Disrupting Customer Service Standards with Todd Breen
The Property Management Mastermind Show
What's the reality of work with remote team members? How much can you save, or are you looking at spending more going remote? When it comes to competition and customer service, remote team members can often give your bottom line a boost, but sometimes that can come at a price. This episode of Property Management Mastermind features Todd Breen of Virtually Incredible. Not only does Todd have years of service mentoring agents and other property management team members, he has also found success in nearly every facet of business, largely due to remote team members. Learn more about Todd Breen and Virtually Incredible HERE!Learn more about RentWerx HERE!
Episode 26: Lessons Learned in the Leasing Process, Featuring Todd Breen of VirtuallyinCredible
Property Management Brainstorm
It goes without saying that every landlord dreams of a quick and seamless leasing process that results in a happy tenant and ongoing rental income. But what can we do to make the leasing process run more smoothly? How can we reduce the number of days on market and fulfill our owner’s expectations—without taking on tenants who are not a good fit?Todd Breen is the experienced real estate broker, investor and property manager behind VirtuallyinCredible, a company offering video training, marketing and outsourcing specific to the property management industry. On this episode, Todd joins Bob to discusses the two major benefits of posting video property tours on your website and the value in leveraging VirtuallyinCredible’s leasing call center to boost your live answer ratio. Todd also describes the process he uses to pre-lease an impressive 80% of his inventory prior to vacancy, the biggest mistake property managers make in the tenant screening process, and the statistics around how many prospective tenants tell lies of omission or co-mission on rental applications. Listen in for Todd’s argument against the idea that all money is good money and learn his tips for working less and earning more as a property manager!Topics Covered[4:05] The two major benefits of posting virtual video property tours on your website[12:21] Why it’s crucial to train and monitor your call center staff around Fair Housing Laws[13:27] Todd’s take on coming soon listings and the process he uses to pre-lease 80% of his inventory prior to vacancy[20:36] The biggest mistake property managers make in the tenant screening process[23:13] The statistics around how many rental applicants tell lies of omission and/or co-mission[35:38] Todd’s tips for earning more by focusing on dollars per doorConnect with ToddTodd on LinkedInEmail email@example.com Connect with Bob North County Property GroupResources MentionedEpisode Transcript SPONSOR: Use Square to help run your business, accept credit cards, and free point‐of‐sale app—with no long-term contracts! Your first $1,000 in credit card transactions are processed free when you sign up with my link: https://squareup.com/i/858F5E87F4.Explore the offerings at VirtuallyinCredible. Use the codeword “brainstorm” to let them know we’ve sent you and receive your first 3 days free if you sign up for one of their services.Todd’s How to Shoot Video Training SeriesTodd’s How to Pre-Lease Training SeriesThe new eBook, Best Practices for Renting Your Home, has been recently published by Bob Preston and is offered as a free download on the North County Property Group website. Find it at this web link and download for free! https://www.ncpropertygroup.com/ebookThis episode is always available for listening, sharing, or download at Property Management Brainstorm. Subscribe to Property Management Brainstorm on Apple Podcasts, Google Play Podcasts, Stitcher, Spotify and YouTube.
Todd Breen and Dave Holt talk about the struggles of starting up Surevestor, a company offering smart insurance for the rental home investor. They discuss how they brought this insurance concept to the US from Australia, and how offering it is significantly increasing owner sign-ups. Not only that, they are higher valued rental properties. Getting early adopters and creating case studies is the most important. You need some success stories for marketing the product. Ran into anti-trust issues when they first started looking at creating an insurance company. They started with 4 partners and ended up with 3. The product they were developing at first changed when they talked with Scheer. Each partner brings certain skills to the table with a complementary style which is important to have when you are looking for business partners.
DGS 76: Outsourcing Rules for Small, Medium and Large Companies with Todd Breen of VirtuallyinCredible
#DoorGrowShow - Property Management Growth
Managing people when you are not a people manager keeps most property management businesses within 0-200 doors. They can’t scale beyond that without hiring a significant number of people. How can you shift to outsourcing to scale, save money, and improve business operations? Today, I am talking with Todd Breen of VirtuallyinCredible, which helps answer property management leasing calls every day through its experienced call center. Also, VirtuallyinCredible can hire virtual assistants (VAs) and customer service representatives (CSRs) with or without phone skills for you and your property management business. You’ll Learn... [03:15] Outsourcing: Follow rules to get it right, and select best solution to avoid failure. [04:03] Outsource companies often find and hire virtual assistants (VAs) and other team members from foreign countries causing frustration instead of support . [06:00] Small businesses need an entrepreneur, people manager, and task-oriented employees. [07:43] People Manager Traits: They care for their staff and have strong coaching, communication, and development skills. [08:50] Avoid pitfall of a property management entrepreneur who manages a team, but shouldn’t; they’re nice people, but they’re not making money or sales for the business. [12:30] Grow your management company by adding more doors and a people manager. [13:35] Entrepreneurs are sales-oriented, driven, and willing to do things others aren’t; they start controlling everyone and everything, so they need “inspired staff.” [16:25] Systems can make or break businesses; is your business systemized; and has it established and documented processes, policies, and systems? [20:14] HR should find, hire, and train employees; supervision is quality assurance. [21:38] Three Outsource Options: Hire your own VA directly; hire a VA reseller/recruiter; or select turnkey solution to hire VA for you. [27:54] Ask for and get good reviews by offering good service. [38:30] Don’t underestimate or overestimate software; technology is another tool. besides outsourcing that creates leverage, and lowers operational and staffing costs. Tweetables Property management businesses can’t scale, stay stale without hiring lots of