How to know it’s time to hire an assistant

Are you ready for your first hire? 

So many agents put off making their first full-time hire well beyond the point when their workload calls for it. And it’s understandable why—making the leap from being a solo agent to becoming an employer and building a team is scary. Suddenly, it’s not just about you. You’re responsible for a whole other person!

Hiring an assistant is probably the single biggest investment you’ll make in your business. If you hire wisely, that investment can be the catalyst for incredible growth. The right hire can help you double or even your triple your business…and a bad hire can derail much of the progress you’ve made on your own. With that kind of pressure, it’s no wonder so many agents put off this milestone, but that fear is holding them back from potentially doing great things. Luckily, we’re here to talk you through it.

Signs it might be time to hire an assistant

It might be time to hire an assistant if you:

  • Are no longer able to live up to your reputation of being responsive, proactive, and easy to reach.
  • Never take a day off and feel like you’re burning a candle at both ends.
  • Feel constantly bogged down by administrative tasks, which prevent you from meeting your lead generation goals.

Everyone makes the decision to hire at different times based on their own situation. At Pro R.E.A., we have clients who do 60+ transactions per year as solo agents who are just starting to feel ready to hire an assistant. Others may do just one deal per month and are looking to add to their team.

Know what works for you. If you’re working 70 hours a week and want to be working 40 hours per week, your options are to either stop taking new business or hire an assistant. So why wouldn’t you choose the option that leads to more business with fewer working hours?

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What you’ll need before taking the leap

Let’s talk money.

In general, you’ll need four to six months of your future assistant’s salary put away in savings before hiring them. (Download our Salary Survey to find out what top assistants are earning in your region.) You’ll soon be responsible for this person’s livelihood and will have an ethical obligation to be a fair boss who pays on time. Late payment is unacceptable, and you’ll lose your assistant faster than you can say “bounced check,” so take this part seriously. (You can contact us for information on payroll companies and obtaining an employer ID number.)

You’ll also want to consider the logistical factors of growing to become a two-person team. You’ll need sufficient workspace, including a computer, desk and chair, and possibly storage, a printer, and office supplies if your brokerage does not have these items handy or if you’ll be working out of your own office.

Having some systems in place (like a contact database, listing checklists, password cheat sheet, etc.) will also be helpful when training your assistant. Documenting and fine-tuning these systems will eventually be your assistant’s job, but it’s much easier to train someone when you have a starting point to use as a guide in the beginning that they can then work off of and improve upon.

Get in the mindset

Once you make a hire, you’re committing yourself to being a boss and growing your business. Is it a risk? Yes. Do the potential rewards outweigh the uncertainty? Only you can decide for yourself, but we strongly believe so!

When you’re planning to make your first hire, it’s important to think of them as an investment rather than an expense. When you’re no longer weighed down by the administrative time-sucks and can spend more of your time prospecting, negotiating, and closing deals, you’ll quickly see what a payoff that investment can be. And just imagine: How would your business and quality of life change if you focused on your key revenue-producing activities?

Finally, when evaluating whether it’s time to bring on an assistant, make sure your decision-making is fueled by logic and not by fear. It’s easy to shy away from the responsibility of hiring a full-time employee under the guise that you’d rather be a one-man or woman show. (Which is understandable—this is why so many people become real estate agents.)

But if deep down you know the only thing holding you back is a fear of failure (or of success!), challenge yourself and take the plunge. You’ll likely be pleased with the outcome.

If you feel ready to make the leap, or if you just want to talk about your future plans to grow your team, schedule a free 30-minute consultation.