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Going his own way, Wayne Marriott

With Wayne Marriott, Marriott Lane Real Estate

To bring it all together, it’s necessary to make the tough calls and have sufficient self awareness to know what you are good at and what sets you apart from the competition. Over the years, it has become clear to Wayne Marriott from Marriott Lane Real Estate in Crows Nest that he has a knack for property management. When Wayne took over the business in 1992 there were 11 properties on the rent roll - there are presently almost 750! One of the most valuable lessons he has learned is to focus his business on his strengths and passions.

Wayne has conquered the property management space because he loves it. If he and his staff have the opportunity to demonstrate the difference he brings to an owner he wins the property. He says, “We've now reached the point where nine out of ten times if we present, we are chosen."

So what has he done to be so successful?

1. Made a leadership decision to focus on the parts of real estate he likes best

Wayne says, “I like property management a lot. I think you can do good service. It's repeatable. It's scalable. In other words, you can grow and that doesn't make the office go into chaos. It's profitable and from a management perspective, it's easier to manage. I like to be the leader of the office. I've got great plans and interest in everything that goes on and quite often I can present to two owners. It's not my normal role, but occasionally, I just find an owner who wants to talk about property management. I love it that I can present and then know that I don't have to deliver or they know that I'm not going to show up and find the tenant for them. Whereas, in sales, and I worked in sales right through the time, if I presented to an owner, they'd expect me to sell the property. I've reached the point where I like winning business but I don't like the mechanics of selling property to the extent that I used to. That's what my sales team does. I don't compete with the sales team, but in property management, I can go and present and get chosen and then see the customer delighted by the people that do the job."

2. Retains outstanding staff and gives them responsibility, pays them a lot, offers commission, expects a lot and gets a lot in return

Wayne has four senior property managers who have been with him for years. He says, “There isn't someone above them. That was a decision I made four or five years ago." Previously, he had someone who did the accounts, someone who did new business and someone who handled problems and managed the team but he found that he couldn't develop great people below because anytime there was a problem it would just be escalated to someone else. He explains, “It was very hard to keep really good people in that second layer."

He knows the ongoing value of reliable and competent staff. He says, “I pay them well so I don't lose them. I don't think every property manager can work like my people do, but I found ones that can. They all are grossing over $100,000 - some substantially more than that." He has a bonus structure that runs on top of a performance salary as well. Wayne explains, “Well, I like to reward what gets done. The greatest management principle in the world is what gets rewarded is what gets done." He knows the value in rewarding activity and results when a new property is let.

He says, “It's often one of the most difficult parts or it's time-consuming. It’s sort of just hard work going up and showing properties and processing applications and so on. I pay a bonus on any new letting - half going to the person who manages the property themselves and (if another person is involved in the transaction) - half will go to the other person."

Staff are also rewarded for bringing in new business and there are two types - if it comes in off the street or if a property management staff member brings a new client in. Wayne says, “If a property management person has found the lead, so it’s an existing client with another property - and they find it, then they are rewarded with 20% of the first year's income from that property. If someone called the office or walked in, then it's 12%.” It’s a system that staff like because they stay.

3. Runs a portfolio model

Wayne’s four senior property managers run 750 properties. He takes the portfolio approach because he thinks it is better for staff and as importantly, better for the client. He says, “The task oriented systems means that someone's doing repairs all the time or someone's doing inspections all the time. It's absolutely boring and you'll have short tenure if you go task. With portfolio, yes, they're doing some rubbish stuff. They're doing some great stuff, interesting stuff and they're developing long term relationships with the tenants and the owners and they like that. It's a mix of stuff to do. It's always different and portfolio will retain your staff."

Having done the hard yards, Wayne can now breathe a little easier as his rent roll alone is worth more than $4m. He says, "I don't have to worry about things now. I can do what I want. I spend up to 10 weeks a year overseas and have passions in other things. All this is happening while this business is running very, very well for me." His advice for leaders who have the opportunity to focus on property management? Get good systems and good people around you which he thinks is easier in property management.




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