5 questions for Rent Ready CEO Jonathan Kite
After a six-year tenure at Microsoft, Jonathan Kite joined forces with two fellow UNC Chapel Hill graduates to found Rent Ready. Since 2014, the Charlotte-based company has been providing make-ready services for the apartment and rental industry including painting, cleaning, carpeting, drywall repair and counter and tub resurfacing services at communities across Charlotte, Raleigh and Atlanta.
The pandemic, however, prompted a change to their business model. Just weeks after the pandemic struck, Jonathan, who serves as CEO, led the team to introduce a completely new offering by launching their Virus Safeguard service, which enlists trained professionals to disinfect common areas and vacated units with 360° Surface-Spraying technology. It’s the “gold standard in disinfection” and more effective than a spray-and-wipe approach, according to an infectious disease epidemiologist.
In addition to setting the standard for disinfection in the multifamily industry, Jonathan’s goal for Rent Ready is to expand their make-ready service footprint.
What inspires you? – Technology’s endless possibilities. A “techie” by nature and background, I get so inspired disrupting an antiquated process by leveraging technology and applying it to a unique business model. That’s our single source of inspiration and focus at Rent Ready: transforming the multi-family industry with technology. We always ask ourselves one question before making any decision at Rent Ready; does what we are doing make the make ready process easier for our customers? That question is the driving force that motivates our team to achieve our company’s vision of becoming the leading national expert in apartment turn services. It is truly inspiring to see our progress in fulfilling that mission each and every day.
Who or what should we be paying attention to? Especially if you, or your friends or family, live in an apartment community, I would pay attention to what the staff is doing to protect their residents. COVID-19 has had an enormous impact on communal, high density living spaces like apartment communities; the virus has fundamentally altered how apartments must function to establish the appropriate health and safety measures to ensure the welfare of community residents. It is one of the reasons Rent Ready decided to launch its Virus Safeguarding services, which directly address resident concerns around ensuring the safety of common area spaces and provide additional peace of mind to new residents moving into their homes. Apartment communities have a responsibility to their residents to provide health and safety guarantees in a step to make their communities safer places to live during these difficult times.
What do you like best about your job? Having the opportunity to work with so many talented employees on a daily basis is the most rewarding aspect of my job. We have established an incredible culture of problem solving that has intentionally sought to bring in a team from a broad range of industries. The diversity of backgrounds we have at Rent Ready is what has helped us to approach our goal of disrupting the current multi-family industry with such a fresh perspective – and the chance to constantly work at solving an everyday problem, which everyone across the entire national apartment industry faces, is incredibly rewarding.
What was your biggest challenge this week? Trying to predict the impact COVID-19 has had on the traditional multi-family move-in and move-out season has proven a difficult task as the pandemic continues to disrupt traditional leasing cycles. Making sure our teams are prepared to service a non-traditional and extended move-out season into the fall months is critical to our success in helping apartment communities by remaining a reliable and timely partner in their make ready needs.
BBQ: I consider myself an at-home barbeque amateur and always look forward to cooler weather bringing on a new season of barbeque! If I had to make an absolute final decision in the great Eastern/Western sauce debate I would have to side with Eastern sauce – it has always just seemed more uniquely NC to me. Although in the spirit of an honest confession, when I make my own sauce at home, I tend to blend the two traditions together using both tomatoes and vinegar to get the best of both worlds – sweet and tangy!