David Judge here and today we have a case study with Stacey the co-owner of Harcourts Coomera (which is on the gold coast).
We recorded this video onsite at Stacey’s office, and as with any technology we were having a couple of issues with the camera. It decided to turn off mid interview and is very slightly out of focus.
The content though is great and Stacey is very open and honest around her outsourcing experience, and her offshore team they employ through us. I ask a number of candid questions, including how Stacey’s local team have taken to working with the offshore team, limitations she experienced so far and how she handles the issue of trust . So let’s jump on and have a listen to that case study.
Summary of the video:
David Judge here and today we have Stacey the co-owner of Harcourts Coomera (which is on the gold coast) with Stacey’s offshore team, Michelle and Cindy.
In this short interview we discuss the tasks the offshore team complete, any concerns or issues they had when starting, IT issues, how the 2 offices work together and more.
We ran this session using a software called Zoom that allowed us to record our interview within the actual software. This is a hands on interview on how Stacey works with her team and why she is succeeding with outsourcing with us. Ok, let’s check it out.
Why did you decide to Outsource?
Ok so, there were a number of reasons. Office space first of all. Our office space is small, but the location is amazing so we prefer not to move, which means we don’t have anymore room for staff. We need bums on seats and we don’t have the room. Having people outside of the office that can do the same job as the people already in the office was so appealing to us
The second reason, like any real estate office we’ve had so many staff come and go. Young, old, middle aged, we’ve employed them all and have been constantly let down. We were at the point of being let down so many times that we were at the point where we knew we had to try something new cause what we’re doing isn’t working so let’s give it a go. We’d heard this was working for some of friends that are in real estate, so why not?
There are a lot of sales agents in the office as we’re sales and rentals based, and then we need storage of files, paperwork, machines, printers, filing and at the end of the day there’s no room for people to do work and you want to keep growing, so something has to give.
Is trust an important factor when Outsourcing?
Trust is the number one factor when hiring anybody even someone here locally. Having this business is my husbands and my livelihood. It supports my son. It’s everything to us. Trust of people in the office locally and outside of this office is the biggest thing and was the number one thing on my mind hiring someone overseas. I thought… ‘I Don’t Know’ cause you hear all of these stories of overseas hackers and that goes into your head and you think ‘Are these people going to be in system’.
It did a little while to overcome that, but instantly after speaking to them a few times it was fine. Once you speak to them, see their photo, get to know them it makes you feel at ease and we haven’t had any problems. Trust stems from the ways you can manage security (and micro see everything they do) with your information but also the culture within your office of the people you employ.
Why did you choose us?
Purely on recommendation. I had heard about outsourcing a few times from different people, we’d Googled it and spoke to a couple of people and I wasn’t comfortable with them after my conversation, so I gave up on it. That was about 18 months ago.
Then I spoke to another real estate agency and they said they had no problems, fantastic an really talked me into it. I contacted Ashley (NSRE) and she passed me onto you guys. After having a conversation with you I realised we’re on the same page as I’m not an IT savvy person and the thought of speaking to a person through a computer was really foreign to me. You guys made it so easy and stepped me through everything and it was just easy.
What limitations have you found in Outsourcing?
The biggest thing us so far has been IT based as I’m not an IT person (At All). That’s been the biggest problem for me is learning new systems and making sure everything is in place and ready for the girls to log on.
In terms of limitations of the staff, I haven’t had any. There’s nothing they won’t take on, there’s nothing they won’t jump in and try. That’s where there’s a difference with local staff here, where if you give them a job to do they are hesitant and don’t know or will say they can’t do it. For our overseas staff they say ‘Yeah, send it through’’ as they want to learn it.
So for me, it’s been around learning the IT side of things but it’s been easy once I’ve done it.
How are your team working with an Offshore team?
They have been good. Obviously there’s a little bit of reluctance when there’s any change in an office and there’s always going to be a little bit of reluctance amongst some people. But even the staff that are the most reluctant to change have come around and it didn’t take as long as other changes we’ve made for them to come around. In this office, everything has happened quite easily and I haven’t had any dramas at all.
I think there’s naturally fear as there are people coming in from overseas that are cheaper (I guess in wage) and they can do the same as you which would make you a bit nervous. It would make anybody nervous to face that change. It’s all about the support for the existing local business an existing team.
What does your industry think about Outsourcing?
I think people are quite nervous, just as I was at the beginning. It all seemed too hard for me and the trust thing was in my head as I was wondering if I could trust these people to come into my business and be in amongst my data and have everything there are their finger tips.
At the end to the day, Property Management is 80% Paper and office task and I think your Property Managers need to be focused on the houses. We got to the point before we bought you guys on that my property managers didn’t have time to inspect the houses because they were so weighed down by all of the stuff in the office.
Now, they can out and see the houses and the owners ring and we can say ‘Hey yeah, we were out there yesterday’ or ‘Hey Yeah, I drove by and it looks good’. It’s changed our business for the better as we can focus on the houses instead of all of this paperwork.
What would you say to a person looking at Outsourcing?
It is scary to take that first step and start investigating, but it is so worth it.
I employed my first girl ‘Michelle’ and she was to file and complete invoices. I know have Michelle completing my trust accounting, which I never thought I would have that level of trust. You hear horror stories for people from Australia & overseas and it has saved me 3-4 hours a day and I realise how much time I was wasting handling that task alone.
Outsourcing has changed our office, it’s changed how I run my business. I have time to work on my business, instead of in my business. My local staff now have time to concentrate on inspecting properties, instead of completing mundane tasks like Lease Renewals and Rental Arrears. They don’t have to worry about as it’s all taken care of and they can concentrate on viewing properties.
Also, it’s also working in terms of marketing. We my girls working on marketing in their spare time and we’re all of the sudden getting all of this new business so it’s returning more than we’re paying out.
If there is anyone that is looking at outsourcing to contact these guys as they have made it so easy and I cannot recommend them enough.