Improving efficiencies and reducing costs are the key drivers for UK estate agents’ success in 2024.

In terms of efficiency, it will be the agents who are best equipped with outstanding staff – and who invest in up-to-date technology that streamlines lead generation, CRM, marketing, and property management-who will fare best in next year’s challenging property market.

Yet, hiring can be time-consuming and expensive for estate agents. Taking on extra staff seemingly flies in the face of reducing costs. What are some of the time and money factors that must be considered when taking on an additional staff member?

1. Calculating the true cost to company

Employing a new staff member costs way more than just their salary. According to the British Business Bank*, the true cost-to-company for the first year of a new member of staff’s employment is approximately £62,890-with their calculation based on the average annual UK salary of £27,600. Business owners need to factor in recruitment costs and various additional, ongoing expenses such as national insurance, pension contributions and benefits to calculate the true cost of taking on a new employee in the UK. Plus, if the employee is working in the office part- or full-time there is the cost of setting up a workstation. Other factors like sick pay, various types of leave and paying overtime must also be factored in.

2. National Living Wage and London Living Wage increases in 2024

To make the decision to take on additional employees even more financially challenging, the National Living Wage is set to increase by approximately 9.8% in April 2024 – up from £10,42 to £11.44. When looked at as a compounded increase over two years, this constitutes a 20.4% increment as compared to the National Living Wage in 2022. Meanwhile, the discretionary London Living Wage (covering all the boroughs in Greater London) will rise from £11.95 to £13.15 in 2024. This is £1.71 more per hour than the National Living Wage and is designed to reflect the higher costs employees face if they work in London.

3. Evaluating the time cost of recruitment

The hiring process, when recruitment is done thoroughly and well, typically takes four to six weeks from sourcing candidates to identifying the best person for the job. Quality candidates are likely to be currently employed. In this case the successful candidate will have to give four weeks or a calendar months’ notice before taking up their new position. From start to finish, this means a company will have spent about 3 months from the time at which they identified a need to onboarding a new employee. The worst possible outcome is when the new employee does not work out and the process must start all over again.

Virtual Assistants are more than just administrators.

The good news is that taking on a Virtual Assistant provides all the benefits that having exceptional employees brings – without having to bear added costs beyond their monthly salary.

Virtual Assistants should not be pigeon-holed as outsourced administrators. They are highly experienced, technologically advanced professionals with a variety of skills to suit any estate agents’ needs – from operations and property management to social media management, marketing and bookkeeping. They are also great at administration. For around the same hourly rate as the 2024 National Living Wage, a Virtual Assistant with several years of appropriate experience (and a positive, can-do attitude) will take on very important, yet time-consuming tasks. They improve efficiency and free up estate agents’ time so they can focus on critical tasks. And because they work remotely, there is no need to purchase furniture and office equipment, or to worry about higher utility bills or renting a larger office space.

* (Sourced from the office of national statistics,,