Brand EditorialEPMEPM: Productivity

How to position your business for success with outsourcing

There are a lot of factors in creating a profitable business. One of those is having the right members in your team, and the right processes to ensure efficiency and cost-effectiveness. Hannah Blackiston spoke with Rebecca Halton, CEO of LJ Hooker City Residential, and Brent Spooner, Principal at LJ Hooker Bunbury, to find out how outsourcing with Beepo has helped them find success in tough markets and revitalised the way they run their businesses.

Rebecca Halton

As the CEO of LJ Hooker City Residential in Perth, Rebecca has a lot on her plate. Leading two offices and a sizeable rent roll in a fairly tough market, efficiency and cost-effectiveness were two of the top concerns for Rebecca’s business. She now has five staff members from Beepo working across both her offices.

“We have three staff members in property management, two in the city office and one in our Mandurah office. Then we have an administration assistant for our BDM team and a lead generator who works our database, makes calls and books appraisals for rentals and sales.”

Rebecca’s outsourcing journey didn’t start with Beepo. Opting to go with another company first, she says once she met founder Aimee Engelmann and national sales manager Nick Ogden she realised Beepo was better suited to her needs and values. To begin with, she took on two additional staff members, adding them to the two she had from another outsourcing company; but she quickly realised her money would be better spent with a bigger Beepo team and moved her entire workforce across.

“We just saw that the service level and the communication was so much better and the value was so much better with Beepo, so we moved the whole team.

“[The difference was] the communication. They’ve got really good team leaders over there. They just seem to really care about our business. The team members are fully integrated into our business; they all know each other. We’ve got direct access to senior leaders in the team so if there are any issues we can get them sorted out really quick. Beepo recruit really great staff and they just genuinely want to help our business.”

During the process of adopting Beepo team members into her business, Rebecca overhauled her systems and processes to improve the productivity of the team and seamlessly integrate the outsourced staff. She says this was a tough process, and she did lose team members along the way who struggled in adapting to the changes, but ultimately it’s left her with a much stronger workforce and business.

Now our team can work whenever they want and with more support than they’ve ever had. We’ve become a well-oiled machine with higher capacity and much more efficiency.

“There was a little pushback at first, and we lost a few people because we were changing our business systems completely, but I addressed the team and told them the WA market, at the time, was coming back quite dramatically. Rents in some areas dropped between 35 to 40 per cent; generally, on average, they fell by 25 per cent, so that was a big hit on the business and we just had to find more efficiency.”

Rebecca has no doubt that without incorporating outsourcing into her business there would have been serious repercussions at the bottom line. She says by revolutionising the way the property management department worked, LJ Hooker City Residential was able to return to making a profit far more quickly than the competition, and added 200 extra properties to the rent roll without hiring extra staff in Australia.

“It made us more efficient. It made us look at all our technologies as well and change those, which has set us on the path to have everything cloud-based. In turn, this has given our workplace more flexibility and a lot less stress. Now our team can work wherever they want and with more support than they’ve ever had. We’ve become a well-oiled machine with higher capacity and much more efficiency.”

Brent Spooner

Taking on the role as principal of LJ Hooker Bunbury in under two years, Brent is a young and hungry leader, driving his team to a massive expansion within three months, despite the tough market.

Initially, Brent was given a trial of Beepo but says it took him a while to give it the focus it deserved. After leaving the Beepo staff member in the hands of his property management team and getting excellent feedback, Brent realised this was something he should be focusing his time on. So he headed to the Philippines on one of Beepo’s Study Tours.

“I jumped on a plane, flew over to the Philippines and spent four days over there. It just blew me away what they’re doing and how skilled their workers are,” said Brent.

When it came to selling his staff on the idea of outsourcing, Brent said it was important to include them in the process. He sat down with his property management team to work out the ideal tasks which could be handled by the Beepo team members.

“We sat down and looked at their list of jobs. We were looking for the jobs that were repetitive, low value or just the jobs the team didn’t like doing. It’s not face-to-face stuff; it’s stuff that consumes their time and jobs they’re happy to hand off. I said to them, ‘We’re not trying to take jobs away from Australia, or from you; we’re trying to free up some time for you so you can spend it doing more face-to-face stuff, manage the properties properly and not get overloaded or stressed’.”

A lot of the people who aren’t sure about bringing someone on, it’s because they don’t fully understand how the process works. But it’s just like having another team member.

One of the benefits for Brent has been the rapid growth his business has been able to undergo with the support from the outsourced team. Starting from next to nothing in January 2017, the property management department has grown by around 160 properties since then in a market where growth isn’t promised.

Brent also worked closely with the team at Beepo to solve another problem he had. As a new franchise owner, Brent was shocked to see how long it took his staff to onboard new tenants.

“I spoke to Beepo and said, ‘Is there any way we can make a video of this tenant onboard, so we can sit them in a meeting room and press play, then come in and make the last few checks?’. So Beepo did that for us and it’s saving our team 45 minutes on each tenant onboard.”

It was taking the time out to go to the Philippines and meet the team over there that made Brent and his team realise how much their office could gain from outsourcing. Brent says that would be his number one recommendation for anyone who was considering making the leap but who wasn’t sure if it would work for their business.

“It’s an education thing; a lot of the people who aren’t sure about bringing someone on, it’s because they don’t fully understand how the process works.

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Hannah Blackiston

Hannah Blackiston was an in-house journalist with Elite Agent. She worked with the company from January 2018 to January 2019.