Solving the PM recruitment problem in Brisbane
20 February 2023
“What’s better than earning a sales commission?” asks Colin Walsh, Principal of Ray White Inner Brisbane Apartments.
“Securing the new buyer as an investor, and then managing their business until they’re ready to sell again. Get it right and you’re laughing… Do it wrong and you’ll lose millions”.
Ray White Inner Brisbane Apartments is a stand-out property management business and one of the fastest-growing rent rolls in the Ray White network. But like most agencies around Australia, they are dealing with a brutal job market for property managers.
“It’s no secret that recruitment is incredibly tough right now. Our jobs are complex, there’s an ever-shrinking pool of talent, and legislative changes are making things even harder.”
— Maryann Buston, Head of Operations at Ray White Inner Brisbane Apartments.
A growing rent roll needs a growing team
Without more property managers to take on their swelling rent roll, not only was their growth under threat, but their current team was starting to feel the strain.
“On the day I met Colin and the team, I received four job offers!” says Amanda Correa, a stand-out applicant for their latest Property Management role.
In the face of this kind of competition, it’s tempting to keep upping your compensation, but this simply isn't viable for most businesses. Instead of racing to the bottom with low margins, smart agencies are differentiating themselves in the eyes of their candidates.
Colin and Maryann had been busy differentiating themselves long before Amanda applied for the job.
A new kind of property manager
Their strategy was quite simple: change the role of their property managers from administrators to relationship managers.
They achieved this by removing as much of the admin from their day-to-day work as possible. Instead, their team would focus on the more interesting and valuable work of proactively managing customer relationships.
Colin decided the best way to achieve this was to work with Ailo to re-tool his property management business with this new approach in mind. This had a huge impact on the roles of his property managers:
- Using a modern payments system like Ailo Pay almost entirely removed their trust account from day-to-day customer transactions - such as rent and bill payments. This almost completely eliminated tedious work like reconciliation and receipting. Colin and Maryann could also redeploy their team member who used to handle the Trust Account back to client-facing activities - focusing their valuable resources on the new job of relationship management instead.
- By shifting rent collection to Ailo’s payment flow, they managed to reduce arrears dramatically and win even more time back for the team. “Out of my 550 PUM, I only have 1 property in arrears. Now that you can see payments live in Ailo, the game has changed. There’s nowhere to hide”. This removed all the unpleasant and time-consuming work associated with chasing missing rent, as well as putting revenue in the agency and investors pockets sooner.
- Rolling out the Ailo consumer app gave investors direct access to their portfolio funds and bills, eliminating the work of manual income disbursements and bill payments
The end result was a property management job that focused on building relationships rather than administration.
Pitching a better job
Being a keen salesman, Colin knew that just having a better product isn’t enough, you still have to go out and sell it.
He approached his Ailo CSM Jodie Morgan and asked for some help to build Ailo into his pitch for a different kind of property manager position.
Armed with a completely differentiated job, and evidence to prove it, Colin and Maryann invited Amanda for an interview.
“One of the things that made Ray White Inner Brisbane stand out from the rest was Ailo. It proved that Colin was progressive and committed to finding ways that will improve the experiences of his staff.”
— Amanda Correa, Property Manager
“In my 10 years of experience, I never imagined a program like this would exist. Not only are tasks completed faster but the things that I used to dread, like bond refunds and chasing arrears, are automated. I open the app and say ‘oh that’s done’…. It’s like smooth sailing,” said Amanda.
“When we spoke to her about Ailo and how it will make her job as a property manager easier, we did a deal right there in the interview,” said Maryann.
Differentiate or pay the price
Selling a job isn’t that different from selling a product or service. You can either compete on price - which means offering more money and potentially making your costs unsustainable - or you can differentiate yourself as an employer.
In a tough job market, standing out is the difference between a dream team and a recruitment nightmare.
Agencies like Ray White Inner Brisbane are leading the way in starting to solve chronic recruitment issues for property management businesses around Australia.