Real estate is a rewarding business. There’s no better feeling than when you help someone find their dream home, or achieve the perfect price for a vendor. But costs are going up, profit margins are shrinking, and it’s only going to get tougher.
Real estate business owners know that the only way to survive is to cut costs. But how can you do that without affecting your excellent customer service?
Cutting costs doesn’t mean cutting corners. In fact, the opposite is true. It’s possible to minimise costs for your real estate business and at the same time improve customer service and accelerate growth. How? Outsourcing.
Cut the cost of unproductive tasks
The biggest cost in any business is wages, which is as it should be. Your people are vital to the success of your company. But how much of what your staff do is productive versus the stuff that needs to get done for the business to tick along? I’m talking about things like updating databases, reconciling receipts, clearing inboxes, and running reports.
These are essential tasks that need to be done, or nobody gets paid. But they’re not actually producing value to the business. By shifting the burden of unproductive tasks offshore, you can cut your administration costs to a quarter or a third of your current overheads.
Boost your staff productivity
When your local staff are no longer bogged down in boring tasks that they hate – like filing essential paperwork – they will have more time to do what you actually hired them to do. Your salespeople can spend more time on the road and less at the desk. Instead of meeting with a few leads per day, they can talk with dozens.
The same is true in property management. A property manager with their own real estate virtual assistant can double their capacity from managing 150 properties to 300. The VA takes care of basic enquiries, booking tradespeople, arranging property viewings and inspections. Your PMs will be left with more time to tackle really tricky problems and to boost your rent roll by talking with more potential clients.
And you’ll still be delivering the same excellent customer service your company is renowned for, except you’ll be more responsive and do it faster. A real estate VA will make sure all of your client needs are responded to within a few minutes, rather than hours or even days.
Cut the cost of marketing
Your staff are only part of the equation. You have to spend money to make money, and today that means digital marketing spend.
Pay per click, SEO, drip email campaigns, lead magnets, and A/B testing all take time and money. You know that they’re valuable parts of your marketing strategy, but it’s hard to know how much effort to invest in it. On the one hand, you may not have enough work to hire a full time person, and on the other hand, agencies are too expensive. It’s tempting to dump your social media on the youngest person in the office!
But you really need a professional to get the most value.
Offshore staff have actual qualifications and experience in digital marketing, not just a passing interest. Moving your digital marketing offshore means getting a qualified person dedicated to your company’s marketing success at a fraction of the cost of someone local.
Create beautiful assets
When it comes to billboards, posters, ads and videos, people in the real estate biz rarely scrimp. There’s nothing like a beautifully made half page ad in full colour to make a client (and salesperson!) happy.
Making those beautiful assets is expensive. There isn’t usually enough work to justify having someone in house. Sending it out to a freelancer or agency is time consuming and they’re often working to their own deadlines rather than yours. And sometimes costs balloon out unexpectedly.
With offshoring, you can have your very own graphic designer to create all of your visual assets. Not just ads and signs, but Instagram posts, Facebook and Twitter images, webpage updates, blog headers, feature images, certificates and banners. Even Happy Home-versary emails to clients. And because they’re working for you full time, they are working to your schedule and your budget.
Cut the cost of inefficiencies
One thing that happens when you decide to move part of your real estate backend offshore is that you remove inefficiencies. This is an unexpected but delightful side effect. Outsourcing is not as simple as hiring a few offshore staff and throwing tasks at them. You need to have a really strong understanding of how your business works.
You probably have processes in place to make sure every I is dotted and T is crossed when it comes to the legal side of a rental agreement or sale. But what about the processes before that? What does your sales funnel look like? What are the customer touch points? What are your most time consuming but least valuable interactions? Which tasks can be moved offshore and at which point along the process?
By looking at your business this way, you’ll start to see inefficiencies and double-ups. Some of these are unavoidable, but at least they’ll become cheaper by moving them offshore. Others can be eliminated through a process of review. And cutting inefficiencies means cutting costs without compromising on service.
With unproductive tasks moved offshore, you’ll have a more streamlined business with only productive people in the office. Everyone else who is taking care of essential but time-consuming tasks is in your offshore location. Your new super efficient real estate business will immediately have a competitive advantage over the rest of the field.
Outsourcing is not just about minimising costs. With a healthier profit margin, your business will be able to scale at a faster rate. You’ll be able to push through the cost barrier that is currently restraining your growth and push forward.
By reducing costs and adding more income, you’ll be adding to the bottom line. This is brilliant when times are good. And when the market gets tough, you can thrive while other businesses barely survive.