Can’t Find Good Help Anymore
Jack Butala: Jack Jill here.
Jill DeWit: Good day.
Jack Butala: Welcome to the Jack Jill show, it’s here that we provide entertaining real estate and investment advice. I’m Jack Butala.
Jill DeWit: And I’m Jill DeWit broadcasting from sunny Southern California.
Jack Butala: Today Jill and I talk about why you can’t find good help anymore, specifically, why can’t we? Or can we?
Jill DeWit: This is going to be good, starting with us. Just kidding.
Jack Butala: We’re your help actually, listeners, and you can’t-
Jill DeWit: We’re stuck with each other so let’s talk about that for awhile.
Jack Butala: Before we get into it, let’s take a question posted by one of our members on the jackjill.com online community, it’s free.
Jill DeWit: Solomon O. asks, “Hi all. I’m currently in acquisitions for a real estate investment company that focuses on repositions (trying to improve the performance of an asset, example apartments) and development of residential and apartments.”
Jack Butala: Hold on Jill, this is a good question this guy’s got and a good comment, but repositioning an asset is this, you take an apartment building that’s maybe, I don’t know, leftover from the ’80s or ’90s, got good occupancy and a good location. You buy it, you either kick everybody out or you send them a notice and say, “We’re raising your rent,” and a certain number of people leave. And then let’s say they reposition the asset, the owner does, where they accept pets or they make it look … Bring it up to date, so they can put new stoves in or appliances and they can reposition the asset in the environment that it’s in, and then make it generate more money.
Jill DeWit: Got it. “The paydays are huge, similar to the position of Jack,” love it, “The process is a [inaudible 00:01:44] with lots of ifs, ands, and buts, all of which can make the deals go sideways.”
Jack Butala: Lots of variables.
Jill DeWit: True. Which I understand too, you’re not sure, “Can I get this much out of it if I redo the kitchen?” That kind of thing. “Although I have some experience in land acquisition, I’m brand spanking new to finding unwanted land and trying to flip it for more. Most of the owners I chase have been flooded with mailers asking them to sell. To cut through the noise, I get on the phone and contact the owners directly, but still a very cutthroat business. Outside of listening to the podcast and reading the forums, what kind of action can I take today to get the ball rolling in my favor? I have posted on Craigslist as shown on the free ebook pdf, but I’m not sure what the next step is. Thanks to all that reach out.”
Jack Butala: That’s a good question from a clearly accomplished, intelligent-
Jill DeWit: Real estates.
Jack Butala: … real estate person.
Jill DeWit: Mm-hmm (affirmative), doing a different-
Jack Butala: What do you think?
Jill DeWit: Doing a different asset.
Jack Butala: You talk to people all the time Jill, that are just like this. What’s your advice?
Jill DeWit: Send more mail. Let’s talk about this.
Jack Butala: He’s not in our group.
Jill DeWit: Okay, got it. That could be it. So the only time I run into the first thing, that I’ve heard of running into the first thing I should say, which is people flooded with mailers.
Jack Butala: He’s not talking about dirt mailers like we have. He has not sent a mailer out. He talks to apartment building owners who are flooded with-
Jill DeWit: Postcards and-
Jack Butala: … the mailers that we bash.
Jill DeWit: … stupid stuff.
Jack Butala: Yeah, the wrong kinds of mailers.
Jill DeWit: This is true. That’s the whole point of this is you need to send a real offer. You need to do upfront homework and you’re only sending serious offers to the right people.
Jack Butala: Man, you nailed it. You absolutely nailed it. Go find a place that has very little competition. Real estate people, listen, if you’re not in the real estate business, that’s a huge advantage, you’re learning fresh. If you’re an experienced real estate person like Solomon here, he’s got to unlearn a lot of stuff.
Jill DeWit: It’s true, the whole driving for dollars thing and all that. That’s the point, he had a 1975 way of doing this. Doesn’t apply anymore, but a lot of people are driving around doing it like it’s 1975, carrying business cards in their pockets and trying to meet people at networking events or wherever it is to get the inside track of, “My cousin wants to sell his apartment building.” That’s the dumbest thing on the planet.
Jack Butala: My first real job out of college was a commercial real estate broker and I worked for a huge commercial management company in Michigan. Talk about 1975, they were right out of that mindset. They believed that you should get to know one or two markets really well and get to know everybody in that market, all the building owners and everything, and pitch them on management contracts and the whole thing. That’s very similar probably to what Solomon’s going through.
