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Hire Slow, Fire Fast (Ep 598)

EP 598

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In this episode of “Get Paid For Your Pad,” I had the privilege of chatting with Steve from BetterTalent. We delved into some crucial topics related to hiring and team building in the short-term rental industry. Here's a concise summary of our enlightening conversation:

Steve began by stressing the importance of hiring the right talent. He emphasized that taking your time to find the perfect fit for your team is crucial, even though it might seem challenging and time-consuming. Rushing into hiring decisions can lead to costly mistakes down the road.

We discussed various roles that are vital for short-term rental hosts, including bookkeepers, virtual assistants, and operations managers. Steve highlighted the benefits of outsourcing roles like guest communications and revenue management to experts or specialized companies, especially in the early stages of your business. One key point Steve raised was the significance of revenue management.

He shared insights into the complexities of managing rental rates in the short-term rental market, emphasizing the need for experienced professionals or outsourcing this task to experts who understand the nuances of the industry.

We touched upon the concept of hiring in-house revenue managers and when it becomes economically viable. Steve recommended considering this step when your business manages a substantial number of properties, typically around a hundred or more.

Steve also shared his insights into the challenges of hiring and retaining top talent in the short-term rental industry. He cautioned against making hasty decisions, such as offering stock options or partnering with the wrong individuals. He suggested that hiring slow and firing fast, when necessary, is a more prudent approach.

For those interested in exploring opportunities in the short-term rental job market, Steve mentioned that BetterTalent offers a valuable weekly newsletter that features job listings from various companies in the industry. It's a great way to stay informed about job opportunities and industry trends.

To learn more about BetterTalent and connect with Steve, visit their website at
. You can also reach out to Steve directly via email at steve@bettertalent.com. Additionally, he welcomes connections on LinkedIn, where he actively engages with industry professionals and shares valuable insights.

In conclusion, our conversation with Steve shed light on the critical aspects of hiring and team building in the short-term rental industry. Taking your time to find the right talent, outsourcing wisely, and understanding the intricacies of revenue management are all essential elements for success in this dynamic field. Don't forget to check out BetterTalent's newsletter and connect with Steve to stay updated on job opportunities and industry knowledge.

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Read The Script Here

Jasper Ribbers (00:00.808)
Welcome back to Get Paid for Your Paid. Today we are talking about hiring. One of the biggest challenges, especially for a host who are trying to skill and trying to get some of the work off their plate and who better to talk to than Steve Trover, the founder of Better Talent. Steve's been in the short-term rental industry for 27 years. So we're gonna pick his brain on hiring and teams today. So Steve, welcome to the show.

Steve (00:26.346)
Hey, thanks for having me. Really excited to be here.

Jasper Ribbers (00:29.472)
Awesome. Well, you've been in the industry for 27 years. Definitely a veteran. What would you, give us a quick background. Like what have you been up to in those years?

Steve (00:39.07)
Yeah, I started an STR management company back in 1997 here in Orlando, Florida, where I'm located, still today. Grew that over the course of 20 years and grew that to 400 properties at peak. Had a real estate company as well. So we would sell structural rental real estate, had an interior design company. So we would furnish those properties that we sold.

We then would take them under management. Ultimately, I started a development company called Purpose Built Vacation Homes in 08. So we would design, spec, and build purpose built vacation homes that we would furnish, sell to an investor, and then retain under the management. And grew that into four destinations as well. So we're here in Orlando, about 250 properties in Orlando area, close to Disney.

And then Captiva Island, we had a group of properties there at an office, acquired a company in San Diego, and then opened a small location in Sun Valley, Idaho. So we were in four different destinations. During that time, I developed a proprietary PMS with a developer out of Idaho. We kind of designed it to run the business. That ultimately became a company called LiveRest. And I was the chief strategy officer a number of years with that company and an early shareholder.

That now is owned by private equity, but over a thousand companies use that to run their business. And then I'm the former vice president and president of VRMA over the course of a five-year period going back about 10 years ago. And during my tenure there, I took the VRMA into Europe, had a PR campaign, a television series. We did a number of different things to kind of drive the business forward, if you will. So.

I've been involved in really a lot of the different aspects of the STR industry. And then about seven years ago, sold my group of companies, started consulting in the space with everybody from a small startup to Goldman Sachs and trying to figure out what I wanted to do next. And I realized that the biggest challenge in all of those things was people. Right. And if I had the right people in the right seats inside those organizations,

Steve (02:55.098)
There were fun businesses to own, they were profitable, and it was a good thing. If I did not, which often happened, it was really a challenge. And so we set out to really focus on that as a consulting company, again, going back about seven years ago, and then a little over three and a half years ago, launched Better Talent. Today, Better Talent works with almost 250 STR companies across the US, a little bit of international.

to help solve this problem from a hiring perspective, not just full-time, but part-time, independent contractors, even consultants. So trying to help companies scale from a people perspective and really understand when and where and who to hire to help facilitate growth. So that's us today.

