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Is There ROI in Virtual Assistants for Real Estate Agents?

March 01 2013

ml roi virtual assistIn business, those who are the most successful typically get plenty of help: advertising agencies to handle their ads, marketing companies to promote their services and administrative people to handle the small details.

Interestingly, real estate agents are notoriously reluctant to delegate any tasks and seem to prefer to wear all the hats in their business. When it finally gets to the point where they can no longer juggle all the various demands that the business imposes, and they are completely overwhelmed, they finally decide it's time to get to help.

"Bottom line: If you are truly running your business like a real business and you are still overwhelmed, you're leaving too much money on the table by not adding to your team," cautions Mark Young with Stouffer Realty in Northeast Ohio. While Young's staff members are all employed in-house, he directly correlates a rise in his income to the number of staff members he adds to his team.

But I Don't Make Enough Money

Some of the big real estate coaches used to counsel agents that they needed to reach a certain income threshold and remain there consistently before even thinking of hiring an assistant. What they seem to have failed to realize, however, is that all that time the agents spent doing the work an assistant could have been handling was time spent away from performing the very activities that would allow them to consistently reach the income threshold.

Thankfully, those days are gone. Virtual staffing companies and virtual freelancers allow agents the flexibility to schedule as few or as many hours of assistance per week as needed. Now agents can pick and choose the tasks they need the most help with. No longer do agents have to be sure they can continue to pay an assistant every month. With virtual freelancing assistants, agents can hire help on a short-term or task basis. This is especially valuable for agents who are just starting out; they can get help when they need it and save money when they don't.

How to Get Started

Keller Williams Reston, Va. agent Rob Chevez decided he needed administrative help six years ago, but he felt he couldn't afford someone full time. "I needed simple things done like scanning business cards and putting that information into my database," he recalls. "I just needed someone maybe 20 hours a week, in a role that wasn't client-interfacing, so I hired a virtual assistant to do that for me."

That – according to Chevez – is how many agents take their first baby step into the world of virtual workers. What they quickly learn is that production increases as they focus on their most important tasks. "I started getting a lot busier," Chevez said, so then he hired a full-time assistant who works virtually, from home.

Starting out and looking to build his business, Naples, Fla. agent Ryan Schwartz, with White Sands Realty, hired a virtual assistant to make call backs to his website leads and manage his database. "A virtual assistant enhances my efficiency and effectiveness," Schwartz claims. Delegating some of the more time-consuming tasks of his business, he has been able to build his pipeline and drum up new business.

Top Producers Know This

Las Vegas' Jared Jones, with Horizon Realty Group, who sits at the number four spot on the list of most productive agents in the country from 2010 (with a whopping 931 transactions for the year), credits his ability to handle the volume he does to hiring staff members.

Jones claims that too many agents have a "Lone Ranger" attitude which prevents them from joining the ranks of the top producers.

"If I had to touch every single piece in the system itself, I would never be able to produce multiple amounts of volume," he told the Las Vegas Review JournalLas Vegas Review Journal. "You have to be efficient, and you have to leverage the system (by hiring)."

Advantages of Virtual Assistants Over On-Site Assistants

One of the biggest advantages of hiring a freelance virtual assistant over hiring an in-house assistant is the lower cost. "You're not paying for my taxes and my insurance, for one thing," claims Kim Hughes, owner of Kim Hughes & Company, a real estate virtual assistance firm. Additionally, should it come time to part ways with the virtual worker, because he or she is a freelancer, you won't face unemployment insurance headaches.

Then, consider the cost, both in money and time, of training and managing the on-site assistant. Most of the larger, established virtual assistant firms provide fully trained staff members. So, rather than paying an assistant through the learning curve, and taking time out of your schedule to provide the training, firms like Carrie's have assistants ready to roll right into your daily schedule.

To move to the next level in your business, consider how many tasks you currently perform that take you away from focusing your time and energy on more profitable activities. Getting them off your plate, delegating them to a virtual assistant, can move you to the next level in your business – a sweet return on investment.

To view the original article, visit the Market Leader blogMarket Leader blog.