Coronis Realty in Queensland is one of Australia’s largest Real Estate businesses, and they continue to grow at a rapid rate. Their secret to rent roll growth? A team that both loves and owns the company. Samantha McLean talks to Andrew Coronis and Jodi Ford.
It’s a while since I have caught up with the Coronis team and I’m excited once again to chat with Andrew Coronis and to meet his Property Management Director, Jodi Ford. Jodi is completely responsible for running the property management side of the business, and started with the company almost 11 years ago, when there were only 200 properties under management. Today they manage more than 3100 properties.
With 15 offices across Brisbane, the Sunshine Coast and the Gold Coast, as well as a training centre in Brisbane, Coronis Realty works closely as a combined team of dedicated sales, property management and administrative professionals.
I start by asking both Jodi and Andrew to reflect back over the last twelve months and talk about what has been the greatest achievement at Coronis. “There’s so many, it’s so hard to choose,” says Jodi, “Some things I guess are obvious; financially we have grown just an incredible amount over the last twelve months and we’ve achieved things that we really didn’t think were achievable years ago. For example, in the last twelve months we had our first “million dollar” quarter, and we’ve gone way beyond that – just from the rental department. But I guess the thing that I’m probably most proud of is our staff, and how they’ve grown. The people that we have within our group now have mostly been here for a long time, and they do an exceptional job.”
Coronis Realty has a unique operating structure in that it seems to combine the best of both portfolio and task operational models, as well as the best of centralised and decentralised customer service. I ask both Andrew and Jodi to explain a bit more about how the department is structured to achieve this.
“We have centralised some functions. We have in most cases specialised people doing specialised things,” says Andrew. “We have two property managers per office with a maximum of 300 properties between them to manage, which we have determined is the optimal number of properties, if it’s any more, it puts far too much pressure on reception and the office. But this number adds enough ‘energy’ without making it overbearing. Some real estate offices lack energy – no phones ringing, people walking in and out or deals being done. This way, we find it keeps the energy up and allows our owners to have good relationships with the PM’s in each office.”
“To help me manage the offices,” says Jodi, “we also have the benefits of other leaders; firstly an ‘Area Leader’ to ensure that service levels are maintained. Our Area Leaders do a lot of “nice calls” to the owners, to ensure that they are happy and that there are no concerns with their investment properties. They also ensure the offices are running properly, and that property managers are doing their job, check on compliance, mentoring and getting PM’s to their goals, and generally helping them with the areas that they might be struggling with. Sometimes this is not necessarily from a knowledge point of view, but they can help if the PM is dealing with difficult owners, that sort of thing.”
What about support functions? “We have a property management receptionist and a sales receptionist within every office. Quite regularly those receptionists grow into property management assistants; part of what the area leaders do is to ensure those people can grow into those roles. They set goals and targets and things for them to learn so they can move up within the company. I also have a BDM leader and a property manager trainer, who gets all the new staff up and running. Lastly, there is a trust account manager. Those are the basic leadership areas of the PM team,” says Jodi.
“We also have more advanced career progression opportunities to this where those people who are senior property managers become area leaders or training managers or BDM’s. We are very much about growing from inside the company, and have tried as much as possible to replicate how I myself grew through the business, with Andrew mentoring me. It was such a great experience.”
One of the great things for employees within the Coronis ‘family’ is the employee shareholder program. While there are certain criteria that need to be met, the program does give everyone within the company an opportunity to become a shareholder, and as Andrew says, “becomes a bit of a driving force for people wanting to get better at what they do”.
He continues, “We want our people to be engaged and passionate about the company. Humans are humans and we all have the same needs. Allowing people to feel like they are achieving something for themselves, that’s when you really get traction. When our team get an operational profit share from growing their portfolios, they are not working for me, they are not working for Coronis, they are working for themselves. They feel like they are growing, not just going to work for the sake of it.”
“I’ve done training with other agents and mentored other property managers before, but nobody has ever done that,” agrees Jodi, “I think that’s one of the reasons why we have longevity in our staff, and stability in our portfolios and property management business; it’s because we have people doing what they like to do. I guess, personally, my greatest achievement is seeing the people that we started as property management staff end up in leadership roles. And they are all better off for being at Coronis, both financially and personally. I think if you spoke to any of our staff within the company, they would tell you the same things: that they love working at Coronis, and they feel like they’re growing and are better off as a result of being here. So for me that is a massive achievement, because we want people who work with us to be happy and I really feel that in these last twelve months we’re getting that right.”