The 4 biggest outsourcing mistakes in Australian Real Estate
Lee Woodward – “Watching Australia fail at outsourcing was interesting, they just thought you put the problem over there.” Watch full panel here
Industry experts suggest that as many as 45% of Australian real estate and property management businesses have previously experimented with or are currently using outsourced labour as part of their workforce.
The trend has been driven by multiple factors, including rising costs, job market shortages, and diminishing profit margins.
In short, costs and wages are rising faster than management fees can keep up.
Business owners are struggling to fill jobs, seeing their profit margins dwindle, and are seeing a burnout rate of property managers of approximately 30%.
In this context, it is no surprise that many have gone down the path of using “virtual assistants”, to supplement their onshore staff.
Offshoring Done Wrong
But many businesses have found out the hard way that using outsourced staff is not the “silver bullet” some thought it was.
The offshoring journey can be long, and at times, hard-going.
So, here are the three biggest outsourcing mistakes we have seen Australian Real Estate businesses make.
#1 Being too hands-off in the hiring process
With so many outsourcing providers that have sprung up to meet the growing demand, many businesses took a ‘hands-off’ approach to outsourcing.
This is one of the biggest outsourcing mistakes.
When you are hiring an overseas staff member, you are choosing someone who is going to work closely with your team, on a full-time basis.
You should ultimately have the final say if you want them to join your team.
Being able to do the job is crucial, but it is equally essential that you have trust, rapport, and, ultimately, that you like them and want them working in your team.
It sounds simple, but a surprising number of Australian real estate companies have repeated this mistake.
They were too hands-off in the hiring process.
Lesson: being involved in the hiring process can ensure you choose someone who is a good fit for your business.
Tough Question: Are you, or someone you trust, prepared to be hands-on in hiring and onboarding your offshore staff?
#2 Their systems on-shore are inconsistent
One of the biggest problems we see are businesses that are looking to outsource some of their processes offshore is inconsistency.
If you have an inconsistent process onshore, what makes you think it will suddenly become a reliable, and consistent process offshore?
If each of your property managers has their own way of doing things, then offshoring that process is only going to lead to more headaches.
The only way you can offshore a process your business currently does on-shore is to make it consistent.
How can you expect an offshore team member sitting and working from the Philippines to perform a role if that role is not clearly defined?
An inefficient process onshore will be an inefficient process offshore.
Outsourcing can be very effective at reducing business costs, but so can eliminating inefficiencies from your business.
Lesson: Make sure your processes and systems on-shore are mapped and consistently followed before putting them offshore.
Tough Question: Is there room to eliminate inefficiency from your business?
#3 A lack of visibility over offshore
One of the trigger points for many businesses to explore offshoring is the feeling of drowning in admin tasks.
The number of legislation changes and increasing expectations of clients have made the average property manager feel burdened by the weight of administration.
Often, simple tasks would get missed, which can have negative knock-on effects and lead to being stuck in a cycle of reactiveness.
Many saw the solution as simply “pushing” these admin tasks off-shore.
Out of sight, out of mind.
This lack of visibility, we believe, is the biggest mistake that Australian businesses have made with regard to offshoring.
It’s what leads businesses to become frustrated that they are “losing control” of their processes.
They can start to lose faith in the offshore team member. This lack of visibility is compounded by the fact that the staff member responsible is overseas, making them feel more out of the loop.
Putting a process offshore shouldn’t mean losing visibility.
Lesson: use technology that gives you total visibility over your on-shore, and off-shore tasks.
Tough Question: Does your tech give you total visibility over the workflow of your whole team?
STAFFLINK Client Sandi Von Tonder – An “old school” property manager who embraces innovation; see her story here.
#4 Not choosing a specialist Real Estate outsourcing partner
If you search online for outsourcing, you will see the explosion of providers all vying for your attention. Many outsourcing providers service multiple industries, from accounting to web development.
However, we believe it is a mistake not to partner with a specialist Real Estate outsourcing provider.
The Australian Real Estate Industry is highly dynamic and can be complex, and businesses need their offshore team up-to-date with changes to regulations and legislation requirements.
It is hard for “generic” outsourcing providers to have the same attention to detail, and the same passion for the industry as a specialist Real Estate outsourcing provider.
Australian businesses have learnt the hard way that they didn’t read the fine print when left with someone untrained for their role.
Real estate-specific training and ongoing support provided by industry experts who know the challenges involved in offshore support staff is essential. But the level of training and support offered by outsourced providers can vary.
Partnering with an organisation whose only focus is real estate can help you navigate this tricky environment, and you will invariably benefit from their expertise and industry experience.
Lesson: Choose an outsource provider whose training and ongoing support reflect their real estate expertise.
Tough Question: Are you prepared to invest more in a specialist Real Estate outsourcing partner?