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Missed Part 1 of Fiona’s Coaching Session? Click here to watch.
When we look at our businesses, we have to, based on the desire to increase results, increase profit, teamed with consumer sentiment on downward pressures on fees, and increase service. We have to be able to get more cars into our existing car parks. Without throwing extra levels on. Without bringing in hydraulic parking systems. You have to be able to do more with less. You just have to, it’s not an option. All I see us doing in our industry is actually adding to the complexity of what we do every day. It’s almost like we’re doing it for the fun of it. We’re doing it for a point of difference to the office down the road.
The number of times I’ve sat with a business or in a training session, and I’ll say, “What’s your point of difference?” They start writing things up and it’s like, “We take 500 photos.” I was like, “You take 500 photos of like a studio apartment? Are you serious?” What’s the point of that? We’re using all this fluff of function to create difference between ourselves and our competition, but all it’s doing is actually adding to our cost space. It’s not improving our business. Obviously, some things are, don’t get me wrong, it’s not a blanket, common across everything. In the main, the stuff I see just keeps adding volumes of work rather than volumes of benefit. As a result, it costs us more to run our businesses. We cannot get more cars in the car park because we end up with that capacity issue. The capacity issue comes from how long it’s taking to manage each property, manage each client relationship, based on the processes that we’re putting in place around us.
The capacity issue comes from how long it’s taking to manage each property, manage each client relationship, based on the processes that we’re putting in place around us, around the management of that property. Instead of taking, metaphorically, an hour to manage that property, it’s now taking an hour-ten to manage that property. Multiply that by 100 properties, it’s just taking another 1,000 minutes. It starts to become very significant in the scheme of things when it costs you, write this one down,
It starts to become very significant in the scheme of things when it costs you, write this one down, every single on a seat in your office is costing you a dollar a minute. Costs you a dollar a minute for that seat, that person sitting at your desk typically in most offices that we work with. If I’m giving you a dollar, I want you to give me the best return on that dollar that you can.
If I’m giving you that dollar and you’re fluffing about, taking 500 photos of a 2 bedroom apartment, where’s the value in that for me? How am I making a return on that investment based on how many cars you can get in the car park? Is everybody with me here?
I’ve got a guy who I met in New Zealand. We worked out, it was costing him $75,000 a year to take ingoing inspection photos, because it’s a dollar a minute. It was taken from a large business, obviously, but it was taking 75,000 minutes a year based on our rough calculations for them to do the photo element of their ingoing inspections. I turned to him and I said, “If we stop doing that today, do you think you’d pay out $75,000 in landlord compensation payments for photo errors or vacatings?” He looked at me like I was strange and he was like, “What are you talking about? I’d pay landlords $75,000?” I go, “Yeah.” He goes, “No.” I say, “Why are you paying $75,000 in order to prevent that happening?”
There’s a legal requirement, there’s a consumer requirement, or there’s a risk requirement. If we’re spending $75,000, we’re not mitigating risk. The client doesn’t really care because who told clients that we needed photos in the first place, PS? Did the clients walk into us and go, “Excuse me, I’m only going with you if you take 400 photos of my 2 bedroom apartment.” No. We made this up because we thought it was cool, and the tech was there, and blah blah blah. Please be very careful, I’m not advocating to not take photos. I’m just using this as a metaphor.
I know businesses that do not write a routine inspection report. They call the client as they’re walking out the door. When they’re walking in, “Hi Mary, just walking into Smith Street. Do you want to stay on the phone while I have a walkthrough, tenants not home? Gee, the place looks really clean and tidy! What do you want me to have a look at? Oh, ok. Hang on, I’ll put you on FaceTime.” Bang. “There’s the oven, no it’s all fine. You can see where they did the repair.”
My question when you say. “Wow.” is I say, “Wow, why not?” Again I’m not advocating, get rid of all routine inspections and jump on the phone, everybody. There is so much possibility if you actually look at, why do we do something? How is it that we’re going to manage more properties in less time with less people? I’m not saying you’re going to strip people out of your business. As you grow, imagine you could increase your business right now by 10% over and above that of the car park capacity as you already saw it. Let’s say you got 10% capacity already, so you know if you got 100 properties, you can fit another 10 in there without needing any more people. Imagine now, instead of having another 10, you can throw in another 20 without needing more people. Now you’ve made not just an additional 10% profit because that whole 10 is all profit.
The only way that you’re going to do it is by analysing every single thing that you do. And truly analysing it. I think it’s really funny, a lot of our clients, especially like, you’re obviously on the Real+ platform and they’ll ring us up and they’ll say “We need your procedures manual because we want to implement it.” I said “Well that’s great, you can have our procedures manual. Here, there you go, but please don’t implement it.” They’re like “What are you talking about?” I said “Because why do you want the procedures manual, that everybody else in the country’s got, and not look at it?” Not refine it? Not question everything in it? Based on who you are, your business, your consumers, how you run it, how you structure it. There is no cookie cutter, but you’ve got to look at every dollar that you spend. Am I spending it wisely? Would I pay somebody to do that?
