In stage 1 of this blog series, we looked at how as a lettings agency you might have encountered becoming ‘stuck’ at 60 properties or less (Stage 1 of the Agency Evolution Matrix), and how the evolutionary scale dictates how we move through these early stages in order to move the business forward. Now let’s take a look at what happens during the next phase, where you have likely broken that barrier and are well on your way to 120 properties.
We call these points the Eight Stages of Evolution, and in this blog series, we are going to look at each of the eight stages, how to recognise them, and how to get past them. Where are you on the Evolutionary Scale?
The full time agent
If you’ve recently made the leap to full-time letting agent – let’s assume you’ve got somewhere between 60-120 properties on your books – you might be getting to that point in your business where you’re reaching the top end of stage 2 of the evolutionary scale. 120 properties is a lot to manage on your own. Perhaps you’re one of the lucky souls who have managed to hire a part-time employee to help you out in the office.
This is where so many agents get stuck. How do you grow from here? There’s a real danger of grinding to a complete halt, which is a terrifying thought. Now you’re faced with a whole new set of issues. If you’re employing staff, how do you manage them? How do you do that on top of taking care of sales (which scares you half to death), looking after the back end, accounts, marketing…and what about your fees (which you surely should be revising)? It’s enough to send anyone into a spin!
What’s the process?
There are likely going to be things cropping up that you weren’t aware of before this point. The workload that you had before, when you first started, which might have gone something like get the tenant, sign the agreement, on to the next, has now become something much bigger and more complex. At around 120 properties, things have shifted, and now you find that you have to think about more than just bringing in the money. You have to think about a myriad of legislations and rules surrounding letting properties. You have to have a marketing and sales plan. Have you got the correct processes in place for dealing with all of that? It makes sense that in order to ensure that you’re compliant with all of these legislations, you need some sort of system in place so that you are absolutely sure that you are doing everything that you need to be doing.
Although there are some brave souls out there still going it alone at this point, in order to keep going, and growing, it really is necessary to employ help at this stage in the game. It’s not going to be possible to run everything accurately on your own. This might be a good opportunity to think about how you want to structure your own workload. Where do your strengths lie? Is there anything you loath doing? Create your job the way you want it, and work on employing good staff for the rest.
But how do I afford it?
In order to take on more staff, some changes will need to be made. That might be doing more marketing, getting more properties, or taking a good look at the structure of existing fees. What are you giving away for free? Are you charging enough for an agency of this size? How do other local agencies of a similar size charge – and are you on a level with them? A little research can throw up some interesting ideas!
So, by getting a good set of processes in place, employing help, and working on growing the business by restructuring fees, and marketing to get more properties on the books, it is possible to overcome the barrier and move forward in the evolutionary scale.
Next time, we will look at the 3rd evolutionary stage, and see how to push the business further forward and continue to grow. Hello, 250 properties!