Being Part of the Problem or Part of the Solution?

The past 4-6 weeks the general “Trend” and discussion points for Business owners / Agency Principals / PM’s is the high churn of quality people from the industry?

(and yes this discussion point is adding to the conversation I guess)

But I am keen to hear from the Business owners as to whether they are part of the Problem, or Part of the Solution?

What I mean is - we all know we are in a labour & skill short market - but I am keen to hear from the Business Owners that are doing something to #retaintheirstaff #recruitnewstaff #recruitnewentrants #offergrowthplans #haveacareerpathway

Part of your “Current” Business Plan - probably should have a Staff Retention, Growth, Training, Recruitment Strategies - I am keen to hear about those.

Last week for a webinar I hosted I interviewed a Department Manager that pays a Bonus to his Senior Team Members at 2,3,4,5,6 years - the five years is upwards of $10k - but the logic behind this has merit as his recruitment is made so much easier because of the Retention Bonus and of course his churn / turnover of staff is much, much lower than the industry average

Keen to workshop & share ideas - so that we can all become part of the Solution…not the Problem!!

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Very interesting and would love to hear more about the webinar…

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Staff in the Property Management arena is difficult one. There is no “easing” into the job - when you start is it like a bit hit in the face of all tasks that need to be done simultaneously, all the things you need to know and big expectation from all stake holders is quite overwhelming. It looks like chaos but to an experienced Property Manager they seem to waltz through knowing when to pull what ball out of the air and work on it. And for the most part, by the end of the week

For most Sales Agents - they look at us and say… that is just way too hard - you will never see me in Property Management

I have heard so many Agencies say they have Property Management because they kept being asked for it so they ended up doing it - by default - but the downside to this is that is treated as “other priority” - they put a property manager in the corner and say sort it. When this happens - you end up with a whole department that has no support, are not heard and under a lot of stress as no thought has been put into systems, processes, career progression, training - just “don’t cost me money”

For those businesses that see Property Management as an industry and career - do so much better. When Property Management is taken seriously, staff retention is much better.

There is a lot of abuse from many of the stakeholders that property managers shoulder. And if there is no psychological safety in the workplace - staff soon start questioning why I am I doing this. Then there is - I am sure it is the same in any other agency - as there is far too much industry memes about how bad property management is - so Property Managers have two choices - they stay where they are unhappy because “why would move to do the more of the same - I may as well stay with the *^&^%& that I know” or they start and look outside the industry and low and behold they get paid more to put up with less

So now we are drilling down on wages - and we are well and truly underpaid for what we do. And the industry needs a big shakeup and get off the “this is what we have always charged” and “I need to compete with joe blow down the road” - it is time for us to understand what we actually do and charge accordingly. I quite often ask landlords - 'Do you drink takeaway coffee? Daily?" which we all know most people do now days - or “what do pay to keep your car on the road” or “what does a woman pay to keep her hair manicured annually” some very basis things - but surprisingly most people pay a barista the same money they pay a Property Manager to manage their $1mil asset 24/7. It is so important that all staff know the numbers. Know how much a landlord is paying annually each year to put it into perspective. To know the breakeven point so understands when they absolutely cannot discount fees to get the business that ends up costing the company to manage both financially as well as sanity.

But I will go on even further. On a recent industry catch up over this issue, I was really surprised that many on the forum complained about the cost of bringing a newbie into the fold. Ie The requirement and cost of getting a licence. To be honest, I was quite disappointed. Tell me how much a plumber pays to get licenced? And they charge a call out fee on every job.

COVID saw me spending my time doing some university study - as I wanted to make the business I work in better. And I remember every time I started a new course, I thought - this would be so beneficial for every property manager. A subject of law, a subject in finance, a subject in the real estate cycle - and need I say I subject or 5 in psychology. Bringing a trainee onto the job whilst you are trying juggle a lot of balls adds a lot of pressure to everyone in the team. If you start training before you need the staff member (which is ideal) then there is financial pressure due to our low management fees.

Staff need to come to the industry much better equipped. There does need to be better training in order to start the job. The training does not need to be Sales Centric - as we all know most of the Licence and CPD points is.

If staff are given the right training and right tools, are shown trust and support and given space to be able to unload the stress that comes with the job so their mental health is taken care of then retention is going to be better. Most property managers know what they have to do so a lot more autonomy needs to be given to them as well.

But most of all - psychological in the workplace is paramount

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I will come back to this topic time and time again - as it is such a real important component as part of our business.

The whole property management industry needs to undergo a change.

In the last couple of weeks we lost two tenants - one to suicide and the other to sudden death. The owner of the property questioned us - are you trained to deal with death?

So that gets me thinking - in our line of work - we have no real training when we start the role - we are thrown in the deep end and learn as we go. We attend online training, seminars (when there is no covid) and do our annual CPD points - which is more aligned to legislation with a much larger sales content that Property Management. Even getting your certificate of registration is more about sales than it is about Property Management. There is not enough out there to really train us about the nuts and bolts of the day to day part of the job - understanding the full extent of accounting - because it is quite different to Sales trust accounting and that is based on the volume of transactions, diffusing volitile situations, how to properly represent a customer in a court of law, understanding the law and how to interpret it, how to deal with death, how to deal with threats, how to deal with… the list goes on. Most Property Managers start really green and there is a sink or swim attitude that goes with it. When a lot of PM’s look at their wage verses their responsibility they do question is it worth it - particularly the repercussion to themselves and the business if they have not got legislation right.

Financial planners are held in much higher esteem than Property Managers - yet we manage a really valuable asset that has much bigger risks that the stock market - it could be burn in a bush fire, flooded in a downpour, contaminated by a meth lab, wrecked by a tenant - deemed unihabitable - yet as a PM we feel that blame is quite often transferred to us (not our fault that the owner refuses insurance). The pay is considerablely less than that of a financial planner.

The higher our management fees are, the higher wages we can pay, the more attraction to the industry there is. A lot of businesses need to stop the “need to look after the landlord because it could lead to a sale” directive. Change it to - the PM is the wealth of the business and we need to make sure they have the right tools for the job - as much support as they need - a whole lot of loving as the rest of the world like to dish out other.

The job itself can be interesting and rewarding with real career satisfaction.

We can do this - Lets make Property Management an area of attraction.

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Louise - I am always interested to read your replies - they are so well balanced, articulate and on point.

That is horrible that your team have had to deal with the 2 recent deaths of Renters -

Yes we are intertwined in the lives of so many - and sometimes there is an ugly side to it.

I always felt that dealing with the Death of a Renter / LL / Colleague was the role of the business Leaders, instead of the direct PM’s - again, we just cannot train PM’s to be ready for all that is thrown at us.

Certainly underpaid - the business model is flawed!!

And Business leaders that allow low fees, are simply adding to the problem.

In a BDM / New Business Listing training session with one of my teams this week - I put up on the board - “someone has to be the most expensive in the market, why not us?”

This got the team talking - I then used the Red Hyundai & Red Ferrari - both are cars, and both will get from A to B - but we have change this model and invest in our people -

To draw comparisons between the FP & PM - if a Property Manager is responsible for 150 managements, at $500k asset value each - that is $75m in assets under management - a lot of FP’s would not have that much responsibility

When things quieten down a bit down here (still dealing with the RTA roll out for so manage Agencies) - I would really enjoy catching up with you for a podcast interview if you are open to it - we could explore a lot of topics I think

Have an awesome weekend - MF

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