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130: Aimee Engelmann: Real Estate Virtual Assistants & The Future Of Outsourcing

By |October 28, 2017| No Comments

Let’s face it – we’re all looking for shortcuts to help manage our real estate businesses more efficiently and effectively. One of the best ways to make your daily activities run more smoothly is outsourcing – having someone manage the repeatable tasks for you – allowing you and your team to focus on only high-value activities.

While some businesses continue to sit on the sidelines of outsourcing, debating whether or not to give it a go, there are many businesses who have quietly been getting on with the job of building their offshore teams.

On this episode of Real Estate Pros, we’re joined by Aimee Engelmann, CEO at Beepo – an outsourcing company specialising in real estate. We discuss the tasks that are currently being performed offshore for Australian real estate businesses and the steps you should take if you’re considering outsourcing.

Stick around until the end! Aimee has a very special offer for our listeners.

Real Estate Virtual Assistants & The Future Of Outsourcing

The reality for a real estate business

In real estate, success is measured by the number of properties you list and sell and the size of your rent roll. Outsourcing and offshoring provides real estate agencies with the opportunity to focus on selling and managing properties by taking away the highly repeatable, process driven, time-consuming administrative tasks, such as back-office administration, sales support and even marketing.

You’d never dream of sending an admin person out to make a sale, so why would you think the result would be any better when you ask a sales focused executive to perform admin tasks?

And ask yourself this question “Do my salespeople and Property Managers love doing admin work?”

More and more real estate agents and property managers are seeing the benefits of not only outsourcing to save time, but also to increase the quality of their customer experience. Offshoring will save you money, allowing you more time to focus on truly scaling your business and achieving that elusive sustainable competitive advantage.

About Beepo

Beepo is an outsourcing and offshoring company that provides exceptional workforce support across a range of business services including management, marketing and administration roles. Their primary focus is in helping you to successfully grow your business.

Beepo makes outsourcing accessible for businesses of all shapes and sizes. While they do provide services to large companies they also understand the challenges faced by small and medium businesses dealing with increasing labour costs. That’s why they provide a wide range of affordable offshore staffing solutions to meet the specific needs of smaller enterprises looking to build success in domestic and international markets.

Aimee Engelmann, CEO & Founder at Beepo

Aimee is an entrepreneur with a decade of diverse leadership experience. She created Beepo in response to all that she learned as a business owner outsourcing elements of her work to Asia.

Aimee saw there was great need for an outsourcing company that could deliver premium service and success to businesses all around the world. An innovator, she integrated the latest technology with best practices in recruitment and quality assurance to design Beepo – the new standard in offshore services.

A ‘2015 Young Entrepreneur Trailblazer of the year’, Aimee is leading Beepo to bold new horizons with an expansion of services across several industries in Australia and the US, with an aim to maximise clients’ customer service and business efficiency. She is spearheading the company’s forecast growth to 5000 staff over the next five years.

Full Transcript

Josh Cobb: Aimee, how are you doing?

Aimee Engelmann: I’m fantastic, thank you, Josh.

Josh Cobb: Now, if you recognise Aimee’s voice, you might recall we’ve had Aimee on the podcast before about 12 months ago where we talked a little bit about outsourcing in the real estate industry and some of the tasks that real estate businesses were sending offshore to places like the Philippines and I know that after being here and spending some time … here at Beepo HQ that that has grown exponentially in terms of the amount of tasks in a real estate business that they’re now sending offshore to have performed by a team over here.

So, that’s something I’d love to dive a little bit deeper into but for those people who haven’t heard of Beepo, and know much about yourself, why don’t you give us a little bit of an overview of who you are and what Beepo does.

Aimee Engelmann: Yeah, sure. So, how Beepo came about was really though some personal experience. I owned a marketing agency, and about five years ago I was really under a lot of competitive pressure and I wanted to find a way for my business to thrive and grow without needing to spend huge amounts of dollars on resources and wages in Australia.

So, a very smart colleague of mine tapped me on the shoulder and I ended up in the Philippines. I hired administrative support staff and graphic designers. And you know, it was highly successful eventually, but there were a lot of mistakes along the way.