Here’s what I say, here’s my advice to answer your … His question, get to know data and you use it. Get yourself educated-
Jill DeWit: That’s it.
Jack Butala: … regardless of where you get the education. I would suggest multiple places other than just us because once you’re down with that and your comfortable with it, you can send a mailer out. And I’m going to assume that you’re in Southern California here, you can send a mailer out in Wisconsin for landowners, apartment building owners, or house owners, and you’re going to get an incredible response.
So the competition, “the fierce competition,” that you’re experiencing is only because you’re in one little market. You could be in all markets. Literally, in all markets if you understand how to use data and get out blind offers. So you have a great start, man.
Jill DeWit: You’re right, the point really is the data. That’s the key and I tell everybody this, when you’re thinking about jumping into this that’s one of the things I talk to new people who are thinking about making that step, please plan on spending time analyzing data and getting really comfortable with it. And I tell them, “Jack goes off and we don’t see him for awhile. And he comes back with his mailer because he’s shut himself away to price these things and really get into it and look at it and analyze it and come back with really good, serious offers that’s going to trigger people to say, ‘All right, you know what? That price makes sense to me, I do want to sell.'”
Jack Butala: And then we get it all out in the mail through offers [inaudible 00:06:17] owners, and then everybody, the whole office just … It rains in money.
Jill DeWit: It’s fun and it continues on and on and on. I talked to a guy yesterday about it because he was getting his ducks in a row. He’s like, “What should I be doing right now while I’m planning?” And one of the things I was talking to him about was setting up a mail situation and a phone number that you can keep forever, so I was making sure that he … It’s a little detail but man it’s important. We’ve had our same phone number since I don’t remember when. You buy a phone number and you poured it wherever you need to, you just keep that phone number because once you get this ball rolling it will last you for years.
Jack Butala: I got a deal in yesterday from Elko, Nevada on a mailer that we did I don’t know how many years ago, and that person said, “I don’t know if you remember but we talked in 2004,” or something like that, and obviously I don’t remember at all. She said, “We talked and we just couldn’t put it together-
Jill DeWit: I love those.
Jack Butala: … back then.” She said, “If you just want it for $100 just to solve this whole thing I’m …” And I said, “Okay, I’m happy to do that.”
Jill DeWit: I love those. That’s so great.
Jack Butala: I know, and it’s all because we had the same phone number, same email, same mail address.
Jill DeWit: I have a good one too I’m going to share real quick. I had a guy who reached out to us because he’s new to our group and he was reaching out, we had … We’ve started a company called, “TitleMind,” and we’re closing deals for people, and we had to close it up a little bit because we got overwhelmed initially.
Jack Butala: Is it re-open now?
Jill DeWit: Holy cow yes and it’s open, but he was sending us a note-
Jack Butala: In the first two days we had to turn it off.
Jill DeWit: He sent a note saying, “I don’t know if you guys … Is it open again?” I’m like, “Yep.” But his note was, “I reached out to somebody to buy this,” I don’t know, however many small, maybe one acre, two acre properties, “And the person called me back and this one didn’t work out, but they had a 40 acre property that they just wanted to unload,” I’m not kidding, “For a thousand dollars.” And he’s like, “I’m afraid and I don’t want to mess it up.”
Jack Butala: You’re afraid?
Jill DeWit: No, because he’s brand new. He’s just like, “I want to make sure the transaction goes perfect,” and he was reaching us to say, “Can TitleMind handle this?”
Jack Butala: Is TitleMind closing it?
Jill DeWit: Oh no, yeah, totally. So it’s funny, but a 40 acre property for a thousand dollars? I’m like-
Jack Butala: [crosstalk 00:08:23], Jill.
Jill DeWit: “We can so help you.”
Jack Butala: TitleMind is a direct result of people saying this stuff to us over and over and over again.
Jill DeWit: And us.
Jack Butala: All we’re doing is, we’re making a company out of people that already work for us and making it available and charging for it.
Jill DeWit: Stuff that we need. We all need.
Jack Butala: I close all my deals through TitleMind and I have since the ’90s, but we just always called it … We called it-
Jill DeWit: It was our own company.
Jack Butala: The people in the corner.
Jill DeWit: It’s our people.
Jack Butala: And now it’s TitleMind.
Jill DeWit: Now we gave them a name and a website, do it for other people.
