Speaking of apartment shops....

I've been wanting to do an apartment shop. I used to work at a high-end apartment complex, showed apartments, took applications, etc., so I think this would be a good shop for me. But until recently I wasn't signed up any MSCs that had apartment shops anywhere near me. There are some available now. None of them really close by, but for one I could add shops and make a small route.

But.... $25 sounds really low for any apartment shop. And the targeted ones, which are even further away, are paying only $30, sometimes bonused at the end of the month. I used to often spend at least an hour with a prospective tenant. I'm not doing that plus prep plus report for $25! Yet I've just checked, and the one closest to me is gone. Better them than me for $25 (unless he or she was able to negotiate a bonus).

I'm thinking I probably wouldn't do one for less than $45 or $50 (ideally more). Am I off base, or do these $25 and $30 fees sound way too low? Or can one be in and out of there in half an hour? Which seems pretty unrealistic to me, based on my firsthand experience.

I learn something new every day, but not everyday!
I've learned to never trust spell-check or my phone's auto-fill feature.

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Which MSCs that do apartment shops are you signed up with? I average 30 minutes on site.

Based in MD, near DC
Shopping from the Carolinas to New York
Have video cam; will travel

Poor customer service? Don't get mad; get video.
In my area, the typical non-video apartment shops average about $30 (with or without a target). The only time I have spent an hour on-site, was with a very high end property. Like Wales said, I also average 20-30 minutes on-site. I can get the reports done in under an hour now (if I stay focused LOL), they used to take me a little over an hour when I first started doing them. I don't think I have ever done an apartment shop for less than $30 though...
I completed my first apartment assignment in 2005 for $17 and immediately after finishing the report, I knew I would never do one again for less than $30. After learning the additional difficulty of chasing a target, I increased that to $40. As the years have flown by, I am now at $50 for non-video and $70 for video. Checking my book, I have three video apartments and zero non-video for the year. In 04/08, I tallied 13 non-video, but drove over 400 miles. I am perfectly content to not shop unless my price is met.
I do the $45 shops for one MSC. Their shops are usually have $30 bonuses. They have one I just applied for already had a $30 bonus on it and it's only the 10th.

The reports are long. I can't get done with one in less than 30-45 minutes.

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 09/10/2018 11:07PM by wrosie.
Thanks, all, for your insights! They're helpful.

Well, the apartment community I worked for was high-end, and the dog-and-pony show typically took 45 minutes to an hour. The demo unit was on the other side of the pond, so it took a few minutes to get there (on purpose, I'm sure, so that the prospects could see the "lovely landscaping" and sense the "cozy neighborhood feel" ). The complex was built by a custom home builder, so the apartment tours took awhile because we'd point out the architectural details. We would show them the picnic area, the pool, and the fitness center. When back in the office, we'd offer them cookies and coffee/tea and let them browse the floor plans and the map of where the vacant units were so they could choose the one they wanted.

Of course, if someone was clearly in a hurry or they arrived late in the day without an appointment, we would try to gently hurry the process along. That process worked, because we closed probably about 90% of showings, maybe a little more.

All told, though, even with half an hour max. on site and less than an hour to report, it sounds from what I'm reading that these are still worth more than $25. Especially if you have to drive further than a few minutes one way to get to it.

I guess I'll wait until they're bonused, or if I see one sit awhile, I'll ask for a bonus! smiling smiley

I learn something new every day, but not everyday!
I've learned to never trust spell-check or my phone's auto-fill feature.


Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 09/11/2018 01:49AM by BirdyC.
I usually wait for bonuses, but last month I did one for base rate ($35) because I could shop anyone, it was in a cool neighborhood, and was right down the street from my restaurant lunch shop. This month I've been offered several shops with VERY generous bonuses. Coincidence?

Happiness is not a goal; it is a by-product. Eleanor Roosevelt


Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 09/11/2018 01:37PM by KathyG.
@walesmaven wrote:

Which MSCs that do apartment shops are you signed up with? I average 30 minutes on site.

I'm signed up with three or four, I think, but I'll be damned if I can remember the name of the fourth one. They're Ellis (they and the other one never have shops near me), RBG, and The Training Factor/Grace Hill. The last two are the ones whose shops I'm getting e-mails for. Since I've never done one, I don't know how long on site to expect. But it still sounds like these are at least an hour plus prep and travel time.

I learn something new every day, but not everyday!
I've learned to never trust spell-check or my phone's auto-fill feature.
I've shopped a few high end properties and still kept it to 30 minutes. I always have two floor plans chosen before the visit then only tour one apartment. I like to have two in mind in case one won't be available. As a shopper there are ways to keep the visits shorter without compromising the shop. I don't take any refreshments or linger beyond what it takes to look natural on the tour. If I had to guess, out of hundreds of apartment shops there have probably not been more than nine or ten taking closer to an hour. Luckily, they are balanced by the same amount taking as little as ten to 15 minutes. Yup, crazy as it sounds, I have had ten minute apartment shops.

Equal rights for others does not mean fewer rights for you. It's not pie.
"I prefer someone who burns the flag and then wraps themselves up in the Constitution over someone who burns the Constitution and then wraps themselves up in the flag." -Molly Ivins
Never try to teach a pig to sing. It's a waste of your time and it really annoys the pig.
I'm pretty sure I could keep a shop to less than an hour, but not sure by how much and still feel natural. But I think that's because of my background both at this complex and in selling real estate, where you don't want the client to rush through a property. But refusing the coffee and treats and having looked at the floorplans ahead of time would definitely save some time.

You win "shortest time viewing apartments" if you can do one in 10 minutes!

I learn something new every day, but not everyday!
I've learned to never trust spell-check or my phone's auto-fill feature.
I don't get credit for the ten minute shops. There were two or three and in each they either had nothing to show or claimed they had nothing to show to get out of doing the work.