people. Shift to outsourcing to scale, save money, and improve business operations. Outsourcing: Get it right by following rules and avoid failure by selecting a solution Lifeblood of Real Estate Business: Answer phone, get listing, rent/sell new listing Resources Todd Breen’s Email VirtuallyinCredible HireSmartVAs GatherKudos SuperTenders Property Meld EZ Repair Hotline DGS 39: Property Management Outsourcing with Todd Breen DGS 43: How Virtually Incredible Can Help a Property Management Business Grow with Todd Breen DoorGrow Website Score Quiz DoorGrowClub Facebook Group DoorGrowLive The online Windows XP simulator runs in a web browser and its operation imitates the operating system. You can use it to prank someone. Transcript Jason: Welcome, DoorGrow hackers to the DoorGrow Show. If you are a property management entrepreneur that wants to add doors, and expand your rent roll, and you are interested in growing your business and life, and you are open to doing things a bit differently, then you are a DoorGrow hacker. At DoorGrow, we are on a mission to transform property management businesses and their owners. We want to transform the industry, eliminate the BS, build awareness, expand the market, and help the best property managers win. If you enjoy this episode, do me a favor, open up iTunes, find the DoorGrowShow, subscribe, and then give us a real review. Thank you for helping us with that vision. I’m your host, property management growth hacker Jason Hull, the founder of OpenPotion, GatherKudos, ThunderLocal, and of course, DoorGrow. Now, let’s get into the show. Today’s guest, I have with me, the wise, experienced, property management guru, Todd Breen. Todd, welcome to the show. Todd: Thanks, Jason. It’s awesome to be here. Jason: Todd, you are talking to us live right now from Manila, right? Todd: That’s correct. I spend a few months a year here working with our team and been enjoying my time here, and getting a lot of work done. It’s an honor to be on your show all the away from around the world. Jason: It’s a tropical island though, right? Todd: It is. It’s actually the cooler season right now, so it’s similar to where I live in Florida. It’s just a nice weather. Jason: Maybe there’s a little bit of fun in it while you’re there too. Todd: Yeah. I played golf today while you guys were sleeping. Jason: Yes, nice. Cool. Todd, today, we are going to be talking about outsourcing roles for small, medium, and large companies—perhaps there’s some differences there—and connected to Virtually inCredible. Tell everybody, what is your thinking behind outsourcing in general. This is a topic that used to be taboo. It used to be a bad word. “Uh-oh, they’re outsourcing. You’re not using people in the US, you’re like some sort of evil entrepreneur.” I think the temperature shifted. Todd: It has. I first started outsourcing eight years ago in 2010. Back in those days, I got a lot of raised eyebrows and funny looks. Now, when people hear that we’re outsourcing to the scale that we are, a lot of people are like, “Wow! That’s awesome! How can I save some money and improve my business operations in the process?” It’s really matured nicely. The topic today is about how to get it right if you’re going to try and outsource, whether you’re a small, medium, or large business. I’m really excited to share what I’ve learned in eight years of helping small, medium, and large businesses outsource. I’ve seen what’s worked and what hasn’t. In this, I’m just going to lay it out for you and say, “Hey, if you’ve tried and failed in the past, I can probably pinpoint how that happened.” We’ll do it in a very simple grid that I’ve made for you guys. If you’re a first timer and you want to get it done right the first time, we’re going to explain the rules for you and have what it takes to do it right and to pick the right outsourcing solution. Jason: Anyone that’s listening to this show knows we’ve had a few different companies that help with like either VAs or outsourcing or finding assistants for things, and I’ve revealed multiple times, I’ve had my fair share of failures. I’ve had team members in India, Bolivia, Philippines. Right now, the bulk of my team are in the US because I’ve had so many struggles dealing with a lot of that. But we’re now just now ourselves getting back into hiring and sourcing some talent in the Philippines to add greater support for my team and my staff. Our team has helped your team with some branding work and designing new logos, so check out Virtually inCredible’s new shiny logo. I’m really liking it. We also helped out HireSmart VAs and have cleaned up their branding. It’s been awesome getting familiar with people that are making a difference in the space of property management. You’re also making a difference in the lives of people in the Philippines. Todd: I grew up in the real estate business. My dad was a very busy real estate broker, very successful, and he was working days, nights, and weekends, and he was always answering the phone. Because he couldn’t afford not to answer the phone because the lifeblood of any real estate business is answer the phone, get a listing, answer the phone, rent or sell new listing. I have a real passion now with my four kids to give them a better quality of life as third generation property management company. They just look at me and say, “Dad, how did you do it before you could outsource your leasing lines or before you could have your own private virtual assistant that was full time helping you?” And I said, ‘Yeah, it was a lot of hard work and now, it’s a lot of smart work.” Let me get into what the rules are so that the viewers will have an idea what it takes to get the right solution for you no matter what stage of business you’re in. Is it alright with you if I share my screen? Jason: Yeah, you can share your screen. Just make sure you’re talking through it because some people would just be hearing this. Todd: I’m sharing my screen, I’m going here, I’m hitting play, and tell me if you can see my slides. Jason: Yup, I see them. Todd: If you’re a small business, you’re all three of what a business needs. Because a business needs an entrepreneur that actually is the driving force behind the business, a people manager and task a score of people or employees that actually perform the tasks needed to get the job done in the business. Me, I’m an entrepreneur, always have been my whole life, and I struggled building my management company with one thing and that was managing my staff. I was pretty good at managing owners and tenants, but you don’t work everyday, all day, eight hours a day with your homeowner and your tenant. You get intermittent relationships with them. You have to actually build a relationship with your team. Whether it’s inhouse, whether it’s onshore, whether it’s offshore, if you can’t manage people, then my aha moment was, “I needed a people manager.” On this screen, I'm listing the things that a people