When it comes to an x-factor in business you have to be brave, you have to think outside the square and you have to take a risk. Virtual assistants have turned out to be that x-factor in our business. A Virtual Assistant is a multi-skilled, self-driven, who provides professional administrative, technical, or creative assistance to clients remotely or from a home office.
If you’re not familiar with a virtual assistant in real estate they are basically, usually foreigners working from somewhere like India or the Philippines who assist your business with the administrative tasks. While there are savings in terms of wages, tax and super, probably the biggest saving though for a small business is the saving it takes in the time to train someone to complete various tasks.
As we all are fully aware the administrative tasks in property management can be quite tedious and arduous, and a lot of our onshore employees get bored and move on fairly quickly. So, utilising the services of a virtual assistant, especially if you go through a middleman company, called an Outsourcing company, can be a huge saving in time and money invested in recruitment and training. VA’s work well to set tasks, they have an ideal week, they are trained both externally on understanding property management legislation and software systems, but then they are flexible and able to be trained internally on your systems and procedures, with an external team assuring quality control. The third-party company ensures someone is sitting in your VA seat all year round unless it’s public holidays and/or Christmas shut down. You can choose to recruit your own VA and I have heard of people who do this, however, there are obvious risks associated with that and the time-saving benefits may not be that beneficial if you are training them from start to finish on all aspects.
WHAT ARE THE TOP BENEFITS TO HIRING A VIRTUAL ASSISTANT?
One of the key benefits to utilising a VA is that your team on the ground has more time to deal with customer service and communicating effectively with owners and tenants. Many agencies have also started using them for sales prospecting and administration tasks, as well as trust accounting and office, accounts tasks. If there is paperwork or a step by step procedure to follow, the VA’s can do it. This means your team has more time to focus on communication and customer service.
LESS TIME & MONEY SPENT ON TRAINING
I will be honest it still does take time and patience whilst setting up or onboarding the VA, but once you are up and running and have ironed out the kinks, you won’t look back. In no time at all, you’ll be looking for a second or third VA. You also get some of the friendliest and most exceedingly helpful people to work with, no job is too big, and nothing pleases them more than being able to be of service to you. What I found in our business was that we would spend 6 months or a year training property management assistants who would then decide they didn’t like property management and would then leave, and the cycle of recruitment and training would start all over again.
REDUCED LABOUR COSTS
If you utilise the services of an outsourcing company you simply pay a monthly invoice, so there are no additional payroll expenses. If you choose to source your own VA the pay rate is significantly lower, however, there are other issues associated with that like training, quality control, and accountability.
SCALING YOUR BUSINESS
Simply put scaling your business means setting the stage to enable and support growth in your business. With a VA on board, you can handle an increase in new management, sales, and work in general, without it affecting your bottom line. Your company can handle growth without suffering in other areas, like constant employee turnover because of heavy workloads and high-stress levels.
IMPROVED WORK QUALITY & PRODUCTIVITY
With less time to worry about the tedious administrative tasks, property managers can improve other aspects or tasks required, ones that often get pushed aside at the expense of paperwork required to meet legislative practices. So, without the pile of files, your team is free to be more productive on other tasks including dollar productive tasks like Business Development. There is no longer a need to rush from one task to the next with something constantly being missed. If you have a sales team this could include the data entry into databases or the preparation of prospecting spreadsheets.
SOME OF THE KEY TASKS A VIRTUAL ASSISTANT CAN DO FOR YOUR REAL ESTATE BUSINESS
- Daily Rent Arrears
- Routine scheduling and sending entry notices
- Lease renewals
- New and vacating tenant documents
- Form 6’s
- Paying bills
- BDM prospecting
- Inbox management
- Setting up new managements and tenants in software programs
- Audits and special projects to tidy up the database
- Trust accounting
- Sales administration tasks
- Inbox management
- Personal Assistant tasks
- Data Entry
- CRM maintenance and management
In our business, we have been able to achieve phenomenal growth since we have had our two virtual assistants join our team, and it certainly wasn’t a decision we took lightly. There have been a few hiccups along the way with a few replacement virtual assistants and the initial training to get your systems and procedures down pat can be a time investment business owners or team leaders rarely have. The short term pain though is well worth it in the long run, especially when you have your property managers enjoying their jobs, feeling less stressed, and overwhelmed by workloads. I also experienced less unhappy clients and lost managements are at an all-time low as a result of the extra customer service initiatives we have implemented.