to provide more transparency in the industry, with the effect being an increase in work, especially in terms of documentation, which has also created the potential for more liability for agents.
“There has been so much new construction, our industry at the moment needs more bodies to manage that. That is a massive challenge for any business, to find people to work, but ultimately with what we do, you have to be licensed, you have to have the education and then having some experience in the industry is vital.”
Because of the rising costs of land and real estate, many people are moving towards multi-family accommodation scenarios like a strata or co-op, and these buildings need to be managed efficiently and effectively according to legal needs. The stark reality is there is a shortage of qualified people to do these jobs.
“[Another issue is] affordability, obviously with purchase of the housing, but also the costs related to the maintenance of the building itself. You’ve got the cost of insurance, maintenance, and repairs. Insurance has gone up by a significant amount over the last 2-3 years, and this has had a dramatic impact on many stratas and properties we manage.” As strata’s navigate these rising costs, it can be a big challenge to maintain the investment.
“As a company, we will continue to focus on what made us who we are. What has worked for us. We’ll continue to be customer service driven, find positive solutions to the problems our clients face. We’re excited to continue working with the development companies that we’ve built a long relationship with, and we look forward to the new developments we have coming in future.”
By focusing on new business development and management opportunities and a commitment to exceptional customer service, Peninsula has a bright future ahead. Find out more about Peninsula Strata Management by visiting www.peninsulastrata.com.