Sharing an Assistant

If you’re a mid-level producer, you might be concerned about the cost of hiring an assistant. One way to make the costs more reasonable is to split the salary — and the assistant’s time — with another salesperson.

Practitioners who’ve done this recommend that you schedule the assistant to work full days for each person, such as Mondays and Wednesdays for one and Tuesdays and Thursdays for the other, alternating Fridays. Working half days for each person poses continuity problems. For instance, calls the assistant makes in the morning might get returned in the afternoon when the assistant has moved on to your colleague’s business. It’s also important to agree to handle exceptions to the schedule in case of emergencies or vacations. Successful sharing requires planning and flexibility, but a sharing arrangement might be valuable if you want to test the waters with a personal assistant.

Other practitioners strongly advise against sharing an assistant. If the assistant increases both salespeople’s volume — which is what a good assistant should do — then the assistant may not be able to handle the increased workload. At that point, you’ll each need your own assistant anyway. (In fact, if your volume is high enough, say more than $10 million, you might even need multiple assistants.)

"The tripwire in sharing an assistant," says former assistant Kristina Garcia of RE/MAX Executive Group in Kissimmee, Fla., "is which salesperson and which project takes priority in a crunch. The division of time isn’t equitable.” With two different bosses, the person has to constantly switch projects and work styles.

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