manager needs. They’re good at caring for their staff. Me, as an entrepreneur, that’s not in my DNA. I’m not going to trouble you with my troubles and I appreciate it if won’t trouble me with yours. Entrepreneurs are not the warm fuzzy people managers. People managers are good at coaching, communicating, development, they take an interest in the development of the staff. I’ve got a graphic on the screen, there’s things that a people manager does. Number one, they know me. Number two, they focus on me and help me to focus. Number three, they care about me as a person. When all three of those things happen, they inspire me to do my best. There’s a long list of things that people managers do, but that inspiration in getting into the minds and hearts of the team and building a team is what a people manager does. Jason: Just to back that up, what I’ll say is, I see this a lot. That’s what I get to do all day long is—I’ve talked to hundreds of different property management entrepreneurs, especially when they get into that 2-400 door range—they end up in this pitfall where they now have a team and the trap because they’re trying to manage this team, and they have this to-do list that’s ever growing and endlessly long, and everything on their to-do list have been sitting there for more than two weeks. It’s probably there because they’re not the person that should be doing it. They’re in a situation which they are not natural managers. It’s just not who they are. Todd: Right. Jason: They end up in a difficult situation in which they’re not managing well, the team’s not performing well, and then they’re blaming the team. Todd: They’re really in the wrong role. An entrepreneur is very rarely a people manager. If we meet an entrepreneur who’s an awesome people manager, you’re looking at the one in a thousand entrepreneurs, or one in a hundred. It’s rare to see somebody who’s a gifted entrepreneur, and a wonderful people manager. Jason: Virtually, if they are really good people managers, they’re not so great at the entrepreneurship, the sales side of the business is struggling, they’re really nice to people, but they’re not making money. Todd: On the screen, I’ve got a picture of my wife and I right now. My wife is the consummate, ultimate people manager. She’s tremendous in managing people. We have a team of well over 150 here in the Philippines. They all think of her as the mother goose or mother hen, but they love and respect her, and they all do for her above and beyond because they’re inspired by her. It’s awesome for me to see that because I don’t have that skill set and it’s wonderful, it defines our company. Let me explain to you why that’s so important. If you are a small business, you’re the entrepreneur, and you hire your first staff member—maybe it’s a property manager, maybe it’s a secretary, or a receptionist, maybe it’s an inspector, or a work person/handyman—as soon as you start managing people and you’re not a people manager, that’s what keeps most property management businesses in the 0-200 doors. Because you can’t scale beyond 200 doors without hiring a significant number of people. Whether you hire them yourself, or you outsource them, it’s up to you, but you need people to blow past 200 doors. The companies, they get from 150-200 doors and grow up to 500 doors, they have to develop a people manager and get reliable people that work for them. There’s ways that you can get a people manager. You can hire one directly. By the way, if you were 500 or more doors, the companies that are 800-1000, 2000 doors, let me tell you something, they have a people manager on staff. Jason: Sometimes multiple. Todd: That people manager is the reason why they’ve hit that level and it’s the missing ingredient. Everyone says how do I grow my management company. I say, We’ll, there’s two ways to grow your management company. One is add more doors but at some point, you’re going to need to add a people manager.” You can actually rent a people manager or you can hire one depending on how you outsource. That’s one of the keys to today’s lessons is, “Hey, if I’m 100 doors and all I really want to do is get to 200 because the cash flow just looks so amazing then I want to go to 300. How do I best do it?” There’s some real super rules that I’m going to walk you through on how to do that. I’ve switched screens here now, for those who are listening. If you don’t have a people manager, you’ll have staff turnover, more than you want staff turnover. You’ll notice that it’s easier to get bad reviews than it is to get good reviews because you don’t have inspired staff on your team. You’re going to hit a slower growth process because normally what happens is, the entrepreneurs grows the business to the first 100, 200 doors and then, unless the entrepreneur replaces him or herself and stays working in BDM or business development and growth, then they’re going to slow down on their growth. They won’t know what to do to kickstart the growth because they’re so busy putting out fires because they’re not a people manager. Their lifestyle will suffer and they’ll say, “I’m not having any fun.” Jason: You’re referring to inspired staff. I heard this phrase several years ago that’s always stuck with me that I believe it’s true, that I love sharing with people connected to this and it’s, “Whenever we fail to inspire, we always control. Whenever we fail to inspire, we always control.” What ends up happening is, as entrepreneurs, because we’re generally really driven, risk-oriented somewhat and we’re willing to do things that other people aren’t willing to do—and sometimes we’re more sales-oriented and driven—by default if we’re not able to get people to do things, we start just controlling. The opposite is to make them inspired and they just do it. You’ll end up with these business owners that are trying to micromanage, push their team, control them, force goals on them, and they aren’t inspired to do any of it. These are the team members that are B players, that’s the only ones that will stick around in a situation like that, and they are the ones that are complaining about you, the boss, and they go home and live for the weekend. They’re just hoping to get a paycheck. That creates a company culture of hiders, they’re hiding. Todd: They’re hiding even when they’re at work. They might hide behind their voicemail. What’s the solution? We pointed out that if you are a small business and you want to go to large, at some stage you’re going to need a people manager. You can actually hire a local people manager which might cost you $50,000 or $80,000—depending on where you are—or you can hire a virtual people manager for some of the tasks at your business. By doing that, you’re now a well-rounded business. You have the entrepreneur, you have the virtual and local employees, and you have a virtual people manager. We’re going to ask you guys to rate your business. How do you rate for systems? If you’re listening to