Jack Butala: They send out all my mailers … All my mailers since 1999 were the people in the other corner, and now we call it, “Offers to owners”.
Jill DeWit: Exactly.
Jack Butala: And charge for it. So you’re in good hands is my point.
Jill DeWit: Yep, awesome.
Jack Butala: So Solomon, you’re absolutely … You’re 95% of the way there, you just need to rethink … He’s a professional acquisitions person is asking us for advice, that’s the coolest thing ever.
Jill DeWit: Thank you.
Jack Butala: So get to know some data, get your head around the fact that dealing with brokers and dealing with the NLS is really 1995, and get some stuff in the mail. You’re already all set, you know how to buy real estate.
Jill DeWit: And it’s specific stuff and we’ll help you, that’s the point.
Jack Butala: Today’s topic, you can’t find good help anymore, so it seems. This is the meat of the show. Jill and I have experienced, pretty dramatically in the last 12 months, a pretty high attrition rate with people who work for us.
Jill DeWit: Wait, let’s back up here. It’s-
Jack Butala: Both at our house and professionally and socially.
Jill DeWit: Is attrition … I have a question.
Jack Butala: I’m trying to be nice but go ahead.
Jill DeWit: Is the definition of attrition them asking to leaving … To leave, or us asking them to leave?
Jack Butala: I believe that the definition of attrition is natural turnover meaning death.
Jill DeWit: Death, what the heck?
Jack Butala: I’m going to look it up.
Jill DeWit: What the heck?
Jack Butala: Cover me.
Jill DeWit: No, because the reason I’m asking that is we … Let’s just be honest, it happens and we’re going to talk about our experiences. So the point I think Jack’s making is we have … I don’t think it’s really high, do you? I think it just happens.
Jack Butala: The definition of attrition is-
Jill DeWit: Okay, ready.
Jack Butala: The process of gradually reducing strength or effectiveness, so I was way wrong.
Jill DeWit: Attrition’s not the right word. We’ve been building strength.
Jack Butala: Listeners, you can stop writing the email you were just about to send.
Jill DeWit: And tell Jack the definition of attrition.
Jack Butala: Yeah, “Get a life Jack, jeez.”
Jill DeWit: No. Turnover.
Jack Butala: Turnover, let’s just say. Unnatural, unhealthy, forced turnover.
Jill DeWit: Know what Jack? No, I don’t think it’s even that. You know what’s funny though, you say we can’t … I disagree, I think this is all normal and this is part of the way it goes.
Jack Butala: I do too.
Jill DeWit: I think that-
Jack Butala: I just don’t like it.
Jill DeWit: … probably for every, who knows, two, three? However many people it is you hire, some are going to make the cut and some are not going to make the cut.
Jack Butala: I know.
Jill DeWit: And you have to plan for that, so when you say you can’t find good help anymore, it’s hard, that’s just the reality.
Jack Butala: There’s some stuff that I’ve learned that I was completely wrong about. I thought you could buy your way out of this, you could spend a tremendous amount of money on-
Jill DeWit: It’s true.
Jack Butala: … staff and not have any issues at all.
Jill DeWit: It’s true.
Jack Butala: And that’s not the case.
Jill DeWit: Not at all. You could say-
Jack Butala: Jill did it.
Jill DeWit: … “This guy’s an operator. He’s going to do this, this, and this, we’re paying him X amount of money. I know it’s a lot but here’s what he can do.” And then they’re like, “What just happened? That didn’t work out at all.”
Jack Butala: Jill had recently had a natural act of brilliance and she sat everybody down, I wasn’t there because they don’t let me in the office anymore, the California office anyway, and she said, “Everybody, we’re going to go around the room. Tell me what’s important to you.” One person said, “Time off.” One person said, “[inaudible 00:12:21],” and one person said, “Money.” And there are several other … I don’t remember, those are the ones that stuck out but they’re all different versions of that, and for me it’s always been, I’m happy to work in a broom closet and-
Jill DeWit: What is yours?
Jack Butala: Mine is money. Mine is pure financial reward based on performance.
Jill DeWit: Got it.
Jack Butala: That’s it, and that’s why I started in a full commission job and and ate ramen noodles in the beginning.
Jill DeWit: Love it.
Jack Butala: Because I was … I mean, 30 grand the first year and 300 the second, and then from there I went into acquisitions which I made even more and it never stopped. So I guess it’s important two-fold to understand if you’re the one being hired, what’s important and seek … And put yourself in an environment where you’re going to get rewarded for that.
