When you’re in the first couple of years of growing a rent roll, it can feel like there are not enough hours in the day. You end up working long hours, missing days off, and facing burn out. You stop working ON your business, and get caught up working IN it.
Eventually, you might find that your rent roll growth hits a plateau and you stop growing. Sure, you might bring in a property here or there, but then you’ll have a landlord sell a property or move back in, so you’re just not getting the net growth you used to achieve.
So, how do you get on top of your time management again, so you can start working ON your business… not just IN it!
When I had my rent roll, I found that a big issue with my time management was the overwhelming number of interruptions I had each day. Especially when I was the only person working in my business (before I hired my first staff member).
At the time, I didn’t know the research behind how much time interruptions were actually costing me. So here’s a scary statistic for you. According to Gloria Mark, it takes 23 minutes and 15 seconds to return to your original task, after you’ve had an interruption. This means that if you get 4 phone calls an hour (and let’s be honest, you probably do), you’re pretty much never going to get back to your original task, and you’re never going to get your time management under control again.
So, the priority in your time management overhaul, is to minimise interruptions, especially in-bound phone call interruptions.
Let me step you through the 3 levels of minimising in-bound phone call interruptions.
Level 1 – Phone on Silent
When I was in the first year of starting my rent roll, I had all in-bound phone calls coming to my mobile phone. So, to reduce these calls, I set aside 2 hours a day where I’d put my phone on silent.
But I’ll be honest, putting my phone on silent freaked me out. I was so scared that someone would call, and be upset that they hit my voicemail. So, just before I put my phone on silent for 2 hours, I changed my voicemail to let people know exactly when they could expect to hear back from me. The voicemail script went something like this:
Hey there, you’ve reached Ellen from The Renting Experts. I’m in appointments right now, but I’ll be finished these appointments by 3pm today (Wednesday, 23 June), so leave me a message with your phone number, and I’ll call you back after 3pm.
There are a couple of important details in that voicemail message that you might have noticed. I would always say what time I’ll be finished my “appointments” and I’d always say what day it is (both day and date) so that the caller knows that this is a special voicemail message for today. This reassures the caller that you’re going to be proactive with checking your voicemail message.
Oh, and one more tip on this. Make sure you change your voicemail message back to something more generic the moment you finish this “phone on silent” time. If you leave an old, out of date voicemail message on your phone, your clients will notice and you’ll lose their trust… which will mean you won’t be able to do this “phone on silent” time again in the future.
Level 2 – Outsourced Receptionist (or an in-house receptionist)
As I grew my rent roll though, I eventually had the budget to hire an outsourced receptionist. Initially, I hired the outsourced receptionist to answer the phone, take a message and email it through to me. We also had a system in place so that if the call was urgent, the outsourced receptionist would send me a text message too.
Eventually, I upgraded my outsourced receptionist to answer the phone, then call me to see if I wanted to take the call. If I was available, they’d transfer the call to me. And if I wasn’t available (because I was in an appointment OR because I’d put my phone on silent to do some catch up work), they’d go back to the caller and take a message for me.
And in case you’re wondering, I used an Australian company, called Silent Partner, as my outsourced receptionist, and I had a really great experience with them.
Of course, as your rent roll grows, you might decide to hire an employee as a receptionist, so they could fill the same role within your business and reduce your interruptions, while also performing other property management tasks for you.
Level 3 – Chat Bots and AI
One of the biggest challenges in Property Management is that your clients’ expectations are getting higher. This means that your clients are expecting you to be available on the phone 24/7.
This is where chat bots and AI can minimise your interruptions. Using chat bots and AI, like Rental Heroes or Property Realm (both great products in my opinion) can reduce your day to day in-bound phone calls. And once you’ve got software like this in place, you’ll also be able to use it to offer exceptional service 24/7.
The good news bout chat bots and AI is, that it’s often quite affordable, especially compared to the price of hiring another member of staff.
So there are 3 levels you can use in your rent roll to minimise your interruptions in your business. Once you’ve implemented some of these strategies and you’re ready to get back to working ON your business again, join me in my on-demand training: 5 Ways to Grow Your Rent Roll and get some easy, actionable ideas for rent roll growth.