3 Things Every Investor Should Consider About Telecommuting

by | BiggerPockets.com

Eleven days, $4,000, and 601 gallons of gasoline.

That’s how much the average person saves when they telecommute to work full time, according to a recent article by Fundera with data from the Telework Coalition.

The 601 gallons of gas alone is enough to have a significant impact on our carbon footprint.

As an investor, imagine what you could do with 11 more days in your year – and let’s not scoff at the $4,000 either. Money is money.

When you think about it, investors drive a heck of a lot more than the average full-time employee.

But is it possible for investors to telecommute to work? Isn’t there a certain level of importance to face-to-face conversation and the tax-deductible meal that comes with it?

Of course, face-to-face meetings are important, but it’s also important to consider the return on investment for each of these meetings.

Think of each meeting in terms of time, tangibility, and trust.

Related: 4 Ways New Technology is Changing How Real Estate Investors Communicate

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Time

You’ve seen the “I survived another meeting that could have been an email” meme. Will this meeting fall into that folder for people who attend it? Think about exactly what you want to discuss in the meeting. How long will the meeting take? If the meeting will be shorter than your commute to the office, just send what you have to say in an email.

You should reserve emails for very important topics that deserve special attention. Emails that come too frequently tend to get ignored.

For more frequent updates and collaboration on a topic, try video conferencing or team communication software, like Slack. On messaging websites, your collaborators have the opportunity to think about and craft a thoughtful and helpful reply – as opposed to in meetings when people struggle to stay on task and only the most socially extroverted people can come up with contributions on the spot.

Taking advantage of technology to collaborate not only saves everyone time, but it also makes your employees more productive and engaged in their work.

Tangibility

The next factor to consider is whether or not you have to physically see the progress that has been made on a renovation, or the options that your contractors have to offer you.

I’d say it’s important to actually see the work that’s been done on an investment property maybe once a week – or every other week – but it’s not usually important to go out of your way to see work updates daily. Instead, use the time to start, and check on, other projects.

Related: Balancing Real Estate Investing with a Full-Time Job

More so, whenever you’re on site, someone stops working to explain to you what’s been done and the progress that has been made. People can feel a little uncomfortable when the boss is around, so they may be prone to make more mistakes.

If you really want to check up on how quickly a project is moving, ask for daily photos. These days everyone is equipped with a semi-professional camera in their back pockets.

Have the lead contractor take some photos of what was worked on that day. Ask him or her to text them to you an hour before they leave for the day. That will give you time to check out the photos and decide if you want a closer look at anything – or if you want them to shift focus to something else.

If the photos are screaming for you to give them more attention, then you can drive out there and check up on the place. But if this happens, there’s another factor you should consider:

Trust

All of the above requires a fair amount of trust in the people who work for you. Will they ignore your emails or messages? Will they contribute to conversations? Or will they use the extra time that they used to spend in meetings to do more work?

When you’ve hired a new employee or a new team, you won’t know the answers to those questions. It makes sense to be a little bit more involved in the day-to-day actions.

But at a certain point, it’s important to stop micromanaging and trust your employees. If you cannot do that, you may need to find new employees who do inspire your trust.

The point is to build a team that you have confidence in and then let them do the heavy lifting. That frees up your time to work on finances, find new opportunities and, most importantly, concentrate on you and your family.

By cutting down how often you meet with your employees, you save time and money while helping out the environment. The concept of telecommuting is worth considering, even in the real estate investment industry.

Do you have experience with telecommuting?

Share in the comments below!

About Author

Martin Orefice

Martin Orefice has over 12 years of experience in the real estate industry, specializing in rent to own deals and flipping houses. He created Rent to Own Labs as a hub of information about all things rent to own.

7 Comments

  1. margie kohlhaas

    I started telecommuting last year. My utilities bills have gone way up now that I’m working from home and using more electricity and heating + A/C. I was only commuting 2 miles each way previously. I’m not sure that I’m seeing this kind of savings.

    • Martin Orefice

      That’s true — it’s logical that utility bills increase. The stats are for the average person, including those in big cities. For example, I’ve lived in Boston and now Orlando, so telecommuting has saved me more on transportation costs than the average person, but when you live as close to the office as you do, telecommuting doesn’t have as big of a money or time savings.

  2. John Murray

    How you commute is not the issue, if you serve the Corporate Master you will be their slave. You will pay higher taxes, and compete for money with the other slaves. The individual must get to the point where jumping off the work grind merry go round is more important than their insecurities. Putting on your big boy or big girl pants maybe the most most empowering thing you will ever do or fail and fail miserably. Go plan your dreams or be stuck dreaming your plans. Plan your next vacation or plan your complete freedom.

  3. Matt Nusbaum

    Great article Martin. I agree with everything for the most part. I will say though, that nothing beats face to face meetings when you’re first building relationships. Whether it’s with a customers or team member, meeting in person is a must to establish trust. Once you have done that and “earned” the right to telecommute, you can save a great deal of time and money.

    • Martin Orefice

      Your absolutely right, Matt! Trust is the third T! When you first hire someone it’s important to get to know their work ethic before you can trust them to do the work on their own. If an employee never earns your trust and the right to telecommute, it’s better off finding a new employee who will!

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