Jasper Ribbers (03:31.896)

Jasper Ribbers (03:45.276)
Yeah, and I get your newsletter that you send out with the open positions in the short-term rental space. Not that I'm looking for a job, but just seeing what kind of positions are out there and the descriptions of the roles really helps to understand what type of positions should we have in our short-term rental company as we actually scale it. So I would highly recommend, even if you're not looking for a job, subscribe to Steve's newsletter.

Steve (03:52.519)

Jasper Ribbers (04:13.648)
because it's very insightful to just see those open positions. So you touched on a lot. There's a lot of stuff I would love to dive into here. But we'll keep it focused more on the hiring side. But before we dive into that quickly, because you were part of the VRMRA, and we just met at the VRMRA a couple of weeks ago, well, where were some of your top takeaways from the event in Orlando this year?

Steve (04:22.328)
Ha ha.

Steve (04:42.322)
Yeah, well, it was really excited to see just how many people, over 2,500, almost 2,600 people that showed up. It was, it seemed like one of the stronger ones from an education perspective. People were really feeling good about the education that was provided. Some of the new suppliers and vendors. It's just amazing to see the growth and that aspect of it.

People are, I would say, cautiously optimistic going into 24. I felt like some of the negativity that's been in the market a little bit in 23 was starting to shift back towards a positive nature and kind of positive viewpoint of going forward. So that was good to see as well. But overall, it was a really great show. We had a really good time and loved to see old friends. But what I…

Probably loved the most is that there was almost a thousand first-time attendees to the show which is Really really good to see I mean when I was president we had about a thousand to show up So the fact that there's a thousand new people showing up out of your MA conference was pretty fantastic to see so

Jasper Ribbers (05:36.803)

Jasper Ribbers (05:51.004)
Yeah, something I noticed too from last time I went was in 2019. And I felt like this year, a lot of hosts that I talked to, they were pretty new. Right. They were maybe like an operation for one, two years and like 2019 when I went, most people have been in business for a long time. Right. So that's a, yeah, that's definitely, definitely interesting change.

Steve (06:00.491)

Steve (06:07.234)

Steve (06:12.478)
Yeah, and I welcome one quite frankly. I mean, I love to see all of my old friends that have been around as long as I have, but it's good to see new blood, new people, new ideas coming in. And so that was exciting to see as well. So.

Jasper Ribbers (06:27.912)
Awesome. Well, let's, uh, let's talk about hiring. Um, you know, what, what I see in our masterminds and our, um, coaching programs is hiring is always one of the biggest challenges. And I would love to, love to pick your brain on like, what's the best approach, uh, to finding the right person, like you said, the right person in the right seat. Um, I know that, uh, hiring the wrong person is like one of the most expensive mistakes that you can make. Um,

Steve (06:30.69)

Jasper Ribbers (06:56.084)
So there's a lot to get into here. But why don't we start with, at what point in our business does it make sense to start hiring people?

Steve (07:07.914)
Yeah, an older business mentor of mine years and years ago said to me, as I was considering hiring an executive assistant, I was at a point where it was just a lot of kind of clerical and different things that I needed to get done on a day-to-day basis. And I was like, I don't know if I can afford that person. And he said to me something that I've used throughout my business career, you won't be able to afford that person until you have them.

And so the question of when and who really comes down to, can you afford them?

Or if you have somebody doing some things that you're really not designed to do, you don't really like doing, you have to do them to run the day to day. But if you could outsource those components and really focus on things like growth of inventory, growth of rental revenue, things that really drive the business forward, you can more than offset the cost of that. So it really, it does come down to cost. Obviously, if you don't have the resources you can't hire. But sometimes you got to look at it objectively.

take that leap and go, okay, if I replace these things with somebody else doing them, who's better designed for them, frankly, than typical an entrepreneur that starts a business, there's just always something, then I can build a bigger business and that will more than facilitate, more than offset the costs of that individual. So that's one thing, and that's really looking at the cost. The what really comes down to figuring out those things that you just don't like to do.

quite frankly, or you're not good at. I early on was not real strong on operations. I didn't really enjoy creating housekeeping schedules and those types of things. And so outsourcing or finding people to help with the operational components of the business so that I could focus on really driving revenue, driving rental revenue, as well as getting new properties was key for me. And so what I encourage people to do right at the beginning,

Steve (09:12.226)
people. You're not even using a VX. For example, build an org chart. So take a piece of paper out, put it on Word, whatever, and draw out everything you do in boxes, meaning accounting. So guest services, guest communications, marketing, business development, housekeeping, maintenance, all of the different components, owner relations. You're wearing all those hats as a one person show.

And at some point, you need to start taking those hats off. And when you have that out and kind of organized as such, you can look at those boxes and say, you know what? I should outsource finance, for example. I am not a bookkeeper. I should not be doing those things. And I've had to do it, but I can outsource that for a relatively low cost, and that'll free up time for something else. And maybe you prefer operations and finance, and you need somebody.

to go hire somebody for growth, right? So it could be the inverse of that. So understanding what your best and highest use as a person is, where you are able to be the most productive for the business and then outsource other components to free up time to be able to do that better than you are today. So I know that's a long answer, but I think it's a really important thing to get right. I say, when I had 100 employees in my management company, if I made…

Jasper Ribbers (10:27.32)

Steve (10:37.134)
one bad hiring mistake, it was 1% of my company. When I was early stage, there was two or three of us, if I made one bad hire, it was 50% or 1 third of the company that was the wrong person in the wrong seat. So these first hires are critical, just really, really important to get right. And so that's what I would absolutely advise.

