RE/MAX manages costs with software
The challenge: Recharging costs
RE/MAX Midlands is a busy real estate agency, with 65 estate agents and 20 administration staff operating out of three offices. Some agents act as independent contractors, and RE/MAX records the costs they incur, such as phone calls and faxes, and recharges them at the end of each month.
Bonny Godfrey, personal assistant to the broker/owner, is responsible for securing the best deals for the company. She says, “We need to make sure our agents are correctly billed, and are each taking their fair share of our overheads.”
Printing and copying are two of the expenses that must be recorded and recovered, with agents outputting contracts mandates, correspondence and other documents. RE/MAX also needs to track its internal usage, which includes printing promotional materials.
Until recently, RE/MAX was using a system where each agent could enter a code on a printer so that jobs could be billed to them, and also use pre-loaded credits on a card system. Reports had to be manually compiled at the end of each month, and the agents’ cards had to be kept safe – if they lost their cards they lost their credit.
Verifying usage was difficult, as RE/MAX could not prove exactly what each agent had printed. “There could be errors, or if a machine failed we would not be able to recharge the copies printed on it – so we inevitably lost out on some of the costs we could bill to agents,” says Godfrey.
The solution: Print management software
To improve cost recovery, as well as accuracy and peace of mind for the agents, RE/MAX has installed print management software from Nashua. Each user has this software installed on their computer, which allows everyone’s print output to be monitored and recorded – and agents and staff can now see their own usage at all times.
“The agents like the cost recovery software system, because they can track their spending throughout the month,” says Godfrey. “We don’t need to give them a printed report they can just log in to check the environmental impact their printing has had, their transaction history, the recent jobs they have printed and the jobs that are pending release.”
Nashua charges RE/MAX a fixed cost per page, then RE/MAX builds in the cost of the printer rental and paper before recharging the copies to the agents. Godfrey explains, “We told Nashua what cost we wanted to recharge, and they’ve incorporated this. When there is a price change on paper, we can easily change the costs on the software.”
“A lot of the agents have their own printers, but they’ve seen it’s cheaper to use the Nashua machines than a smaller standalone device,” says Godfrey. “If the agents went to a print bureau or other supplier for their copies, it would cost them two or three times as much as it does with our charges through Nashua.”
The software enables the agents at RE/MAX to monitor their personal usage and, if necessary, checks and balances can be kept on administrative staff – especially if costs are excessive in a particular department or with a specific person. The company also uses the software to manage how it recharges the costs of marketing materials purchased by its agents, such as signboards, business cards and brochures.
Full control of costs
“The software is more accurate than our previous system, and ensures we can recover all of our costs,” says Godfrey. “The agents are happy because they are in full control and can see exactly what they are printing, and its cost. They can also go to a printer and cancel a job if they change their mind, saving them money.”
Nashua can remotely log into the software to check on the system or make any necessary changes, and assist agents if necessary. Godfrey comments, “Nashua’s technical staff are efficient and friendly, and when required, they are at our offices quickly. There is always service delivery, which is of utmost importance in our industry.”
“We love the cost recovery software – I would recommend it to anyone who wants to see what’s going on in their business, even if they’re not recharging costs,” says Godfrey. “Before I’d tried it I wasn’t sure, but once I saw one demo at Nashua’ offices I was completely convinced.”
“I’ve been at RE/MAX for 12 years and Nashua has been our supplier throughout,” says Godfrey. “We have an excellent relationship with Nashua, and they constantly go the extra mile with us.”
“When new products are available, which could help our business, they suggest them as a possible solution,” says Godfrey. “I’m approached on a weekly basis by someone trying to convince me to change providers, but I won’t deal with anyone except Nashua, because of their service delivery.”