We live in an era of virtual assistants and delegation in the search of the “4-hour work week”. While there are some things you can assign to others, much of what’s needed to make good decisions in RV park investing can only come from your own experiences and information derivation. So what can you outsource and what do you need to actively be involved in? That’s the topic of this RV Park Mastery podcast.
Episode 63: If You Can’t Trust Your Information Then You Can’t Trust Your Decisions Transcript
0:00:31.9 Frank Rolfe: In 2007, a guy brought out a book called The Four-Hour Work Week, and suddenly all Americans became obsessed with trying to get by using any method other than their own sweat and labor. This is Frank Rolfe, the RV Park Mastery Podcast. The issue you have when you adopt the methods of delegation, virtual assistants and the like is at certain points you can't trust your decisions because you don't trust your information. It makes complete sense. If we don't really believe the facts that we make decisions from, then we're not gonna be comfortable making those decisions, so it then begs the question, in an RV park and an RV park buying, what can you delegate versus what can't you delegate? What can you delegate and still make good decisions, and what things do you have to do yourself to make good decisions? Well, let's start off with when you're looking at buying an RV park, you could definitely delegate to somebody a virtual assistant to try and build you the direct mail list. How do you do that? Well, all you do is take the area of America you're interested in, pull up all the RV parks that exist in that area off Google, get the address to all those parts, and then go to the tax assessors database, which will tell you the order and address of each of them.
0:01:44.6 Frank Rolfe: It's not rocket science, it's pretty simple. So as far as building that raw list, there's no reason a virtual assistant or any type of assistant could not help you in building your direct mail list of RV parks to hit, and the same with the cold calling list, all you do is take the direct mail list, which has the name of the owner and the address, and then there are other websites you can go to like switchboard.com, where you can put in that person's name and address and up pops their phone number. So once again, it's not hard to delegate building the cold call list, and you'll be comfortable with your decision because if you contact them, they don't know and it will tell you so. So those are both things that can be very easily delegated. Next, getting a loan. In the world of loan brokers, which are pretty prevalent in the RV park industry today, you don't have to be the one that goes around to find the banks, you don't have to be the one to negotiate the terms, you can have people do that for a fee, the fee is typically a percent of the amount of the loan.
0:02:45.0 Frank Rolfe: Now, whether you're trying to get an SBA loan, a traditional bank loan, a conduit loan, it doesn't matter, there are those out there who will get the loan for you and to be honest with you, they often do a far better job than you would. So this is one case where a delegation is gonna be better than you doing it yourself. Now, they still provide you the information and you make the decision on which bank to go with, they're not gonna turn key, put it all together, sign the papers for you, no. But they will come back to you and say, "Okay, well, here are the options, lender one, lender two, lender three. Here's how much they'll loan, here's the interest rate, all the information you need to know to make a good decision." So you can, again, completely delegate often getting the loan for the RV park. Also, you can definitely delegate on-site management.
0:03:29.2 Frank Rolfe: Now, it'll still need your supervision, which we'll come to in a minute. But there's no reason that you have to be the on-site manager of your RV park unless you want to. Now, many people who buy RV parks like the idea of self-managing it, and in fact, many of the best RV parks in America, including the largest RV Park in the United States down in Myrtle Beach, they all self-manage. But most RV parks, not all, but most RV parks have some form of delegated on-site management. And there's no reason you can't do that and succeed at that. The business model is not that complicated, there are all kinds of online tools today that allow you to keep control almost as though as you're in the property at all times.
0:04:11.0 Frank Rolfe: So once again, now you can delegate that on-site manager and you can still make good decisions, 'cause you can see everything through text and photos or videos or HD videos, any number of resources will allow you to manage that on site manager and still feel completely fine in decision-making. And then there's accounting and tax preparation, most people delegate that. I don't have any accounting ability at all. So for my very first property, what's the first thing I did? I found an accountant who could do all of the books for me, track everything, write all the bills. Accounting and tax preparation, the folks who work in that arena are pretty no-nonsense, and I've never really seen a bad one. I'm sure they are out there, but all the accountants I've ever worked with in my entire business career have all been on the ball and I've never had any issues. So there's again, something you can definitely delegate is to make good decisions, but what can you not delegate that some people ponder that they can, but you really shouldn't because it will screw you up when it comes to making smart decisions. Well, the first one is talking to sellers. Now, you can delegate someone to build your direct mail list and your cold call list.