Jasper Ribbers (11:00.268)
Yeah, I love that suggestion of creating the Orc chart. That's something that we've worked together on, actually, in our, I think it was our Mastermind or our Legends X course, where you did a guest lecture on that, right? And we had everybody create the Orc charts. And it's funny, because a lot of people are like, well, what's the point? My name is going to be on all the boxes. So like, so.

Steve (11:13.747)
I sure did.

Steve (11:21.618)
That is the point. Yeah. It just allows you to look at it and go, and you already know it in your head, but when you draw it out like that, you can really look at it objectively and say, yeah, I'm not that. I should not be doing those things. And that's true of everybody.

Jasper Ribbers (11:39.912)
Right. Yeah. Because it's not just, it's not just the amount of time that it takes to do the work that you don't want to do, but it also kind of drags your energy down, right? It kind of kills part of the enthusiasm for, for your business. If you constantly have to do these things that you kind of don't enjoy doing.

Steve (12:01.286)
Exactly, exactly. I mean, it's no different from an owner of a property taking their property to a co-host or a manager for the same reason, right? They no longer enjoy owning the property because they're doing all the things. And so, you know, if you're going to own a business, and I've started 15 companies, I've had businesses that own me, and then I have businesses that I own. The businesses that I own are usually because I'm doing the things that I'm best designed to do in that business, so I enjoy owning that business.

Jasper Ribbers (12:10.309)

Steve (12:30.73)
You need to get there as quickly as you possibly can. It takes time to develop that out and build out the team to be able to do it, but otherwise, what's the point? You should just go get a job, you know? And yeah, but you definitely wanna have a situation where you really like the parts of the business that you are working.

Jasper Ribbers (12:40.55)

Jasper Ribbers (12:49.588)
So, you know, when I, when I talk to a lot of our students, they tell me, okay, well, I know I have to hire somebody, but I can't afford it yet. And it almost seems like a chicken in the egg or catch 22 where it's like, okay, I need to hire somebody so I can free up time and it could focus on business acquisition and growing the business. But you know, in order to do that, I need to have the funds to hire that person. Right. Are there any like,

Steve (12:59.238)

Jasper Ribbers (13:13.072)
creative solutions to this, like maybe looking for an intern, or maybe even going to a company like Nectar and raising some funds to hire somebody? Are those strategies that you would recommend?

Steve (13:25.29)
Yeah, one thing I'll start with that I don't recommend, and that is dipping into owner funds. And if you're not doing trust accounting today, I highly recommend that. A lot of times people go and make a hire.

using funds and they have all of the money coming into the operating account and get to a very challenging space. So that would be a don't do. As far as raising capital, certainly that's a way to do it, you know, for friends and family around type of thing. You know, some type of company that will you can help you raise capital is great, but you're borrowing against your future when you do so. So

You just got to be fairly confident that's a risk. It's also a risk to go ahead and just hire somebody when you're not sure if you're going to be able to cover payroll. So whether that's a contractor or full-time employee doesn't really matter. At the end of the day, you got to pay them. So it's really kind of going out on a limb to some degree, but projecting what you're going to be able to do if you're freed up, like I mentioned before, to be able to do that. And if I were doing it today, if I was starting from scratch,

I would really focus on the highest volume producing properties I can per unit, on a per unit basis, because it takes a lot more effort to manage lower producing properties because you've got to do all the same things. So you do that early on so that you do pretty quickly at a lower property count get to a point where you can hire, whether that be a virtual assistant or boots on the ground locally.

Whatever it is, those things, once you've developed out that org chart, you've made the decision of who that's going to be in the most efficient way possible. And, uh, you know, a lot of companies today, I know they use, uh, VA's in the Philippines or other parts of the world. They can definitely free up a lot of things. Um, we, we help, uh, with any type of talent, um, in that regard. But I really think that when I see a founder.

Steve (15:26.05)
going out and running errands in a vehicle to go out to the properties that generally does not make a lot of sense. It's a pretty low cost outsource to be able to do that relative to the time that person is spending where they could focus on growth, inventory, rental growth, and so on. So I would say operationally, that's where I would focus the most, or I would guess comms second to that.

Because those two things take up a lot of time for a founder that they can free up to go after new properties and build it. So I know that was again a long answer, but that's kind of how I view the world.

Jasper Ribbers (15:53.325)

Jasper Ribbers (16:06.253)
Sure. OK, so let's take a step further. So now we've decided, we've built the org chart, and we've decided, OK, these are the things that I want to outsource first. Now the question is, who do we hire? The biggest mistake that myself and Eric have made is we're just going to look around and see who's available. And then we convince ourselves that this person might be able to do a pretty good job. Just.

Just kind of because it's easy and we want a fast solution, right? We don't want to wait for months. Um, which, you know, from my experience is not a good way of doing it. Well, what's the best way to approach a new hire?

Steve (16:45.866)
Yeah, we call what you described the Fogamere methodology. If you can fog a mirror, you're hired. And we see a lot of people do that. I was guilty early on, I've used a lot of relatives. I did not do what I do today. In that regard, I learned over time that you really need to focus on this piece more than anything else and make sure you do a good job hiring the right people for each seed. And one of the things that I…

found quite a few years ago now, about 15 years ago, was psychometric testing and understanding somebody's personality and how that might or might not align with a particular role. And personality testing has been proven to be a really good way to help you understand that. So many times we'll go into an interview, you know, and we might really like the person. A lot of times the reason why we like that person is they're a lot like us.

But if you think about it, we're trying to hire somebody to do things that we don't like to do, we probably don't want somebody just like us, right? And so, uh, I see that all the time and early stage companies is the founder goes and hires essentially somebody that's a lot like them and it doesn't really solve the problem well. And that person ends up, ends up turning at some point, either quitting or getting fired and neither option is good, right? And so.

Part of our process is really leaning in on, is this person designed for the job? Before we do that though, and whether you were using a company like ours or doing it yourself, I don't recommend just kind of looking around and see who's available. You wanna fill the funnel of potential applicants for any role, whether that's a full-time role or a contracted role, as full as you possibly can, right? So…

If you think about marketing, a lot of us today will lean on Airbnb, but if you want to build a robust business, you want to have multiple channels. Well, the same thing goes for talent. When we're, you don't want to just throw an ad on Indeed. Indeed's kind of the 800 pound gorilla, the Airbnb of people, if you will, but you only get applicants that are actively looking, you're not getting passive applicants. And so.

Steve (19:01.91)
You want to use multiple channels. You want to outbound and reach out to people, maybe on LinkedIn, depending on the type of role it is. And that's the methodology we use. And we really do it in an extreme nature to drive as many people to that potential job as possible so that we can look at a lot of different people. And I know that sounds like a lot of work, but it's a lot more work when you get somebody that's the wrong person. So spending the time to get the right person upfront.

Jasper Ribbers (19:28.473)

Steve (19:32.534)
Making sure they've got the right skill set, they've got the right behavioral drives, meaning personality, their intellect is as such that they can do the job and do it well. So that's really, really important. Interviewing is important. When I first started interviewing people, when I hired my first employee when I was 17 years old, and I've been hiring people for 33 years, so I've done a few hires. But I would just kind of ask them my favorite questions. Like I would just.

kind of have a conversation with them. And conversational interviewing definitely has its place, but you certainly wanna have a structured interview process as well where you're asking the same questions of each applicant so you can rate them objectively. Because what happens is you naturally, when you're talking to people, you end up using your gut instinct around them. And I'm not saying gut instinct is bad, but a lot of times we find out when we use gut instinct on who we're going to hire, our gut instinct goes off, right? So…

I don't care, I feel like I have strong gut instincts around people. I still would use a lot of objective tools, objective interviewing process, because my instincts can be off. Right. And so, so that, those are kind of some of the things that I would highly recommend that people do as they go through that process.

Jasper Ribbers (20:50.832)
Yeah, I find that if I, if I use my gut feeling, I just end up hiring the person that I like personally, right. Versus like a person that might, would be the best fit for the role. Um, so we talked about the funnel. So we don't want to just, you know, just go on the indeed and put an ad on. Like you want to leverage your personal network. You want to spread out, uh, spread, cast the net as wide as, as wide as possible to get as many people interested for.

Steve (20:56.342)
That's exactly it.

Steve (21:01.762)

Jasper Ribbers (21:19.288)
the, for the position. Um, because the more people that you have in the funnel, I guess, the better the chance that you're going to find the right person. Now, one mistake that we've made in the past is, uh, is even what we would do is like, we narrowed down to a few candidates and then we kind of knew that none of them were a really good fit, but we also already spent so much time that we're like, oh, well, we don't want to like, you know,

go through this process again. So let's just hire the person that we think is the best. You know what I mean? Is that, is that a good strategy? I felt so.

Steve (21:54.094)
Yeah, not at all. And you ultimately have to make a hire, right? And so that's the intent there. And you get into this process and it gets long and can be depending on how much applicant flow you have that type of thing. But if you get to the end, meaning you're at two or three applicants that you've taken all the way down to the end of the funnel, and you know that none of them are a strong candidate, start over.

You know, that's all I can say. The worst mistake that I have made in 33 years of running 15 different companies is hiring the wrong person. And I've made a lot of mistakes, let me tell you, but that one, the best thing I've ever done in business and all of those things was hiring the right one. If I get the right person in the right seat, the vision that I have for that particular business can be executed on. And I can…

Jasper Ribbers (22:32.248)
Hmm. Right.

