Buildium – Collecting Management Fees

My Role

UX Lead, working with one other UX designer, one user research coordinator, one product manager, three developers, and two QA team members.


  • Contextual inquiry
  • Journey mapping
  • Task analysis
  • Conceptual model generation
  • Wireframing
  • Moderated, remote usability testing
  • Detailed screen design

Buildium’s property management software

Buildium is a web and mobile application for property management. Over 10,000 customers depend on the software as the backbone of their business.

Customers demanded automatic management fees

Property management companies typically make most of their income through management fees, usually about 10% of rent collected each month. The ability to automatically calculate management fees was one of the highest-voted ideas on our customer idea suggestion forum.

But really, they wanted to be able to pay rental owners sooner

In order to fully understand the environment and the process for which we were solving, we did contextual inquiry with a few local property management companies and had them walk us through scenarios of collecting management fees. What emerged was that, while calculating and collecting management fees was a chore, the urgency around it came from the fact that collecting management fees stood in the way of paying rental owners the remainder of property income after management fees and bills were paid. If rental owners didn’t get their check when they expected it every month, they would call the property managers asking about where the money was. Property managers wanted to be proactive and avoid these calls.

We had the software withhold money for fees so customers could pay their rental owners first

We explored and user tested three wireframe variations and finalized an approach that would allow property managers to pay their rental owners first – a wizard would calculate and withhold money due for bills and management fees automatically. See clickable prototype


screenshot of tables showing journey maps
Journey maps showing multiple scenarios under the current supported functionality as well as the envisioned future journeys.
Cnoceptual model showing fees and bills being removed from the owner draw
Conceptual models for three approaches to resolving the problem of wanting to be able to pay rental owners sooner
task flow diagram showing the process of how rent money flows
More detailed task flow diagrams allowed us to better understand the pieces of functionality we needed to support to achieve the goal of paying rental owners sooner.
Screenshot of the application - the owner draw screen showing the calculation for money withheld
The final design of the screen that enabled property managers to pay rental owners while withholding necessary funds.
screenshot showing a table that appears to explain the highlighted amount
Because property managers want to double check that the math is right before sending a payment, hovering over one of the headings allows a further drill-down into the line items that resulted in each subtotal.