Land Business Automation (LA 740)
Steven Butala: Steve and Jill here.
Jill DeWit: Hi.
Steven Butala: Welcome to the Land Academy Show. Entertaining land investment talk. I’m Steven Jack Butala.
Jill DeWit: And I’m Jill DeWit, broadcasting from sunny southern California.
Steven Butala: Today Jill and I talk about land business automation which wraps up this week. The theme for this week is, So You’ve Completed Ten Deals, Now what? Automating, all of this stuff is one of the greatest things about this business.
Jill DeWit: You know what’s interesting is I don’t think that people think of this as something you can automate. I’m sure they think of making a widget, making sunglasses, making any kind of a product. Of course, you automate that. Maybe you started a soap business in your garage like we see it on Shark Tank all the time like, I’m making my own lavender soap. And then at some point you can’t make your own lavender soap in your garage. That’s not going to work.
Steven Butala: Exactly.
Jill DeWit: But you perfect the recipe and you [inaudible 00:00:54] this now you’ve got to automate it. Get the right machines in place or you’re never going to grow.
Steven Butala: That’s right.
Jill DeWit: And this is the same thing.
Steven Butala: Yeah, you can’t do every single thing in your business or you’re just going to stay where you are forever.
Jill DeWit: Exactly.
Steven Butala: Like a barber in a barbershop, he’s got a couple of people working for him but he owns the place and he works there every day. And that’s about it.
Jill DeWit: And then if he wants to get bigger, now he’s got to remove himself from that one barbershop and buy another barbershop and another barbershop and another barbershop and start to franchise.
Steven Butala: Right and then you become a business owner and not a barber.
Jill DeWit: Correct.
Steven Butala: And so that’s what we’re talking about here. It’s good to learn this stuff. You should learn it in the beginning, in the first ten deals that you do.
Jill DeWit: Right.
Steven Butala: And then more importantly, what I think the show is really about is using our experience, Jill and I, to decide what’s okay to automate and what’s not okay to outsource or automate. Now, I don’t care how big you are, there’s some stuff I think you should never automate.
Jill DeWit: Thank you.
Steven Butala: Before we get into it, let’s take a question, posted by one of our members on the landacademy.com online community. It’s free.
Jill DeWit: Ray asks, I heard on the podcast that you guys send mail every week. I was just curious how much do you send out each week or month, how many deals does this usually get you? I’d like to hear from others as well as how much mail they’re sending in deals they are closing.
Steven Butala: Good simple question Ray, I love it. I never get tired of this question. I never get tired of data or mail questions ever. Number one. How much do you send out each week or month? For houses, every Wednesday we send out about between two and five thousand units, which buys us one to two houses per market. There’s lots of markets. For land, here’s the … just the glaring truth, the vast majority of the acquisitions that Jill and I do are from the millions and millions of mailers that we’ve sent out since the early 2000s. That said, and we do a lot of deals and I’ll explain that in a second in question two.
But we do now do very specialized info lot mailers and like ranch type mailers where we try to make between 10 and 100,000 dollars a deal. We don’t send as much out and we do probably one of those deals a month ish. Probably every month and a half we do a deal like that.
How many deals does it get you? Well if you listen to the show with any regularity at all, the numbers are like this, for rural vacant land, and generally for [info 00:03:18] lots about 300 to 500 units is going to get an acquisition. So you spend 250 bucks to make pretty good money on one deal. For houses, it’s closer to 2,500 to 3,000. Our numbers are a little bit lower because we really know how to scrub data. But again, the math really works there.
And then for like ranches, and some specialized types of property, the yield goes a lot higher but the properties that you get back are standup triples and home runs.
So I guess if I were asking my questions to me, I would say, “Steve, why don’t you just do the home runs?”
Jill DeWit: Why don’t you just do the home runs?
Steven Butala: What’s going on? I smell nail polish.
Jill DeWit: Yep.
Steven Butala: Why. Why. Why put all the risk into that?
Jill DeWit: Yeah, why?
Steven Butala: I mean, do you want to be Sammy Sosa or do you want to be Ted Williams?
Jill DeWit: I know why.
Steven Butala: You want to have the best batting average in the league by hitting singles in the history of baseball like Ted Williams does? Or do you want to just hit home runs and sign autographs? You know and for some people they just want the home runs and that’s fine.