Steve (22:50.614)
really scale a business when I have the right team. When I don't, it never works. And so not to knock your methodology, I did it too. We all naturally kind of go down that path, but you're gonna learn the hard way if you do it. Make sure, you know, there's no perfect humans. None of us are either, right? So it's not like you're gonna get this, you know, this ideal person for.

the role necessarily, but you want to make sure that they're the best possible fit that you can find. So when you get down, but if you get there and you're just like, yeah, none of these are going to work out well, you're already saying that to yourself. You're right. Probably not going to work.

Jasper Ribbers (23:21.502)

Jasper Ribbers (23:29.312)
Yeah, it's gotta be, it's gotta be a hell yes, right? A hell yes or a no.

Steve (23:33.39)
Exactly, exactly. Yeah, this is, the reason why I do what I do is I think it's the most important part of business. I call it the hardest thing.

Jasper Ribbers (23:45.62)
Let's talk about the different stages of a typical short-term rental company, right? So a typical short-term rental operator, somebody who typically randomly gets involved with short-term rentals, right? A friend or a house or whatever it is, start off small, get a couple more units. You see the opportunity. Now you're at like five to 10. You're still doing all the work yourself and you're getting a little overwhelmed. Like what's typically the first…

person that you would hire at that stage.

Steve (24:15.574)
Yeah, I think it's one of two, what really one of three, you know, finance, a lot of people, especially, you know, early stage entrepreneurs, you know, they don't have a finance background. They didn't even take accounting in college. They don't like math, whatever. If you're like that, you better get that in order quick. You better at least outsource that to a bookkeeping firm, that type of thing. So if that's not your, you know, wheelhouse.

definitely move that out of your plate, get it done right. Like I said, trust accounting is key. So that's probably the most important foundational one. The other two for me, I think it's really guest comms. Sometimes, you know, it's a 24 seven business you get into. If you're a one of one, that becomes a big challenge for you because it's 24 seven. And I remember taking…

guest calls in the middle of the night, myself, early stage, taking reservations calls in the middle of the night. That got old pretty quick. Even as a young person with a lot of energy, I was like, wow, this thing just never ends. And so you need to have some downtime so that you can have a real life. So I think guest communications, under communications, that's another piece. That's one that theoretically you can use a VA for. And so that one can be relatively low cost.

The other one that I see most common though is operations. And if you're a profile, meaning a personality that likes to sell, likes to grow, can build, can sell is good at that. Um, I would highly recommend you get ops off your plate as soon as possible. When I say ops, I'm really talking about housekeeping, maintenance, kind of that boots on the ground, things at the property.

having somebody manage those processes with your contractors, your cleaners, et cetera, so that you can focus again on that growth and the marketing side of the business. And that's what I did is as fast as I could. I say I can sell the paint off the walls. I should focus there, grow the inventory, let somebody else handle the operational components of the business and finance. And ops, by the way, you can take guest communications and dovetail that in. And so.

Steve (26:32.142)
If I were hiring somebody today for my company, I'd outsource to a bookkeeper of the finance side and I'd find somebody to handle ops pretty quick. And then I would just focus on growth.

Jasper Ribbers (26:39.923)

Jasper Ribbers (26:43.688)
Yeah. So what we typically see is that definitely the bookkeeper is one of the first ones and that's, you know, it's also not breaking the bank too much, right? I mean, we pay like 500 bucks a month for a bookkeeper. Then the next one is the VA actually. And our business, we kind of follow up what you just said, actually, the bookkeeper was the first one. Then the virtual assistant to help with the communications and doing all the, you know, things like leaving reviews and responding to reviews and taking guest

Steve (26:51.978)

Steve (26:59.947)

Jasper Ribbers (27:13.742)
and documenting it and all that kind of stuff. And then I guess that's a typical process for most hosts, is starting with those. When it comes to the operational manager, because that's a bit of a bigger hire, right? That's a bit more expensive position. Would it make sense? Well, I guess two questions. Number one is, does it make sense to hire part-time?

if you're still small and then number two is, I forgot number two, let's start with number one.

Steve (27:49.354)
Yeah, I mean, part-time can work. There's, you know, the challenge today is if you want full-time employment, you can get it. In the US right now, even with a slight uptick in unemployment, we're at close to an all-time low with unemployment, 3.9%. And, you know, so if you want a job, you can get a job today. And so if somebody is out looking specifically for a part-time job, that's great. And we do.

hire for part-time from time to time. Often I'll have somebody say, yeah, I'm really looking for somebody that wants a part-time job that they can grow into full-time. That unicorn doesn't really exist much. And that's because if they want a full-time job, they can get a full-time job. So you're almost have to find somebody that has another part-time job right now that wants to phase out of that and grow into it. And it's kind of a bit of a needle in the haystack. So you're either gonna hire a dedicated part-time person that really just wants that.

Or you're going to go have to pull the trigger on getting a full-time person. And so making sure that you have the resources to be able to afford that's key, obviously. So, but that's kind of my view. I can't tell you how many times people ask that. They're like, well, I want somebody part-time that will later on go full-time. And if we market for that, in most cases, people won't want the job. So.