this right now, “Am I systemized, yes or no?” And if you answer is, “Yeah, I’ve got a system for everything.” If I hire somebody, I sit in my desk, and they can open a training manual, and they can open policies and procedures manual and all of the answers are there. If the answer is that you’ve got your policies, procedures, and systems setup, then you’re halfway there to being able to onboard people. A lot of people, small business owners, and entrepreneurs, they do the trial by fire. They’ll hire somebody, sit him at the desk and say, “Figure it out,” and if the person survives, then they walk through the fire, and if not, they burn up, burn out, or they leave, or they get fired. And that’s all due to a lack of systems, policies, and procedures. Now, what I’ve seen is that in the 0-150 doors, unless you have a franchise that they’re giving you every system that you could imagine, and even some that you don’t need, and then you tailor them to your local market, unless you’re one of those people who has bought or created your own systems, policies, and procedures, then from 0-150, you’re winging it. You’re figuring it out yourself and it’s all in your head. If you’re listening to this you’ll say, “Yeah, that’s me.” Then what’s going to happen whether you hire a local staff or a virtual staff and it’s all in your head? Jason: For those listening, they can break it down even further because in a business there’s not just like one system. A lot of people think, I just need a process system for processes. Every business needs some sort of sales system in their business. They need a communication system as a team in order to communicate effectively. They need a planning system in their business—which a lot of businesses don’t really have—for setting goals and milestones and allowing people to know what outcomes that are being worked towards. They need an accounting system, and they need a process system, if I didn’t already say that, for documenting, capturing all the process. Whether it’s a manual or something like Process Tree. And they need a support system for managing all the customer requests and everything else. They might be a 10 on 1 of these and a 1 on another. It really takes all of these different systems. And then you need processes for all the documented. Todd: What happens is in those 0-150, most entrepreneurs still haven’t even started with these systems. From the 150-500, they slowly come to realize that, “These systems are going to make me or break me.” By the way, we’ve outsourced for large businesses that are over 500 and they still have horrible systems, horrible policies, horrible procedures, and believe it or not, really interesting staff and that’s the nice way to put it. Jason: That’s probably the norm which is sad. Occasionally, you’ll see the conversed side where you’ll see somebody that is super systems-oriented entrepreneur. They’re basically an operator trying to function as the CEO. They will focus so much on process, and operations, and systems and they have no revenue. Todd: It went off work and they’re not growing. If you’re good at systems, give yourself a pat on the back with your policies and procedures. The next we’re going to talk about is your HR. If you;re going to grow your business and scale it and have quality and lifestyle, you have to have HR that can find good people. Then you have to get those people trained, and training does not mean you sit up the desk and figure it out, it means, before we put people to work on their tasks, nobody goes to work with less than one week of training. That’s 40 hours of specific human training. It’s a live trainer, training somebody with what’s our business, what’s out vision, mission, values, and then how do you do the actual tasks that you’ve been hired to do. Supervision is quality assurance and etc. If you have all of those things, probably, you’re closer to 500 and more doors. If you’re missing any of those things, you’re probably in that 0-400 doors. You can say, “I’m good at some, but man, I got major holes and others.” That really impacts how you should outsource. I’ve got a graph up on the screen. The graph talks about if I am rough on my systems or rough on my HR, in other words, if I didn’t rate myself high on that last five minutes of conversation, how should I outsource. The answer is, you have three choices: You can hire your own virtual assistant direct by going to the destination country, for instance, the Philippines, wherever, and you can run your ad and try and hire somebody. Not recommended for anybody of any size that’s rough on their systems or rough on their HR for obvious reasons. Jason: Yeah. You’re setting them up for failure. Todd: Yeah. I see people say, “I don’t need a reseller or a turn-key. I’ll just do it myself.” I’m like, “How are you doing with your systems and you HR with you onshore operations because that’s going to directly impact or give you an insight into how your offshore is going to be?” And then they look at me and say, “Yeah, not so good.” I’m like, “Well, running out of the country isn’t going to make it better.” The first option is to hire your own virtual staff direct. The second is hire a VA reseller which is either a recruiter or somebody who will actually stick around after they recruit for you. And then the third option is, “Hey, I just want a turnkey solution that will take care of it for me. In other words, I want staff but I’m paying you to also provide me good systems and processes and good HR because I don’t have that yet. In fact, I don’t think I’m going to have it anytime soon because I’m busy in that 0-150 doors just getting volume and growing my business.” If I can figure out a way to affordably get good systems and HR brought into me by outsourcing, that sounds like a dream job to me. This tells you that turnkey is your number one solution. If you can go to somebody that offers turnkey outsourcing and just give them some process or system or some of the workflow from your business, and then it’s called set it and forget it, and just manage the results, you’ll be thrilled. If you hire a reseller, you may or may or be thrilled based on how well systemized those systems are for the work that you give. “Have you got a system, or policy, and procedure for the specific work that you’re giving?” And/or, “How good are you at managing onshore staff and how well do you think you could manage some offshore staff?” Jason: Right. Todd: Let me go to the next screen which is a hiring guide; if you have good systems already in place and you have a people manager. In my case my wife, in your case, if you have somebody who’s a good people manager, wow, what should I do? The answer is, the world is your oyster. You can do turnkey from 0-150 and that allows you to just focus on growing your business. And then when you start hiring locally, from 150-600 doors, it means that it’s one last thing to worry about. Now, 600 and more doors, you’d be looking