Re­becca Hal­ton and Brent Spooner

Elite Property Manager - - CONTENTS -


THERE ARE A LOT OF FAC­TORS in cre­at­ing a prof­itable busi­ness. One of those is hav­ing the right mem­bers in your team, and the right pro­cesses to en­sure ef­fi­ciency and cost-ef­fec­tive­ness. Han­nah Black­iston spoke with Re­becca Hal­ton, CEO of LJ Hooker City Res­i­den­tial, and Brent Spooner, Prin­ci­pal at LJ Hooker Bun­bury, to find out how out­sourc­ing with Beepo has helped them find suc­cess in tough mar­kets and re­vi­talised the way they run their busi­nesses. RE­BECCA HAL­TON

As the CEO of LJ Hooker City Res­i­den­tial in Perth, Re­becca has a lot on her plate. Lead­ing two of­fices and a size­able rent roll in a fairly tough mar­ket, ef­fi­ciency and cost­ef­fec­tive­ness were two of the top con­cerns for Re­becca’s busi­ness. She now has five staff mem­bers from Beepo work­ing across both her of­fices.

“We have three staff mem­bers in prop­erty man­age­ment, two in the city of­fice and one in our Man­durah of­fice. Then we have an ad­min­is­tra­tion as­sis­tant for our BDM team and a lead gen­er­a­tor who works our data­base, makes calls and books ap­praisals for rentals and sales.”

Re­becca’s out­sourc­ing jour­ney didn’t start with Beepo. Opt­ing to go with an­other com­pany first, she says once she met founder Aimee En­gel­mann and na­tional sales man­ager Nick Og­den she re­alised Beepo was bet­ter suited to her needs and val­ues. To be­gin with, she took on two ad­di­tional staff mem­bers, adding them to the two she had from an­other out­sourc­ing com­pany; but she quickly re­alised her money would be bet­ter spent with a big­ger Beepo team and moved her en­tire work­force across.

“We just saw that the ser­vice level and the com­mu­ni­ca­tion was so much bet­ter and the value was so much bet­ter with Beepo, so we moved the whole team.

“[The dif­fer­ence was] the com­mu­ni­ca­tion. They’ve got re­ally good team lead­ers over


there. They just seem to re­ally care about our busi­ness. The team mem­bers are fully in­te­grated into our busi­ness; they all know each other. We've got di­rect ac­cess to se­nior lead­ers in the team so if there are any is­sues we can get them sorted out re­ally quick. Beepo re­cruit re­ally great staff and they just gen­uinely want to help our busi­ness.”

Dur­ing the process of adopt­ing Beepo team mem­bers into her busi­ness, Re­becca over­hauled her sys­tems and pro­cesses to im­prove the pro­duc­tiv­ity of the team and seam­lessly in­te­grate the out­sourced staff. She says this was a tough process, and she did lose team mem­bers along the way who strug­gled in adapt­ing to the changes, but ul­ti­mately it’s left her with a much stronger work­force and busi­ness.

“There was a lit­tle push­back at first, and we lost a few peo­ple be­cause we were chang­ing our busi­ness sys­tems com­pletely, but I ad­dressed the team and told them the WA mar­ket, at the time, was com­ing back quite dra­mat­i­cally. Rents in some ar­eas dropped be­tween 35 to 40 per cent; gen­er­ally, on av­er­age, they fell by 25 per cent, so that was a big hit on the busi­ness and we just had to find more ef­fi­ciency.”

Re­becca has no doubt that with­out in­cor­po­rat­ing out­sourc­ing into her busi­ness there would have been se­ri­ous reper­cus­sions at the bot­tom line. She says by rev­o­lu­tion­is­ing the way the prop­erty man­age­ment de­part­ment worked, LJ Hooker City Res­i­den­tial was able to re­turn to mak­ing a profit far more quickly than the com­pe­ti­tion, and added 200 ex­tra prop­er­ties to the rent roll with­out hir­ing ex­tra staff in Aus­tralia.

“It made us more ef­fi­cient. It made us look at all our tech­nolo­gies as well and change those, which has set us on the path to have ev­ery­thing cloud-based. In turn, this has given our work­place more flex­i­bil­ity and a lot less stress. Now our team can work wher­ever they want and with more sup­port than they’ve ever had. We’ve be­come a well-oiled ma­chine with higher ca­pac­ity and much more ef­fi­ciency.”


Tak­ing on the role as prin­ci­pal of LJ Hooker Bun­bury in un­der two years, Brent is a young and hun­gry leader, driv­ing his team to a mas­sive ex­pan­sion within three months, de­spite the tough mar­ket.

Ini­tially, Brent was given a trial of Beepo but says it took him a while to give it the fo­cus it de­served. Af­ter leav­ing the Beepo staff mem­ber in the hands of his prop­erty man­age­ment team and get­ting ex­cel­lent feed­back, Brent re­alised this was some­thing he should be fo­cus­ing his time on. So he headed to the Philip­pines on one of Beepo’s Study Tours.

“I jumped on a plane, flew over to the Philip­pines and spent four days over there. It just blew me away what they're do­ing and how skilled their work­ers are,” said Brent.

When it came to sell­ing his staff on the idea of out­sourc­ing, Brent said it was im­por­tant to in­clude them in the process. He sat down with his prop­erty man­age­ment team to work out the ideal tasks which could be han­dled by the Beepo team mem­bers.

“We sat down and looked at their list of jobs. We were look­ing for the jobs that were repet­i­tive, low value or just the jobs the team didn’t like do­ing. It’s not face-to-face stuff; it’s stuff that con­sumes their time and jobs they’re happy to hand off. I said to them, ‘We’re not try­ing to take jobs away from Aus­tralia, or from you; we’re try­ing to free up some time for you so you can spend it do­ing more face-to-face stuff, man­age the prop­er­ties prop­erly and not get over­loaded or stressed’.”

One of the ben­e­fits for Brent has been the rapid growth his busi­ness has been able to un­dergo with the sup­port from the out­sourced team. Start­ing from next to noth­ing in Jan­uary 2017, the prop­erty man­age­ment de­part­ment has grown by around 160 prop­er­ties since then in a mar­ket where growth isn’t promised.

Brent also worked closely with the team at Beepo to solve an­other prob­lem he had. As a new fran­chise owner, Brent was shocked to see how long it took his staff to on­board new ten­ants.

“I spoke to Beepo and said, ‘Is there any way we can make a video of this ten­ant on­board, so we can sit them in a meet­ing room and press play, then come in and make the last few checks?’. So Beepo did that for us and it’s sav­ing our team 45 min­utes on each ten­ant on­board.”

It was tak­ing the time out to go to the Philip­pines and meet the team over there that made Brent and his team re­alise how much their of­fice could gain from out­sourc­ing. Brent says that would be his num­ber one rec­om­men­da­tion for any­one who was con­sid­er­ing mak­ing the leap but who wasn’t sure if it would work for their busi­ness.

“It’s an ed­u­ca­tion thing; a lot of the peo­ple who aren’t sure about bring­ing some­one on, it’s be­cause they don’t fully un­der­stand how the process works. But it’s just like hav­ing an­other team mem­ber. My big­gest step was go­ing over there. Spend a cou­ple of days on one of the tours and work out what you can and can’t do. We’re def­i­nitely go­ing to head over again, take some of our staff and re­ally sit down with Beepo and work out what they can do for us.”

Cur­rently, Brent has one full-time Beepo team mem­ber in his prop­erty man­age­ment team, but he’s con­fi­dent as his busi­ness con­tin­ues to grow there’s much more he’ll be able to do with the com­pany.

“I’ve been re­ally happy with Beepo, I highly rec­om­mend it. They are just so sup­port­ive over there. You're not just get­ting one per­son; you’re also get­ting the whole team be­hind them.”

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