Jasper Ribbers (28:55.971)

Jasper Ribbers (29:09.492)
Yeah. I mean, that operational person is, can be a huge game changer, right? Having, if you find a good one, but it's a bigger investment. So I guess like, well, at what stage in the business do you think it makes sense? And does it, does it make sense to kind of keep, keep our expenses as lean, keep our company as lean as possible so we can, you know, hire that operational manager?

Steve (29:38.538)
Yeah, I would stay as lean as you possibly can, as long as you possibly can for obvious reasons as you grow the business and get the finances to be able to do something like this. When does it make sense? A lot of people will say, well, how many properties do I need before I can hire an ops manager? And the reality is not all properties are created equal. And we all know that, right? So you can have a property that generates 10,000 in top line rental revenue for a little studio or something. And then you can have,

We had a property at my company that generated close to a million dollars, one property, right, on an annual basis. And so I'd only need one of those to hire an Ops Manager, whereas, you know, the latter one I mentioned, you'd have to have dozens and dozens of them, right? And so it really comes down to how much gross margin you're producing, commission and margin otherwise, to be able to understand when and where.

And that could be 10 properties, that may be 30, it may be 50, depends on the type of property, properties that you manage and how much revenue that those are producing. And even though we're a talent acquisition company and we work on a kind of a low cost model, we do, if clients want us to, we'll look at the finances and say, okay, let's help think through when that could be. And the last thing I want to do with a client is get that client in financial trouble. And…

I've talked people out of it, you know, of hiring different roles and saying, you know, we're not ready for that in this scenario. Here's what we need to get to before you're ready to make that hire. Because it's really a long-term view of the company. So.

Jasper Ribbers (31:08.613)

Jasper Ribbers (31:18.244)
So if you're not able to afford a full-time person, does it make sense to give them some sort of vetted stock options in your business?

Steve (31:29.618)
Yeah, I mean, I am reticent to do that at the beginning stages of the company. You know, and a lot of people will want to do that. The reality is that is not going to be meaningful for that person for a long period of time. If in most cases, they're going to look at that and go, that's great. But, you know, I may or may not ever get anything out of that. I don't know that in this type of business, meaning a service model business, that it's going to mean much.

In the tech world, when you're talking about technology companies, that's a common methodology to attract talent. The potential upside there is significant, and people looking for textile jobs know that. But if you're talking about a service business, the likelihood that that's going to be meaningful for that person anytime soon is unlikely. And so I don't think it's going to have the effect, and I haven't seen it have the effect that people are looking for in attracting talent in that scenario. You end up just giving away.

shares to somebody that may not even be there long term, right? And so, then you need to have vesting in place. And there's a cost associated with doing that correctly, right? Setting that up legally, the legal structure behind it, and making sure that you have all of the documentation that you need. So I would rather apply those funds towards getting the right person and not making that stock option offer. That's really, I would recommend looking at later on down the line when the company is more skilled. So.

Jasper Ribbers (32:31.767)

Jasper Ribbers (32:55.008)
Yeah. What about, what about let's say you're solo, like what about finding a co-founder who is good at operations?

Steve (33:05.054)
Yeah, a lot of people go down the partnership route. I certainly did. I've had partners in a number of different businesses. My recommendation there is that you, as the founder, stay the majority shareholder. If you bring on a partner under an equal scenario, I rarely, if ever, see that work out very well. And that's because if there's ever a disagreement, even if you have a partnership agreement and there's a

a kind of a remedy for that challenge, it still creates a personal challenge between the two of you. And so bringing on a partner as a minority shareholder is kind of like what you described before as far as offering stock. But you better make sure that you got the right person for that even more than an employee. Because if I hire the wrong employee and they quit or get fired, that's one thing. If I bring on the wrong partner.

That's a really, really painful thing. And I have that t-shirt meaning I've done it. Okay. So you don't, you don't, you don't want to do that if you can avoid it. So you really have to feel confident and comfortable that this person is not the same as you. They bring a lot of value in things that they do that you do not want to do and can't do or not good at. And then you better make sure that you have a really strong partnership agreement.

and shareholder agreement. And so again, now we're talking about cost associated with developing that owl. It's not massive, but you definitely want to do that with an attorney that knows what they're doing in that regard and sign that. Whatever you do, don't just go willy nilly into a partnership without documentation. You will most likely regret.

Jasper Ribbers (34:42.768)
Hmm. Right. Let's talk about revenue management for a second here. So when Eric and I created our org chart, it became clear to me that revenue management was really the only thing that I really enjoyed doing. So naturally, that's my role within our.

Steve (34:59.158)
All right.

Jasper Ribbers (35:04.512)
our business. I have a background in mathematics, so I love numbers. I'm a nerd. So for me, that's perfect. If I can just look at numbers all day and graphs, I'm happy. But yeah, we have a lot of students that are not like me. They don't like numbers, and they don't like to do revenue management. And so the options are it's either you learn it yourself, that's

Jasper Ribbers (35:32.948)
outsource to a service and option free is you hire an in-house revenue manager. What's your, what's your, cause I, I feel like it's just everybody knows that, oh yeah, we need a bookkeeper, we need a VA and we need a operations person. I feel like a lot of companies are not so much focused on revenue management, which was kind of surprising to me. What are your thoughts on that?

