Founded by the Heard and Corradi families in January 2018, Heard & Co. Real Estate is an independent boutique agency, specialising in residential sales throughout the Bendigo region. With years of experience in real estate and customer service behind them, the founders’ vision for the familyowned business is to offer a traditional approach to real estate, while using innovation to advantage, particularly where it allows them to devote more time to customer service.
Having made the decision to form a new company, founders Greg Heard and Justine Corradi, along with their spouses fitted out their premises in December 2017, opening the doors on 15th January 2018.
Justine says, “Because of our short time frame prior to opening and no knowledge of our expected printing and scanning quantities, we selected a device that would get us operational and the doors open. We realised not long after opening that our printer didn’t have A3 printing capabilities, which we needed for our property window cards. For a short time, we were outsourcing these at an extra cost to the business, until we purchased a second smaller unit just for A3 printing.”
“Between the two devices, the cost of replacement cartridges was quite significant, so we opted for non-genuine cartridges to save ourselves a bit of money, but then we found that the print and scanning quality wasn’t so good. The colours would differ between the two devices as well.”
Scanning was also an issue.
“If we were scanning documents backwards and forwards through the machine a couple of times, we noticed the signatures appeared dull, which is not what you want on a contract.” On top of poor quality, scanning with a device that wasn’t single-path was manually intensive, thus very time consuming. “We needed better options and something in place to grow with us.”
- Cost-effective printing – vital in a new business, and to enable in-house production of a variety of marketing materials.
- Sharp-quality printing – to best position properties for sale in flyers, brochures and window cards.
- Flexible sizes – one device able to do A4 and A3.
- Correct colours – for brand consistency and showing properties realistically.
Scanning and Document Management:
- Uniformly clear scan quality – critical with signatures on contracts and subsequent document scans
- Set document naming and filing process – to make finding files quick when dealing with customers, able to be done by any staff member.
- Archiving – easy retrieval for legal compliance.
- Speed – reduce lengthy time of manually scanning.
Viatek’s streamlined handling of Property Records for Real Estate:
- Making your digital records easier to file, find and become more secure.
- Your workplace becomes more efficient, saving you time & money so you can focus on more important things.
Justine says it was Viatek’s proactivity that “got the ball rolling”. “Not long after we opened, a representative from Viatek popped into our office just to say, ‘I see you guys are new, here’s my card’. I said because we were literally a new business and very conscious of our spending, we would work with the equipment we had for the near future. Then with the issues, we were having, we’d been talking about perhaps upgrading. I hadn’t had time to actually look around, but the rep popped back in a couple of months later, so we started talking about what Viatek could do.”
After surveying Heard & Co.’s needs, Viatek proposed a business solution to handle the agency’s in-house printing and document-management. The highly innovative technology encompasses copy, print, scan, single-pass scanning, scan delivery and documentscanning software.
Viatek’s streamlined handling of Property Records has given Heard & Co. benefits across many areas:
- Scanning time slashed by 80% – the manually intensive scanning process previously took 3 minutes, it now takes less than 30 seconds.
- Customised folders and set file names suit Heard & Co.’s specific file-management needs.
- Standardised work process – all documents are scanned and electronically filed the same way, no matter which staff member has completed the work, making document retrieval easy for current work or archive checking for compliance.
- Highly cost-effective printing – enables all marketing materials to be handled in-house.
- High quality printing and scanning – results in a highly professional, true-colour finish for printed items; and clear, easily legible scanned documents.
- Managed Service Agreement reduces device operation costs and time in staff needing to seek and procure consumables.
All printing – window cards, detailed A3 brochures for particular properties and flyers are easily handled in-house, saving time in outsourcing to print plus the cost of this printing, while also resulting in a highly professional finish. “The print quality is really, really good. The colours come out as they’re meant to be. We now print our window cards in house, with only a few simple steps we have a quality document that looks like it has been professionally printed.” Cost wise, Justine says they certainly notice the difference. “This is so affordable. Before, because it was costing us so much money to replace the cartridges, we’d choose to print in black and white when we probably wanted to print colour. Now because it’s so affordable, we print in colour because it looks more professional.” “We put this solution in June; in November none of the cartridges have been replaced, yet we’re printing more than we did before. That certainly says something.”
The process now takes five steps and 30 seconds or less, replacing a 14-step, three-minute process.
SCANNING AND DOCUMENT MANAGEMENT
Scanning wise, Heard & Co. has benefited from time savings with a structured, streamlined process and vast quality improvements.
“We scan a lot of our documents like contracts, and the scanning is really good quality; it keeps it nice and sharp. It has also really just saved us so much time.”
“If we just scan one document, it’s probably easier to scan it to our emails and then save it from there, but when you’re talking about pages and pages going to the same property file, it’s much easier to do it through the scanning solution. The back-end setup has pre-set particular names for documents, so we just select the property file, then the particular document type – say a section 32 – hit ‘scan’ and it is delivered directly into that file path. Before, we were scanning to our emails, finding the document, renaming it, moving it, then we had another step to uploaded it to our CRM software.”
“Our office relies heavily on procedures and checklists, so it just makes that step so much easier. Everyone knows what to do, how the files are set up, and where to find them. It’s straightforward and there’s a lot less time standing at the printer.” The set nature of document handling also means that all staff – whether long-term or brand new – scan and file documents the same way. “And because this industry is highly regulated, we need to keep our documents in a specific way, not just for our own record keeping, but for auditing purposes too.”
“The communication was outstanding. Viatek set up the back-end scan solution off site and did all necessary testing before installing on site. I was kept up to date with time frames around delivery and installation.
“I like how we get a separate invoice for our printing costs and the rental. It gives us an exact figure for the month, and we have noted our printing costs have stayed around the same since we’ve had the machine – with a significant increase in colour printing. We’d already worked out that over a 12-month period, we are definitely saving money – and we’re definitely saving time.”
“We spoke to another company, but they weren’t very proactive. They popped in one day after we’d started the whole process with Viatek. Basically, we were so happy with the service that we had received already and were impressed with the package that Viatek were offering, that we didn’t keep looking. “Viatek have someone here in Bendigo for servicing, which was important. If something was to happen to the machine, someone would be here pretty much straight away, we wouldn’t be left waiting.”
Early in 2018, with their quickly increasing workload, Greg and Justine put on an administration officer for back-end sales support. Then in July, they employed a full-time sales consultant, bringing the staff to four. With plans to put on more staff as they continue to expand, Viatek’s streamlined handling of Property Records for Real Estate solution has the capability to grow with the business.