“I would rather earn 1% of 100 people’s efforts than 100% of my own efforts.”
– John D. Rockefeller, oil tycoon, very rich…
The longer you’re in business for yourself, the better Mr. Rockefeller’s advice may sound. It all comes back to the linchpin of entrepreneurial pain: Feeling like you have to do it all, feeling stuck, and not getting any results as the outcome.
This problem is the whole basis of the “E-Myth Principle,” one of the pre-eminent books on the subject of removing yourself as the bottleneck to your own growth (see my notes here for “The E-Myth Real Estate Investor”).
Below, you will see an organizational chart that maps out the ideal 4-person team for wholesaling real estate. It’s brain dead simple, but by no means is THE way, as everyone’s business is different.
If anything, this will give you a great starting point to clarify the next steps you need to take to get out of your own way and close more deals.
Personally, I’ve done well over 100 wholesale deals here in Baltimore, have experimented with nearly every type of team arrangement and system imaginable, and have worked with hundreds of clients to help them setup their business automation systems on Podio.
This is what I feel is the most sensible team scenario, but I’d love to hear your feedback in the comments!
Quick note about hiring
Before bringing someone onto your team, it needs to be a “Hell yeah!” or a no. I’ve made this mistake too many times. I needed help urgently and hired the first or second person I interviewed, even if they were just a “sure…why not.” DONT DO IT!
Go with your gut, and interview as many people as it takes to find the “Hell yeah! This person is just an awesome all around person that I’d love to work with and I’d regret NOT hiring them!”
Seriously…spend the extra time interviewing. Don’t settle. It’s worth the extra effort. For some absolute gems on hiring and where to find rockstar team members, listen to this quick call on automation with Tom Krol.
I like to express the idea that a team member isn’t working for me per se. Rather, they are working in the system I’ve put in place that’s creating their income. They should understand exactly how you make money and their exact role in that process.
That establishes a sense of “Intrapreneurship” that can empower someone to feel more in control of their performance as part of a greater whole.
This is also why we pay on commission and a sliding scale of how many deals close. See the compensation portion of the above org chart for ideas on payment structure.
Now, Let’s dive into the specific roles:
The Office Manager/Transaction Coordinator
Role: As the bookend of every deal, the Office Manager begins every interaction with a lead before booking an appointment and escalating it to the Acquisitions Manager for negotiation and contracting If there’s no clear distress, he/she makes a quick analysis, sends a written offer via email or mail, and places the lead into an automated text/email/mail sequence on Podio.
They are responsible for keeping the team organized, keeping the database current, gathering together paperwork from the seller and the buyer, working with the title company to make sure all parties show up to closing, and making sure your profits get wired in. He/she will report your KPIs to you weekly.
What to look for: Detail oriented, diligent, reliable, and incredibly friendly on the phone…so friendly it would be hard to stop talking with them! They should be comfortable with Podio and technology in general.
They should be intuitively good with numbers and basic accounting. Remember, this is like your personal assistant that will do the admin stuff you shouldn’t be doing.
Make sure they are better than you at all of these things. You hire for your weaknesses. Don’t settle for an office manager that is just so-so.
Make sure they have some previous lead management or database management experience. They will be your InvestorFuse operators, and will be a regular Podio ninja after a few months working your leads. Be sure to submit your email via this button if you haven’t joined our early notification list for the launch of InvestorFuse system so you can hit the ground running with your new office manager:
They can be local or virtual, but local would be preferred so you can personally train and hold them accountable.
Mandatory Training: How to determine seller motivation. Make sure they understand the paperwork involved when it comes time to coordinate the transaction as well.
Role: The one thing your acquisitions manager should specialize in is dealing with motivated sellers and GETTING CONTRACTS SIGNED. The office manager will have their schedule and will set appointments on their behalf for the motivated leads.
They are responsible for building rapport with these motivated sellers before, during, and after the appointment. They must report the outcome of all appointments back to the office manager for processing through the sales pipeline on Podio.
They should be pro-actively networking for deals in any way they can, such as MLS deals, pocket listings from realtors, referrals from past sellers or friends, and networking with other wholesalers. Getting. Contracts. Signed.
What to look for: Main requirement is they need to be a sales shark. A-type personality, go-getter ‘don’t take no shit’ type of negotiator. Former car salesman or gym membership reps make great acquisitions managers once properly trained on real estate. Which brings us to the next point.
Realtors, realtors assistants, contractors, assistants at title companies, competitors’ team members that like you better, or someone with a background in real estate transactions would be ideal for this role. They NEED to be great at due diligence and gauging rehab estimates.
Having a grasp on the comps in your market is a pre-requisite, but trust that they will get better over time if they aren’t as experienced as you’d like. They will need your guidance at first.
But seriously, rather than training someone new, I’d work with someone who’s been in a similar role and save you a lot of time. Be creative, and ask for referrals when seeking your manager. Again, you’re looking for a winner, so keep interviewing until you find your shark!