Steve (35:53.846)
Yeah, no, I think it's an important component. We get asked every day about this. I'm actually doing a session on whether you should bring this in-house or outsource it. And I think the answer comes down to you and your company's structure, what you can afford at that time, just like the other conversations we've been having. You know, early stage, if you don't have a Jasper, meaning one of the founders isn't like you with that mathematical background and that desire to do that job, and you need to outsource it.

I don't think you want to hire a full-time person in that role for quite a while and a high property count high revenue generation Simply because there's really great Consultants and in the industry that do that There's third-party companies that do it and you might pay them, you know five or ten hours a week to do it much more than you would pay an employee to do it, but

not as much as a full-time employee by any stretch. And so, and then the other challenges is, is finding a full-time employee, which we do every day, all day, when you get to a certain scale, but finding one early stage that can, can do that really well, or even a part-time.

is challenging. So I would recommend if you don't, if you're not a Jasper and you don't love doing it, you're not good at it, then I would outsource it to one of the many you know, consultants in the space or companies that do that for you. And definitely it's an important thing to get right. I think that the holy grail of, you know, set it and forget it, revenue management, I don't even know if it's ever going to exist in this industry. It certainly doesn't today. There's not a technology that you can just hand this to.

Jasper Ribbers (37:08.473)

Steve (37:33.072)
to do, so you have to have somebody pulling the levers and that person better know what they're doing because it can be the success or the failure of the company in that role. So, but that's my view. And really, usually, I mean, I'm not even talking about a full-time rev manager until you get to like a hundred properties under management, quite frankly, so yeah.

Jasper Ribbers (37:33.761)

Jasper Ribbers (37:37.651)

Jasper Ribbers (37:44.461)

Jasper Ribbers (37:53.296)
Right. So below 100, it makes most sense to either, either outsource it. Or if you if it's something if this if it's a hat that you do want to wear, then you can take it on.

which we recently started a course actually on revenue management, cashflow mastery, call it. Because when I was starting, when I put on the hat as the revenue manager for our company, I was like, okay, I got to educate myself. So I went out there and searched for revenue management courses and I couldn't really find much. What are some ways that people can educate themselves on the topic of revenue management?

Steve (38:14.434)

Steve (38:33.406)
Well, I don't know if this is going to be published in time for this, but there's a data and revenue management trade show coming up here in just a few weeks in Nashville. That's one way. There are a lot of individuals out there that you can reach out to that are in the industry. If you want to reach out to me, I can turn you on to different people.

love to talk about it. There's actually a new group forming of professional revenue managers as well. So that's one that's very new. So you're starting to see that evolve within the industry. And then obviously it's just networking on places like LinkedIn and social channels to go and identify those individuals to figure out who I would want to work with, who I could learn from, that type of thing.

You know, in the hotel industry, they have HSMAI and there's a whole big structure around it. The challenge there is hotels have a very different viewpoint or different methodology than what you use with STRs because STRs really, there's not room type. It's just room type of one, right? So there's a lot more variables in revenue management in STRs. So.

Jasper Ribbers (39:27.384)

Jasper Ribbers (39:40.535)

Steve (39:45.59)
There's just not a ton of resources out there other than DARM, other than this group I mentioned. And obviously what you guys are doing, which is great, glad you're doing that. So very much needed. So.

Jasper Ribbers (39:52.109)

Yeah. Yeah, because I actually like I studied operations research, this is optimizing economical problems. And like, I remember at university, we're working on airline pricing, because that was that was in the 90s. When I went to university a long time ago, that was like a hot topic back then. Right pricing, because like the internet was now around. So like, you can actually like, go online, you can compare.

ticket prices and everything. So I remember working on like case studies for airlines and stuff. And when I was searching for courses, I saw a lot of courses on hotel revenue management. There's a lot out there. There's Cornell and Harvard, and there's a lot of stuff. But yeah, there's not that much in for short-term rentals and such a different problem, right? As you mentioned, like, because inventory is one versus like, you know, 100 seats or 100 hotel rooms. And so…

Yeah, it's going to be interesting. I'm going to the conference actually that you mentioned, Darm, right, in Nashville, December, I think it's December 5 to 7, if I'm not mistaken. So yeah, if anybody who's interested in revenue management definitely recommend the Darm Data and Revenue Management Conference. So Nashville is a good place to hang out as well.

Steve (40:50.142)
Oh good. Yeah.

Steve (40:57.175)

Steve (41:11.654)
Absolutely. Good time.

Jasper Ribbers (41:14.22)
Cool. Well, we've been talking for about 40 minutes or so. I think we covered most of the questions that I had. Is there anything that you think is really important that people should know that we haven't covered yet?

Steve (41:28.758)
You know, there's an old saying most people have probably heard, higher slow, fire fast. Again, the biggest mistake that I made was doing the opposite of that. So I would use the Fogamere methodology like we mentioned earlier. Somebody's available, hey, here's the job. And then the worst thing I would do that was even worse than that was when I recognized they were in the wrong role.