And, so I took that experience and I decided after going through that there were probably many other businesses that may have the same experience and may find that it’s months and months and months until they’re getting value from their offshore staff. So, I decided to start Beepo which was back in early 2014. So we’re an outsourcing company that focuses on helping real estate businesses and other high growth businesses. We’re based in a place called Clark, which is a great place to do business. Very secure and safe and fantastic facilities. And we have about 250 people working here in the Philippines.

Josh Cobb: And something that I’ve learnt, after being here is the differences in the commercial differences between the regions in the Philippines, and why you’ve set up in Clark, and not Manila or one of the other kind of densely populated areas of the Philippines. Can you describe for the people listening, why Clark was … why was Beepo set up in Clark and maybe just some of the considerations around that of why, you know, and the benefits as well that you’ve seen as a result.

Aimee Engelmann: Yeah, absolutely. So, one of the key advantages for Clark as a location is accessibility. There’s an international airport that we can actually see from where we’re sitting right at this moment. So, its kind of …

Josh Cobb: You can hear the planes, yes.

Aimee Engelmann: Yes. And it’s really accessible for international travellers. And that’s really quite a selfish, you know, decision making. It’s I want to be getting in and out of Clark quite easily. Another factor is just they really have a zone set up for foreign investment, so there’s lots of international companies here. There’s Yokohama Tyres, there’s factories that make Louis Vuitton, there’s outsourcing companies like Beepo. A whole range of different businesses from all over the world have chosen Clark to set up. Fantastic infrastructure in terms of IT and security.

And from a staffing and a talent point of view, one of the things I love about Clark is it’s slightly more kind of balanced from a work-life balance in a community point of view. So, Manila being the capital of the Philippines, there are lots of companies there, lots of staff tend to move around their jobs quite a lot, you know there’s a lot of job hopping that goes on because their looking for that next big thing. Whereas Clark and the surrounding city of Angeles tends to be more family and community oriented. So when people are working here in the [inaudible 00:05:42] they’re here because of family.

Josh Cobb:  Mm-hmm (affirmative)-

Aimee Engelmann: So, it really helps with staff retention and it really helps us drive a community of people who we know are likely to stick around. And it also helps with staff wages as well, because you don’t have that high cost of living like you do in a city, so the staff wages are a bit more reasonable as well.

Josh Cobb: Yeah, so something after driving, we’ve had a couple of trips around Clark now to have a look at some of the infrastructure being built. And we’ve got I think like the huge Hilton hotel or resort that they’re building alongside the golf course in the hinterland. And you get the feeling being here that they are building it for business, this whole area is really a hub for business, wouldn’t you say?

Aimee Engelmann: Yeah, absolutely. And like when we started here in 2014 there might have been a collection of ten or so Australians that had offices here and I knew all ten of them. And now there’s like 40 or 50. So expansion has been … jut really, really high growth and that’s not just Australian businesses, that’s companies all over the world that are choosing to set up in Clark.

Josh Cobb: Yeah, yeah. And I think that going back to I guess, some of the growth that you’ve seen in the popularity I suppose of sending, not jobs offshore, because I think that’s one of the things that people are worried about in offshoring is thinking you’re sending jobs offshore, but it’s more so tasks that people are performing for your business.

Let’s have a chat about that, around what are some of the … from 12 months ago when we first caught up to now. What are some of the tasks that a real estate business are sending to Beepo to have performed by their team members here?

Aimee Engelmann: So, it’s a lot more broader now from even six or 12 months ago. So there’s four main categories. Property management, which has always been popular, that’s not going to go away. Sales support is another area, a second area. The third area which is probably the fastest growing category within real estate offshore support is marketing. I know you would know why that is …

Josh Cobb: Yeah. I do, yeah.