Jill DeWit: True.
Jack Butala: We’ve all sat there across the table from somebody and listened to them at their job for … I can’t say that word, sorry. now I’ll have to bleep it out in editing. Could argue about or just purge about their job and their employer and the whole thing, and that’s probably because-
Jill DeWit: Not [inaudible 00:13:30] fit.
Jack Butala: … for whatever reason they took that job because they thought they had to or they were blindsided. I don’t know, what do you think?
Jill DeWit: Or they were desperate.
Jack Butala: What do you think this mismatch between employers and employees is, because that’s really what we’re talking about.
Jill DeWit: I think it happens when people don’t properly represent themselves on both sides. And that’s one of the things I always try to do whether it’s for our members or I’m hiring employee or whatever, I want them to know right away what you’re going … “You’re going to be in an office, it’s going to be this kind of an environment. You’re going to be on the phone this much time. You’re going to be doing this much time …” One of my critical things is, “Can you solve your own problems?”
Jack Butala: Me too.
Jill DeWit: It’s my job as I’m hiring someone as an employer to properly convey what my expectations and what I need them to bring to the table, and then it’s their job to say, “I can do this. I can’t do that. I’m going to try my hardest. I can do this,” whatever it is, and then we figure it out. It’s just being upfront and honest. Really that’s it, and the only times, let’s … This is reality. The people that we have let go in the past is because they weren’t honest, they said, “I got this. Sure, oh yeah.” And then they get in and we’re like, “Wait a minute, you said you know how to do this, this, and this,” and they’re like, “I thought I did.”
Jack Butala: Misrepresented what they’re capable of.
Jill DeWit: Mm-hmm (affirmative).
Jack Butala: Just to get the job.
Jill DeWit: Mm-hmm (affirmative), exactly.
Jack Butala: Like [inaudible 00:14:54].
Jill DeWit: Yeah. Same thing, that’s why marriages don’t work out, “I wake up like this, of course.” You know what I mean?
Jack Butala: Gosh, that’s so true. Grossly misrepresented.
Jill DeWit: “I only need this to make myself happy. Just kidding, we’re going to … No, of course I don’t want to do that, I would not change you.”
Jack Butala: I heard somebody, a young person say this recently, “I can’t wait until we actually get married so I can relax.”
Jill DeWit: Oh my gosh.
Jack Butala: That’s exactly the problem.
Jill DeWit: Oh my gosh.
Jack Butala: I’m sure that’s what goes on with the people getting hired too.
Jill DeWit: I heard someone say something to their thing with the effect of, “Just wait, you can mold him into the husband you want him to be.”
Jack Butala: Did they really say that?
Jill DeWit: Seriously, isn’t that hilarious?
Jack Butala: That’s a disaster waiting to happen.
Jill DeWit: I know.
Jack Butala: Men never change, do you know this?
Jill DeWit: I’m familiar with that. Yes, I have noticed that.
Jack Butala: What’s some advice that you would give?
Jill DeWit: No.
Jack Butala: As a young woman who’s engaged, let’s say.
Jill DeWit: You know what, I have given this advice.
Jack Butala: I want to hear this.
Jill DeWit: The man that you’re marrying right now today is the same guy he’s going to be exactly 10 years from now, so if you are not happy with who he is right now today, you’re in big trouble.
Jack Butala: Were they horrified?
Jill DeWit: Yes, they are.
Jack Butala: And they still get married don’t they?
Jill DeWit: They do.
Jack Butala: Because they don’t believe you.
Jill DeWit: Because they’ve got a pretty ring on their finger and that’s what they think.
Jack Butala: Oh, Jill, that’s tragic.
Jill DeWit: I know, they keep thinking, “I’ll change his mind. He may not want kids but I got this,” or, “He may think he doesn’t want to do this but I got this, wait until we’re married.” They do-
Jack Butala: You know what guys say?
Jill DeWit: Uh-oh.
Jack Butala: “I hope this girl right here never changes.”
Jill DeWit: Aww.
Jack Butala: And they always do, they turn into your mother.
Jill DeWit: Isn’t that weird?
Jack Butala: Yeah, what the heck?
Jill DeWit: Because they’re not being upfront and honest I think.
Jack Butala: Yeah, they’re lying just like we’re talking about.
Jill DeWit: That must be it.
