Pod or portfolio? For one agency, the answer is both, with different offices adopting different structures.
McGrath Estate Agents Smollen Group, which operates 10 offices across Sydney, takes into account the region and rent rolls when deciding which structure to adopt, according to the group’s outgoing general manager for property management, Cathie Crampton.
“You need to be aware of the nature of your market – whether it’s more owner-occupier versus more investor orientated, because that’s going to determine portfolio versus pod structure,” she told the Australasian Residential Property Management Conference.
Ms Crampton said that some of the offices work in relationship-focused markets, so the group uses a portfolio system in which the clients deal with one person.
However, other offices are based in more investor-oriented markets, which the group believes are better served by a pod system, she added.
According to Ms Crampton, both structures have their pros and cons; however, pods tend to be more effective for size and scale.
“If you want growth as a business, you tend to create more contingency if you've got that pod style,” she said.
According to Ms Crampton, the company runs pods at around 270-320, trying to maintain a ratio of one staff member to 100 properties, with a senior property manager, property manager and leasing consultant in each pod.
Ms Crampton said that as rent rolls get bigger, it’s important to introduce team leaders into the structure.
“A team leader has a smaller portfolio, but does one-on-ones with the teams on a weekly basis,” she said.