Aimee Engelmann: And the fourth is in account support as well. So they’re the four main categories. Property management as well, although there’s been staff working here on property management for some time, what we’re seeing is that they’re taking on more and more tasks. So, for some clients they just do back of house or back of office processing. But there is a move to have more tenant contact now, so staff here in the Philippines are actually reaching out to tenants, you know they’re chasing up arrears, they’re doing repairs and maintenance, they’re talking to tradies. They’ve got the lingo down, they’re chatting to the same people and developing relationships with those suppliers and tenants and in some cases landlords as well.

So, it’s a greater depth of support, and it’s not just the simple processes. For example, in marketing, thinking about how they can support the setup of campaigns, how they can support things like video editing and creating great authentic content that their client has done the initial recording of the video or maybe the initial writing of the blog, and then it comes back to their staff member here in the Philippines to be able to implement that, execute it, report on it, and take it to market.

Josh Cobb: And back 12 months ago, what were … they were some of the tasks that people were kind of dabbling in back then, or has it changed? Or not?

Aimee Engelmann: I think what has happened is that the confidence in offshore staff or clients builds over time. So, when a client first starts thinking about offshore and having a staff member to support them, they pick simple, more repeatable tasks, and they pick the things where there’s less customer or client touch point.

So on property management it might be something like tenancy application, great place to start. Very limited touch point with any landlords, none really, it’s all reference checking, ticker, database, and it’s all the behind the scenes things. And it’s actually not so much about whether the staff are competent or not, it’s whether the client, the real estate principal or property manager has the confidence in that person in the Philippines. Once the start that process, they become confident. Then they start handing over the more complex tasks.

Josh Cobb: Yeah. So, I’m guessing here … and I only say this because we spend a lot of time in real estate businesses and when tasks are being taken away from team members, there can sometimes be a little bit of to and fro with that, the particular staff member before they actually let go of a task.

So, I am keen to hear how, if it’s ever a challenge sending tasks from a property management department offshore. Things like arrears management, inquiry management, lease renewals, those repeatable tasks. Do property managers, if we focus on that department, do they find that’s a difficult conversation sometimes to get them to let go of those tasks? And if so, what are some of the things that you might like to maybe say to a principal that … what are the benefits of them finally letting go and is it anything to be scared of, I suppose?

Aimee Engelmann: Josh, that’s a really great question. And I would have to say that yes, in fairly much every single case, the property manager is quietly freaking out.

Josh Cobb: Yep.

Aimee Engelmann: And that’s natural, because everyone has their perceptions about talent in the Philippines, and their perception is from a call centre and it’s generally a telco, or insurance, or banking interaction. And so part of what principals do, and what we help them do is how to frame a conversation around outsourcing with their staff, which is always about freeing them up for higher value work.

And it’s always about helping the organisation grow, and it’s all about helping them have the time to build greater relationships and strengthen the relationships face to face and person to person.

So, the first thing is helping the principal frame a conversation around that. At the same time, property managers will still be thinking, well this is, you know I’m going to lose my job and blah, blah, blah, that will always happen regardless of how well you try and address the change management aspects. And when that turns a corner, the way to actually help change that feeling is when they get in and start working with our staff. And when they do that, they realise the staff speak great English, they’re fun to be around, they love a laugh, so it’s about getting in and getting some of those tasks underway.

Where I see it go wrong is when in those initial stages too much is taken on too soon. So, it’s about picking a relatively simple, repeatable process. Now, we spend a lot of time on training and context to give staff context around what they’re doing and around the industry. Because the real estate industry in the Philippines is significantly different to Australia. And once a property manager is actually working with a staff member, communicating and getting things done and seeing output, and seeing the quality of the output. Then it’s like a light bulb and they’re like, “Oh my god, now I get it.”

Then they go back to their principal going, “Okay this is working. I understand what you’re saying now. Yes, I’m loving it, how can we do more?”

Josh Cobb: Some of those tasks in property management, they’re low value tasks in terms of money to the business, in terms of arrears management. Lease renewal processing, processing applications that’s probably one of the biggest pain points in any real estate business. It totally makes sense, doesn’t it, to free them up to spend more time with their landlords, would you agree?

Aimee Engelmann: Yeah, absolutely. And you know, a real practical exercise that anyone can do in their property management office right now is to ask that question, what do you like doing in terms of tasks? And what don’t you like doing?

