It’s rental service recruiting season – be very wary

Chicago’s rental services a/k/a apartment locators a/k/a apartment finders are looking forward to the annual seasonal uptick in rental activity, and advertising to fill positions with “unlimited earning potential.”

All of the firms boast that they have the largest number of listings, lead all the others in technology, offer the best commission split in the industry, invest heavily in hands-on training and provide a career path into a lucrative sales career. If you believe any of that, you’re an ideal candidate – and likely a perfect pigeon.

The firms will tell you that their average agent earned, say, $45K in the first year and top agents earn over $100K. They won’t tell you what percentage of their hires survived the first 90 days, or how many of those earned enough to pay for their cab fares or gas during that period. There’s lots more they won’t tell you: if you understood the reality of the business, you’d be unlikely to enter it. You’d be even less likely if you have a strong sense of personal ethics and knew how your future employer conducts his business.

What does it take for you to qualify? A smart phone and a GED and, as one self-described “elite brokerage” phrases it “No Felony Convictions.” Translation: we don’t care how many felony arrests you’ve had as long as they were dismissed on technicalities or pled down to misdemeanors.

If you’re determined to pursue that “unlimited earning potential,” do the following before deciding on a firm. Ask to speak with at least 3 agents at the firm, other than the owners, who have 5 or more years’ experience in the rental service business with that firm and have earned $100,000 or more for the past 3 years.

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