With the news from the Housing Industry Association (HIA) last month highlighting a decline in new housing sales, should we as real estate agents be worried about our revenue? I don’t believe so. Instead, we need to shift our focus towards developing our property management division and increasing our rent roll.
Within my own business at Biggin & Scott Knox, we have recently overhauled our property management practices with rent roll at the core of our objectives — and we’ve seen remarkable success in doing so. In fact, we have managed to double our rent roll and increase revenue by more than 700 per cent.
With results like this, I believe that we are the proof that the property market remains strong despite reports indicating that it is cooling. As with all industries, it comes down to working smarter. Here are my tips on how you can build your rent roll and raise revenue for your business as I have done with mine.
Implement strong systems
Upfront costs can deter some property managers from implementing software and systems into their business. However, when you consider that systems equal efficiency, efficiency equals productivity, and productivity equals cost savings, it becomes a no-brainer. In addition to offering our clients fast, efficient service, the small upfront cost of implementing the systems has allowed us to scale without needing to undertake recruitment, which has ultimately improved our overall profitability.
Offer superior customer service
Delivering on strong customer service goes without saying, but by establishing a simple online survey, you gauge your landlord’s level of satisfaction with ease. We set up a simple and easy-to-use customer survey via SurveyMonkey, which has provided us with an open line for feedback. In turn, this has allowed us to continue to improve our offering based directly on their needs. We now have a 95 per cent satisfaction rate based on the results gleaned directly from our landlords, which is an outcome we are incredibly proud. To me, complacency is out of the question!
Train and upskill
Within Biggin & Scott Knox, we place a high importance on the training of our property managers. Why? Because we recognise the value in it for all of us. A high staff turnover rate can be incredibly costly to a business, and while you can’t stop great people from leaving, you can certainly show them why they should stay.
We offer a number of training and upskilling courses, and I recently launched my own customised training program called “From PA to PM”. The program takes personal assistants to property managers over the course of 12 months by equipping them with the tools and knowledge they need to succeed in the field of property management, and ultimately it helps them to advance faster in their careers. Since implementing “From PA to PM”, our rental property management division has reduced its staff turnover by a whopping 90 percent. It means we keep passionate, driven staff, and as another bonus, we don’t need to keep dipping into our recruitment and on-boarding budgets.
Develop an appealing referral program
Sometimes in business we can become so focused on finding the next big thing in technology or innovation to achieve growth that we forget to look at fundamental promotional tactics. Since establishing a new referral program whereby a new landlord receives three months free property management if they transfer their properties to our rent roll, we have seen an increase of 17.5 per cent in our number of referrals. This increase and opportunity for ongoing business far outweigh the cost of providing the three free months. Consider getting your property management team together for a boardroom lunch to brainstorm how you can incentivise new business. The more heads together, the better for this sort of creativity!
Achieving the sort of success we have seen at Biggin & Scott Knox requires a great deal of effort and forward thinking, but take my word for it — your bottom line will thank you!
Danelle Hunter is the managing director of Biggin & Scott - Knox. She is a licensed estate agent and an award winning property manager.