And so the things that come up on the want don’t you like doing … you then look at those and say, well what are the highly repeatable tasks? What are the ones we’re doing all the time? And then consider simplicity, are they simple or complex? So find the high repeatable, simple tasks on that list, and that’s where you start. It’s as simple as that. You don’t have to over complicate it.

In our business, we have processes that are ready to go, so we can show a standard way of approaching that process.

Josh Cobb: So it’s like a checklist almost for … lease renewals, arrears, sale support, marketing. You’ve got basically those tasks and you’ve got processes that you can basically plug in?

Aimee Engelmann: Correct.

Josh Cobb: Is that what you’re saying?

Aimee Engelmann: Yeah, absolutely.

Josh Cobb: Like a template?

Aimee Engelmann: Yeah, absolutely. We’ve got a template starting point, because we know real estate offices don’t hand over their perfect standard operating procedures. Because they quite simple don’t exist. No one has the …

Josh Cobb: That’s true.

Aimee Engelmann: No one has the time to write and update standard operating procedures. So we have a starting point for those tasks. You don’t have to over complicate it. Have a think about what tasks people don’t like in the office and then think about the complexity, and then think about are they repeatable. And if they’re low complexity and they’re repeatable, that’s where you start.

Josh Cobb: Yep. Yeah. So, let’s look at some of those other, I guess, some of the perceptions of outsourcing. And, you said it before the perception really is the call centre in the Philippines or India. It’s really when you’re here, you don’t experience that all, do you? I mean, we’re in a beautiful building in Clark in the Philippines, it’s clean, it’s modern, the staff have their own canteen or café downstairs if they all get together and have their lunch each day. And it is that perception is really not the reality, is it?

Aimee Engelmann: No, it’s … and it is different in other businesses. I have been to some businesses in the Philippines where I have looked at the standard of facilities and the workspaces and I’ve thought, oh gee, this is not a very nice place to work. So it does vary, but absolutely in our facility, it’s the standard that you’d expect in Australia. If you walked into any sort of small or medium sized business and compared the facility and what we do around staff retention and reward and recognition as well as the physical environment, it would be on par with any Australian business.

Josh Cobb: I think one of the problems we see when businesses have an offshore team is that they don’t slow down to train that person, whether it’s in property management, sale support, marketing, or admin of the four areas you’ve mentioned, they don’t spend the time to train that person. They think it’s just, there’s a computer on the other end like managing these things, but they need … would you say one of the … when outsourcing doesn’t work is when they don’t spend the time and invest in training their staff member who they have overseas?

Aimee Engelmann: Yeah, absolutely. Where outsourcing goes wrong, training is a huge factor. I think because the staff are remote, it’s natural because you’re not walking into the office and just seeing them sitting there. So, its simple things that can bridge that gap like writing a training plan, which is quite simply understanding if that person, their background, their skillset, if they’ve got specific experience in Australian real estate.

We help bridge that gap, we have a two week industry training that we put staff through before they start. So they understand the jargon, the legislation, all of those key things and then looking at how you’re going to induct them into your business and the way that you like things being done your way, your staff, your culture.

So, as simple as a training plan, what’s going to be covered in the first couple of weeks and check-ins. So, daily check-ins in the first few weeks, and that can just be a 10 minute Skype or Zoom call. So, we use Zoom a lot, it’s a great free product, allows you to have a video conference call. You can do it from your desk, you can do it from your phone, you can be out and about. And you can have a great quality Zoom call at 120km down the freeway now, trust me. And so it’s a great tool to be able to talk to your staff. And the best thing about video conference too is you get to see all the non-verbal cues.

So you get to see whether someone is, as you are briefing them, is understanding you and then you can also screen share to show them what you’re doing at the same time.

So, let’s say you’re looking into REST and you’re showing them how to complete a certain transaction. The can actually see that happening.

Josh Cobb: Mm-hmm (affirmative)-

Aimee Engelmann: That person can talk through that step and at the same time on Zoom at the press of a button, you can record that training.