at a big bill from a turnkey operator and you’d be saying, “Look, I can do this myself. I should take this over inhouse with either my own DA resellers,” where I pay a recruiter to hire me an offshore staff, or by going to the destination country yourself to hire which can all be done virtually or you can actually take some trips depending on how far away you go. But good systems, good HR, and a people manager is important before you start hiring individual offshore staff that are going to report to you and work for you directly. Does that make sense? Jason: Absolutely. I think people really need to realize that they need to figure out what’s the best fit and works for them. One of the biggest mistakes I see people really early on is their default thought is, “I need to go hire somebody like me right here in the US.” That’s the first employee. They’re like, “I need to go get another me and duplicate myself,” and they’re doing 20 different things; they’re wearing 20 different hats. They go to try to hire and they’re not ready for that. They can’t even bring on somebody, they really should with technology and just start with outsourcing solutions like Virtually inCredible because you’re bringing to the table a lot of the stuff they aren’t even aware of that they might need yet. Todd: One of the things that I outsource at my management company, for those who are listening who aren’t aware, I had a property management company since 1985. I used to absolutely hate the answering my leasing calls because I knew if I didn’t answer them during the day then I had no return calls. I knew if I didn’t answer them in the evening or on the weekend then I wasn’t going to fill my vacancies and I’d have to return more messages. My phone was glued to my ear. I decided to outsource my leasing calls and so many other managers heard about and said, “Will you take my calls too?” It’s such a systemized process with us that it’s not like you could just hire somebody if you’re 120 doors. You can’t hire somebody for what you pay us because you’re going to pay more for your outsourced people, and they’ll only answer 40 hours a week, and we’re answering 80 plus hours a week. There’s a stage which it makes sense to take it over yourself, but there’s a stage where you just say, “Get rid of this and let me focus on other stuff.” When we talk about capacity in online reviews, this is the DoorGrow Show and Jason, I’m one of your customers for the review, what’s the software you have? Jason: GatherKudos. Todd: GatherKudos, thank you. I think we’ve had it for several years. We’ve had good reviews in my management company and that’s because we offer good service, and we ask for the reviews. Seasonal workload variations can actually impact your reviews. Let me explain to you why. I’m going to show you what the variations look like. This is what your work orders look like. This is from Super Tenders. Hundreds of thousands of doors went into this. In January until May, you don’t have near the work orders that you do in June, July, August, September and then it’s slower a little bit again in the fall. You’ve literally got double the work orders between April and July. April is half of what July is. How do you staff for that in your business? Jason: Yeah. The question is, “Are you going to just double staff and then fire half your staff every season?” Todd: What happens is, if you look at when you get your bad reviews from tenants who are tired of work orders taking forever to get done, you’re getting those reviews typically, not April, you get them in June, July, August, September. That’s when the majority of bad reviews come in. It’s no secret, if you’re not staffed for the increase in volume, you’re going to have a problem. At my management company, we use Property Meld to technology, really accelerates the communication process and then we use EZ Repair Hotline. Now I can outsource. I’m pretty good at it, but I hire somebody else to do my work order outsourcing because they’re pretty good at it. I haven’t chosen to do that in the Philippines yet and it’s got a US-based team. What do they call about eating your own dog food or drinking your own Kool-Aid? I outsource to other people at my management company because it makes sense for me to do it and I’m under 300 doors. I’m not at that stage where it makes sense for me to take it over. The same goes for our leasing call volumes. This is data courtesy of Virtual inCredible. This is our call volumes across the entire United States on a monthly basis, and you can see, December’s the slowest month of the year. Thank goodness, right? Going into the holidays. November, December are great, but literally there’s double the volume between December and June. June is going to crush you and people say, “Man, I can’t answer my calls or my properties take longer to rent.” It’s because you’re not really staffed to handle it right. This is called a heat map. For those of you who are listening, it’s a counter Monday through Sunday, and it shows the darker hours of the day are when we have higher call volumes and the lighter colors are lower call volumes. Throughout the course of the week, on an 80-hours of answering your calls, days, evening, and weekends, there’s a tremendous call volume variation between Monday all day. By the way, there is a reason why Mondays are Mondays. Your phone’s going to ring with your highest call volume on your leasing calls on Monday. Jason: Compared from the weekend because we aren’t generally doing it over the weekend. Todd: Or they didn’t get you on the weekend. It could that too. Wednesday is a calm day. How do you staff for that? When you’re at 120 doors. When it’s just all hands on deck at all times when you’re at that volume. It makes sense to just say, “Hey, take my calls. When I grow to a certain stage, I’ll take them back.” That’s where people are able to make a tremendous good decision for their business because if you’re under capacity, under staffed, you’re going to get bad reviews. Jason: Yeah. Todd: If you have sufficient capacity at all times throughout the season of workload variations, you can get good reviews if you ask for them. If you have too much capacity, too many staff, you’ll get good reviews but your profit will suffer. Managing that becomes a full time job when you go past 500 or 600 doors, you’ll start to do that yourself but under that, it just makes sense to outsource some of these stuff. It will save you a tremendous amount of time and money, it’ll make getting good reviews easier, it’ll make your staff happier to get rid of some of your high seasonal workload that varies a lot, and just outsource it until you’re big enough to take it back inhouse. Jason: And if you’re built out to the point where you can handle the amount of seasonal growth and seasonal increase, then what happens during those lean times, you end up with team members that are sitting at unused capacity. Nobody likes being in a position, or