Role: Cash buyers and assigning contracts. Your Property Sales person is the face of your company, as he/she is the one hitting the pavement meeting buyers, going to the REA’s, skip tracing buyers and meeting buyers agents so everyone in your market knows that your company gets all the off-market goodies. They are ‘in the scene’, if you will.
Once a property is contracted, the Office Manager will send all relevant info to Property Sales to begin running through the property marketing checklist. This doesn’t need to be anything complicated. It could basically be:
- Get access to property and put on lockbox
- Take pictures and put on dropbox
- Call/text buyers you know would be interested
- Send Email out to the list
- Contact cash buyers’ agents from the comps
Then, they need to vet any new buyers that come into the system to make sure they are for real, and tracks the showings of all deals. Ultimately, this is the person on your team who makes it rain.
What to look for: A great realtor is usually a good example of the traits needed for this role. They are accustomed to showing properties, but in this instance you need another shark that won’t budge off asking price so you can maximize your earnings.
They need to understand marketing, scarcity, and won’t do favors for any particular buyers. While it’s good to have “VIP” buyers, once you give them a cheaper deal than everyone else, you are forever leaving money off the table and losing the opportunity for a buyer that could potentially pay 5-10k more.
They need to be great at cultivating relationships, and they need to be steadfast in their numbers and totally honest/transparent with ALL buyers who express interest in a deal.
Mandatory training: These three methods are some of my favorite ways to find buyers. Make sure they know how to market the deal correctly! There’s been some litigation recently about the legality of assigning contracts vs selling a house without a license. Send an email to your title company attorney and ask about the local laws so you can C.Y.A.!
Bonus: Prospecting VA
Role: Everyone loves a VA! For $300 a month you could have a VA working full time doing tasks online. Some of my favorite things to outsource to a VA are NOT talking with sellers, but rather researching initial seller marketing lists like probate/code violation lists, and skip tracing vacant house lists or other motivated seller situations.
Basically, their job is that of Prospector, or outbound lead generator. They should be pro-actively seeking information and making outbound calls to see if the lead is interested in selling or not.
You can have them researching deals on the MLS for your Acquisitions manager to review, try to get a hold of FSBO and rental property leads Craigslist, Zillow, or GoSection 8 to try and find that golden motivated landlord.
Having a team member working virtually to proactively kick up the dirt in your market is very valuable, but ONLY if they are consistent with their efforts, and you’ve created a foolproof process on Podio for them to work in.
Don’t leave anything to chance, and make it totally clear what information you need, how you need it, and what you will do with it.
On another post, I’ll discuss how you can use Podio to create a framework for a VA to work in that basically guarantees the results you’re looking for, so rather than managing the VA, you just need to manage the process. That is the beauty of Podio and the InvestorFuse system.
What to look for: Just go to www.VAeasybutton.com…they’ll take care of you to find a full time real estate VA!
I saved the best for last, because without YOU, this whole operation wouldn’t exist at all. Never forget that. Entrepreneurs make sh** happen, put the resources and people in place to deliver value, and go to work setting up their next machine.
Although you are now removed from the day to day operations of the business that used to hold you back, you are now free to do high leverage, 80/20 friendly tasks that have the biggest impact on your growth and bottom line.
Role: Your job is to watch your business from a 10,000 foot view, and have your team report to you weekly on the most important KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) you need to know:
- Leads Per Contract: Is your marketing and conversion effective? If this number is high, figure out what part of your process isn’t working, and fix it.
- Average Deal Size: If you don’t know your average deal size, how do you know how much marketing you’ll need to do to hit your target numbers this year?
- Cost Per Lead: How much should I be spending in order to hit the amount of contracts I need. Since you know your leads per contract KPI, now you’ll be able to determine the exact budget you’d like to spend on marketing, and have your Office Manager executing the campaigns you’ve laid out.
- Average Contract to Close time: Is your property sales guy selling quickly? How many days? Are his/her numbers improving over time? Why not? Fix it. If so, reward them!
Granted, your hourly time input as the Owner is minimal, so don’t get overwhelmed by these things. Remember you’ve done most of your work upfront.
You used your intuition to find the right people, and put them into a system that allows these new hires to work towards clear goals, and they each know exactly what they’re supposed to do without any overlap.
You’ve setup the compensation plans to allow for maximum motivation and rewards on great performance so everyone on your team wins, and you consistently push your team to become better INtrapreneurs within your organization.
You are now free to educate yourself, improve your processes and automations, strategize new marketing and sales tactics, scale, learn, meet new people, and start new businesses.
But most importantly of all, you are free to live your life on your own terms, unbounded from the shackles of being a one-man show, and doing whatever it is that brings you joy in life.
Follow Rockefeller’s advice…
Happy team building!