Melissa Hickson had been working in property management for years, and she knew there was a gap in the market.
“Most real estate agents are run by a sales agent, but I knew the area would benefit from a property management business that was run by a property manager. Someone who provided exceptional service and genuinely cared about their clients.”
Focussing on investors primarily in Melbourne’s western corridor, Melissa has built such a company from the ground up.
“We've been running for just under three years, but in that time we’ve expanded from our main office in Point Cook, and opened a second location in the city.
“Having 18 years’ experience, I already tackled every property management role you can imagine: receptionist, assistant, property manager, BDM, team leader. Having never run a business before there was still a learning curve. But I have focused on becoming the expert in my field and building relationships with my referral partners, which is where most of my business has come from.”
Leveraging social media
Melissa has also been maximising the tools at her disposal, particularly with her online presence.
“I use social media and Google Reviews as a growth platform for my business, which positions me as the expert within my area. We’ve got over 100 five-star Google Reviews, and I know I can’t keep that record if my service isn’t up to standard. At the end of the day, it's just a lot of hard work. I've put blood, sweat and tears into my business.”
Giving back to the community
While Prime Residential Property Management oversees properties across Melbourne, their focus on the Wyndham and Point Cook communities has only strengthened their network.
“We've got a school that we sponsor locally for Easter and Christmas, which has been really nice and opened a lot of doors for us. With the new changes in legislation coming into Victoria, we will be running a series of investor nights for local investors. This won’t be just for our clients, but for any private owner or investor, to help them get their head around the new rules.”
Taking control of her super
Knowing the rules around her superannuation, too, has served her well. When a previous employer failed to make her superannuation guarantee contributions, she knew she had to take action. Melissa rang the fund helpline, and the Customer Service team worked with her to determine what had happened. From then on, she had more active role in her super.
“I spoke to one of the financial advisors about my investments and insurance. Because I have investment properties myself, I knew I needed enough insurance to cover those, and to make sure my husband was the nominated beneficiary.”
The REIV, with which REI Super has had a longstanding partnership, has also been supportive of Melissa’s success.
“I’ve been a member of the REIV since I started working as an agent, and that has continued with my new business. Their support and advice have been invaluable. Dave at the help desk is always available for a chat, and Leah Calnan, the President, has been amazing with providing updates on all the recent changes. As a member of REIV I know I have access to the most accurate information, and I can share it with my clients in turn.”
Melissa’s success hasn’t gone unnoticed, either. She won the REIV Business Development Manager of the Year Award in 2019 and 2020.
“I’m very proud of being an REIV member, and winning these awards has been all the more gratifying.”
For many, striking out on their own can be a daunting experience, but for Melissa, it has been worth it.
“Being a business owner, I've met so many amazing people that I never would have met if I was just an employee of another company.”
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