What I want you to do is think about that person in your business or that person that you’ve known over time who actually is the pain in the butt because they never tick a box, they never follow a process, they don’t fill out a form, they do things differently. I love that person. Love them.
Now, let me explain to you why I love them. I love them for the benefit of sitting down with them and finding out how the hell they’re managing a portfolio of properties without doing a quarter of the work. How? Instead of saying, “You’ve got to do this, you’ve got to do that.” If there’s complaints coming in, that’s a different story. I’m talking about the person whose clients all love them, they’re hitting their KPI’s, the repairs are up to date, lease renewals up to date, rent reviews are up to date, routines are all done, properties get leased out quickly. There’s not much argy-bargy at the vacating, they’re not at the tribunal. Unless they’re hiding in the world, and we need to identify that, but if they’re getting along with things and they’re just not ticking the box on the form that you’ve had since 1982, maybe it’s the form that’s the problem rather than the fact that they’re not ticking it. That form might actually slow down performance. It might cost you $2 to tick that box.
I’ve got a girl I coach and she had a problem with keys. Who hasn’t had a problem with keys, right? She has a problem with keys the other day and she’s telling me about this new process that she’s put in place for keys. Now my dollar management goes in. She has six property managers. That’s just added twenty minutes worth of work to everybody’s day. She put this process in place because of one issue that came up. It’s a significant issue mind you, but it’s still put in place. I said it’s now cost us $120 a day for your new process. It’s now cost us $600 a week for your new process. It’s now cost us $36,000 a year for your new process. How much did that one issue cost us? $200, $300, and maybe one client who was annoyed.
We’re not talking about customer service today, that’s a completely separate concept to what I’m speaking of here. Would I prefer to pay $36,000 a year or $300 bucks to make the problem go away. I could have even sent that client out for dinner for the night. I could have bought them a hotel voucher, go off to dinner, thank you very much, there’s your $1,000 go stay at the Hyatt, sorry about your keys. What’s cheaper? Then you get all this social media, “Oh my God. They just lost my keys and look where I am tonight.” Ridiculous statement. Yeah, lose your keys and you get a trip to the Hyatt. The point being is we don’t look at it that way.
I want you now to go back into your office, look at every procedure and say, “How can I break it? How can I actually break that process to save time and not affect anything?” Does that mean that you’re going to wipe your entire smoke alarm compliance procedure? No, of course not. I’m going to show you some methods in a sec that can help minimise these things and some things that you can think of to put in their place, because for every action there’s going to be a reaction, so we have to quantify a reaction and put a management plan in place for the reaction. We can look at these things in its entirety rather than in isolation and how much is it actually costing us and what’s the benefit.
Every process we’re going to go through and have a look at. Marketing, leasing, inspections, financial management, maintenance, tenancy reviews, vacating. They’re all the things that you’re working through on the Real+ system in all your training modules. I guarantee you that you will be able to, I’m going to call it ‘cutting a corner’ because that’s how it’s going to feel. I guarantee you that you could cut a corner in every single thing that you do there. Everything. I encourage you to go back to your office and shave 10% of your process. I can hear heart murmurs at the table. Fiona said, we’ve got this on recording.
It’s got to be a smart way of doing things. You’ve got to look at it from the customer’s perspective, you’ve got to look at it from the risk management perspective, you’ve got to look at it from the legalities perspective, but it’s around how can we change things.
A simple thing, even in an office environment, just to give you a completely left of centre example, if you have a meeting standing up versus one sitting down, you’ll shave minimum 10% of the time of that meeting. Nobody wants to stand up for 90 minutes, nobody wants to stand up even for an hour. Good luck if you get people to stand up for half an hour. All of a sudden a meeting’s gone from 60 minutes to 20, you’ve just saved $40 per person standing up at that meeting.
I want to take you through a few things that you’re going to be able to take away and start implementing. The first thing is time wasters. I would keep a log maybe in your learning journals there. Maybe even if you just do it for the next seven days of everything that you do that you think is a waste of time. I want you to question everything. Some things you might do using tech. When you use the tech version you think, “We’re doing this tech but I actually think it’s a bit of a time waste. I’m limited in the value that I save from utilising this tech.” Then equally on the other side you might be doing something manually that feels good and you enjoy doing it but you actually know that it really would be a lot quicker if you did it using tech and then you’ve just got to weigh up the benefits for you of making the move.
It’s things like, say, a to-do list. I know I talk about tech all the time but for me, I have my book, I walk around with it every day. If I was a man, it would sit on the inside of my coat pocket, although it’s too big. That for me works. For me, going to a tech version of that, I actually know that, for me, I waste time going to the tech version. But for other people, I know they waste time going to the paper version because they’re so neat and retentive about how the list looks they rewrite the list three times a day and that actually wastes time. It’s costing me, the business, commercially it’s costing $1 a minute for me to rewrite your list.
Transformation is about transforming what you do, why you do it, how you do it so that you can start to break something. I’ll look forward to hearing about what you’re gonna break.