Real estate investing is not easy. Most people want to become real estate investors. They watch television shows about others who have made it rich. They hear stories about those who have been successful and made money with their real estate investments. Though, people fail to realize this is only part of the story – not the whole piece.
But that doesn’t mean it has to be difficult. Success in real estate requires one to execute a series of steps in a carefully planned manner. These steps range from something relatively mundane like property maintenance to mind numbingly difficult tasks of price evaluation or marketing.
This is called property management and it is becoming an increasingly important part of the real estate industry. The tremendous growth of the industry has led to establishment of numerous competing businesses which provide these services. Unfortunately most of them try to cut corners when it comes to their services. Tasks are outsourced to those who have no business being in the real estate business. Then there’s the matter of the transfer of confidentational property data. It is this laissez faire attitude that kills most property management businesses.
So what does it take to succeed? Why do smart people fail? In order to understand some of the intricacies of a fickle business vertical like this we decided it is best to go to the source. We decided to engage with a business which actually achieved success in this field. Not easy. The real estate world is littered with failures. However, there is one brand which stood out. A brand with a solid legacy in real estate which goes back to over thirty years.
Back in 1990, Sandy Ferrera was a single-mom just trying to support her two boys. A few real-estate deals went south and cost her $16,000 in commissions. Sandy made the shift from real-estate sales to property management and the business took off from there. Almost 30 years later, All County is now a trusted leader in the property management industry.
“Our Mission is to ensure every property owner has a competent and honest professional to manage their most valuable asset,” says Sandy Ferrera
“All County promises that every homeowner will have an honest and competent professional to manage their rental property. And quality service comes from hiring quality people.”
Why property management?
Having started her career as traditional realtor left Sandy with an enduring belief in the value of investing in real estate. However, she noticed that property management was an under-appreciated and poorly executed part of the real estate development. To her it was clear that both investors and buyers desperately wanted a solution.
To bridge this gap, Sandy and her team have worked tirelessly to transform the professionalism and quality standards of the property management domain. “Our goal is to ensure both our owners and tenants receive the quality and standards they deserve from their Property Management Team. From the renters, the vendors that do maintenance to the investor themselves, we strive to ensure that it is a quality experience for all. We understand that without each other we could survive, but we may not thrive,” says Sandy. Years of hard work, consistency and continuous improvement of their services has led All County to earn the trust of their customers. Today due to their efforts All County has become a proud member of the esteemed Better Business Bureau (BBB). A justifiably proud Sandy says, “Seeing how All County® makes a difference every day inspires us to keep pushing the envelope.”
“Each franchisee has become a part of us and their success both professionally and personally is very important to us. This philosophy transcends throughout the system...Everyone in the system shares our belief that if we grow together; we will be better and more profitable.”
The birth of an All County Franchise
Once upon a time Sandy and her husband were working in five different counties. Their aim, to take their business to the next level by growing All County throughout the entire state of Florida. While they themselves were increasingly successful, Sandy knew that if they had to realize their dream of providing quality property management services to all, they needed to expand in the entire country. After conducting a thorough analysis, Sandy decided to use a franchise development model that would allow entrepreneurs to try their hand at business with a set system and increased chances of success. Today All County has 59 successfully running locations across 18 states. “Helping others to build wealth through real estate has been one of my life’s greatest pleasures. I have really enjoyed this part of the journey,” says Sandy.
Like all businesses who franchise their models, Sandy and her team have certain standards which they expect from all of their potential franchise partners. “All County promises that every homeowner will have an honest and competent professional to manage their rental property. And quality service comes from hiring quality people,” says Sandy. The potential franchisee should have the right motivation and needs to be self-driven. The franchise needs to have well-defined long-term goals and the correct mindset to achieve business success. “All County thoroughly examines each franchise applicant and only those who share our vision and passion for the industry are invited to become part of our system,” shares Sandy.
The start of a journey
Once the invitation has been accepted and when one becomes an All County franchisee, they immediately get to enjoy name-brand recognition and a top-notch support system. “As a franchisee, you will hit the ground running,” says Sandy. Every All County franchise owner gains access to the most appropriate training and support system possible. “They are put through a sort of property management Bootcamp, where they learn everything, they need to excel in property management,” shares Sandy. “The result is happy investors, happy tenants, and a thriving business that continues to serve the community.”
A team of professionals solely dedicated to the training of new franchise owners certainly increases the odds of a franchisees’ success. The real time business training teaches them about how to take a hit, fall down and get back up again, a phenomenon which is very common in the real estate world. This is followed by four days of classroom training and an additional two days of practical on-site training to each franchise about one month after the franchisee opens for business. Since a good support system is crucial for success, All County therefore takes it very seriously. “Once open and operational every franchisee then has their own portal to submit support tickets or they can call any of our team for ongoing support,” says Sandy.
In order to ensure that no franchisee partner does not feel left out and feels valued and supported, All County’s senior management customizes a strategic plan for each franchise and schedules regular follow up calls with each franchise owner. “This is at no additional cost. We also distribute weekly PM Talks; we hold two events per year and update our online learning system regularly.” Well tested processes like these not only allow their franchisees to grow quickly but also enable them to handle the growth. As an All County franchise partner, they also receive state of the art software and website package, comprehensive operations, and procedure manuals, which smoothes out the ride for new franchise owners.
Not a business, but a family
Having herself faced business challenges in the real world, Sandy does not want any of her franchises to go through the struggles and land up losing their motivation. “We are not just a professional property management company, we are family, the All County family,” says Sandy.The company respects their partners’ desire to work on their own and respects their experience and intellect. However, “Each franchisee has become a part of us and their success both professionally and personally is very important to us. This philosophy transcends throughout the system. It is quite common for our franchisees to mentor new franchisees coming into adjoining territories by being their qualifying brokers, helping with marketing and sending leads their way. Everyone in the system shares our belief that if we grow together; we will be better and more profitable.” All County’s system not only provides new franchise owners a considerable competitive edge over the conventional independent, stand-alone business but also enables them to avoid that costly trial-and-error period that has proved fatal for many start-up businesses.
What’s next for All County
Years ago Sandy decided to change the property management world in Florida with All County. Then she changed the property management franchise system with their unique franchise model. A winning business strategy requires one to plan for the future today. So we asked Sandy about her plans for All County. In her own words, “I want to continue to expand the system throughout the United States. We are currently in 18 states, but I will feel a sense of accomplishment when we reach 500 locations,” says Sandy. “I would like the name All County to be synonymous with property management.”
Such ambition is good for the future All County and its franchisee partners….