Jill DeWit: It’s scarier. I would rather have the safe bet.
Steven Butala: Me too, man.
Jill DeWit: I talk to people, “Okay I have … I’m just starting out. I have $10,000 of acquisition funds. Should I buy one or ten?” And we all know the answer. Let’s do ten. You haven’t done any yet. So do we want to worry about one? I don’t want to worry about one. Put all my thoughts in energy and money into one deal. I want to do a couple of deals and if I … heaven forbid and things do happen, I goofed one up, and I overpaid or something silly.
Steven Butala: That’s right.
Jill DeWit: Who cares? The other nine will take care of it. I’m still making money. We’re good. And I learned and I won’t do that again.
Steven Butala: Who wants to put all their eggs in one basket? No one.
Jill DeWit: Right.
Steven Butala: And then finally he says, I’d like to hear from others on how much mail they send out? And what they’re yielding. It’s really funny. We get a lot of very engineering accounting type people in our group. About a year ago a guy sent Jill and I an email and he did a huge analysis on sending out mail for back tax property versus just sending it out, describing like we teach. And he said in the end, he bought more … he spend more money on the mail doing it on our way, but he also did more, better deals for more money.
Jill DeWit: Yeah he sent more offers.
Steven Butala: My point is.
Jill DeWit: Yeah the yield.
Steven Butala: You can dig as deep as you like on this but the numbers I just gave you it’s what everybody does. It’s just that’s it. You know that’s about it.
Jill DeWit: What’s cool about this too, is if you, listener, want to see what other people said, go to our online community. Go to landinvestors.com, search for Ray. Put in some of these keywords here and see what the other people said if you really want to know what they’re doing.
Steven Butala: Yep. Exactly. Today’s topic, land business automation. This is the meat of the show. There’s stuff you should outsource. There’s stuff you should hire employees for. There’s all kinds of ways to make your life much, much easier in this silly little businesses that we have.
I know you had a bunch of notes, Jill, what do you think?
Jill DeWit: Well, I have three points. I’ll make those first, then we can talk about them. I’ll give you my input.
One is what can you automate? Two is what do you want to automate? And three is, if you don’t automate, you’re never going to get anywhere.
One is, what can you automate? Because there’s … this is a question that you should be asking yourself. What, if I automate, is going to go faster? So what do think, Steven?
Steven Butala: If we take a couple steps back and really look at the anatomy of a deal, without dragging this out. There’s a bunch of things you need to do before you actually get the opportunity to review deals, right? There’s all the pre-stuff. Like getting data, scrubbing data, deciding on a county. Those are critical things that you should not automate, and you should not outsource. Jill and I have done almost 16,000 deals, and to this day, those three things that I mentioned, are what I do. After that, you send the mail to us and we get it our for you. Or wherever you send it.
Then automation starts for me. So you send all the mail out, you’re going to get phone calls back and you’re going to get mail back in mail. In rare cases, you get a fax or an email back with the signed offer. All that should be automated. But somebody needs to call that person back. The seller, right?
Jill DeWit: Mm-hmm (affirmative).
Steven Butala: I personally, don’t think you should automate that. And I think … Do you agree?
Jill DeWit: Mm-hmm (affirmative), I do.
Steven Butala: So that’s what Jill and her staff do. And they put the deal together, but then it’s over.
Jill DeWit: Right.
Steven Butala: Everything else after the acquisition … The point of acquisition that Jill does, is now 100% automated. The sales, the posting, the HTML, the internet presence and all that.
Jill DeWit: Meaning, you shouldn’t be doing it.
Steven Butala: I don’t think it –
Jill DeWit: Or, you have a person, or you really have it really set up, mass uploading and things like that. That you can do them all at once, really fast, and your team does it.
Steven Butala: That’s how we do it.
Jill DeWit: Yeah.
Steven Butala: I think now you’re on your eleventh deal, or you’ve done 10 deals, you should really hyper focus. Forget about doing, in fact, delay, doing the next deals that you’re doing. And really automate this process. Because, you could get it to a point pretty quickly where all you do is scrub data. Pull and scrub data, you don’t answer the phone on the inbound stuff, but you actually put the deal together, one person. You could do two, three, ten deals a month and have this all outsourced.
