To TEAM…or NOT to Team…That is the Question…
Whether ‘tis nobler in mind to suffer
The slings and arrows of Single Agent fortune
Or to take action with a sea of hires
And by hiring, Leverage. To work – to sleep,
To sleep, perchance to Grow – ay there’s the rub:
For in that Growth what issues may come,
When plagued with training and management issues,
Must give us pause – there’s the respect
That makes a Career in Real Estate of so long life…
Betcha never knew I was a poet, too?! I didn’t say I was a GOOD poet….
But seriously, this is a concern for many real estate agents faced with the question of “What do you want your future business to look like? What is the STRUCTURE of this said business, and how will you manage it?” There is a lot of pressure to form a team, to grow your business, but maybe we should examine if this is the right choice for YOU.
As a single agent, even with the consistent application of the highest levels of systems, you will eventually hit a ceiling as to the amount of business you can run before you a) start to drop the ball and miss appointments and b) lose your mind and grate your health into a nub. In my market area of Northern NJ, I would say that firing on all cylinders, you can probably get up to 40 transactional units before melting down (I can’t promise that you can sustain this level, but I think this is within reach). And if you are clever enough to leverage certain parts of the 80% of your business, you can push up to 60 units AND create an excellent salary for yourself and be beholden to no one…other than your well-served and happy clients, of course! A few examples of this type of leverage would be:
- Using a transaction management service such as Transactly (www.transactly.com) or Paperless Pipeline (www.paperlesspipeline.com) – FYI, this is not an endorsement of either of these systems, just examples of some I have heard are in use by agents.
- Hiring a “Field Agent” on an hourly basis to put on lockboxes, place signs, attend inspections, etc.
- Hiring a “Showing Agent” on an hourly or per door basis to help you show homes when you are not available.
- Hiring an all-around Administrative Assistant that helps with all the above (transactions, marketing, fieldwork, and showings if licensed).
These types of leverage have the ability to free up valuable hours in your week that can be applied towards lead generation, as well as double your ability to show homes at a small cost relative to how much it can help you grow.
Given this information, let me ask you – “WHY do you want to start a team?” Many people ask me about my team, and when I ask this question, I often hear “Isn’t this what I am supposed to do next?” or “I am exhausted and I want someone else to run around for me instead.” Let’s address these responses:
Isn’t this what I am supposed to do next?
Sure, but only if you want to MANAGE a team. There is a LOT of pressure to start a team but there is no hard and fast rule that you should. Just because you have grown to a certain size doesn’t mean you need to default to a bigger business. Bigger usually means more COSTS, and while you may increase your gross commission income, hiring usually means more expenses, and you have to judge for yourself if the profit a) exceeds the added expense and b) even if it does, is the amount worth the added stress and work of training and managing hires.
I am exhausted and I want someone else to run around for me instead…
I’m not going to lie, this one drives me crazy. There is a fundamental issue with this sentence, and that is yes, you start a team to help you with your business, but as Rainmaker for a team of 12, I have never worked so hard to SERVE my team in return. My daily concerns are with a) training the team to the highest levels and standards to help them reach their full potential, b) providing them with not only leads but also ways to help them lead generate through their own spheres, and c) provide as many listings as possible to contribute to the team for transactional opportunities. I believe that all good team leads approach their teams with a Servant-Leader mindset and this is a huge part of how you maintain the health of a team.
At the end of the day, your decision to start a team is entirely yours, but there is a real sense of responsibility in hiring people and being responsible for helping them make a living. I might be putting my faith in them to function ethically and skillfully under my name, but they are also putting faith in me to live up to the bargain of helping them develop as Realtors and find the business to feed their families. It’s a 2-way street, a potential win-win, and NOT a relationship to be entered into lightly.
As yourself these questions:
- Am I ready to lead by example?
- Are my systems in place to sustain a team?
- Do I have a good plan for evaluating who to hire?
- Do I have a good plan for training new hires?
- Do I know what to expect from my hires?
- Do I have a team culture in mind to foster with the team?
In the end, if your answer is “YES” to all these questions, then you’re ready to start this journey of team building!