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Three Tips for Sharing Real Estate Signs in Your Brokerage or Team

Real Estate Signs and Lockboxes
We all know we need them, but signs and agent lockboxes just aren’t the sexy part of real estate.

And when a broker or team decides to share some of their equipment, managing the shared equipment is just a pain.  

Often, managing the signs is usually an after thought. Someone gets tasked with figuring it out and cobbles together Google docs -- or worse, paper -- to track everything.  

No one on the team has a chance to be very thoughtful about the experience that the agents will have when they need a sign installed or retrieved.

Then, of course, agents don’t have a very good experience.

In many cases, agents submit requests by email, with no information about the inventory that is available. Agents have to just assume that whatever they wanted is actually available.  

Whenever there is a runner involved, the agents have to assume that everything was installed correctly.

And for the staff, the experience is an even bigger pain. No one really knows how much inventory you have on hand. It’s super challenging for staff and the runner to keep track of requests from agents. Equipment gets lost because no one REALLY knows what has been installed where, what came back, and what’s missing. 

Then, when an agent leaves the team, it may be tough to know which signs are still in the hands of that departing agent.

We’ve helped a lot of teams take control of their signs, lockboxes and brochure boxes so that they could, in the words of Jared James: stop running around and start running their business!

Based on what we’ve seen in our work with brokers and teams, here are three tips for eliminating the pain in your equipment sharing. 

1. CLARIFY YOUR GOALS

First, get clear on why you’re sharing equipment, and make sure that all of your team are on the same page. 

Some of the common reasons that teams share equipment are:

BRAND STANDARDIZATION: You want to make sure every sign represents your brand in a consistent way.  You don’t want agents installing riders or panels that don’t match.  It creates confusion, and it looks sloppy.

COSTS:  If you buy equipment for your agents, we all know that sharing the equipment will dramatically reduce the amount of money you have to pay. We've seen brokerages reduce their total equipment costs by 70 - 80%, when they share equipment across their agents.

CONVENIENCE:  When the team owns equipment, and you also have someone who installs the equipment, that can be a really nice benefit for your agents.   Agents hate loading signs into their cars and sticking them into the ground -- especially here in Texas, where the ground is often filled with rock, and it’s 100 degrees on a summer day.

Of course, for the runner to be efficient, the equipment needs to be stored in one place, and you'll need a good system for tracking it.

The most advanced teams even have their runner install equipment that agent owns -- like lockboxes and text messaging signs.  When the runner installs everything for the agent, that’s when it becomes a really nice benefit for your agents. But to do that, you'll need a reliable system for tracking the inventory.

ENVIRONMENT:  Many of you have a desire to conserve natural resources, and to minimize the amount of metal and plastic that your team consumes. Sharing equipment is a great way to minimize your impact on the environment 

2. ALIGN YOUR TEAM

The second key to a successful sharing program is to align your team.

Think about each of the key functions that you need to provide, and then get clear with your team on who will provide each function. 

3. CHOOSE THE RIGHT TOOLS

Finally, you need to choose the tools that you will use to track requests from agents, and manage your inventory. 

There are three levels of tools that you can use to manage your equipment, as follows:

1. Paper

Some small teams use paper to let agents checkout equipment that is stored in the team office.  There are a ton of issues with using paper, and anyone who uses paper to track their inventory can tell you all about it.

2. Online Office Apps

Some teams use things like Google sheets and emails to track their inventory.  But they never really know how much inventory they have on hand, and the fact that it all has to be updated manually means that you really don’t reduce the burden on your staff. 

The information is more accessible than when using paper, but it’s still a lot of emails and messages back and forth between the agents, the staff and the runner.  It doesn't actually save you much time.

In addition, teams who manage their equipment with emails and Google sheets typically still make their agents manage some of their own inventory, which means the agents still have to travel to their listings to deal with their signs and lockboxes, so these teams don't really create the most benefit for their agents.

3. Sign Management Platform

The teams that have it really figured out...  The teams that make their agents super happy...  Those teams just completely handle the signs -- and even the lockboxes that their agents own -- with an advanced sign management platform, like SignOtter.

With something like SignOtter, all of the inventory tracking is automatic.  No one has to count inventory because the platform does that for you, automatically, in real-time.  

Requests go straight from the agents to us, so your office staff don't have to deal with agent requests for equipment. 

If you have a runner who sometimes has to put off an agent request because he just doesn't have time for it, that problem will go away.

If you’d like to see how SignOtter can help your team save time and money, just click the button below to schedule a demo.

Thanks so much!

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