Jill DeWit: One little thing that, an example, what you could automate right now like what you were talking about. You picked a county, and you download, we talked about this a couple of shows ago, what if I downloaded 30,000 … I decided to go crazy and lock myself up in my office for the weekend and review 30,000 lines and get offers together and all that good stuff. But you don’t want to send out 30,000 units at once. You could automate that. And actually you could do it with offers to owners. We have a way you could send it to us at once, and we’ll leak them out how you want them to. So, then, that is automated and now we’re backed off and you set a counter of money for yourself for 90 days from now do it again. How nice is that? You just automated that job for three months.
Steven Butala: So think about what Jill just said. 30,000 units for land, and we say 1 for 300 buys you a property. So you spent the weekend, or whoever, you’re a business owner, you spend a weekend doing this. You’re going to buy what, 30,000 divided by 300. However many properties that is. That’s a lot of work, you do not want to send out 30,000 letters.
Jill DeWit: At one time.
Steven Butala: Unless you have all this stuff worked out. But you could theoretically do it, and we’ve done stuff like this. Early on in my career, I didn’t have staff. So would do things like that. But I quickly learned.
Jill DeWit: Yeah.
Steven Butala: You can’t do it on your own.
Jill DeWit: No, it’s hard.
So my next things is what do you want to automate? And this is for me, stuff you can’t stand. Recording, doing deeds, I mean seriously, think about this.
Steven Butala: Recording this show?
Jill DeWit: Well, ha ha ha, that’s hilarious. Yeah, just like now. Just kidding.
Steven Butala: That’s hilarious.
Jill DeWit: That’s not what I meant. Recording deeds, not the show.
Steven Butala: Yeah, you never want to do that.
Jill DeWit: Funny, Steven. But yeah, can you imagine? You think this is Jill sitting here? This isn’t me. I automated this, this is from the other day, and it’s my assistant playing it back. That would be cool.
But stuff you can’t stand, you know.
Steven Butala: Yeah.
Jill DeWit: There’s always something, and for some people, it is talking on the phone. Like you said, shucks, you can’t automate that, but you could sure hire it out. Think about that too. Even though it’s not really automation, but there’s other things that you could do.
What else do you have? The stuff that you can’t stand, Steven?
Steven Butala: I think that this is a huge problem. It’s an ongoing problem for everybody. It’s no longer a problem for me, because we have the right people working for us. But, talking on the phone and dealing with sellers and buyers. Sellers, you can’t avoid, you have to talk to a seller, but that’s fine. But you do not want to talk to buyers. It impossible to teach this to anybody until after a couple of years. They just realize, I’m not going to take calls from sellers anymore. I would rather not talk to a seller and just have the third person who’s interested check out online without talking to me. So there’s that, that is to the point where I can’t take it any longer, talking to the sellers. Buyers, no problem. I mean, I’m sorry, did I say this wrong?
Jill DeWit: You did, it’s okay.
Steven Butala: I’m sorry.
Jill DeWit: We understood.
Steven Butala: Talking to sellers, is imperative, you have to do it. I’m saying talking to the theoretical buyers, yeah.
Jill DeWit: To the buyers. Because it’s hard, because if you … There’s always going to be a couple of tire kickers in there. That didn’t read everything, and it just happens.
So there’s a sweet spot there. That’s one thing Steven is saying, you can automate it. You can technically not answer the phone. I do not say do this. But, if you wanted to do that, you could not answer the phone on the buyers side and just wait for somebody to check out. I think you’d be missing a lot of stuff there though.
Steven Butala: Especially in the beginning, you don’t want to do that.
Jill DeWit: No.
Steven Butala: If you’re working on bigger deals, it’s no big deal.
Jill DeWit: Well, hold on a moment, I didn’t mean to interrupt you, can I say this please. You do in the beginning, like you were just saying, Steven, but wait a minute, then you pick out the buyers that you like. Now it could be fun. Let’s be honest here. I know, and we both know that there are certain buyers that we like. We’ve been doing deals with them forever. They are no maintenance, they are legit, they are trustworthy, and we can throw them a deal and maybe we have a two second conversation about it, if that, and it’s done.
Steven Butala: That’s true.
Jill DeWit: So those are okay. So you can get to that point.
