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The customer ‘touch-factor’ that grew Ray White Dapto & Horsley
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17 February 2023
Daniel Norris is a rare breed among Principals.
He started out in Property Management nearly 2 decades ago. “I started as a Property Officer. Worked up to Property Manager” says Daniel.
This gives him a unique perspective as a Principal. “I’ve been on both sides of the fence. It gives me a massive advantage… A lot of business owners don’t really know their own rent-rolls. They don’t know how they run. It’s ridiculous. It’s your biggest cash-cow.”
In 2013 he acquired Ray White Dapto with a vision to transform this sales-only office into a thriving property management business. Now it’s a 260+ profitable rent-roll that he’s built organically.
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“I know the value in the rent-roll. If you do it right, there’s a lot of profit to be made”

Daniel Norris, Ray White Dapto & Horsley Principal

Be better, not cheaper

Daniel's secret is the quality of his relationship with customers. You’ve got to have what Daniel calls the ‘touch-factor’. “I don’t care what system you use, you’ve got to have good service. You’ve got to have that touch-factor.”
A lot of agencies claim to give a high-level of service, but then spend all their time trying to save time and money at the expense of their customer experience.

“All this technology you’re bringing in. Everyone hides behind technology. You’ve got to have interaction with your owners. That’s the important thing - otherwise you won’t get referral business and they won’t come to you [to sell].”

Daniel Norris, Ray White Dapto & Horsley Principal
“There’s only 2 reasons you won’t sell a property out of your rent-roll” he said. “A) they know the other agent; they’re friends B) You’ve done a **** job. That’s the only reason you won’t get it back.”
It’s not just the property owners either. Daniel applies the same approach to his tenants. “Tenants are very important” he says. “People don’t give enough respect to tenants. A lot of businesses don’t; but we’re the exact opposite. When we sign a lease, we say ‘welcome to the family’.”
As a result, his tenants also drive growth. “We’ve got tenants who’ll only rent through us. We’ve got tenants when they buy investments they come back to us”.

More than just lip-service

Delivering on his service promise isn’t easy. “Every property is different” says Daniel “Every owner’s circumstances are different. Their financial situations are all different”.
“Most businesses claim to be customer centric” says Ben White, CEO of Ailo. “But if one customer asks for apples and another asks for oranges, they’ll compromise and sell bananas. A truly customer centric business would figure out how to sell both”.
Faced with investors asking for different things, most agencies would simply pick something in the middle to make it easier to manage.
But that’s not customer centric. That’s not Dapto & Horsley.

The impossible trade-off

In 2022 he rolled out Ailo across his business to replace an old trust accounting system and a variety of other apps and services.
This gave his investors direct access to their property finances, which helped him tackle the impossible trade-off between efficiency and service-level:
  • Landlords get a personalised, on-demand service that they can tailor to their situation.
  • His team can now spend much more time interacting with customers because they aren’t busy receipting and disbursing rent.
“The financial part is massive. You don’t receipt rents. You’re not doing your bank recs everyday. That’s a massive change for the business.”
“Owners can transfer money whenever they want… I used to have owners calling me every week saying ‘is there money there?’. Now I don’t have to worry, they just go and pay themselves”.

Growth follows service

With Daniels approach, everyone is a winner. This creates a magnet for new business. “People call us up - they’ve heard our reputation.” says Daniel.
Landlords also bring additional properties over once they’ve experience the Dapto & Horsely way.  “They’ve had it with another agency, they’ve tried both businesses. They say ‘we like your attention to detail’.”
“Now we’re really getting a roll on, we’re up to 265… We’ve picked up 40 just in the last 6 months.”

How would you describe Ailo to another agency?

“One-stop shop. Everything is in one section. You don’t have to open this program, this program, this program. Everything is there for your day-to-day… It’s hands-on, interactive, easy to use. It’s a good program, very good.”
“The improvements that I’m seeing are fantastic. One thing I love is that you come to us. We’re on the ground so we’ve got the practical mind with real estate. You’re working with us hand-in-hand”
“We'd never go back to the old way of running our agency. We think Ailo is the direction the industry is going in and we're in at the ground floor."
Well, aren’t we blushing. ☺️
Thanks Daniel!