How outsourcing could save your lettings business
14 June 2018 3725 Views
Outsourcing has long been an effective strategy in business. It enables you to provide a new, improved or more streamlined service to your clients without having to make an internal investment in things like infrastructure, upskilling or recruitment, and technology.
In the lettings industry, however, it’s been something of a dirty word – until now.
Over the last few years, there has been a rise in proptech software, online agents and changes in legislation that all challenge the traditional business model.
So, for many letting agents, it now makes sense to outsource some or all of their business functions.
There are many reasons letting agents choose to outsource.
Sometimes it’s circumstantial; property managers moving on or going on long-term sick leave and difficulty recruiting; increased demand from clients but lack of internal resources and the right level of experience.
Other times it’s driven by the desire to grow the business; outsourcing time-consuming tasks such as rent collection and arrears management, tenancy administration and maintenance or full property management can be a great way of enabling in-house teams to focus on new instructions and income generation.
Outsourcing can be an ideal solution if you want to:
1. Reduce costs while maintaining service levels
2. Grow your lettings business
3. Improve efficiency
4. Increase geographical reach
5. Provide the highest level of expertise to tenants and landlords
6. Have an experienced and easily expandable team working for you
You also only pay for the services you need and when you need them, so there’s that element of flexibility and scalability too.
Common barriers to outsourcing
There are, of course, pros and cons to outsourcing in any industry and in the lettings sector, these are the three most common objections, which are usually misunderstood.
Like any service, outsourcing your lettings costs money. Yet, there’s very rarely standardised fee structures because it will often depend on the size of your lettings business and managed portfolio, how much you want to outsource and the average rents in your area.
Most letting agents will compare the annual salaries of in-house staff with the number of properties x outsourcing fee x 12. What they fail to take into account are the hidden costs of employment, which can often amount to 75% more than the basic salary:
· National Insurance contributions
· Pension contributions
· Holiday, sick and compassionate leave
· Company car
· Office space and overheads
· Benefits (health insurance/gym membership)
Outsourcing gives you access to an experienced and instantly expandable team who you only have to pay per property that they manage. However, this extended team will not require training, holiday pay, a company car, desk space or pension; they can be available 24/7; and when someone is sick, they have the capacity and infrastructure to continue to deliver you a property management service.
It can be a scary thought when you’re considering handing over control of your portfolio to a third party, not least because outsourcing usually involves someone else collecting rent on your behalf and you have to rely on them paying you minus their fee – just like when landlords outsource to you.
The benefit is that you no longer need an accounts assistant for rent collection or all of the hassle that goes with chasing payments.
You will also retain whatever level of control you want over your portfolio. If you want to be able to log into systems to see what is being done, then you can. Likewise, you can take a more hands-off approach and leave it to the outsourcing company, who will keep you up to date with regular reports.
Most importantly, you’ll want to know that service levels will be maintained and that the outsourcing company will live up to your brand and values. This comes down to carrying out thorough due diligence and selecting a reputable supplier who has a proven track-record.
With potentially hundreds of landlord, property and tenant records on file, the physical transfer of property management to an outsourcing company can simply feel like too big a task, even if you know it’s the best thing to do for your business in the long-term.
But remember, it’s in the best interests of your supplier to assist you with this, and usually, they’ll have someone dedicated to managing the transfer for you.
Find out if outsourcing will work for your lettings business
If you’ve been wondering whether outsourcing property management can help you streamline your lettings business, then use this quick checklist to help you decide if it’s a viable option for you.
Then contact ARPM
Here at ARPM, we have more than 10 years’ experience providing outsourced tenancy administration and property management services to letting agents across England and Wales. Our team of 30 specialist property staff become an extension of your team without the overheads and deliver a professional and quality service, white labelled under your brand.
Whether you’re just looking for support with pre-tenancy administration, rent collection or property maintenance, or the complete management of your portfolio, ARPM offer flexible and cost-effective solutions tailored to your business. It's certainly a great way to cost-effectively grow your lettings portfolio.
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