a job in which they feel like they’re meaningless, or there’s lack of purpose except really bad team members that you wouldn’t want. Todd: They’ll never tell you that they’re not busy. Jason: Yes. They will never say, “Oh, I have so much extra time right now. I’m probably not relevant during these few months. I probably shouldn’t be here.” It makes a lot of sense. Todd: If you’re a small company and growing, this is the last part, I don’t have slides for this, maybe I’ll stop sharing my screen. Jason: I’ll point out, connected to that, it’s not a great investment to have a team member that’s sitting in the garage half the time not being used. Imagine you live in a big city, and you’re taking the subway all the time, and you have this expensive car that you’re maintaining constantly but you’re not using. Financially, it becomes incredibly costly to have a team that is under utilized especially if they’re US-based staff, they’re really expensive, and you’re not just able to use them. You’re [inaudible 00:34:56] the money whether you’re using them or not. They’re not making any money. Todd: Can you imagine what it’s like being me? We’ve got hundreds of staff and our volume is following that curve. We figure out how to do it. There’s something I wanted to share. This is on a personal note from a guy who’s grown a management company through a few cycles. If you’re in that 150 or less, I want you to ask yourself, “Is it easy to get leads to grow my business?” If it is, great, if it’s not, check out DoorGrow, check out some great ways to get improve your leads. Second is, “Am I too busy to grow my business being an operator instead of being an owner?” An owner knows how to grow a business and knows how to keep the capacity to grow the business open because that’s what it takes. You know, 60% or 70% of calls to a business are your leasing calls. When you’re sitting there answering somebody who says, “How much is that house with the red door?” You’re considering the brain damage that’s giving you. Meanwhile, your phone’s ringing on line two and it’s an owner who has a nice listing and you didn’t get to that call. If you’re struggling to grow your business and you have leads, but you’re not growing your business, man, clear your plate, get rid of some of your work, and grow your business. You can always take it back. And then work on reducing your labor costs. If you’re in the stage in your business where, “Oh I don’t get enough leads or I don’t want to grow my business.” Well then fine tune your business, that’s great. But as long as you can grow and you want to grow, clear your plate and move forward on growth which is your highest dollar. People are valuing management companies at between $2000 and $4000 per door. Each new listing that you can sign up is going to increase your net worth, your asset value of your company by $2000 or $3000. If you can get five new listings in a month, and that’s worth $3000 a listing, we’re talking $10,000-$15,000, that’s what you’re increasing your net worth. You grow up that rate in a year and you’re $150,000 and $200,000 in your net worth. It’s all because you’re focused on growth and clearing the decks to make it possible. That’s what it takes to grow your business. Then as you bring in the new volume of work, decide carefully, “Should I insource or outsource? Do I have a people manager or don’t I? What’s the best way that’s going to keep the machine moving forward?” That’s what I tell people because if they fail that outsourcing, I usually say, “Well, who’s the people manager?” And when the entrepreneur says, “I am.” I’m like, “Oh, okay.” Jason: It didn’t work for me. You just did it wrong. Todd: Did you learn something, Jason? Relative to your world and your lives that you’ve been living with our outsourcing? Jason: Absolutely. All of these makes so much sense. Over the last decade, I’ve had plenty of failures in outsourcing things or I’m trying to do things. I think if I were to add one thing to this is one thing that has really helped me is to not underestimate or overestimate technology. Because technology, like you mentioned, like Property Meld for example, technology is another tool besides outsourcing that creates leverage, and lowers operational costs, and lower staffing cost. A lot of people will try to go cheap on software. I believe that when it comes to software, you want the best tools, the best softwares. I have spent a lot of money on software tools and I buy the best. I don’t buy the Swiss Army knife that can do everything crapily or terribly, but I buy the best in each category to make sure we have the best systems for process, or the best communications system in our business. That allows my team to get more done, and be more efficient, and more effective. Whether you’re going to outsource directly or you’re going to outsource to companies, make sure that you have the best tools available software-wise because even if software costs you hundreds of dollars a month, people are always going to be more. If you can give them the tools that they need to do the job well, you’re collapsing your cost and making them far more efficient, and it always pays off. Todd: Very true. Listen, if anyone has any questions about this, I’ll just briefly tell you how we can help you at our company. We do answer your leasing calls, we also have a tenant screening department. That scales too because you get your number of applications in the summer, is a heck a lot more than it is in the winter. We do that. Those are full termkey systems, where you’re actually putting a department into place and you don’t need a local department to do either of those tasks. In addition to that, we also have a brand new service where we’ll hire an individual VA for you with or without phone skills. You can get an admin VA or you can get a CSR, a customer service rep that can answer calls for you, and they’re all screened by our company and trained in property management. I used to be a trainer for the Property Management Academy. We put all of our people through all of that training now before they show up at your job. You get screening and training though our VA. If you like some more information, just send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Be happy to help you out however I can. Jason: Awesome. For those listening, when we put on our conference, DoorGrow Live, we gave Virtually inCredible an award because they have consistently been one of the best in class or the best in their category for what they do inside the DoorGrow Club and inside the feedback that we hear from clients. It’s not just my recommendation, it’s a recommendation of a lot of people, and you provide a really good experience for people. You are making a difference in the industry. Todd: Yeah, thanks. We’re having a ball and appreciate all you’re doing to help people grow with creative ways that aren’t obvious. I’ve been through some of your education, it’s really high