Josh Cobb: And document that as a task, or process, or step in the process.

Aimee Engelmann: Absolutely. And that’s one thing, we have someone who writes processes as part of our service. And all day, they just go around and help people take those videos and turn them into processes. So, from a basic training plan, you don’t have to over complicate it. You need to break down, understand how you’re going to train on that task. Jump on a product like Zoom, which is free, record it while you’re training and plan that out.

And once you’ve got through that first kind of two weeks, you should be starting to see the value, the processing time, you’ll be seeing what’s completed on a daily basis and get reporting on exactly what’s being reported. And then you’ll start to really get it.

Josh Cobb: Yeah.

Aimee Engelmann: By about 4-5 weeks in, you can really understand what sort of efficiency, productivity your staff in the Philippines are getting …

Josh Cobb: You mentioned some software before, some property management software specifically. And you know, a lot of our people listening would recognise all the trust accounting packages and CRM platforms and email marketing solutions, all the Australian companies that provide software to the real estate industry. You guys have teams that are trained on those particular platforms, don’t you?

Aimee Engelmann: Correct. So, we have team who are trained on that software. We also have plugins for certification where relevant. So, there’s some great changes that some software providers are making to actually have remote certification. So …

Josh Cobb: And you had those relationships with those providers, too …

Aimee Engelmann: Correct.

Josh Cobb: … From what I understand, where you’re kind of getting early releases of software so you can train your team over here before even real estate agents know that these new features exist, so that your team is well ahead of the curve. Is that kind of how you work?

Aimee Engelmann: Yeah, absolutely. And you know, jumping on demo accounts, being able to in training have a lab environment where our staff are actually using their software tools before they’re working with their clients.

Josh Cobb: Right.

Aimee Engelmann: So, there’s a lot of structure that goes into it. Probably more so than any other industry we’ve ever worked in, and that’s because we know that the environment is so significantly different to the Philippines. You cannot … these jobs don’t exist in the Philippines. So, we have to create our own training and our own coaching structures to be able to have someone in the Philippines to effectively work for any Australian real estate agency.

Josh Cobb: Yeah, yeah. I just want to go back to the process side of things, and we should fully disclose that we have two full time staff members from Stepps who work here at Beepo in our web development team. And one of the things we found in the very early stages of onboarding those team members was documenting our processes as much as possible with very, very clear instructions and we would just do screen shares using software back at our office in Brisbane, capturing tasks that our web team needed to be aware of, documenting that step by step processes.

But, those video recordings are so, they’re so well received and step by step and someone narrating an instruction over the top of a video while they’re performing it on there computer. And you do it once and you upload it to Google Drive or Dropbox, and the team have access to it forever. If someone new joins the team, they can just watch it as well. And we’ve found that personally, just going back to your point around documenting those processes, is you do it once and it is completely off your plate forever, and the team handle it from then on.

So, I think some of the tasks we perform in property management specifically, if we focus on that department. Things like arrears and lease renewals, we do the same thing every single day. What’s stopping you from spending one day out of all the other days that you do it, just filming yourself or screen sharing, screen capturing that particular task. And imagine being able to hand that over and have someone else do it for you forever. And you can go about doing other things. It seems like a no-brainer, doesn’t it?

Aimee Engelmann: It is. It’s very, very powerful and I had a client that we were working with in real estate marketing, and he’s a marketing manager at a very, very busy independent multi-site brand. And, you know, completely under the pump with expectations, just on a weekly marketing schedule. Let alone bespoke things that sales agents would need, and relisting of new properties that were up for renewal, and a whole range of different things.

And what he did two weeks before his staff member starter was he would just go about his regular day and as those tasks came up that he knew he would be handing over to his staff member in the Philippines, he would just talk through that task as he did it.

Josh Cobb: Yeah.

Aimee Engelmann: And so, it was actually during his regular everyday business tasks, he didn’t take any time outside of usual business as usual. And, smashed it out, so by the time that staff member started, I had that library. I basically broke those tasks into ten things. They trained one a day. He then looked and checked the quality of the work. And you know, by two weeks they were flying.

