By Derek Gallimore, CEO at Outsource Accelerator
The real estate industry has embraced outsourcing for a long time now, and it has helped thousands of real estate agents and brokers manage their agencies effectively. Since then, it has become an investment option for growing real estate businesses that can’t keep up with the demand of both their clients and the agency itself.
However, for those outsourcing for the first time, the idea might seem overwhelming. They might grow skeptical once they analyze how to invest in this idea properly.
Questions like, When can I tell if I I need to outsource? Why do I need to outsource in the first place? What tasks do I even outsource? Where to outsource for my real estate business? and How do I outsource? cloud a first timer’s mind when thinking of outsourcing.
If you have the same questions, worry not! This comprehensive guide will thoroughly answer all your doubts and questions about outsourcing. Read on to find out how you can outsource smartly and build a better real estate business with outsourcing!
When can you tell if it’s time to outsource?
First of all, how can you tell if it’s really time for you to outsource your agency’s needs? This is an investment, and as any investment goes, you need to consider if your business really needs this.
You know you’re in need of assistance with your real estate business needs if:
#1: You keep asking yourself, “Do I need to hire someone?”
If you’re doing some tasks and you often ask yourself, “Should I hire someone else to do this for me?” or “Somebody else can do this for me,” you’re in dire need of outsourcing.
#2: You and your staff handle too many tasks that you can’t accommodate
Sometimes, you or any of your staff members handle tasks that are beyond the job description and your skills. This is a sign that you need additional manpower, and you need someone who can do the job for you fast and with expertise.
#3: You sacrifice time for important matters just to accomplish other tasks
You want to learn how to increase the presence of your listings in the online space, but since you don’t have much knowledge of digital marketing, you still need to dedicate time to cover just the basics. In turn, you end up sacrificing time for some of your other tasks, and that’s not good for your business.
#4: You’re having a hard time doing a task
Let’s take the example mentioned in sign #3. You decided to study about digital marketing, but you have a hard time grasping the whole concept. You find yourself scratching your head all the time and always doubtful of your attempts to advertise your listings online.
If you’re like this, outsourcing is ideal for you. Not only does the burden of the task get lifted off your shoulders, but you also get advertising services with definite results. You don’t need to invest more money on advertising experiments that you’re not sure would work.
Why outsource for your real estate business?
There’s no definite answer to this question, as the reasons for outsourcing vary depending on a business’ needs. However, real estate professionals who have outsourced can agree on these common reasons:
#1: To save more money and resources than hiring in-house staff
When you outsource, you save yourself from recruitment and operational costs, and the time it takes to train your in-house staff. You won’t need to invest in additional physical office space, plus the computers, equipment and internet connection. A freelancer or a real estate VA has his/her own set of computers and equipment to carry out the task for you.
Plus, they’re already experts in what they do, so you won’t need to train them. Just give them your brand guidelines and SOPs to ensure their output is consistent with your brand image.
#2: To have an expert handle the complicated tasks for you
Real estate VAs and freelancers are always up-to-date with the latest trends in their fields of expertise, like marketing, design, customer relations and more. You won’t even need to learn all the latest trends in all fields related to running your real estate business!
You’ll also have someone to handle those tasks that don’t generate income for you directly. You can now focus on other tasks crucial in increasing sales for your real estate business.
#3: To give you time to focus on running your real estate business
Outsourcing gives you the relief of running your business without having to sacrifice time for something else. You can give your clients your undivided attention without worrying if your administrative tasks or even your marketing efforts are left pending and unattended.
#4: To increase efficiency and productivity in the agency overall
If you outsource your needs to the right person(s), you get everything done in your business without compromising the quality and overall brand of your real estate agency. In turn, this can affect your effectiveness, productivity and business performance overall in a positive manner.
#5: To gain a competitive advantage among other real estate businesses
If you choose to outsource, you get the skills, knowledge, and service of an expert in the field. In turn, your business benefits from their output, you’re able to deliver quality service, and soon, clients will line up to have you as their guide to their property investment initiatives.
#6: To have more flexibility
Do you need help for only a short period of time? For instance, do you have some projects that need to be done only once? You can easily hire a freelancer for that, and when the project comes to an end, you’re not obligated to keep the freelancer as part of your staff. You can reach out to them in case you need help for your future projects.
What services/tasks can you outsource for your real estate business?
Again, the services/tasks you can outsource depend on your business needs and demands. However, here are the most common services that real estate professionals outsource. You can get an idea or two from this list!
