Having a team should be profitable and let you reclaim your time. However, in order to be successful, each member of your team needs to be brought on with the right structure, temperament and timing in mind.
The importance of the right structure
Administrative people focus on security. Meaning they thrive and work best as a W-2 employee with regular hours and set expectations. An hourly rate for part-time and salary for full time. And yes, expect to contribute or provide their health insurance. They don’t need per file bonuses or percentages to be motivated. If they do a great job, take them to lunch and tell them how much they are appreciated. Use a payroll service or HR outsourcing company out of the gate to ensure you are complying with all the local and national employment regulations.
The sales side is all commission-based, split driven and on 1099’s. Don’t fall into the trap of draws or salaries. The IRS has resources to define what you can, and can’t do, with independent contractors. Your split structure should depend on how much of the transaction process they are involved in. A good rule of thumb, 15 percent is team overhead, 30 percent goes to who generated the lead, 30 percent goes to who puts the client under contract and 25 percent goes to the person servicing the transaction.
The importance of the right temperament
We use the DISC test in hiring. While profiling may only make up 30 percent of the hiring process, it is an excellent screening tool and keeps you from hiring the wrong type of person for the position you are trying to fill. Here are our screening suggestions for a few of the key positions:
- Team Leader (Greater than 75% D, Greater than 75% I)
- Administrative Assistant (Greater than 50% D, Greater than 25% C, Greater than 25% S)
- Buyers Specialist (Greater than 50% D or I, Greater than 25% S)
- Relationship Manager (Greater than 50% I, Greater than 50% S)
- Transaction Coordinator (Greater than 50% C, Greater than 50% S)
- Listing Specialist (Greater than 75% I, Greater than 25% S, Greater than 25% D)
- Administrative Manager (Greater than 50% D, Greater than 25% C, Greater than 25% S)
The importance of the right timing
Most teams wait too long to hire admin people and are too quick to bring on agents. The sole reason your team should be expanding is to provide better service to your clients. Translation: You are starting to drop the ball and letting things fall through the cracks because you are spread too thin.
There is a fairly systematic way to expand for profitability for those teams between $1 million and $5 million in GCI. Things start to click in this range as systems are put into place and the team leader’s profitability goes up and the time required to run the team goes down. We work with our clients to target not to exceed 30 hours a week of their personal time by the time they hit the $1 million+ GCI mark. If you want a blueprint for when to hire who and what to have them doing within the team structure in order to accomplish this, we are happy to share it if you send us a message.
Teams should be profitable and allow you to recapture your time. In order to be, each member of your team must be brought on with the right structure, temperament and timing in mind.
Chris Pollinger, partner, Berman & Pollinger, LLC is a senior sales and operational executive skilled in strategic leadership, culture building, business planning, sales, marketing, acquisitions, operations, recruiting, and team building. With 20 years real estate management and executive experience, he delivers a proven track record of improving ROI, sales revenue, operational efficiency and achieving company growth through strategic analysis, planning, and execution.