Josh Cobb: Wow. Wow, I think that old perception of, look it’s just going to take more time out of our business. I don’t think these days you can really afford not to consider just getting rid of some of the tasks you do every day to free you up to deliver a better experience to your clients, and landlords, vendors, sellers, buyers, whatever it might be. We know that the real estate industry is getting hit from all different directions, disruptors if you will. If we use the d word.

So, it’s more important now than ever to … would you agree? To really focus on being able to spend more time with your customers as opposed to being behind a computer typing out sales contracts, marketing plans, uploading listings, all those sorts of things can be done here, right?

Aimee Engelmann: Absolutely. And I think when it comes to customer experience, which is one of the ways that everyone talks about, they’ll combat whatever happens in the future, and who knows. Those with the greatest level of client satisfaction and a great customer experience are going to be the ones that thrive and survive. And to do that, you need people power, you need people relationships. You need to be able to, you know, understand where your client is in that property cycle. You need to be able to spend time with them and show that you care about them. And you understand their needs.

So, focusing staff in Australia on that people power to deliver on that customer experience and taking that process work away for those staff is fantastic for the client. They love it because they’re getting a higher level, you know, of client touch point when they want it. The staff in the Australian office actually love it as well, because they’re doing less of the stuff they don’t like.

So, one of the unique benefits that not many people realise is that your retention in Australia of your Australian staff will actually be better. So you’ll have lower attrition and you’ll be able to retain your quality staff in Australia.

Josh Cobb: Yep.

Aimee Engelmann: Because they’re happier.

Josh Cobb: Think of a traditional job description for a property manager is you work Monday to Friday. You have to handle lease renewals, trust accounting, routine inspections, application processing, all … so on and so forth. We all know what a job description for a property manager looks like. But, imagine if you could say, on that job description, well, we’ve got an ad for a property manager, the salary is X, the benefits are Y. You don’t have to handle lease renewals, you don’t have to handle arrears, you don’t have to handle periodic inspection, topping them up and sending them to your client. You don’t have to handle this, and that, and this. That sounds like a pretty good job to me.

Would you agree?

Aimee Engelmann: Yes, I believe that the role will change and will develop. We’re starting to see a little bit of that now. The outsourcing industry in real estate is still very young. My gut feel is it’s …

Josh Cobb: Absolutely.

Aimee Engelmann: … Not even one in ten principals who have dipped their toe in the water yet.

Josh Cobb: And what do you think? Why? Is it perception, is it just they’re too busy, or a mix of the above? What do you think would be the major factor there?

Aimee Engelmann: Yeah, I think the first one is they understand that people are doing it and they kind of hear that it’s a good idea. But, I think their perception and their fear in a way is holding them back. So, it’s not until they hear from someone that has got significant value, who they trust and respect. A colleague that actually says, “No, no, no, I’ve done this. It worked, and it’s amazing.”

That they go, “Now, I’m going to do something.”

Because, there’s a massive trust factor involved in choosing to work with someone, with staff that are in a country that you probably may not visit. With people that you may not meet. To make that decision, to bring those people into your business. So, yeah, it has to be usually something significant for someone to make that change. So, innovators.

So we find that the sort of people that we’re working with, they’re high growth. They are thinking about it because their business is doing well, but they also just want to find new ways to do things.

Josh Cobb: Yeah, yeah. I think one of the biggest benefits that I’ve seen from companies that have worked specifically with Beepo, and I say that because we’ve gone through that experience as well, is that all of the HR, the human resource element of the hiring, the selection of the … short listing candidates for specific positions, whatever that might be is all taken care of for you.

I mean, I don’t know what principal would say now to having their entire onboarding process for a new team member taken care of for them and all they need to do is speak to the candidates and obviously … go through that process with you. But all of the man-hours are taken care of for them, aren’t they?

Aimee Engelmann: It is, it’s one of the things that most business owners, when they find out and experience it they all say, “I wish I knew about this earlier.”

Because there’s so …

Josh Cobb: I’m one of them!

