9 Tell Tale Signs You Should Hire an Assistant

Posted by: Andrew Duncan on June 18th, 2009

I mastermind with agents from my area on a regular basis and a question came up in discussions with this mastermind group of top agents in Tampa, Florida, that I thought would be a great blog topic.

So, when do you know it’s time to add a full-time assistant to your business?

teamwork-hire-real-estate-assistantI was asked this question and the first response I could think of was: “When you can afford it”. I’ve learned in the last year, as our business has more than doubled, that if I hadn’t taken the plunge to hire my assistant, I’d still be in the same place I was last year.

Looking back a year ago when we decided to build a team, hire staff and add agents, I realize there were some tell tale signs it was time for us to get “people leverage” and help to take our business to the level we wanted to.

We were very productive and profitable (I sold $7 million that year and was “lean” on expenses) but we had lofty goals and knew there is no way I could keep up with it all myself.

Ultimately, I knew if I wanted to sell more real estate, I would need someone to handle the paperwork, admin tasks, transaction management, appointment setting, photo taking, lock box hanging, and all of the other tasks that can take us away from our lofty sales goals.

However, you have to have enough income or savings to be able to afford it for a few months. It’s always a risk because you could hire the wrong person, lose money, disappoint clients, etc.

We always think that we are better at certain things than others — and I’ve learned that’s definitely not true. If you train someone well, they can offer the same service/model that you do. Ultimately, with people leverage and a good assistant, you should make more money and get a great turn.

And, one simple phrase of advice when you take your business down the path of a team: Hire Slow, Fire Fast!!

Now, that doesn’t mean you aren’t going to have to help your assistant through troubles, learning the position, or growing….but when you’ve got the wrong person, you will know it.

Here are 9 tell tale signs that you should hire a real estate assistant:

  1. You start replying or responding to calls or inquiries with too long of a response time.  I noticed that I was taking a half day to a full day to get back to people that needed in many instances questions answered or things that someone else could handle.  We all know how short of a time frame you have to respond to leads.
  2. You have more clients than you can possibly keep up with. It’s great that you’re marketing or prospecting is working, but if you don’t have enough time to meet with people, you will lose them as clients.  An assistant frees you up to meet with more people.
  3. You are very profitable and looking at the next step to grow your business. You’ve used all of the great tools and technology and have systems leverage, now its time for people leverage.
  4. You forget to handle mundane or admin type tasks or discount them as not as important and your service level to your clients suffers.
  5. Your cell phone never stops ringing WITH REAL ESTATE CALLS!
  6. You are working 70+ hours per week and making a good living.  If you can afford an assistant and you work in a model/recruiting process that helps you find the right person, a great assistant will take your business to where you could never go back to not having them. You will be able to work less, take more vacations and make more money!
  7. You desire to have your own office or become a broker some day.  The best way to “test” being a broker or office team leader is forming a small team and see how you like being a “leader” and how you handle having to be available to help others.
  8. You want to give back to someone or help someone else flourish in real estate. Some of the best agents I know started out as assistants for others.If you desire to teach, coach or mentor — your first student might be your first assistant.
  9. You are thinking about retiring or slowing down. A great way to free you up to enjoy more of your life or look at taking your next step is a great assistant that could someday take over your business.

I’m sure there are many other reasons people decide to hire a full-time assistant.  The biggest objection/fear I hear from agents is the costs and I’ve definitely earned at least 3x more than what I’ve spent on my assistant in the last year. (Deanna please don’t read this and ask for a raise!)

An assistant truly does free you up to be more responsive to the customers most important needs, find more clients, work with more clients and close more business.

If you are on the fence, you can try a virtual assistant or a part-time assistant or maybe partner with another agent and share an assistant for a while.

Just remember, go through a thorough hiring process, have them take a personality profile test, interview them on the phone and in person, have others you respect interview them, hire them for a probationary period, and if they don’t work out or meet your expectations don’t wait too long to part ways. Ask them to be successful somewhere else and get to work to find another one and you will eventually find one that takes your business beyond what you ever thought possible.

Do it!  I promise you’ll never look back!

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