By Maddie Jostol
We talk a lot about making your brokerage more profitable, but it would be silly if we didn’t touch on the role that agent finances make on a brokerages’ success. How? Let’s quickly break it down: you know you need to retain more agents, agents are always searching for higher commissions, and many agents often struggle to run their business efficiently. Yes, the more smoothly an agent operates their business, the more money they make, and the happier they’ll be, resulting in them wanting to stay at and promote your brokerage. Sound complicated? Don’t worry, it’s not.
Here’s the bottom line: offer resources and recommendations that will help your agents run their business more effectively and it will pay off. The beauty of this is that it often takes very little (if any) time or funding from your brokerage. This can come in many different forms, such as specialized training, sphere selling education, marketing tools and resources, or assistance with tax filing.
Take accounting, for example (an area that many real estate agents struggle with). Too often, we hear the stories of the shoebox full of receipts or unorganized spreadsheets tracking expenses. The truth is, these practices result in a huge loss when it comes time to file taxes. All of the potential tax deductions that could’ve saved some serious cash are, instead, a blow to the wallet.
For a real estate agent, this is a big deal. It’s vital that they have a profitable, sustainable business in order to stick with the brokerage they know and love. When we came across QuickBooks Self-Employed, we instantly knew it was the perfect solution to these pain points. It’s an inexpensive, easy-to-use, reliable accounting solution built for independent contractors that saves agents time and money ($4,340/year on average, to be exact).
It made us wonder: why aren’t more brokerages recommending solutions like this to their agents? It costs the brokerage nothing to make these resources known, yet they often aren’t offering support outside of the standard.
Sure, educating your agents about tools like QuickBooks Self-Employed might not seem to benefit your business at the surface level, but remember that successful agents make successful brokerages. QuickBooks Self-Employed makes agents more efficient and helps them retain more of the money they make. Remember what we said about happy, money-making agents effecting your bottom line?
Provide your agents with what they need to be successful and you’ll find your brokerage more successful in turn.
Interested in learning more about QuickBooks Self-Employed? Agents can get QuickBooks Self-Employed for just $5/month. Take advantage of our exclusive discount here.
By Maddie Jostol
2018 is your year to not only reach, but to exceed your business goals. If you either a) didn’t set goals for 2018, or b) have already lost track of them, making you think that maybe you didn’t go about goal-setting in the best way, then this guide is for you. Goal-setting gives you direction. It ensures all of the work you’re doing serves a purpose. There is no one thing that you are doing to make your business reach its goals. There is no silver bullet for real estate agents. In reality, it’s an accumulation of things, which is why having goals in place is so important. It means all of those little things can map to something bigger and add up to success.
Make that money.
At the end of the day, you’re working to make money. There is no one-size-fits-all formula for how much a real estate agent (or anyone, for that matter) should make. Think about how much you need to make in order for this year’s work to be worth it. What is your time worth? How much time and effort are you planning to give? What pieces of your life do you need to fund and how much will you need to make in order to do that?
Once you take those questions into consideration, begin to form your financial goal for the year. Next, calculate your GCI (Gross Commissionable Income) goal. This is important as it’s directly relatable to the day-to-day progress you’re making. Each time you complete a transaction, you can see exactly where you are on your path towards your annual goal. If you’re a Moxi Engage user, be sure to input your GCI goal in your Moxi account. This way, you can easily see your goal reflected on your Moxi dashboard, as well as the progress you’re making towards it.
It’s really important to make your goals realistic and achievable. Of course, we encourage you to stretch yourself and reach for the stars, but make sure your goals are within reach. The last thing you want is to get discouraged and leave your goals behind altogether.
We’re all too familiar with the new year’s resolutions that fizzle out after a month or two. We’re hitting that point in the year when the gym is quieting down drastically after being packed for the last few months. Why? Because without a plan, it’s inherently difficult to follow through on your goals.
When goal-setting, consider the steps you’ll need to take to reach said goals. Write them down – even if it’s a rough list. This will not only help you gauge whether or not the goals you’re setting are realistic, but it will give you direction and get you on the right track as you set out to reach those goals.
Get your ducks in a row.
When your business runs smoothly, you’re better prepared to reach your goals. Part of goal setting should be getting the right systems in place for you to surpass those goals. As an agent, you are running your own business, which means accounting and tax filing take up time you could be using to close more deals. As independent contractors, most agents struggle with proper accounting since keeping your business finances sorted is such a pain. When it comes time to file taxes, you’re left sifting through a box of crumpled receipts and losing out on deductions because you didn’t have time to record and categorize everything.
QuickBooks Self-Employed helps independent contractors keep track of their finances all year, saving time and stress. When it comes time to file taxes, all of your expenses are auto-categorized to match your Schedule C and the average user saves $4,340 on taxes. With a snapshot of your business income vs. expenses, available on your app in real time, you always have a view of how your business is performing to ensure your goals are on track. Get a reliable system in place now! We’re offering 50% off your first year – check it out here.