Aimee Engelmann: There’s certainly aspects of people management, because we are really at our core a labour business. You know, we’re managing people. And we’re managing the majority of the aspects of people management, including the recruitment and selection. And including the staff reward and recognition, and the Christmas parties, and the performance reviews, and the turning up on time, and dress standards and communication. All those sorts of things are taken care of. So, what is left with the business owner, or the principal, or the property manager is the tasking of the actual work. It’s just helping with tasking the work, so to take a lot of that people management pain away is …. it really does simplify.

It simplifies for growth, it simplifies for scale, so it’s … I describe it as a transformational tool.

Josh Cobb: What would you say if a principal that have kind of reached that point where they’re like, “I really need to consider sending some tasks offshore. I’ve got the time now that I can invest in the training that’s required to get the team member onboarded correctly. What are the things they need to prepare before they onboard a new team member offshore? What sort of time is required of them following the onboarding process and when that team member is up to speed on the tasks that they’re performing?

Aimee Engelmann: Yeah, sure. So, firstly on the current team, it is really important to have that conversation with those people who are going to be working with the staff. And it’s not generally the principal, it’s generally another supervisor or property manager or …

Josh Cobb: The senior PM, or …

Aimee Engelmann: Senior PM …

Josh Cobb: The marketing director …

Aimee Engelmann: Correct.

Josh Cobb: The office manager …

Aimee Engelmann: Yeah, sometimes it’s even the PA, sometimes its even the principal’s PA who’s going to be, you know, helping with a lot of the sending of the tasking and work.

Josh Cobb: Mm-hmm (affirmative)-

Aimee Engelmann: So, to have that person, that kind of pioneer, and to have a chat with them to make sure that they understand why it’s happening. Get their involvement. So get their feedback on what are those first tasks that they’re thinking about.

Josh Cobb: So, would you say asking your team, in the sales team, the marketing team, or the property management team, what are the three tasks maybe that you like doing the least? Would that be their …

Aimee Engelmann: Yeah. Absolutely [crosstalk 00:31:17]

Josh Cobb: … good question to …

Aimee Engelmann: … Start with the question of what you don’t like, what are those tasks that you don’t like. And then asking the question, are they repeatable? So do you do it infrequently? Are they relatively simple? And you’re there. You’ve …

Josh Cobb: Because they’d be more likely to let go of them, right?

Aimee Engelmann: Absolutely..

Josh Cobb: Like if the business owner came to them a week later and said, “You know those three tasks you told me you don’t like, we’ve now got someone to take care of all of it for you. What do you think of that?”

You’ve really kind of … no one’s going to say no, right? Like there’s going to be no objection at that point.

Aimee Engelmann: Yeah, absolutely. So get them involved in that process, get them involved in helping to define those tasks. And then, in terms of the time of preparation, for some tasks, particularly in property management, there’s very little preparation, depending on the provider that you use.

For example in our business, we have standard workflows, so we’ve already done quite a considerable amount of work in defining what the process is. Now, that can be refined, but it’s a starting point, there’s a starting point for all of those major tasks that are being done.

Josh Cobb: Mm-hmm (affirmative)-

Aimee Engelmann: So, the preparation is relatively limited on the process side. You do need to do a number of things in the office though. Have a webcam on your computer. Buy a noise cancelling headset. So, for very little money, $100 for a webcam, and I don’t know $60 for a decent noise cancelling headset, it means the people who are jumping on the technology we spoke about Skype or Zoom, will actually have a clear conversation and they’ll be able to see the person that they’re working with. So, just check on your technology, make sure when you kick off, you can actually have a nice, clear conversation.

Josh Cobb: Can I just add one point there. We don’t need to worry about anyone listening to this thinking of offshoring to the Philippines don’t need need to worry about their internet. Because my experience being here a week is their internet is far superior to ours in Australia. That’s just an aside, but sorry, I digress.

Aimee Engelmann: No worries. And so that can all be done once the tasks are identified and you’ve got some simple, you know, check your set up in the office. You can be going as quick as two weeks, once you’ve made that decision. Now, for some businesses there might be something going on at the time. Property management might be under the pump, and so that can move out to a couple of weeks. But, really, you can get started pretty quickly with not a lot of preparation required.

