7 ways to cut your agency's costs
Costs are continuing to rise with the impact of inflation. Here are some tips on how to keep costs low and your letting agency's profit margins healthy.
Everyday costs continue to rise with inflation, and many of these costs are inescapable. However, there are cost-cutting measures that you can take to help limit the impact that this has on your agency's profit margins and get more out of the revenue that you're generating for your business.
1. Keep your staff engaged
Your staff are likely your biggest overhead. Keeping them engaged will help on three levels:
- It's a difficult time to find new staff - with 80% of estate agencies are struggling to find new employees in 2023. You don't want to lose staff and not be able to replace them while you're busy.
- It costs more to hire someone new than to invest in your existing staff.
- , a motivated and engaged team will get more done, saving you money through their extra productivity.
2. Upgrade your legacy systems
You may be used to the systems that you have, but they could be holding your business back. As your business grows, your tech may not be fulfilling the role you originally chose it for. If you're using tech that has bugs or regular downtime, consider how much more you'd get done if you upgraded to a system where you had less wasted time.
You may find that swapping to a new system means that you don't need to take on extra staff too, as your existing staff will be able to get more done on their own.
Plus, there could be opportunities that you're missing out on - such as extra statistics like the Insights Goodlord can share with customers of its letting platform to help them improve their business performance.
Read the expert view: How agents can use AI to boost revenues and streamline operations
3. Evaluate your suppliers and consolidate
Doing an audit of your suppliers will help you to understand where you're duplicating data entry or where you could be doing things more efficiently. The more tasks you can consolidate into one or two suppliers, the more smoothly your processes will run and the more money you'll save overall through time efficiencies as well as paying less for just one or two suppliers.
Goodlord, for example, does everything from the offer letter and referencing to taking move-in monies and collecting rents. Combined with a CSM like Reapit's, that could cut the platforms your agency uses to just two.
4. Consider offering apprenticeships
If you're struggling to find new staff, why not consider offering an apprenticeship? You'll need to pay apprentices minimum wage and around 20% of their normal working hours would be spent in training - for which you may be able to access some government funding.
You'll get the chance to shape enthusiastic young people at the start of their careers, and you'll have the chance to employ them full time at your agency at the end too. Of course, they're more likely to say yes to staying on if you stick to the advice in the first point above and ensure that they're fully engaged with the work that they're doing.
5. Conduct block viewings
If you want to save on time and money, block viewings could be the way to go. You'll save on petrol, with only one trip to take to the property, and you'll be able to avoid wasting time once you're there.
Book 10-minute slots for each visit, emphasising to the applicants that they may miss their slot if they're late. If an applicant doesn't turn up, it's not the end of the world, as you'll have another chance in 10 minutes' time.
6. Consider how you can cut costs through hybrid work
If your agency hasn't yet decided on a way of working, a long-term hybrid-work policy could help your business cut down on your overheads. With a hybrid solution, not everyone will need to be in the office all of the time.
This means that you can hold off on moving into a larger office - or you could even consider moving into a smaller space, if you have no plans to grow your headcount in the immediate future.
7. Keep your energy costs as low as possible
Energy bills have continued to increase but there are some basic tips that businesses can take on board to minimise the impact. For example, keeping desks away from heat sources will make the heating system more efficient.
Turning down the thermostat by just 1 degree can help save up to £128 a year in a standard home - and this figure will only grow for a business. Making sure everything's turned off at the end of the day can also go a long way.