quality. Thank you for what you do. Jason: Appreciate it. Todd, thanks so much for coming on the show, and appreciate you sharing all these insights. I think there’s some solid takeaways that people listening this show. I think some rising like start with technology, then start with outsourcing to a solution like Virtually inCredible, and then maybe once you start getting some things dialed in, you might want to start bringing the staff in-house eventually, but you may not. It’s going well. If it ain’t broke don’t fix it. Todd: That’s right. Jason: Todd, thanks again. Todd: Alright, guys. Take care. Jason: Alright, it’s great having Todd on the show. Again, to make sure to check out the previous episodes in which we talked specifically about leasing lines and the challenges with those with Todd. You can just search for Todd Breen and DoorGrowShow, one word. If you are listening to this on iTunes, be sure to give us your feedback in iTunes, they helps us out, also makes us aware of how you feel about the show. We love getting your feedback on these different shows, and make sure you are inside our Facebook community where you can hang out with cool people like Todd and other really savvy entrepreneurs. You can get to that by going to doorgrowclub.com and this is a community unlike any other. It’s a special community of property management business owners that believe in this vision and message that collaboration is more significant and important than competition in what this industry needs right now. If you love the idea of collaboration and helping level up the entire industry, we’re just going to help every property management business owner succeed and grow this business and industry and get more market share then that’s the place for you, that’s your home. Join us in the DoorGrow Club. Thanks everybody for tuning in. Until next time to our mutual growth. Bye, everyone. You just listened to the DoorGrow show. We are building a community of the savviest property management entrepreneurs on the planet in the DoorGrow Club. Join your fellow DoorGrow Hackers at doorgrowclub.com. Listen, everyone is doing the same stuff: SEO, PPC, pay-per-lead, content, social, direct mail, and they still struggle to grow. At DoorGrow, we solve your biggest challenge getting deals and growing your business. Find out more at doorgrow.com. Find any show notes or links from today’s episode on our blog at doorgrow.com, and to get notified of future events and news, subscribe to our newsletter at doorgrow.com/subscribe. Until next time. Take what you’ve learned and start DoorGrow hacking your business and your life.
Episode 15 - Todd Breen Outsourcing and Growing a Business
Lion's Leadership Den
Guest: Todd Breen of Virtually Incredible, Surevestor and Home Property Management Todd has always been a visionary in the property management industry and was one of the first to use video in his property management company. His company Virtually Incredible started as a place to train others on how to use video in their business. It has since expanded over the years to include outsourcing solutions for property management companies such as leasing line, video SEO, and tenant screening services. Todd talks about how he scaled his different businesses by both using outsourcing as well as building an outsourcing company. Visionary vs System Integrator Roles Steve discusses how the visionary role in a company is different than the systems integrator role and the importance of both. Sometimes you need to wear two hats and have the visionary interject their ideas into a systemized company so it doesn't get stuck in a routine by-the-book mentality and risk missing new, fresh ideas. Keeping your finger on the pulse of the company Todd, Steve, and Alex discuss how involved they are in different aspects of the business in order to keep an eye on how things are going and to be able to take KPIs and identify problems early to implement a correction. There are benefits to having team members evaluate performance themselves to come up with ways to improve systems. A great company has a balance of upper management having their finger on the pulse of the company and making decisions on the company's path forward while also taking in account any feedback from the staff that has the better feel for the customer/client's experience. Setting company values Establishing company values is important in business, and using these values in your praise/critique of staff performance has proven to be very effective in building companies with a strong core set of values shared by all employees. When hiring employees from a different culture, Todd found it was important for HR to screen for a match of values when hiring. Do you have set values in your company? Join our Facebook group and come discuss what you are doing at your company. Have you set your company's values? What are they? How do you use them with feedback on employee performance? Hosts: Steve Rozenberg - Co Founder of Empire Industries LLC, investor, speaker. Alex Osenenko - President and CEO of FourandHalf JOIN THE FACEBOOK GROUP AND SUBSCRIBE ON ITUNES Sponsored by:
DGS 43: How Virtually Incredible Can Help a Property Management Business Grow with Todd Breen
#DoorGrowShow - Property Management Growth
In this episode, I am talking to Todd Breen of Virtually Incredible about how to spend less time leasing to make more money and grow your business. Todd manages a property management company and opened an outsourcing solution called Virtually Incredible. It was designed to help property managers spend less time leasing and spend money on a good marketing campaign, business development manager (BDM), and call center to begin the customer journey on the right foot. You'll Learn... [02:27] Business owners devote too much time and resources to leasing properties. [02:47] Putting less effort into leasing and more into listing can free up energy to grow your company. [03:54] Analyze and monetize your leasing process. [04:33] What would a customer’s experience be with your company and what do you need to do to improve? [05:00] Using the traditional model, business owners tend to charge an owner a tenant placement fee and share some of that with a commissioned leasing agent. [05:51] The traditional model is inefficient and expensive. [06:41] If answering a call isn’t your top priority, and booking/showing isn’t something you enjoy doing, then learn how to efficiently monetize leasing calls or inquiries. [07:17] Utilize mystery shopping to gain data about your customer’s journey. [09:05] Companies do not grow because they’re not answering their phones, or they’re preoccupied when they do. [09:19] Specialize your outsourcings and upgrade your technology for your showing process to devote more energy to answering new owner calls. [10:33] Employees who answer your leasing lines should be Fair Housing trained and certified to properly respond to questions. [11:45] The most significant