Disclaimer, depending on the provider you use.

Josh Cobb: Sure.

Aimee Engelmann: And then, following from that, the way in which I described once the onboarding process is finished, it’s very much like working with someone in the office right next to you, it’s just they’re not physically there. So in terms of the time that you’ll spend in tasking, the best way is to set up using those standard processes, what’s the proactive things that staff member will do every day?

Josh Cobb: Yep.

Aimee Engelmann: For example, they’ll check the arrears. And if there’s certain … at a point that are over seven days, then they know immediately they’re going to send an SMS, do a phone call, or send an email. So there will be a list of proactive tasks that they’ll do every day and report back on when they’re done. And then there’ll be some ad hoc tasks that their point of contact back in Australia will be sending them throughout the day.

Josh Cobb: Yep.

Aimee Engelmann: And other important things is beginning of day and end of day check-in. So, just five minutes to check-in, and then if there’s any other reporting requirements. then making sure they’re kind of setup in advance so that the staff member is clear on the expectations for reporting on productivity and tasks that are being done as well.

Josh Cobb: Yeah. I found that certainly with our team here at Beepo, it’s been invaluable catching up if its not once … if things don’t go to plan and we can’t catch up once a day, it’s at least we certainly do touch base very regularly. And having now been here and spending time with them face to face and belly to belly, it’s the appreciation on both sides is exponentially stronger from that perspective.

So, I certainly echo what you’re saying around making sure they’re not viewed … your team over here or whatever you’re outsourcing, that you view them as a part of your team. It’s not just the computer or an order taker on the other end. They’re people, and that’s something that I think a lot of businesses don’t take into consideration. They’re just so busy doing the real estate thing that you know, they think it’s just this thing they can send off offshore and expect it to work. But that’s not the case, right?

Aimee Engelmann: Yeah, I agree. Yeah, and that’s where outsourcing goes wrong is forgetting that it really is just a people business.

Josh Cobb: Yeah. And well the proof is in the pudding. The businesses who are doing extremely well, who are scaling their businesses extremely fast. They’ve taken all of the considerations that you’ve mentioned. They’re the ones that are implementing those to a T, would you agree?

Aimee Engelmann: Yeah, absolutely.

Josh Cobb: Yeah, yeah. Cool. All right.

Look, Aimee, thank you for having us here at Beepo in Clark in the Philippines for the week. It’s been amazing. I think we’ll certainly be back early next year to spend a little bit more time and help you fill some of that space up the back of the office there with our growing team. But, I’m sure anyone listening in real estate who hasn’t started offshoring some of their tasks in getting them out, what would be your final one take away that you want them to get out of our chat here today?

Aimee Engelmann: Yeah, sure. So, I would recommend to dip your toe in the water and I’d actually like to offer all of your listeners a free trial.

Josh Cobb: Cool, thank you.

Aimee Engelmann: So, one of the best processes I think in property management that works really well, and sorry for all of you who are listening who don’t have a property management office, I’ll have to sort something else out for you guys. But anyone in PM, on tenancy applications we’d like to offer you a month of doing your tenancy applications.

Josh Cobb: Fantastic. Wow.

Aimee Engelmann: So, you can jump on board, onto our website and go to

Josh Cobb: And it’s spelt, right?

Aimee Engelmann: That’s right, and just go to the real estate page and you’ll see there the free trial offer, and you can put in an expression of interest to go at our waiting list. I’ll have a little drop down box there, how did you find out about us and I’ll have Real Estate Pros Podcast. If you select that, then I’ll put you to the top of the list and you’ll be able to get in and jump on that free trial.

Josh Cobb: Fantastic. Well for everyone listening I think that’s a fantastic opportunity to at least experience what it could be like to send some tasks offshore starting with one. And I can say with all confidence that I’m sure you’ll be doing a lot more than just one and extending that trial to building your team offshore.

So, Aimee, thank you. And we’ll speak to you soon.

Aimee Engelmann: Great. Thank you, Josh.

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