Summary of the video:
Why did you decide to Outsource?
Damien M - Mainly to assist our property management business initially. As I've worked in real estate since 2004 I've seen a number of changes in the demands to our business, mainly in our industry. There's a lot more compliance required, for example, smoke alarm compliance, which just gets lumped onto a small business.
So you have to now cope with an extra job and you need that process to work smooth as it's very important. So to put on an extra staff member with our numbers just didn't make sense as it eats straight into the bottom line. We looked to see if we should get someone part time, but the opportunity to outsource sprung to mind and it's worked well for us.
Damien B - That's one of the things I see with Property Management businesses is compliance is just exploding in the industry, but the management fees and the margins don't seem to be growing for agencies and business owners. It's one of the areas I see real opportunities for business owners to support their staff.
Damien M - Yes, that's right. I could see that our staff were overworked, they never felt like they were on top of their work and really what they were becoming were administrators, not property managers and not building better relationships with our customers.
Damien B - That's pretty key to your business isn't it?
Damien M - That's right, it's a people business and we wanted to get back to that
Why Is Trust Such An Important Factor When Outsourcing?
Damien M - Well, it's our brand. Like when we employ any team member, they have to the right fit to our business and they're out representing us.
So even though our team member is working remotely they are still representing our brand and our business has been around since 1953 and we've spent a long time building our reputation so we don't want to lose it overnight which means we need to make sure we're partnering with the right people.
Why Did You Choose Us?
Damien M - A good friend, mentor and guru in the real estate industry 'Andrew Reece' referred me to David, because I was looking for some help in websites.
Andrew replied with an email with David's details. I guess a friend of Andrew's is a friend of mine. I met with David and he was very helpful and very knowledgeable and I've never looked back.
What Limitations Have You Found So Far?
Damien M - Initially, we were looking at a website development project and there were a few issues around time frames, now I've parked that project for the time being because of our needs rather than anything else.
Now we have a full-time support team member. There has been some challenges around language and culture, sometimes with some of the tasks.
Damien M - I've got incredible knowledge on our local area and sometimes you forget that and you expect someone who's only been with you for a little while to have similar understanding. So some of the systems and knowing some of the addresses and those sorts of things, being able to problem solve have been a little bit challenging. But aside from that, outsourcing has been a tremendous help to our business.
Damien B - Has it been hard to overcome those challenges?
Damien M - Some of them just take a little bit of time, I mean you don't get this opportunity where if you and I had a problem I could sit down with you and we could navigate through it. I mean we communicate through Skype and email and those sorts of software. We've used other technology like Zoom to have our systems and processes build, which has been really helpful. But not doing this (face to face) is what makes it sometimes harder as I can't see facial expressions.
Damien B - It's one of the challenges with an offshore team member is you can't physically sit down like we are today and have a conversation over a cup of coffee
Damien M - That's right, they can't tap you on the shoulder and say... 'Hey, I have a question'
Damien B - It's also where I see my role coming in, being able to support real estate/property management businesses to help them to get it right. I don't want it to fail... we don't want it to fail as a business and we're here to support you and to give you the tools to be able to develop that relationship with your team member. So it works.
Damien M - You were very helpful at the start to help us as it was a bit scary initially putting on someone who you've never really met but you think they're going to be good. Using Zoom for processes have been phenomenal for us because can show people exactly how you want things done and we didn't have that skill before and now we've got that skill which has been great for our business, so thank you.
How Are Your Local Team Working With Your Offshore Team?
Damien M -They're loving it. We've seen more value in our property management initially because of the administration we've taken off them. There's been a few jobs that we've wanting to do for a long time that were important but not urgent and we never got around to them, we're been able to help us to get Joy to do them. Just seeing things getting done and knowing your property managers are up to date as there's a standard we've been able to deliver.
Damien B - Has it helped drive and increase your team's satisfaction levels?
Damien M - I think they're happier, you'd probably need to ask them... I hope they're happier. They're going home now at a more reasonable hour. There's swings and roundabouts in property management we have good days and we have bad days. We have good vacates and we have bad vacates. If you get 6 bad vacates in a month you know you're not feeling great and those things happen. And there's a lot of noise going on in your head in property management. You think I've got to do this I've got to do that and I've got to do this and having a few of those tasks out of their heads is allowing them to think a lot clearer.
Damien B - One of the greatest opportunities I see in property management especially is it's very task driven with dates and deadlines that need to made. A lot of them are administrative deadlines that need to be done. Sending our lease renewals and stuff like that are time-consuming for a property manager as the phone rings and I've got to deal with this and I have to deal with that and all of the sudden you forget about it and you end up working late.
That's something that can so easily be offshored and compartmentalised so that some else can do it can take care of it, making your life a lot easier. I hope that's how you're finding it and your team are finding it?
Damien M - It's amazing the things we've learned to let go of, like arrears processing up to 7 days before the breach notice are done is now done offshore. So now the property managers just come in and deal with the trickier stuff and don't have to deal with the little stuff. Also, typing up a lease, it doesn't really add value, I mean the actual typing of the lease or the typing of entry notices and sending them an email and an SMS to say 'hey we've just sent you an entry notice'.
It doesn't add value to the relationship but it's a necessary part of it. It's time-consuming if you've got 500 properties and you're doing 1500 inspections in a year it's a lot of time that we're saving.
What Does The Industry Think About Outsourcing?
Damien M - It's a good question and really don't know the answer. Speaking to some of the people I associate with and I say I'm doing outsourcing and they say 'Oh,really', cause it's still new. I think a lot more people are turning to it because it's valuable. I mean the cost of labour puts pressure on a real estate business and this provides a solution that halves the price really.
What Would You Say If Someone Wants to Outsource?
Damien M - Anyone in the Peninsula don't do it because it's terrible! But seriously, bite the bullet and give it a go. It's been an incredibly valuable addition to our business. We've taken steps forward, we've only been doing it for a few months and I've already seen significant change to our business.
I'd just like to thank you guys for what you've done for us as it's been really, really helpful.