benefits to offloading leasing calls include a quiet office. [13:26] Be good at hiring, training, supervising, managing, and motivating staff. [14:33] Look at how much it costs you to lease a house. Add up commissions, staff hours to answer phones, mileage expenses, and hours spent showing houses. [15:05] Do the same analysis on your customer acquisition cost in getting a new customer to manage their house. [15:38] Are you doing your best job leasing? Can you improve that to free up time and resources to grow your business? [17:42] Cut the number of days to market to rent faster, do a great job renting, and have higher client retention. [18:35] Staff that complies with Fair Housing lowers legal liability and provides a greater peace of mind as a business owner. [19:23] Don’t be afraid to outsource tasks to an outside team. [20:32] Answer after-hours calls to increase your efficiency and reduce days on the market. [22:10] Whatever you’re spending in money on leasing, spent that on marketing for new owners and hiring a BDM. Reallocate funds toward growing your business. [22:52] You should have software to facilitate calls and showings, such as Tenant Turner, Rently, ShowMojo, or Mock Rentals. [23:55] Make sure the call center you select is as good as you hoped. Get a dedicated leasing hotline. [25:22] Publish your rental standards in each rental listing. Describe what is needed to rent from you. [27:24] Have leasing agents who have the listings, but also a leasing director that serves as the leader. [29:00] People who are 35 and younger don’t call. They book their showing online. If you don’t have an online showing option, get one. [29:45] There’s got to be a way to reach out to the people who want customer service and a way to reach out to people who want technology. [30:21] Shift your focus, time, energy, resources, and staff toward growing your business. [30:58] Utilize videos to accelerate your marketing process, reduce your days on market, reduce phone calls, and reduce your showings. Tweetables Don’t be afraid to outsource tasks to an outside team. That’s the real benefit, spend less time leasing and more time listing. Reach out to people who want customer service and who want technology. Resources Virtually Incredible Website Virtually Incredible email Virtually Incredible phone number: (561) 693-2648 Tenant Turner Rently ShowMojo Buildium DoorGrow Club
As you may know, I’m one of the founders of the National Property Management Network. Todd Breen, today’s guest, is another. Thanks to this close working experience with him, I’m deeply familiar with his expertise in the property management industry, and am glad to have him on the show to share that expertise with you! We’re actually recording this episode on location in Las Vegas at the NARPM Broker/Owner Conference. Todd has been the owner of a property management company for over 30 years, but he has been involved in the industry from an early age. His dad was a real estate broker, so he began his unofficial training while working in various capacities for his father from the time he was young. Today, Todd is the owner of Virtually Incredible. In this interview, Todd will talk about outsourcing and why it’s vital to keeping your rates competitive and being able to scale effectively. He also shares brilliant (and sometimes counterintuitive) advice, experiences, and techniques. For example, he explains how he actually increased his income when he reduced his doors from 300 to 140 in 1994. Show Notes [02:25] - Todd turns the standard script on its head by plugging Brad instead of letting Brad plug him. He and Brad then talk about the cost of putting things off instead of doing them right now. [03:40] - Todd takes us back to his beginnings in real estate and property management. He also shares the problem with thinking that any money is good money. [06:29] - We learn how Todd’s income actually increased when he reduced his total number of doors in half. [07:16] - Todd explains how he handled reducing his number of doors, mentioning his book The Manager’s Manual. [10:50] - Virtually Incredible focuses on three main tasks, Todd explains. He describes his shift from working in his business to working on it, and talks about how SEO factored into this. As part of this story, we learn how he met his wife. [15:04] - Brad talks about his choice to make videos when YouTube came out. [16:09] - Todd talks more about what Virtually Incredible does, and what he expects it to do in the future. [18:24] - Brad jumps in for a moment to elaborate on what Todd has been saying about verification. [20:12] - We hear about a secret shopping campaign that Virtually Incredible performs every so often to evaluate management companies in a specific geographic area. He then explains how having people answering phones 85 hours a week dramatically reduced his vacancy list and days on market. [22:53] - The property management has largely ignored the consumer experience for too long, Todd says, then explains what he means. [26:46] - Todd and Brad talk about DocuSign briefly, then move on to discuss the preference of today’s tenants to text rather than come in and talk face-to-face. At least 75% of people choose to pay a convenience fee for lockbox entry than to come into the office to get the key, Brad reveals. [28:46] - The checklist Todd’s company uses for the leasing cycle has 72 steps. [31:25] - Todd discusses outsourcing, and explains why many property management companies tend to stagnate at a certain number of doors. [32:28] - We hear Todd’s thoughts on where he sees Virtually Incredible going in the future. [34:13] - Brad talks about top-down pressure and capped out (or falling) management fees. [35:53] - Todd offers a story about his grandfather, a pharmacist, to illustrate the risk of thinking you’re irreplaceable. [38:24] - Brad and Todd move on to talking about their venture together, National Property Management Network. [40:12] - Todd shares his closing thoughts for the interview, expressing his excitement at seeing people coming up in the industry. He then shares his email address to make it easy to stay in touch. Links and Resources: NARPM Broker/Owner Conference Virtually Incredible National Property Management Network The Manager’s Manual DocuSign Todd@virtuallyincredible.com
Business Process Outsourcing for the Modern Property Management Company with Todd Breen of VirtuallyinCredible.com
The Property Management Show
Subscribe to The Property Management Show on iTunes Today to Stay Up to Date on the Latest Episodes Our topic today is business process outsourcing for modern property management companies. My guest is Todd Breen, who has a wealth of experience in a couple of areas. He has been running his company – Home Property […] The post Business Process Outsourcing for the Modern Property Management Company with Todd Breen of VirtuallyinCredible.com appeared first on Fourandhalf Marketing Agency for Property Managers.