You need to put yourself in the mindset of the customer. I'm sure you had some who wanted to keep their visit shorter. The agent should take the cue from you when setting the pace. Give them a few items important to you so they can highlight them. Think of a few possible objections even though you will probably only need one. If the conversation gets off track, steer them back to the subject at hand. You don't need to be chatty. In fact, chattiness is a real detriment for most video shops.

Equal rights for others does not mean fewer rights for you. It's not pie.
"I prefer someone who burns the flag and then wraps themselves up in the Constitution over someone who burns the Constitution and then wraps themselves up in the flag." -Molly Ivins
Never try to teach a pig to sing. It's a waste of your time and it really annoys the pig.
When I would have a prospect who either stated he or she was pressed for time, or I could tell that he/she was, I'd be able to cut some time and still give the most important highlights. If it was raining, then I didn't have to bother with the pool, the fire pit/picnic area, etc. But unless a prospect was adamant about not seeing the fitness center, we were supposed to show it. But most of them did want to see it.

I learn something new every day, but not everyday!
I've learned to never trust spell-check or my phone's auto-fill feature.
The secret to apartment and new home shops is to "pick and stick." Indicate as early as possible which unit you are inclined to like, see it first, make closing signals.

Based in MD, near DC
Shopping from the Carolinas to New York
Have video cam; will travel

Poor customer service? Don't get mad; get video.
I do more apartment shops than any other industry. I mainly do Cirrus, with some EPMS. And I've done a couple for Grace Hill and RBG. $30 is my cutoff for a non-targeted shop. I find I can keep the entire workload (pre-call, visit, report) to about an hour total, so that is a reasonable pay rate. Lately Cirrus has been offering generous bonuses. Today I'm doing a non-target for $50 total. Well worth the effort.
Also, do not be afraid to bargain. I might say that I need 2-3 shops close together to make a trip profitable, or else a significant bonus.

Based in MD, near DC
Shopping from the Carolinas to New York
Have video cam; will travel

Poor customer service? Don't get mad; get video.
I need tips on getting through the reporting process faster. I always record the shops on my cell phone (allowed in my state) then feel compelled to listen to the entire thing before beginning the report. I know that's a huge time waster, but there's always something there that I would have forgotten about if I just relied on my memory.

Happiness is not a goal; it is a by-product. Eleanor Roosevelt
Kathy, I had a similar problem which made the reports take at least as long as the original interaction. Two things helped me. Because I have OneDrive, my recordings from the phone are uploaded and available on my PC. It is so much easier to rewind to catch an exact quote or to fast forward during wait times. I also have learned to be comfortable relying on my memory more than the audio for the report. The audio serves as a more of a back up. Rather than listening to it closely, it runs in the background while I am writing my report. Often it is not really necessary, but it sure makes a nice security blanket, LOL.

Equal rights for others does not mean fewer rights for you. It's not pie.
"I prefer someone who burns the flag and then wraps themselves up in the Constitution over someone who burns the Constitution and then wraps themselves up in the flag." -Molly Ivins
Never try to teach a pig to sing. It's a waste of your time and it really annoys the pig.
@walesmaven wrote:

Also, do not be afraid to bargain. I might say that I need 2-3 shops close together to make a trip profitable, or else a significant bonus.

There are usually several available in the same general area, but all of them are about a 40- to 45-minute drive from me. Will MSCs generally allow a shopper to do 2 or 3 in the same day? I ask because I wanted to do a shop (not an apartment shop) about an hour from me and the MSC had another shop available in the same area, but they wouldn't let me do both on the same day. So I didn't do either.

I learn something new every day, but not everyday!
I've learned to never trust spell-check or my phone's auto-fill feature.
Most MSCs will but possibly not if they are for the same property management group.

Based in MD, near DC
Shopping from the Carolinas to New York
Have video cam; will travel

Poor customer service? Don't get mad; get video.
To me it is more unusual for a MSC to limit you to only one shop. Naturally, the limit can only apply to their own shops. This summer I was able to create a route with five Ellis apartments added to a retail video shop from a second company. The apartments worked because they were not targeted. I made the required phone calls as I went along to guarantee the person on the phone would be available to see me.

Equal rights for others does not mean fewer rights for you. It's not pie.
"I prefer someone who burns the flag and then wraps themselves up in the Constitution over someone who burns the Constitution and then wraps themselves up in the flag." -Molly Ivins
Never try to teach a pig to sing. It's a waste of your time and it really annoys the pig.
@LisaSTL wrote:

To me it is more unusual for a MSC to limit you to only one shop. Naturally, the limit can only apply to their own shops.

Well, I was really taken aback when I asked to do both shops on the same day and was told no. They were observation-heavy shops, but not lengthy, and the reporting window was 24 hours, not 12. So it wasn't like I'd have to drive home after a long day of shopping and do long reports the same night. The pay would have made the trip worth it for me, but they said no. As it turns out, I don't think they ever did fill one of the shops during that month.

I learn something new every day, but not everyday!
I've learned to never trust spell-check or my phone's auto-fill feature.
I do not do apartments for less than $50 and get a bonus if there is any distance beyond about 6 miles in this highly congested area.

Based in MD, near DC
Shopping from the Carolinas to New York
Have video cam; will travel

Poor customer service? Don't get mad; get video.
@walesmaven wrote:

I do not do apartments for less than $50 and get a bonus if there is any distance beyond about 6 miles in this highly congested area.

That sounds about right for an apartment shop, I think. And where you are, it probably takes 30 to 45 minutes to drive 10 miles!

I learn something new every day, but not everyday!
I've learned to never trust spell-check or my phone's auto-fill feature.


Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 09/12/2018 12:17AM by BirdyC.
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