David Judge here from Affordable Staff and today we have a case study with Lauren Robinson from Rental Results.
In this interview, Lauren's agreed to have a chat to us about her outsourcing experience, how it helped her as a property manager and a business owner, and her recommendations to other people who are looking to outsource staff.
Summary of the video:
David - David Judge here from Affordable Staff. I have Lauren Robinson from Rental Results. How are you, Lauren?
Lauren - Yeah good, thanks David.
David - Now this is going to be an interesting interview because we've had birds flying around. We're at St. Lucia Links at the moment, which is a beautiful golf course overlooking 18 holes right here. So, anyway, let's get into the interview.
Lauren's agreed to have a conversation with us. Lauren's a client. We've known each other for quite a while, haven't we? Five, six years?
Lauren - Yeah, probably. Yeah.
David - And Lauren's agreed to have a chat to us about her outsourcing experience. But I understand that you were the Property Manager of the Year for PPM Group.
Lauren - Yes, that's very exciting.
What is your top tip for property managers for 2017?
Lauren - I think, just making sure that you're getting into the digital space, and also outsourcing is a really, really good thing.
Why did you decide to outsource?
Lauren - I guess initially we started off using Affordable Staff mainly for social media and controlling that sort of side of the business, and just freed up my time so I wasn't constantly having to post every day and that sort of stuff.
And then from there, that was working really well so we thought we'd try outsourcing a little bit more in the business and it really helped and add support to the staff and that has just been one of the best things we've done so it's completely freed up the property managers to just be able to concentrate on building those relationships with the clients, and also doing things that add value rather than basic administration that you know, anyone can really do.
David - Yeah, that's really essentially the key for you isn't it? For your second team members, was around freeing up the admin side the admin side of the tasks for your property managers, wasn't it?
Lauren - Yeah, a hundred percent. And that's worked out amazing for us.
How important is trust when you outsource?
Lauren - I guess, a hundred percent, that's like every staff member, trust is probably one of the most important things.
So we've got Aira and she's part of our team so we see her as equal to all of us. She is one of our most integral people in the business. And yeah, so we love talking to her each day we're always communicating back and forth. We jump on Zoom meetings. She loves learning everything new. She really likes making sure everything is 100% accurate. She really has taken on the job and made it her own. So, it's been great.
David - Yeah, and I guess the trust question whilst people think about it from a offshore or an outsourcing perspective it's really the same case with local staff you're employing as well.
Lauren - Exactly, I don't see it as any different. So she remotes into our database or our server, has the same access to majority of the other administration staff in the office would have and we say with all staff there is definitely trust that you have to relinquish but I've had no issues whatsoever.
Why did you choose us for outsourcing?
Lauren - Well, because I've known you guys for a long time. I trust both yourself and Eva, and I know that you always do the right thing by me as well and yeah, I have no hesitation in recommending you as I have done to many other people in property management.
What limitations have you found so far in outsourcing?
Lauren - I guess initially you have to invest some time so you can't expect, like any staff member, you can't expect them to walk into the business and know how your systems and procedures work.
We initially set up and internet with videos which was a really good way to train staff, but there's also other options and that obviously takes a little bit of time but everything we did, we thought, well is this gonna be the last time we ever have to do this, is this something someone else can do for us that's easy enough and most of the things are fairly easy. Given to someone overseas, that can be outsourced.
Do you see outsourcing replacing property managers in the future?
Lauren - No, I don't. I really that it's something that supports our staff. And that's probably a big thing. Burnout and changes in property management is a real concern for every principal in the business. I've been a property manager myself now for 14 years and it can be one of those things where if you have that additional support, you just don't feel so overwhelmed with your day to day tasks.
What do you think your industry thinks about outsourcing?
Lauren - I think there's a lot of concerns and probably a lot of principals out there that are hesitant to outsource as I was myself, because you just don't know, I guess it's the fear of the unknown.
But we're actually looking at eventually getting a second second team member through you guys and yeah, I couldn't recommend it highly enough. That was probably one of the things we initially thought about doing since last December that we got Aira on board and we were thinking of "Do we need this person? Is it gonna be beneficial?" And yeah, 100% could not recommend it highly enough.
David - Actually, a third, cause you've got Guilly and Aira.
Lauren - Yes.
What advice would you give to other people about outsourcing?
Lauren - I can't recommend it highly enough. It really does support your team.
So we now have property managers out of the office doing routines in the morning. They then e-mail from off-site so while they're driving back to the office, and then we have Aira who types up the whole reports and they will be back in the door and there's their routine inspections done. So that used to be a full day job, where you'll be out all morning doing your inspections, come back to the office, write up all your reports, send the feedback to the owner. Now, you come back and you can have lunch and you can have a break. And you just do your normal e-mails and that just takes away so much pressure. We all leave right on time now, we don't have to stay back.
David - I understand that's a bit of an issue in the industry, isn't it?
Lauren - Yeah. And it's one of those things were everyone moves things done immediately, so you can free yourself up to not have to do basic paperwork. Yeah, couldn't recommend it enough.