Outsourcing in the real estate business is gaining traction as more and more owners start to recognise the value. In an increasingly competitive environment, it makes sense to increase your margin by lowering your costs. Many administrative tasks can be moved offshore, freeing up your people and resources. Just because it needs to be done by your office, doesn’t mean it has to be done in your office.
When real estate business owners reach their tipping point and realise that outsourcing is not just a “nice to have” but a “need to have,” there’s just one question they have – how do I even start?
I have two answers to this. The first one is simple. Outsourcing is like bungee jumping. You just need to shut your eyes and take the leap. Yes, it’ll be scary, but with the right preparation, equipment and professional team in place, you’ll be able to enjoy the ride.
The second answer is more nuanced, and that’s what I’ll explore for the rest of this article.
Let’s start at the end
From a business perspective, asking how to start outsourcing isn’t the right question. Instead, think about how you want it to finish. What will your business look like with an offshore team working for you in the background? What new roles will your staff take on? What new opportunities for growth will you be able to explore?
What is the best that your business can be?
Think about that question and then work backwards from there — that’s how you start outsourcing.
Your ideal business model
In a lot of ways, the real estate business has changed a lot in the past few years. But in other ways, we’re still doing things the same old way. In sales, it’s collecting, qualifying and following up leads. For property management, it’s negotiating between owners and tenants.
We might be using software that makes things easier, but there’s a lot of administrative burden involved in every single transaction. And by transaction, I don’t just mean monetary ones. Every call, every email, every complaint, every maintenance request, every appointment is a transaction, and each one comes with its share of paperwork. Databases must be maintained, emails processed, utility bills followed up, books balanced, artwork designed and approved, and 10,000 other things each and every day.
Now think about your ideal business model. Picture a future where your salespeople turn up to work in the morning and their emails have been prioritised so they can tackle the most important ones first. Overnight enquiries have already been answered and three appointments have been booked into their calendar.
Or imagine if your property management team could start chasing up arrears first thing in the morning because the rental report has already been run and distributed?
Sounds amazing, right? Also sounds pretty expensive! But with a real estate virtual assistant, it’s not only possible but affordable.
There are also specialist roles that you can outsource, like bookkeeping, social media management, graphic design, website development, web chat, SEO, and video editing. The possibilities are limited only by your vision.
Can you handle it?
If your vision is to have a team of five people delivering on all these things, you need to think from the start what those roles might actually look like. How will they integrate into your current systems? Who will manage the day to day oversight of those staff? And who will take care of training?
Basically, can your business handle a shift to outsourcing?
Moving part of your back office tasks offshore means knowing your systems intimately. At what point along a process can it be diverted? Do you have systems in place? Or are a lot of tasks done in an ad hoc way?
Outsourcing can help your business to grow in a massive way. However, the business owner can’t be the one responsible for everything. For example, even in a small team, can you really manage growth and take care of training at the same time? Who is going to be in charge of building out the systems and processes to make sure everything will work as smoothly as possible?
Whatever your goal is, whether it’s to cut costs or accelerate growth, or a bit of both, make sure you’ve planned all these things out before you start.
Prepare for success
I don’t want to scare anyone away from outsourcing. I am genuinely passionate about helping real estate businesses to grow by cutting costs and improving their systems. I jumped into the offshore world without any preparation and I’ll admit I made a few mistakes along the way. But I also learned a lot.
So that’s why I said at the beginning – outsourcing is a leap. You can hope for the best and just jump. Or you can have the right systems and resources in place to make it a smoother experience.
So to start outsourcing your real estate business, you need to have a good understanding of your systems and processes and where improvements can be made. Where are your gaps? Where are your blockages? What are the roadblocks that are preventing you from achieving your ideal business?
Once you understand your business, you are ready to start outsourcing.
Finding a provider
The first thing you’ll want to do is find a provider who is in line with your needs. There are many companies offering offshore services, but your ideal provider is real estate specific and understands what you need to achieve.
Other things to consider are human capacity and accessibility. Your provider should be located in an area that has a large pool of talent which is easily accessible for staff. It should be easy for them to take on new recruits and replace anyone who moves on or doesn’t cut it.
And obviously, you want an offshore business provider that has good infrastructure such as reliable internet, uninterrupted electricity supply, government-compliant HR practices and payroll, and safe and comfortable working conditions for all staff. You will need to do your research to make sure that they can actually deliver on what they promise.
In the real estate world, outsourcing makes sense. With the right preparation and the perfect provider, you will see improvements to your business immediately. You can drastically cut your admin costs, improve conditions for your local staff, and accelerate your growth. If you’re wondering when is the right time to start outsourcing, the answer is to start now!