Speaking at the PLAN Australia National Conference in Perth, Sharene Dearlove, broker and owner of outsourcing business iLoad Loans, discussed how brokers can run their businesses more efficiently by outsourcing.
“I was due to have surgery in 2017 and could not find an outsourcing business I felt in tune with,” Ms Dearlove said.
“As luck would have it, I phoned iLoad Loans, a business I had used in the past and found they were no longer operating, so I decided to buy them.”
Ms Dearlove, the daughter of one of the very first brokers in South Australia, Val Nipperess, followed her mother into the industry in 1988 on a part-time basis and wrote her first loan in 1994. She then moved to Port Augusta and set up as a sole trader.
Since buying the outsourcing business, she still occasionally writes loans for family and long-standing clients, but she primarily focuses on the new venture, which has experienced significant growth since it started out and now employs eight staff in Canberra, Adelaide and Brisbane.
“I like to write a loan from time to time to keep my hand in,” Ms Dearlove said. “It is also a good way to see the pain points for brokers in the current environment and come up with new ideas on ways we can help them.”
Her company offers a broad range of services, including loan processing, client communications, data entry and temporary staff cover for brokers who are taking leave.
Ms Dearlove said that in recent months, she has also been fielding an increasing number of calls from brokers seeking help with compliance.
“The regulatory environment has certainly seen interest in outsourcing rise,” the iLoad Loans owner said.
“It can be really hard when you are in a broker’s chair and your strengths lie in servicing your clients. Getting all the background work done is just an extra load on top of that. We can help to streamline processes and ease the additional burden of extra paperwork and compliance, as it is something we do every day of the week.”
Ms Dearlove, who has been a PLAN Australia member since 2000, said that the aggregator’s partnership managers have been extremely supportive of her new business.
“They have definitely helped us to grow, by recognising the need for their brokers to have an outsourcing option and introducing us to members, as well as helping us to create efficiencies using [PLAN CRM system] Podium,” Ms Dearlove said.
Ms Dearlove said that, despite having employees based in multiple locations, she has focused on building a team spirit within her business, and the team communicates several times a day by phone, social media and collaboration tool Slack.
“Often my team know the names of the brokers we work with, their kids’ names and what they are doing at the weekend, which I think is really important,” the owner said. “My goal is to achieve the level of collaboration you would get if you were all in the same office.”
Ms Dearlove also keeps an eye on the latest tools and apps that can help brokers to run their businesses more efficiently.
“I am always looking for new ways to help brokers streamline their processes. Many brokers know what they need to do but don’t have time to do it, so we can implement these types of tools into their businesses for them,” Ms Dearlove said.
Finding the right outsourcing partner
For brokers who are considering seeking help from an outsourcing business, Ms Dearlove has a few tips.
“Know what you want to get out of it and be aware that a good handover brings a good outcome.
“I would also say don’t be afraid of making a change. If your business needs extra support, test the waters and give it a try.”