The unexpected benefits of offshoring
Offshoring has become an increasingly popular strategy in the Australian Real Estate industry, offering numerous benefits beyond mere cost reduction.
While financial considerations certainly play a part in the decision to hire “virtual staff” (though we prefer to call them real people), the primary goal is to refocus onshore employees on customer-centric roles.
One company who we have seen embrace the idea that offshoring is about so much more than just reducing costs is McGrath Real Estate in Bundaberg.
“We reduced our wages by 20%, but also reshaped property management in our region”
In 2018, Ainsley Driver, the Principal of McGrath Bundaberg, faced a massive staffing problem (a constant challenge for regional property management companies).
He needed to replace 4 staff members out of his small team at once; staff burnout, maternity leave, and people relocating to the ‘big smoke’ had all aligned and created a perfect storm.
He was also faced with a wage bill that was spiraling at an unsustainable level.
The options, and decision, to solve a staffing dilemma
Ainsley knew this was a defining moment – and knew that “business as usual” wasn’t going to solve the problem.
He gathered the remainder of his team and made a proposal.
He could either re-hire 4 new staff members and expect to be in the same situation in 6 months, OR he could partner with STAFFLINK to radically re-structure his business.
The re-structure would involve employing offshore staff to work alongside his remaining property managers.
He wanted their buy-in to any decision he made, because he knew that the success of the project lay in convincing them that he was not just doing this for the business’ bottom line, he was trying to make their jobs sustainable.
He told them, “we can just re-employ and expect the same result again, or we can look at a new way of doing things. Is everybody up for it? Yes, it’s going to mean some changes.”
To help convince them, he flew his key team-members down to another STAFFLINK-partnered real estate agency to witness first-hand what Ainsley hoped to achieve in his business.
He gave clear instructions to his staff. “Go and ask any questions you want and just talk to them and go ‘was it a better experience’?”
“I think that was key to actually getting the team on board.”
In this video, Ainsley Driver and Lee Woodward discuss his offshoring and re-structuring journey.
The unexpected benefits of offshoring
Following his decision to incorporate offshore staff into his business, Ainsley’s bold leadership has paid healthy dividends, in some expected ways, but also in some ways that he may not have anticipated.
He managed to massively reduce his wages bill by 20%, from where it was sitting before, at around 60%, to around 40% of turnover.
It was, however, the unexpected benefits of offshoring that Ainsley was most keen to share with us.
“Really quickly, we actually discovered that it made a huge difference to the property managers’ workload. It started to make it fun. It started to turn it into a career because they weren’t coming back to 150 emails after they’d done X amount of inspections.”
“I actually found that they started spending more time on the things that they enjoyed, and they focused on relationships. It definitely revolutionised the way we do things.”
“Most of our PM’s now look at property management as a career. They’re also the top earners in our area. The other guys don’t even earn close to what our guys earn.”
You can learn more about Ainsley’s offshoring journey here.
The right way to approach offshoring: beyond cost reduction
Ainsley’s story is a great example of approaching offshoring for the right reasons, and his story is not unique.
Some organisations view offshoring as a means to solely cut costs. However, those who excel in this practice understand that it can be a game-changer for their business and a way to enhance their value proposition.
Offshoring is about finding specialised professionals who can support your business operations, allowing your onshore staff to dedicate more time to building strong relationships with clients.
It was only by engaging offshore staff that Ainsley was able to re-focus his onshore staff in this manner, which brought the unexpected benefits of improving their job satisfaction and allowed them to once again see property management as a career.
How do you measure value?
Offshoring in the Real Estate industry is more than just a cost-cutting measure – it is a strategic approach to unlock new value and improve business operations.
By harnessing the expertise of offshore professionals, real estate agencies can optimise efficiency, free up onshore staff for client-centric roles, and ultimately enhance the overall customer experience.
With the right mindset shift and effective implementation, offshoring becomes a valuable tool for success in the competitive real estate market; one that can bring unexpected benefits far beyond the bottom line.