Steven Butala: I mean, if you’ve got your business set up where you’re only doing … Somebody asked the question yesterday, or gave an example, I think, Matt. About he’s going to make a million buck before this is all over, that’s really worth working on. What Jill is really saying is totally true. Really have a good, solid conversation with yourself about what you like and don’t like and til your business around it. If you want to make a lot of money with not a lot of work, and I’m not exaggerating, that’s possible here.
Jill DeWit: Mm-hmm (affirmative).
Steven Butala: It’s going to take a tremendous amount of up front organization and follow through and all that. I would not recommend … We use PATLive, or some version of PATLive, right now, to answer the phone and then to filter it through.
Jill DeWit: It’s our team.
Steven Butala: So we’ve gone back and forth on both sales … I don’t make these decisions at all anymore, Jill does. She uses some –
Jill DeWit: I use, we use our own team right now.
Steven Butala: Okay.
Jill DeWit: Here’s the thing, PATLive is perfect if you don’t have your own team and you work 9 to 5, you have to have somebody answering your phones. But when you do have your own team, now you don’t need that.
Steven Butala: You can automate a lot of stuff here. At the bitter end, if you’re doing it perfectly, you need to pull your own data and scrub your own data. And you need to talk to people who want to sell their property to you. Those two things are very effective. You can hire … Talk to the people who want buy the property, you can hire the second part of that out. So that, literally, when you’re at the end … This is where I am in my career. All I do is the mail. And I teach, which takes 98% of my time and the mail takes 2%. Seriously, those are good numbers.
Jill DeWit: Exactly. Yeah, I agree.
Steven Butala: So this whole business about running your business from the beach if you want, totally possible. And grow it from there.
Jill DeWit: Yeah.
So my final point is, and if you can’t do this, if you don’t do this, you can’t grow. So I have to share this funny thing that was sent to me last week, from a guy named Chip Fernandez in Florida. Chip, you had me loving this. He sent me this Facebook messenger ad, it said “I saw this and thought of you. 25 years of unscalability, LOL.” What it is, is this persons add and their business is teaching you how to Drive for Dollars. And I’m, this is hilarious. It says, “Lead generation for real estate investing. Starting May 31st, you can learn first hand from my 25 years of Driving for Dollars experience. For only $150 a session.” This is hilarious, and he’s got his phone number and everything. You get a one on one session to drive around with this guy, hilarious. And Chip, you are 100% right. If I’m Driving for Dollars, could you imagine, how many deals, what, you could never get anywhere. That’s how I find my deals?
Steven Butala: It’s really important to think big in real estate.
Jill DeWit: Yeah.
Steven Butala: But not be unrealistic. So Driving for Dollars all that does, is just tie you down to let’s say, you do it for eight hours, you’re going to pick up potentially pick up one deal.
Jill DeWit: If you’re lucky.
Steven Butala: Or you could spend eight hours doing a mailer, and pick up thousands of deals.
Jill DeWit: Yeah, right.
Steven Butala: And put systems in place, and make sure that they’re managed. So it’s really just too bad, but that’s why we’re here.
Jill DeWit: Exactly.
Steven Butala: Spread the word.
Jill DeWit: We’re trying to save you one show at a time.
Steven Butala: Join us tomorrow for another interesting episode where we discuss, So You’ve Completed 100 Deals, So Now What?
Jill DeWit: And we answer your question posted on our free online community, landinvestors.com.
Steven Butala: You are not alone in your real estate ambition.
Jill DeWit: Yeah, that was awesome. I love that thing that he sent me.
Steven Butala: Me too.
Jill DeWit: I’m really trying to get back and be more, what’s the word I’m looking for, available on social media. So if you’ve got some stuff, send it my way. I think it’s hilarious, I love it.
Steven Butala: Yeah, that’s a great suggestion.
Jill DeWit: So please, please do. And it’s me reading it, man. So my team’s busy. So it’s me. If you see a reply that says from Jill, it’s really me. So share the fun by subscribing on iTunes or wherever you are listening. While you’re at it, please rate us there.
Steven Butala: We are Steve and Jill, information
Jill DeWit: We are Steve and Jill, and inspiration.
Steven Butala: To buy undervalued property.
If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to email me directly at steven@BuWit.com.
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