When should you hire your first assistant?
This question reminds me of the first time I read Gary Keller’s book “The Millionaire Real Estate Agent” back in 1994. There’s a section in the back called “A Snapshot of a Millionaire Agent” where various millionaire agents speak on the record about their failures, motivations, and keys to success. A common theme among their keys to success was hiring an assistant early—some of them within their first year. Another common theme among their list of failures was not hiring an assistant their first year.
After reading this, I hired an assistant immediately, which was right at the beginning of my second year in business. Hiring your first assistant will allow you to spend more of your precious time and focus on your five money-generating activities: scripts, lead generation, lead follow up, appointments, and contracts.
Your goal as an agent should be to spend 80% of your time on these activities, and your first assistant should be able to put together systems for your business to create efficiencies and focus on customer service. Usually, they’ll have several job descriptions, which include (but aren’t limited to) transaction coordinating, listing coordinating, customer service, and marketing.
In my first year as an agent (when I didn’t have an assistant), I closed 27 transactions, and the average sale price of those transactions was about $106,000, which equated to roughly $2.8 million in total volume. My split with my broker at the time was 50/50, so I earned about $43,000.
If you only make, say, $30,000 per year, you might not feel comfortable with the idea of hiring an assistant. After I read “The Millionaire Real Estate Agent” though, I realized that it would be difficult for me to grow my income. I was thinking more about my career—my business and my future—and less about today. I learned that hiring an assistant was not an expense, but rather an investment, and I would expect every dollar I invest to generate a positive rate of return.
How did things turn out my second year? My number of closed transaction grew to 48, and my average sale price increased to $125,000, which equated to roughly $6 million in total volume. My earnings rose to $180,000.
During this time, I also switched brokerages so I could learn more about growing a business with a company that was, at that time, new to town: Keller Williams. This means I ended up keeping more money because KW is a capping company and I only paid them $18,000 for the entire year instead of a 50/50 split. If you compare what I would’ve made if I stayed with my old company to what I ended up netting, this leap of faith added $22,000 to my bottom line.
This is why, if you’re committed to making real estate your career, you need to hire your first assistant now so you can focus more on your valuable time and the income-producing activities that will ultimately lead you to a millionaire real estate business.
As always, if you have any more questions about this topic, don’t hesitate to reach out to me. I’d be glad to help you.