Jack Butala: They’re grossly misrepresenting what they’re capable of.
Jill DeWit: In life dot com.
Jack Butala: We have an IT staff and this is what I tell them before … During the interview process when it gets to me, I say-
Jill DeWit: If it gets to you.
Jack Butala: Before they get hired at the end, “This is not a think tank. We don’t sit … We’re not a research company, we have deadlines and they’re tough and so if you don’t know how to do X, Y, and Z-
Jill DeWit: Sometimes it makes me cry.
Jack Butala: … “If you don’t know how to do X, Y, Z or anything, tell me now because you’re not going to like …” Because it’s very typical in the IT world right now to hire somebody and then have them spend two weeks figuring out how to do what you actually hired them for. It’s very common in the IT industry for someone to wake up today and say, “All right, I’m an IT person,” just because they knew how to use their iPhone when they were little. And then they sit there and figure it out on a company’s dime for … If I sound angry about this it’s because I am. It took me awhile, this is why I say it’s hard to find good help. It took me a lot, we’re on our … I don’t know, we’ve had a tremendous IT staff turnover. We have some great people now.
Jill DeWit: Mm-hmm (affirmative), I’m really happy.
Jack Butala: But jeez, we’ve had some people that just-
Jill DeWit: I’m super happy.
Jack Butala: … grossly misrepresented what they’re capable of.
Jill DeWit: Super happy. And that’s the whole thing, just be upfront and honest and then there’s no surprises. I know exactly what my staff is capable of and I know the parts that they need some help with, and we all work together on and that’s okay. A good example is IT yesterday, I actually thanked your guy, I gave him a pretty big project yesterday. We had some international checkout issues and I said, “Please spend all day if it takes-
Jack Butala: The website guy.
Jill DeWit: Uh-huh (affirmative). I said, “I don’t care.” And he had six other things that needed to be done and I sent out a group email to everybody saying, “Leave this guy alone, don’t send him anything. He’s not available.”
Jack Butala: Did they do it?
Jill DeWit: Yeah, they did. And you know what, I haven’t lifted the curtain yet so they don’t know he’s available now so-
Jack Butala: That’s good. No, he’s enjoying this.
Jill DeWit: Yeah, probably. I’m like-
Jack Butala: He probably deserves it.
Jill DeWit: We all need some time to really sit and focus on things, and if you’re bombarded with stuff you can’t … I was actually coaching him and hopefully helping, “It’s okay to shut things down for a couple hours and say, ‘I’m busy.'” Because in my experience is you’re going to do better work if you can just be focused, like you do Jack when you go pricing. When you go off and go do your thing with pricing or whatever it is you’re working on, working on your new program, if we were constantly bombarding you 10 times a day with menial things you would not get anything done, that’s a fact.
Jack Butala: Yep, well said.
Jill DeWit: You have to shut yourself away and do it.
Jack Butala: I don’t care what level you are. I never told you this but I … When I price, it’s a good, get the creative juices flowing, I have to play video games for six hours a day.
Jill DeWit: I understand that.
Jack Butala: What?
Jill DeWit: That’s okay because I need to also-
Jack Butala: I’m joking around by the way.
Jill DeWit: I don’t care, whatever it is you have to be-
Jack Butala: You’re the best partner ever if you actually think that’s okay.
Jill DeWit: I got to get into a creative mode to be creative and I might have to go ride my bike or goof off a little bit, seriously, to get my head out of the minutia of whatever work stuff to go be creative for a little while.
Jack Butala: Jill, you’re the coolest girl ever officially.
Jill DeWit: If you have to play games … Seriously, I don’t think that’s crazy. It’s not bad.
Jack Butala: Let’s end this on a good note shall we?
Jill DeWit: Okay. Well you’ve done it again, wasted another I don’t know how many minutes listening to the Jack Jill Show.
Join us tomorrow where we discuss deals we’re doing right now.
Jack Butala: And answer your questions should you have one. We’ll answer your question should you have one, post it on jackjill.com.
Jill DeWit: You are not alone in your real estate ambition.
Jack Butala: We got our roles reversed in the script issue, it’s not new for us.
Jill DeWit: We did, I was trying to cut it off and so I decided to jump in and cut it off. It’s all good.
Jack Butala: Deals we’re doing right now, tomorrow. I’ve got a whole list actually.
Jill DeWit: Good.
Jack Butala: In my head.
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