When should a property manager consider hiring virtual assistants (VA)?
VAs can be considered at any stage. Here are a few examples:
If you are a one person operation and growing but don’t yet have the need or resources to hire a full time staff. You can pick and choose the tasks and/or the amount of time you want our virtual assistant team to spend on your tasks
If you are expanding to a new market and don’t want to bring a full in-house team on board before experiencing positive cash flow at the new location
If you are growing very rapidly and don’t have the time to interview and train new employees
If you are experiencing a lot of attrition
To reduce turnaround times for landlord communication and information requests
If you acquire a large number of properties suddenly through a merger or acquisition
If you are considering switching property management (PM) software – Planet Synergy has over 12 years of experience in various PM software, which means our Vas can hit the ground running…and even train your in-house staff
What type of tasks can or should be delegated to virtual assistants?
Any task that's done by your employees except those that require a physical presence can be delegated to us
What are the top 3 benefits of hiring virtual assistants?
There are many benefits of hiring property management virtual assistants. Here are the ones that are most cited by our property manager clients:
24-hour productivity: your in-house staff works on mission critical items during the day and the virtual assistant team does all the number crunching and processing activities at night so that you (and they) can start with a clean slate every morning.
You don't have to deal with staff attrition, recruitment, training, employee sick days, office space, regulatory obligations, etc.
Improved customer service due to faster response times
What are some of the typical problems to watch out for while hiring virtual assistants?
The # 1 pitfall and cause of failure is not having 100% buy-in and cooperation from your in-house staff. This happens only if your in-house team feels threatened or insecure that they may be eventually replaced by virtual assistants. This problem can be easily avoided by clearly communicating to the in-house staff the fact that the outsourced team will be supporting them to do their job faster and more efficiently, to increase their productivity and hence help the firm grow further. In simpler words, the virtual assistants are assistants to your in-house staff.
Not clearly providing written procedures for performing tasks and specific instructions regarding communication requirements, file naming conventions and setting mutually accepted expectations
What methods and technology do you use for training virtual assistants?
We develop step-by-step written procedures and checklists, with videos and screen shots; PDF documents, PowerPoint presentations and web meetings with screen sharing.
Why do you believe more property management businesses should be utilizing virtual assistants?
Significant competitive advantage: You can add more owner clients when you have a virtual assistant team working for you because your in-house team’s time is freed up to do higher revenue generation activities
Your owners and tenants will see an immediate increase in response time because of the 24-hour business productivity
Your competition is already doing it and they will increase their client base and market share rapidly
Many of our property manager clients have been able to diversify into other regions and states, and have been able to start their own repair/maintenance companies as well without adding additional support staff
What do you believe are the biggest misconceptions property managers have about hiring virtual assistants?
Most property managers incorrectly believe that they need to be of a certain size (in terms of number of properties or owner clients) before they hire virtual assistants
They also believe it would be burdensome to train the outsourced team
Nothing can be further from the truth because a well-established virtual assistant services firm like Planet Synergy has built solid expertise in various PM software and acquired knowledge of best practices over time, which can be a huge benefit to property managers
How does a property manager know if the virtual assistants are of a high quality?
When the VA team highlights mistakes/discrepancies of the in-house team, you know you are working with a high quality firm!
If you choose to work with a reputable firm, the results become obvious in a matter of days
You will experience rapid turnaround times, no backlogs, higher productivity from your employees, and everyone in your office will be able to stay on top of things on an ongoing basis
What are the main technologies and tools you use?
Web meetings, VoIP-based telephones, cloud storage such as DropBox, high speed scanners, online signature apps such as DocuSign, remote login apps such as Virtual Private Network (VPN), LogMeIn, Team Viewer, Remote Desktop services, and Microsoft Office products (Outlook, Word, Excel, PowerPoint)
What are the key steps a property manager must take when looking to hire virtual assistants?
Interview the principals and management of the firm, check references, interview their current clients, check for their U.S. physical presence and corporate entity status such as a S-Corp or LLC, ask for a demo, test communication skills and do a low risk trial to test waters
I'm still skeptical and sitting on the fence. Any advice?
Yes, it's perfectly normal to be skeptical. That's why it is absolutely imperative to do a thorough due diligence to ensure you've vetted the firm for quality, credibility and reputation.
It's hard for property managers to let go because they are naturally and rightfully afraid of losing control. This is when you go back to the golden rule: hire a virtual assistant service firm that's been in business for over 12 years...like Planet Synergy!
We have clients in the following states...
The power of exceeding expectation and word-of-mouth = property management client's from coast to coast