- Web development (web design and maintenance);
- Content marketing (writing blog posts, ebooks, social media content, etc.);
- Customer support (chatbots, email inquiries, etc);
- Lead generation/nurturing (lead follow-ups, appointment setting);
- Administrative task management (updating Excel sheets of properties sold);
- Listing management (updating details of properties on your lists, CRM monitoring and management);
- Graphic design (layout designs for logos, brochures, infographics, ebooks, etc);
- Accounting (real estate bookkeeping, payroll processing, monthly and annual profit and loss reports).
Where to outsource for your real estate business?
With the continuous growth of technology and the internet, bountiful options have been made available for real estate professionals to outsource their tasks. To save you the time and resources scouring the whole internet for outsourcing options, here are some ideas on where to look for your next hire(s):
Freelancing and virtual assistant sites
There are plenty of online platforms and websites where you can recruit a freelancer or a real estate VA. You only need to create a job post on any of these sites, and freelancers and VAs will come bidding to you with their price quotes for the project/task.
Here are some of the sites you can check out to find your outsource superstar:
- LinkedIn (there are many professionals building their online profiles here)
Social media sites
Even social media networks like Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest are great outlets for outsourcing!
So how do you find a freelancer/VA on social media that can help with your agency’s needs? Simple. Announce on your profile that you’re looking to hire someone!
For instance, on Facebook, you could post something like “I’m looking for a content strategist who has a background in commercial real estate. Anyone interested or knows someone they can refer to? Please message me. Thank you!”
Chances are, some of your Facebook friends who are also real estate professionals can suggest someone for you. Or better yet, you might have a friend there that’s an expert in creating content for a real estate agency!
Perhaps the other two options didn’t work for you, or you’re skeptical about hiring the perfect candidate for your needs. In that case, you should consider hiring a middleman for your outsourcing needs!
Middlemen, which could be an agency or a platform, can handle the searching and screening part for you. All you need to do is provide the middleman the details of the services you’ll need, and in a matter of time, they’ll recommend you the candidate that suits your expectations.
Here are some outsourcing middlemen online that cater to the specific needs of a real estate business like yours:
How to outsource?
You’ve finally decided to invest in outsourcing. Congratulations! Now, the ultimate question is, How do I get started with outsourcing? How do I find the right candidate when there’s a number of applicants that answered my job post? How do I even attract applicants to give my job post a shot?
To make sure your outsource investment gets you a double-triple return, follow these steps:
Step #1: Identify which tasks/services you really need to outsource.
Just because the idea of assigning your tasks to someone else is available doesn’t mean you should outsource ALL your needs for your business. After all, there are certain tasks that only YOU can do expertly. To identify which tasks you can outsource, create a list with two columns:
- Tasks I can and must do on my own
These are the things you can do quickly, and the tasks you must fulfill on your own (ex. meeting with clients, adding properties to your listings, etc).
- Tasks I need help with
These are the tasks that are time-consuming and beyond your and your staff’s expertise.
While making this list, you can evaluate how much work you’ll need to outsource, the priority and the complexity of the tasks, and your estimated budget for outsourcing them.
Step #2: Create your job post.
Now, this is a crucial part of the outsourcing process. Your job post should clearly define what you really need and want to accomplish, and the skills and other requirements you’re looking for.
Some find it hard to craft a job post that fits all the requirements mentioned above because they get stuck with the job title. If you want to create the perfect job post, you must do it backwards.
Yup, that’s right. Instead of getting stuck on coming up with the perfect job title, you should start with the task description first.
- What exactly are you looking to be accomplished?
- How many hours will the task take?
- Is this for a short- or long-term basis?
Next, you should indicate the skills and/or experience you’re looking for in a candidate.
- Do you need someone who has a background in commercial real estate?
- How many years of experience as a real estate VA, for example, should the candidate have?
- Should the candidate be knowledgeable enough in certain software (ex. Photoshop, CRM software, etc.)?
- You can also include interview questions, such as “What makes you the perfect candidate for the job?”
Once you’ve covered all these, it would be easier for you to indicate the job title for your job post! Plus, it saves you from hiring the wrong person for the wrong job. For instance, you might have hired someone for lead nurturing, but what you really need is helpdesk support.
Step #3: Make your job post live.
The last step is for you to announce that you’re looking for someone to hire! You can go back to the “Where to outsource” section of this guide for options on where to send your job post.
Outsourcing: the gateway to a successful real estate business
If you’re looking for an investment that would give your real estate business fulfillment in the long run, you should give outsourcing a shot! Whether you’re outsourcing for a short- or long-term basis, it all comes down to this: hiring an expert to assist you can help you and your business grow in terms of sales, service, and customer satisfaction. You can even have an opportunity to enjoy a work/life balance!