0:05:17.7 Frank Rolfe: Yes, that's not a problem. But you have to make the calls or you have to respond to anyone who calls in off that direct mail piece. Additionally, you have to be the one who talks to all of the RV park brokers. And you're definitely the one who needs to talk to the sellers. Why is that? Because that is such a refined art that you cannot rely on others, that you would delegate that to to do nearly as good a job as you would. And in many cases, you had a perfect seller who would be willing to sell at the price you'd wanna pay, but you blew the whole deal because rather than you taking the time to talk to them, you delegated it to somebody else who wasn't as good as you. I always say in the RV park industry, there's arts and sciences. Now, the sciences are more easily delegate-able, but the arts or not. If you are a skilled people person who can talk to people, get the job done, get deals struck, you'll be far superior to someone that you delegate to some kind of assistant who probably does not have those kinds of skills.
0:06:12.6 Frank Rolfe: Next, the due diligence. Now, this one confuses people. They say, "Well, gosh, there are people out there I could hire to do due diligence." Okay, that is true. But are you really gonna trust their input to make your final decision? That's the tough part. Most people who are buying the RV park, they need to know the lay of the land. They can't just send someone else out there to do it and then feel smart about them making the decision themselves because they won't have any confidence in it. So if you wanna delegate some of the diligence, you can do that. If you just lay out the pieces and say, "Okay, we need to get these 30 items in diligence." Yes, there are some out there that you can delegate to other people to do, but you still have to watch over the herd and there are some more delicate issues that you should definitely be doing the diligence on yourself. Also making the decision to buy, the actual big decision, pulling the trigger, signing it up, writing the check, you can't delegate that, that final decision is gonna be the sum of all of the bits of information that you've seen on the deal since the onset.
0:07:14.5 Frank Rolfe: And there's no way you will feel good about signing that paper, going to the title company, write them a big check unless you have enough input to make that good decision, it's just a fact of life. On the big decisions in life, you can't delegate them, you can't delegate your choice of a career, you can't really delegate your choice of a spouse and you shouldn't delegate your choice of the RV park.
0:07:37.6 Frank Rolfe: Next, negotiating seller financing, or small town bank financing or anything where you and not a broker is involved in trying to obtain the loan, you really cannot delegate that. Banks loan on one of two items, character or collateral and then to some degree, both. Character revolves around you, you're the borrower. They can't judge having some other third person in there, some assistant whether they have the correct character they wanna entrust the bank's money to or not. So as a result, you really have to be the active player, you have to be the one that talks to the seller, who talks to the bank. Why? Because you're the borrower and they wanna get to know you, they wanna bond with you, they wanna know what you are all about. So as a result, it's impossible to succeed in getting a seller note drafted and done, or a bank note drafted and done, unless you are the active party negotiating it, 'cause they wanna see you, you're the face of that deal, and they wanna know who you are. And then just generally being responsible for the business.
0:08:38.0 Frank Rolfe: Now, there are management companies you can hire out there, but they'll never do as good a job as you can. Most of them will be honest not to tell you that on the front end. So if you wanna make great decisions on running the business, you have to be a more active participant in what's going on.
0:08:50.8 Frank Rolfe: Now, I don't mean you have to be out there every day. I'm not saying you have to be out there to answer questions with residents, somewhere [0:08:55.4] ____ a bag of potato chips and that kind of a thing, but there's only one person who will be truly number one in their mind at all times on how the business is flowing and that is you. You at all times, have to be the captain of the ship, you have to be at the helm, you have to make all the decisions 'cause it's your investment, your property. You have the skin in the game, your assistant does not. So you can't make good decisions unless you have your hand on at least all of the different controls and an eye on all the different controls in the background at all times. Now, if you use technology correctly, if you manage the systems, you can operate the RV park on a very, very small amount of time in the background. Most people spend no more than four hours a week. That's not much time. We probably spend more than four hours a week right now watching NFL games. In that same amount of time, you could own an RV park and do a good job with it and make good decisions. But the bottom line is, there are some things you can delegate and some things you can't delegate, and you'll never be able to make good decisions unless you trust your information. This is Frank Rolfe with the RV Park Mastery Podcast. I hope you enjoyed this. Talk to you again soon.