What is the role of a consultant in the rental housing industry? There are two main roles for consultants.
The first role is to assemble information for clients. These days, this is mostly done using the internet, including Google maps, MLS, CMHC, Statistics Canada, and other online sources of information. This role does not involve any significant analysis or interpretation of the information assembled, other than presenting it to the client in a format which is clear, concise, complete, and user-friendly. This role is mostly passive and in the future much of it will be standardized and ultimately automated.
The second role involves generating and manipulating information on behalf of clients, and has two parts. The first part is to generate new information using in-the-field research, hands-on creation and refinement of databases and analysis tools, and leveraging personal contacts with industry players to obtain information. The second part is to interpret information for clients and to suggest conclusions and actionable recommendations. Both parts of this second role are much more active and require experience and expertise which is difficult to standardize, automate, or offshore.
What skills or attributes do consultants need to accomplish these roles successfully? The first role is relatively straightforward and as long as consultants are thorough and careful in their data collection, handling, and presentation they should be able to satisfy their clients, maintain a good reputation, and stay busy. The second role, however, is much more complex and demanding for consultants. This role requires experience, knowledge, problem solving, and professionalism, attributes which not every consultant possesses or will be able to acquire without spending years in the industry in a variety of roles. I think these four attributes are important for consultants to possess if they’re going to pursue work in the rental housing industry, so I’m going to take a closer look at each of these in a series of posts in the future. Stay tuned!