Virtual Assistants

(Sarah Martin) #1

Good Afternoon All!
I am interested on everyone’s views on VA’s and how many leaders here have them on their team?

(Ashley Giles) #2

Hey Sarah,

Great question. This is a super hot topic right now. I know that at Wendell’s in Auckland, were just about to hire our first VA this week. In the past, I have personally been a pretty strong advocate for not using VA’s, (off shoring jobs, not controlling their working environments etc) but with the admin loading on our teams now, I would not be doing the business justice to continue to ignore the benefits.

Anecdotally in NZ, I only know of 6 offices using them across the 100 LPMA members, and even less outside LPMA.


(Terri Handy) #3

Personally, I find that VA’s work incredibly well within our industry. Outsourcing administration tasks frees up valuable time for our PM’s and provides incredible levels of consistency. If we are not consistent in our processes, it is nearly impossible to deliver a high level of service to our clients.

In Australia, their use is a little more widespread and it is getting to the stage where quality PM’s would not consider working for an agency that does not provide this type of support.

(Adam Hooley) #4

Hey @sarah this is definitely a hot topic at the moment. Also offshoring is becoming more efficient now as we process up and utilize more technology. I met an office in the US that has over 1500 properties and only 4 PM’s. 80% of there work is outsourced. That maybe the extreme but it does demonstrate that VA’s are no longer just backend admin, they can do a fair bit of heavy lifting. I have some experience in this area. if you would like to DM, we can jump on a call.

(Sarah Martin) #5

Hi Adam! They are amazing, we have 3 and they certainly do more than just general admin!

(Ashley Giles) #6

Just a shout out to @adam really, caught up with him yesterday on this topic and he opened my eyes even further, so think were going to hire our first VA through Adams company. Nervous and excited… Watch this space.

(Adam Hooley) #7

We should case study your experience @ashley.giles so we can share it with the community.

(Adam Bettison) #8

I like full control so took a different approach. In 2011 i directly hired home based workers. Then in 2013 I purchased a small unit and migrated the home based workers to the office. Now I have a team of 7 there. They are not VA’s but rather they are PM team members, just physically located in the Philippines. I visit them every 2-6 months. i have got 1 registered so far. My remote office is fully integrated with my Perth office.

(Adam Hooley) #9

That’s awesome @adam.bettison I think the key is not to treat them as an isolated group, but of an extension of your own team. What sort of tasks do you have this team doing? Are you doing any customer facing tasks?

(Adam Bettison) #10

Main tasks done remotely

  • Processing applications for tenancy

  • Document preparation - mostly leases

  • Incoming calls - when we get really busy

  • Accounts

  • Arrears

(Adam Hooley) #11

That’s great @adam.bettison thanks for sharing. Is maintenance one that you have considered doing? It is a pretty time consuming one for PM to deal with on the day-to-day.

(Ashley Giles) #12

Totally! Lets do it… I am defiantly a late adopter on this front, and was pretty strongly opposed to outsourcing… However, I am there now! Lets tee it up with Jeremy and the team.

(Ashley Giles) #13

Totally! Lets do it… I am defiantly a late adopter on this front, and was pretty strongly opposed to outsourcing… However, I am there now! Lets tee it up with Jeremy and the team.

(Adam Bettison) #14

Yes they do maintenance but only the simplest of tasks.

All the staff have Philippine degrees but that is really equivalent to Australian Year 12.

Individual initiative and free thinking are not cultural strong points.

If I really wanted the staff to handle this space, I would have to write extremely detailed instructions for every exact situation. Once something deviated from plan, things would fall apart for all except the most experienced remote staff.

(Ashley Giles) #15

Thanks @adam.bettison and do you find that running them this way, (with the office lease, the training, covering the leave & turnover, the overseas trips to manage them etc) is more cost effective than using an outsourcing company?

(Sarah Martin) #16

This is what one of our VAs do on a daily basis:
Processing notice to vacates

Adding into IRE vacate tracker

Creating PPTME task

Add vacate date

Remove RI

Update bed, bath & car

Creating Trello card

  • Marketing of rental properties through ARO
    • Use professional photos & floorplans
    • Update slack leasing channel
    • Order for lease board (when permitted)
    • Upload 360 scans when required
  • Upload OFI times on ARO & amend inspecting agent in IRE
  • Send application approved emails to approved tenants via pandadoc
    • Update slack channel when leased
  • Create sign up packs for TTs
    • Connect to Myconnect
    • Create bond forms
    • Send sign up docs to Nicole

Data entry into PPTME

New tenants

New landlords

New properties

  • Lease documents
    • Lease transfers
    • Saving lease renewal documents, condition reports etc into PPTME
  • Create & send bond claim forms to vacating tenants
  • Save bond lodgement receipts in PPTME

Additional ad hoc duties as directed by management

(Sarah Martin) #17

Maintenance is a great one to get them to do! We have another VA in full time maintenance :slight_smile:

(Adam Bettison) #18

Time-wise it would be more cost-effective to use an outsourcing company.

But if you want to understand the business, develop and grow it, direct control is better. And yes it is significantly cheaper to do it yourself.

(Adam Hooley) #19

That’s a very detailed list @sarah . thanks for sharing. Are using Trello as a workflow tool for the VA’s or do they have some autonomy in the way they do work?

(Sarah Martin) #20

Mostly trello & slack :slight_smile: