As an investor, it’s important to understand what your time is worth. To really grow your real estate investing business, you will inevitably have to delegate certain tasks to other people .. you simply can’t do it all and expect the business to expand. I’ve found over the years that one of the best ways to do this is to hire contractors for specific projects.
Over the last few months, I’ve hired my babysitter and a few of her college friends to hand-address envelopes for a direct mail campaign we were conducting. They were thrilled to be able to work from home and I was thrilled to pay $10 /hr without taking away time from the folks in my office.
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How I Use a Virtual Assistant
As in my business, most investors have figured out that there are certain mundane jobs that just make sense to contract out to inexpensive labor. While $10/hr is definitely cheap, I’ve found that it’s possible to hire for certain tasks for as low as $3/hr! That’s right, using sites like Odesk.com and Freelancer.com, I’ve hired many virtual assistants over the years at extraordinarily low rates. As you would imagine, the majority of these contractors reside overseas in countries like India, Bangladesh, the Philippines, etc., but you’d be surprised to discover how many of them have a decent grasp on the English language and yet are able and willing to work for much less than local labor.
As an example, I’m currently building a database of investors that have purchased in my local area as well as the agents that have represented them. My virtual assistant has been trained to mine our MLS system and cross-reference the tax records and our secretary of state website to compile a database of names and addresses. At $3/hr, my assistant is able to compile a lead for about 10 cents per lead. At that price, even if I’m only able to sell 1 house for every 1000 leads, it still only cost me $100 dollars to produce that buyer!
Another example of a way in which I’ve used virtual assistants over the years is on Craigslist. While most people spend their time trying to figure out how to get around the Craigslist spam filters , I’ve found that there are already many potential leads out there that just need to be contacted. I had one virtual assistant spend months calling on properties that were listed for rent. The idea being that many of these listings were from mom and pop landlords who owned rental properties and would potentially be interested in buying more.
These are just 2 examples. I’ve found that when you really begin to brainstorm how you could utilize cheap labor to help in your business, all sorts of creative strategies begin to develop. I’d be curious to hear from some of you – How many of you are already using virtual assistants and what kinds of tasks have you been able to contract out?
Photo: Matthew Hurst