David: Hello and welcome. David Judge here and I have…
David: And we have?
Jo: Jo Leonardis.
David: Jo, where are you from?
Jo: I’m from Hocking Stuart in Richmond. Department Manager.
David: That’s right. So we’re here today to have a bit of a chat with you around your outsourcing experience you’ve had with us so far. We’re going to ask a series of questions so we can get a better understanding as to you know, how it’s all going for you.
Why Did You Decide To Outsource?
Jo: Basically our business, and businesses in general I think with property management, that’s the way that it’s going. So we’ve got an admin girl that we can use now internally to do some other tasks for property management.
Damien: You’ve already deployed your team, haven’t you? Because Maria was doing a lot of that stuff.
Jo: Yeah. Maria was our admin assistant.
Damien: And she’s now out on the road.
Jo: So she’s out on the road now doing inspections to help out our property managers. So Ralph handles all our paperwork, does out leases, invoices. Everything that Maria used to do he’s taken on, which has saved the property managers obviously a lot of time.
Damien: And that’s only the first three months, too. So we are literally in beginning of month four.
David: Just on that as well, and if it’s okay to ask, you were using another outsourcing provider before working with us, weren’t you?
Jo: We were and we were a bit skeptical, obviously, just to try something new, and that was our first time using outsourcing. For us it was a big challenge and we understood the concept and wanted it work again in our business. So after six months with them, we’ve decided to get rid of them and started fresh again.
We spoke to a couple of companies. We were really attracted to Affordable Staff because they’ve dealt with real estate a lot more than some other outsourcing companies. For us as a business, we needed to make sure that someone we employed that worked for us understood the side of property management that we wanted to portray to them.
Limitations In Outsourcing
Jo: I don’t say it’s a limitation. But I think that initially, trying to get him involved in our team was probably a little bit…
Damien: Was that a team limitation or a Ralph limitation? Or a bit of both?
Jo: A bit of both. We wanted to obviously have him as part of our team and make him feel like he was part of our team. So we’re still going to get onto the whole Skype thing.
Damien: Yup, one day.
Jo: Which we will go down the track, but we do communicate with him obviously on a daily basis and he does know all of our property managers. So we’ve created an email for him, obviously to be within our email circle where he can see the ins and outs of our business, whether it’s related to him or not, it’s specific to property management. So he can see the funny side of things. He also sees the serious side of things, which I think is really good because he’ll get more of an understanding of what we are like as a team.
Damien: Ultimately, that’s the goal is to have a remote team member that doesn’t matter whether they’re sitting in their office in the Philippines or whether they’re sitting out.
Damien: That they’re still part of your team doing the job and plugged in the back end. Ralph just happens to be 4,000 kilometers away.
Jo: That’s right.
David: And that was one of the things that one of our clients said to us is that when they see their team members, they imagine that they are just on the opposite side of the wall.
Jo: Correct. And that’s how we feel with Ralph. Even when we were training him, obviously on the phone, with him and Maria did a lot of the training. Phone and then Zoom which worked quite well. So they had a lot of interaction that way.
With the PMs, obviously the interaction is basically by the email system and it’s very quick. His responses are very quick. So anything that needs to be done now he will do, which is great. He will always ask the question, you know, is there a time frame that this needs to be back? If he’s got quite a bit of work on. So I really appreciate that because are not sitting there waiting for things to get done. He’s obviously got priorities and his day set. And for us, you know, understanding his day is just as important as him understanding our day. So anything urgent, I think now he picks up on that. “Is this urgent? Do you need this done now? I’ll drop everything and get this done now.” So it works really well for us.
David: Yeah. And it’s communication that’s been our buzzword for 2019 with a lot of our clients is making sure and helping those communication channels flow because it’s so super important. Something that can be easily misconstrued and then suddenly can blow out. So it’s fantastic that he got the communication stuff going really, really well.
Jo: Yes. We’re all about communication here.
Value Your Offshore Team Member Has Added To Your Local Team
Jo: Well, he’s added value in quite a number of areas. We’ve been able to restructure our property management business. So we’re looking at other ways to make our property managers more efficient and perhaps have more of that one on one communication time with their clients.
So he has helped save them a lot of time with paperwork as such. Up to a couple of hours a week, each property manager, they don’t have to sit there and enter invoices for an hour or two, whether that be weekly or daily, I don’t know, depending on what type of invoice comes in. But we trust that it’s going to get entered on time.
We’ve got more time for the PMs to sit there and evaluate their portfolios. So really it’s about time for them, I think and making sure that their little portfolio has a lot more communication in it with their clients.
Damien: And your businesses when I first met you is already s highly efficient, highly profitable business. There’s no easy wins in your business. From what I can see compared to some of the other businesses I sit with. You’re a profitable business, your property managers are machines.
Jo: They are. They’re very experienced.
Damien: Very experienced. They go like, they go hard.
Jo: They do.
Damien: So for Ralph to add value, the wins I suppose for us weren’t the easy wins to make.
Jo: But he is like us. He’s efficient, he’s quick. He’s just like one of us. So basically, I don’t know whether we’ve created that because he’s seen how efficient we are or when we saw him we’re like, yes, this guy. He’s really good and he’s going to be able to do all the other stuff if we need to as well.
Damien: David and I met you, Peter, Louise in the office that very first day. And like part of what we do walking out there is finding the right skill set person. But there’s people that work at our office that are really efficient for and suit other clients I wouldn’t assume to your business.
So a big part of what we do is making sure that we get the right fit for your business. And that’s part of the integration process. That’s the onboarding and integration to make sure that we recruit the right people with the right skill set, that I’ve got the right fit for you.
Jo: It’s about culture, as well, for us.
Damien: Yeah, it’s getting that right for us is probably one of the more important things.
David: It’s one of the critical components of integrating a team member into a business is making sure that your personality profiling that person so you know that they’re going to be a good fit.
Advice For Businesses Looking At Outsourcing
Jo: I just think that if your business has the capacity obviously to do it, then it’s very worthwhile. It’s a positive experience. It’s something that I think needs to be welcomed in, whether it’s a small business or a big business. Obviously a bigger business does it does work.
Damien: There’s efficiency of scale.
Jo: The efficiency plays a big part. So it’s very valuable for us in that sense. And I think businesses and the way that property management is going, this is the way property management is headed. I think there’s a lot more outsourcing just in general. And I think that if you’re not thinking about it, then you’re going to be behind the eight ball.
Damien: And I suppose just to pick up on a point that you raised there. I would say probably the average client would have what, three, 300 or 400 properties, like you said. We do have, we’ve got bigger businesses, and there’s more efficiency in bigger businesses, but you know, as small as clients go, 80 properties. And they have a Ralph, but they are more of a personal assistant. They’re, you know, they’re a jack of all trades.
They’re not locked down to five, six, eight tasks or sub tasks that actually helping that person be the face to grow. I suppose the different stage that every business goes through. Like they’re just in growth stage.
David: Yeah, where a day is different.
Damien: Every day is different. Every minute it’s different.
Jo: But that’s a good point you raised because he’s becoming a little bit more of a personal assistant as well, which is great.
Damien: I’ll cut this out of the video for you.
Jo: Which is great, but he does all the other stuff as well. So it’s working really well for us and we love it.