Scaling your business: to team or not to team?

To keep one’s business growing, prioritizing your time becomes ever more important. An increasingly common way to make the best use of an agent’s time is using a team, where agents can either delegate time-consuming responsibilities to others, partner with other agents, or a combination of both. Is now the right time to start your team?


You will be the best person to answer that question, as it is difficult to quantify an exact benchmark, either in number of listings or total dollar amount closed, at which it makes sense to start hiring team members. For example, high value listings may have significantly more extensive marketing needs, which could require a disproportionate amount of marketing effort that could be best approached by a part or full time team member. Let’s take a look at both multi-agent partnerships and creating your own team.


While partnerships including multiple licensed agents have been common over the years, they can be tricky. If you do choose to go this route, make sure to set clear parameters over who will be getting what, and how much, from the beginning. This could apply to everything from commission splits to generated leads. That will obviously be important if the working relationship goes south — it is common for one team member to be putting more into the partnership than the other, which can lead to friction — but even if the separation happens cordially, there’s no reason to leave any gray area in your arrangement.


Starting a team where you are the only lead agent, or “the rainmaker”, can be very beneficial — if you delegate the right responsibilities. The lead agent of a team should be using their time as productively as possible, such as making business phone calls, meeting clients and potential clients face-to-face, showing properties, and negotiating deals. Organizational tasks such as paperwork, scheduling, and most forms of marketing should be delegated. Depending on the expertise and skills of whomever you hire, some lead generation activities could be delegated as well.


No longer frequently bogged down by hours of administrative work, you are putting yourself in a strong position to grow your business. Think of your activities in terms of the revenue they will generate, and then focus on the “$200 per hour” activities over the “$20 per hour” activities. And once you have delegated those activities, trust in whomever you’ve hired to do the job well and try to stay out of their way. If you have to spend time micromanaging, it will only eat away at the time you should be able to spend on more important activities.


When naming your team, don’t forget about a recent update to the Illinois Real Estate License Act (RELA). The following potentially misleading terms have been banned from team names: company, realty, real estate, agency, associates, brokers, properties, and property.