By Maddie Jostol
As an independent contractor, you’re running your own business – and you experience all of the perks and challenges that come with that. Tax season isn’t fun for anyone, but it’s particularly frustrating as a 1099 independent contractor.
We all experience the same thing year over year. Tax season arrives, and it’s all you can do to pull everything together to file, let alone do it in a way that will save you money. You work through the endless forms, attempting to find all of the information you need. You get to the part where you need to fill in your Schedule C deductions… and… nothing. Another year went by and you don’t have the necessary documentation to deduct most of your business expenses. “Oh well” you think to yourself, “it’s not worth the time anyway.”
Here’s the deal: real estate agents are losing serious cash by neglecting to take advantage of available deductions.
The truth is, it’s incredibly time consuming to track your expenses, mileage, and deductions all year-round. And guess what? It isn’t as difficult as it sounds if you start early in the year. Below are a few things you can do to help yourself survive tax season as an independent contractor.
1. Know what deductions you should be looking out for.
The first step is knowing what deductions are available to you – and there are more than you might think. Things like your home office or software subscriptions are deductible expenses that you shouldn’t let slip through the cracks. Know what you should be looking out for, so you can get a system in place to track them year-round.
For a comprehensive list of deductions and information about each, click here to download our Guide to Stress-Free Taxes for Agents.
2. Track your expenses as they happen.
Receipts are every independent contractor’s worst enemy. Paper or digital, they’re a pain to keep track of and they’re difficult to organize when it comes time to file those taxes.
Consider a simple personal accounting system like QuickBooks Self-Employed. This app lets you snap a pic of a receipt from directly within the app and it automatically categorizes and stores that receipt. It then matches the receipt with the expense when it comes through as a bank charge. When it comes time to file, all of those business expenses have been tracked, categorized for your Schedule C, and documented appropriately. You can officially say goodbye to that mismanaged shoebox of receipts.
Mileage tracking is one you definitely won’t want to miss. You’re always on the go. Some days it feels like you live in your car – you’re running errands before an open house, picking up signage, meeting with clients, and having coffee with prospective clients.
When you have the QuickBooks Self-Employed app, it tracks your mileage every time you get in your car (seriously!). You can then go into your app, view your recent trips, and swipe left or swipe right to designate those trips as business or personal. Yes, it can be that easy (we didn’t believe it until we tried it either). Easier than a dating app, even.
3. Don’t do it alone.
Get a reliable system in place. As much as we’d like to do it all ourselves, the reality is it takes time and energy that we’d rather put into closing sales. At the same time, there are thousands of dollars to be saved by efficiently managing your business finances. When you get technology on your side, it takes away the weight and frustration of accounting and tax filing.
The best part of this is that you don’t need a complex, expensive system, you just need one that is designed for 1099 independent contractors. That’s the key. Use an accounting system that fits your unique needs as a realtor and helps you run your business more smoothly.
Want to give QuickBooks Self-Employed a try? We’re offering 50% off your first 12 months (that makes it just $5/month!). Click here to try it out!
By Maddie Jostol
Taxes are a pain. Real estate agents face unique challenges as independent contractors because you’re running your own small business. This makes taxes an even bigger pain.
It’s really common for agents to miss out on deductions because the tax filing process is so time consuming and frustrating. Especially when you file on a quarterly basis, the accounting responsibilities of running your small business start to take over. Have you ever thought about how much savings you’re missing out on because you didn’t take full advantage of the deductions available to you?
A few of the many deductions to look out for:
– Mileage tracking
– Business-related technology subscription fees
– Meals and entertainment when you meet with clients
– Home office (or desk fees)
We’re going to focus on mileage tracking because that seems to be a common one for agents to miss out on. We understand why… it’s a huge annoyance to write down your mileage and then remember what that trip was for later on. We all end up with endless images of our car dashboard on our phone. That’s not exactly what you want to see as you’re scrolling through photos of your niece’s soccer game last weekend. When it comes time to file your taxes, it isn’t even worth trying to sift through pictures and records of trips you took for business. That means you’re missing out on some hefty deductions, though.
The good news? There’s a better way. We came across QuickBooks Self-Employed a few months back and realized it’s the perfect tool for busy agents. It’s an accounting tool built specifically for independent contractors, so it tracks your mileage for you so you don’t miss out on any deductions. Tracking your mileage and filing your taxes has never been easier… trust us.
When you have QuickBooks Self-Employed downloaded on your smartphone, it will track your trip every time you drive (yes, it knows when you’re in the car). Go into your app, scan your recent trips, and simply swipe left for business or right for personal. QuickBooks Self-Employed will categorize those expenses accordingly, making tax filing a piece of cake.
It also tracks and categorizes your expenses, making filing Schedule C deductions easy, you can also snap a photo and file away receipts, and see a snapshot of your business finances at any time.
Want to try out QuickBooks Self-Employed? Users are finding an average of $4,340 in tax savings per year. Since they’re a partner of ours, we’re offering you 50% off your first year. Click here for more details and to get set up!
You can also find out more about QuickBooks Self-Employed below: