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Realtor comments on rates

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Hey, all,

 

I've been out networking a bit the last couple of days. I stopped in to see the realtor who sold our house earlier this year to give him one of my cards, etc. He asked me my rates, and when I told him, he said no realtor would pay that much. He said he has an assistant that works for $10/hour. I can get a job paying more than that. My husband says he was just seeing if I would waffle and change the amount. What do you more seasoned VAs think. I thought $40/hr was reasonable since I don't have any experience in real estate, but I do have quite a bit using one of the programs the realtors use just by looking for a house.

 

After I saw the realtor, I went to the title company and talked to the guy that runs it and he didn't bat an eye at the $40/hr. amt. I think selling myself will be the hardest part of this.

 

Pam Snyder

www.virtualofficepartner.net

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Its just going to be a matter of perspective. The realtor we're dealing with to buy a house asked me what my rate was and I told him (which is near the one you quoted) and he said, "Yeah ... that's the going rate I think. I don't need one right now, but do you do realtor support in case I do?" (I don't - so if he calls I'm going to be referring him and I told him so.)

 

I got two new clients this week and neither one of them batted an eye at the rate I quoted. One even said, "Sounds like I'm getting the better end of this deal!" (Made me think I should up the rate a bit.)

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One of the first contacts I made for new clients was last year and was a local realtor. When I told her my rates she pretty much stopped the conversation as the person she had before had been doing the work virtually for $15 an hour. I could tell by the blocked wall she put up there was not much point as she had said the same on her message to me - all I want to know are your rates first, then I will talk to you more. Whatever!

 

She did also say her VA might be needed 10 hours a week and sometimes 25. My thought afterwards was - I really do no want to be doing 'on demand' work as that would make it hard to do work for my other clients.

Which actually starting out was not something I realized might be so important and now that I am busier it is very apparent that you need to know how much time someone will need so you can manage your own time as well.

 

 

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It also depends on the real estate market where the Realtor is located, some like the New England area are still not doing well and haven't for a couple years now. My clients like my work as a VA because I do more than just provide administrative support, et cetera, often they also ask me to do work for them for other organizations or interests they're involved in as well as personal social concierge stuff.

 

I learned a long time ago not to undercharge, in the end you won't be happy and feel like you're not making enough after you pay taxes, overhead, health insurance, et cetera. There will also be someone out there who charges less than you, but as long as you provide top-quality service and reach out to clients who value that you're a businessowner and not an employee, you will find customers who are joy to work with and at a rate you both agree on that's fair.

 

Remember too, it cost you more than money to keep hanging on to a client that nickels and dimes your rates, who undervalues your worth or is slow-paying or nonpaying client than to find new ones.

 

P.S. Be careful what you say on the forum, the posts get picked up by the search engines. :blush:

 

Office To-Go (Est. 1992 and online since 1998)

Edited by Cyndi Papia
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Check out this article

 

2. Don’t Produce a Dead Product — You aren’t selling products or services. You are selling outcomes. Don’t sell dead products. You aren’t selling a logo. You are selling the company a basis for a brand, credibility, and professionalism. You aren’t selling a how-to manual, you are reducing employee frustration by showing them how to do it right the first time. Start looking at the outcome and sell that. Let’s say you are a web designer, and someone asks you what you do. You say, “I help my clients project a professional image on the web.” Then they say, “Oh. How do you do that?” Now, you aren’t just a web designer to them anymore. You are more than that.

 

5. Talk Investment, Not Cost – Kodak doesn’t sell pictures, they sell memories. You don’t sell websites, you sell a marketing tool. A traffic ticket is a cost. A cost is dead. Value is what keeps giving. Your services don’t “cost” anything: you provide value at a fair price. When you frame your services in this manner, clients will be willing to pay more.

at this article

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When comments are made such as you first received, they are made off the cuff without figuring what the costs of that $10/hr employee are. They may all add up to something similar to your hourly rate.

 

I understand completely how some slow industries might not be able to afford the rates; the actual point there is that when things are that SLOW, they don't need the services either. They can do most of this themselves. That doesn't make your rate too high. The next option if you really see the person needs some service, would be to very closely examine what the client truly needs. Maybe there can be something worked out that lets them get the exact service they need and nothing extra at the rates you know are fair.

 

Coming to believe in yourself and your value as mentioned in the recommended articles strengthens your position. And your responsibility. Be of value; be so good that you are a bargain at most any rate.

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I agree this varies greatly by market. I'm in a market of around 800 agents in our county. $40/hour would never fly here. I'm at a little more than 1/2 that and stay very busy. You have to remember that a Realtor is a one-person company and their income is not dependable like a more traditional company may be. I learned this the hard way when I was a personal assistant to a top producing Indiana agent. I think at that time I was making $12/hour and he had to let me go in the fall because business slows down. The comparison you offered of the Realtor and the title company exemplifies this quite well. The one person company (Realtor) had a hard time with $40/hour whereas the title company (which I'm sure employs high level executives making 6-figure incomes) didn't have a problem.

 

Anyway, I try to make a lot of my services flat fees. For instance, internet marketing of a listing via Postlets is $9. Well, I can get that done in maybe 10 minutes. But the $9 is easier for them to handle than a large hourly fee. Plus, they have the insecurity of knowing how long a task will take you and what their bill will end up being. Hope that helps you a bit.

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Thanks, everyone, for all the responses. I read somewhere that the most prominent reason women entrepreneurs (I wish that word were easier to spell) fail is a lack of confidence. I can believe it. It will take me awhile to change my perspective and learn to sell outcomes. I will have to get with my biggest fan and see what she has to say.

 

FYI, this particular realtor is regularly a top producer and his $10/hr. assistant used to work for him but now has another full-time job at the army base and works for him on the side. The title guy said realtors are asking him for assistants all the time and he would pass on my business cards.

 

Thanks again, guys. You're the greatest. :)

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The ones you have to knock yourself out for trying to persuade them your rates aren't too high are the ones you should run away from. FAST. It's one thing to want more information before making the investment; it's quite another to focus only on "How much?" You are either an entrepreneur interested in the best return for your money or you're ... NOT.

 

;)

 

Karri

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Thanks, everyone, for all the responses. I read somewhere that the most prominent reason women entrepreneurs (I wish that word were easier to spell) fail is a lack of confidence. I can believe it. It will take me awhile to change my perspective and learn to sell outcomes. I will have to get with my biggest fan and see what she has to say.

 

FYI, this particular realtor is regularly a top producer and his $10/hr. assistant used to work for him but now has another full-time job at the army base and works for him on the side. The title guy said realtors are asking him for assistants all the time and he would pass on my business cards.

 

Thanks again, guys. You're the greatest. :)

 

Give the top producer the gate and give the title guy a klondike bar!

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Hello All,

I've actually been working with 4 agents as their Administrative Assistant (in office) for the last 5 years. I've only been paid $10/hr. Since being laid off in Aug. 2009, they have me come into the office every Tuesday to catch-up and clean-up the mess from the last time I was there. I've been trying to get my new business up and running so that I can finally say 'See-Ya' to the guys.

 

I'm not complaining. I understand the nature of Real Estate and that is there is a pile of work that happens and gets done before a transaction actually makes it to the settlement table (and everyone finally gets paid!) I know that my broker didn't want to let me go and there are alot of 'Pending' transactions and clients to manage, there just wasn't any settlements happening.

 

That being said, If I told them I could do the work from home (and I can) there is no way they would see the benefits of my asking price. I'd love to continue working in the RE world, however I feel I am probably going to have to go beyond my immediate area to contract work.

 

This is very frustrating and any help anyone can offer would be greatly appreciated.

 

Karen Sellers

Sellers Virtual Assistant Services

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Karen - so you're working as a contractor for $10/hr? Are the agents stipulating where and how you perform your duties? In Canada, this could possibly be interpreted as an employer-employee relationship in which case you're being treated very unfairly. If you absolutely need the cash right now, try to come up with a way to educate your clients around the real cost of working as a contractor. You're not getting vacation pay, medical benefits/insurance, etc etc. Are you using your own computer/laptop and other equipment as well?

 

Something is amiss here that's worth investigating ...

 

Karri

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I sort of see what Karri sees. If they are having you come in part time, they still have the expense of an employee, I almost bet. I did the same thing at a real estate office until the broker ran out of money and let me go.

 

He had a perpetual struggle with unemployment and workman's comp that he paid as well as what he paid me...there are other niggling little things.

 

If you were an independent contractor doing that work from home, your rates would cover those expenses for you AND your realtor wouldn't have to pay his accountant to do the extra paperwork of workmans comp, unemployment, taxes, etc. If you like working with them, they deserve to know the truth and the facts about what working with you could do. Then, they can make their decision.

 

If you work primarily on the transaction finalization, maybe you can take a package/flat rate per transaction to them that would make sense.

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Karen - so you're working as a contractor for $10/hr? Are the agents stipulating where and how you perform your duties? In Canada, this could possibly be interpreted as an employer-employee relationship in which case you're being treated very unfairly. If you absolutely need the cash right now, try to come up with a way to educate your clients around the real cost of working as a contractor. You're not getting vacation pay, medical benefits/insurance, etc etc. Are you using your own computer/laptop and other equipment as well?

 

Something is amiss here that's worth investigating ...

 

Karri

 

I'm sorry, I didn't mean to miss lead anyone. No I'm officially laid off and am now on partial-unemployment. When they have me back in the office, I'm using all of their equipment and they are paying me for my work there.

 

I'm still in the process of starting my VA business with everything ready to go, just working on finding that first client. Sorry if I wasn't clear.

 

Karen

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