Small business owners across the country have come face to face with a hard truth: Our businesses can’t survive if we don’t embrace the new, post-pandemic work culture. In turn, businesses, big and small, have been outsourcing work to have an edge against their competitors.
In this article, we’ll discuss the important questions to ask when outsourcing. While most of the questions we cover apply to all businesses, we’ll specifically focus on outsourcing real estate property management services.
But first, we need to understand what outsourcing is and how it can help your business.
Outsourcing is when you receive help from outside of your company. Thus, it’s the process of hiring a third party to perform tasks that fill in the gaps in your workforce.
Why outsourcing is good for business
One of the first questions to ask when outsourcing is, “How will this benefit my business?” In our post-pandemic era where more and more people are working from home, outsourcing has become a small business owner’s go-to so they can not only thrive but survive in modern-day corporate culture.
Thus, whether your work is in real estate or not, outsourcing will help you reduce labor costs and grow your business.
Outsourcing is usually much cheaper than hiring from within your organization. This is because you can avoid employee-related costs like paid vacation, sick leave, and health benefits. Likewise, receiving help virtually means you don’t have to allocate company funds to renting a new office space or expanding your existing office.
It’s no secret that outsourcing services for property management, or any other type of work, can lead to exponential growth in your business.
Your business growth and your workload have a directly proportional relationship, and thus, you may notice your daily tasks becoming unmanageable as your real estate business booms. So, handing over non-essential duties to a third party is critical if you want to focus more of your time on profit-generating tasks like fostering client relationships and improving lead generation.
How do you know when it’s time to outsource?
As a small business owner you may wonder, “What will I do when the time comes to pass the torch?” Thus, you must keep your business in tip-top shape and recognize when you need help. This is why one of the most important questions to ask when outsourcing is, “How can I assess whether I need to call for backup?”
Too many hats
Taking on too many responsibilities means you can’t give 100% to the ones that are the most critical to you or the ones that you’re the most passionate about. But, it’s not uncommon for business owners and entrepreneurs to constantly put on different hats to keep the ball rolling.
So, let’s say you notice that you’re performing tasks in an area you’re not particularly skilled in, such as web development. Outsourcing to someone who specializes in web development and can give sufficient time and energy to related tasks is a smart move.
A surge in demand can make or break a business. This is why your current and projected demands are important things to consider when outsourcing. Thus, whatever your business is, make sure to take a beat to assess your current staffing needs during demand peaks.
For example, the busiest time of year for real estate professionals is typically April through May. Thus, this is a good time to outsource so you can keep up with new leads without compromising the needs of your current clients.
Work-life balance worsens
Passing off work to an outside party can help you avoid burnout. This is why the question, “has my balance between work and a fulfilling social life diminished,” is a pertinent question to ask when outsourcing.
Property manager outsourcing services can help you free up your Saturdays to spend time with family and friends and increase the amount of energy you have for essential work during the week.
Outsourcing is the secret weapon of the modern real estate professional
Real estate has a longstanding reputation for being one of the most competitive industries. So, real estate business owners need to leverage the power of outsourcing so they can focus on scaling their business.
One of the most helpful resources a real estate professional can call on is a property management virtual assistant.
What do property management assistants do?
Employed virtually or not, these assistants help with the day-to-day operations that coincide with real estate properties. This means that they work to resolve maintenance and repair issues and help with general administrative tasks related to property management.
What are tasks you should outsource?
This is one of the most beneficial questions to ask when outsourcing, as delegating the wrong tasks to an outside source can significantly compromise the success of your business.
So, here’s a list of tasks that are wise to outsource to property management companies.
Calendar management for showings and meetings with clients or building owners.
Email management for retaining clients and attracting new leads.
Sending out termination and breach of contract notices to tenants who may be facing an eviction.
Managing rental payments.
Documenting property inspections and maintenance work.
Processing applications and integrating new tenants into the system database.
Although this skill wouldn’t be included in property management outsourcing services, social media marketing is a task that many real estate professionals choose to outsource.
Let’s face it, in today’s digitally-increasing world where Facebook Ads have become the new “billboards” and Instagram photos have become the new “flyers,” leveraging social media is the fastest way to grow a company’s brand awareness.
However, most real estate agents don’t have the time to post on multiple social media channels when they have to spend energy on shaking hands and getting deals done. Thus, this is a skill that’s typically outsourced.
What are tasks you shouldn’t outsource?
Understanding the tasks you shouldn’t outsource is just as important as knowing the ones you should. Thus, an excellent question to ask when outsourcing is, “what are tasks I shouldn’t hand off to a third party?”.
If you’re in real estate, you know that sales are EVERYTHING. Thus, outsourced property management services usually cover admin duties rather than sales. This is because it’s unlikely a property management assistant will share the same charm or amount of passion as you when speaking to prospective tenants about a property.
What about assistance with lead generation?
Now, while you want your true closers to come from your internal team, a real estate virtual assistant who specializes in lead generation can help boost your sales by identifying, generating, and retaining leads. In turn, this will help you scale up your business in the most efficient way possible.
A real estate VA can support your sales by assisting with lead generation. They can generate new leads by cold calling prospective clients and resurface old leads by employing lead nurturing campaigns. Likewise, a real estate virtual assistant can strengthen client retention by making regular follow-up efforts. These efforts might look like calls, texts, emails, or sending holiday cards to keep your brand top of mind.
Outsourcing any of your core competencies to property management virtual assistant companies would be a huge mistake. A core competency is a quality that makes your brand stand out from its competition. In some cases, it can even serve as a unique selling point.
Examples of core competencies real estate professionals may hold are innovative marketing tactics, making catchy promo videos for new properties, or developing colorful, witty ads for vacant units. This is why passing off any of your core competencies to a third party can cause you to lose your competitive advantage over other real estate companies.
The most critical questions to ask when outsourcing property management services
When you hire an outsider, you inevitably give up some control. Thus, you must ask the right questions before pulling the trigger on a new hire.
Below is a list of questions you should ask when outsourcing real estate tasks.
Why are you interested in real estate?
Gaging your assistant’s level of interest is critical. An assistant who’s enthusiastic about your business will deliver better results.
Are you okay with working unconventional hours?
This is a great question to ask when outsourcing because many property management assistants will need to adapt to a nontraditional work schedule.
How often do you think property inspections should be conducted?
Frequent on-site inspections are imperative to ensure minor issues don’t turn into utter disasters; and in turn, keeping your tenants happy.
How do you plan to fill property vacancies?
Understanding how your property management assistant will fill vacant units is critical for making sure your methods for attracting tenants line up. Will your assistant offer incentives to current residents for referrals? Will they list on the MLS or through a brokerage? Make sure you both agree on a plan for how vacancies will be filled.
What’s your communication style?
This arguably ranks as one of the most important questions to ask when outsourcing. An assistant whose communication style doesn’t resonate with yours can be a total waste of a hire. Likewise, if their communication is poor and inconsistent, it can lead to misunderstandings that may hurt your business’s reputation and make you lose prospective clients.
Why Rocket Station is your best bet for successful, streamlined outsourcing
Putting the care of your real estate properties into the hands of a stranger can be scary. But now that you know all the right questions to ask when outsourcing, Rocked Station can help you find virtual teammates who are well-versed in the real estate industry.