For whatever reason, I didn't want to fire them or move them into a position they could be successful in. In many cases, it's not that this person's a bad person. They're the wrong personality traits. They don't have the right cognitive abilities or background experience or whatever. And maybe they're just in the wrong seed. Sometimes you don't have a seed, meaning there's no place to move them.

you need to make the call when you have that situation to move them out of the company. It's not good for them to be there either. It's much better to let them move on to something they can be successful on. So having said that, I really wanna encourage everybody to do that higher slow. Take your time, just put time into this. It is the single most important part of business. It's the hardest part, but if you spend the time to do it right,

you will be much more successful in what you do. And I'd love to talk to anybody that's interested about it, how we can help in that world, but even if you don't, please focus on it. It'll make all the difference to your business long-term to really make sure you do this well.

Jasper Ribbers (43:07.513)
Yeah. Did you read that book, Who? Many chance?

Steve (43:10.07)
I sure did. Yeah, it's a great book. Yeah.

Jasper Ribbers (43:12.132)
Yeah, it's good. It's good. Yeah. Yeah, it's funny. When it comes to hiring, I feel like everyone's learning the hard mistakes for some reason. Everybody who starts out makes those mistakes of just the fucking mirror, as you call it. I feel like it's just one of those lessons. It's almost like you have to experience to really understand how detrimental it is to how much time and resources are wasted.

Steve (43:28.286)

Jasper Ribbers (43:41.426)
And again, like what you mentioned is like there's no, we hired like the wrong people in the past. It's not like we have heart feelings or we're like, oh, this is a bad person, like you said, right? It's just like, no, it's just, it was our fault of not, first of all, not coming up with a clear role and responsibilities, right? Clearly outlining like what is this person gonna do versus just like, oh, there's a task that I don't like doing. All right, let's hire my nephew to do it.

Steve (44:09.538)
Right. Yeah.

Jasper Ribbers (44:09.816)
You know, he'll do a great job, right? Um, really taking the time to build out like what we call, we have like job scorecards now where we really spend time, which is, it's not easy. When you do first do that, you know, it's not easy. Like you, you put this, you have to stop this, this blank piece of paper in front of you and like, okay, well, what are the responsibilities? What are the skillsets? Like what kind of personality are we looking for? And it's like, it's not easy to come up with those answers, which is probably why people, most people don't do it. I guess.

Steve (44:37.358)
That's exactly, you know, and I actually, you asked about who the book, who, I'm writing a book called The Hardest Thing. And it really talks about that as being the hardest part of business. And so I'm not telling you, you know, I'm not gonna sit on here and tell you this is easy. It's not. But if you do it badly, it's a lot worse than doing the work, right, to do it right. So, it's very key.

Jasper Ribbers (44:51.193)

Jasper Ribbers (44:59.36)
Yeah. Before I let you go, let people know what's the best way to contact you if people want to work with you.

Steve (45:08.478)
Absolutely. So better talent.com is the website. You can book a demo on there. If you want to reach out to me via email, you can also do that. Steve at better talent.com really simple. And then I'd love to connect you on LinkedIn. If we're not already connected, I'm very active on that particular network. So any of those, those channels would be great. So, but I would, you know, every, every time we get on a demo, it's a great conversation about that particular person's business where they're at.

how we may or may not help. And I always feel like we bring value whether we end up working together or not. So I'd love to have a conversation with anybody that's open to it.

Jasper Ribbers (45:46.764)
Got it. And that newsletter that I get from you, is that people can sign up on your website for that?

Steve (45:52.414)
Yes, if you go to bettertalent.com, there's a jobs board tab and you just click on the jobs. You'll see all of those there and you can sign up for that email that comes out every Wednesday right there. So all the new jobs. And to your point, even if you're not hiring, it's kind of interesting to look at all the different roles that people are hiring for in the industry.

Jasper Ribbers (46:11.388)
Yeah, 100%. It kind of gives you like a little peek into the future where you're like, Hey, eventually like I could hire this person or that person. And if you're still small, you don't have a team members. Like it's, it's kind of hard to get an idea of like, what, what would a company, what will my company look like if I had like 200 units, right. And just looking at the positions that, you know, you send out in your newsletter, I think is very helpful. And it also helps with putting together those job scorecard. I've, I've definitely, uh, used, uh, some of your positions inspiration

Steve (46:14.924)

Steve (46:28.366)

Steve (46:40.322)
That's great. Excellent.

Jasper Ribbers (46:41.202)
scorecard, right? So it's very valuable, good stuff. Awesome. Thanks, Steve. Appreciate it. Thank you so much for jumping on today.

Steve (46:49.438)
Hey, so glad to have been here. Thank you for having me. I appreciate the time.

Jasper Ribbers (46:53.596)
Awesome. And to the listeners, thanks for listening. Hope you enjoyed this one and we'll be back soon with almost 600, we're almost at 600 episodes. So boom. All right.

Steve (47:02.798)
That's great.

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