In the highly competitive mortgage brokerage business, where it's grow or die, Cannondale Financial has found the secret to growth: Hire telecommuters. John Reyes, Managing Director of Cannondale Financial, says he hires people in the states where he wants to do business. They work from home and originate loans in their territories, enabling Cannondale Financial to establish a local presence in multiple states, without the expense of opening and maintaining brick-and-mortar offices. This strategy has helped Wilton, Connecticut-based Cannondale cost-effectively expand into New York, New Jersey and Massachusetts. The strategy is paying off. "My volume has increased 50%," says Reyes. "These are loans we would not have originated if I didn't have these [telecommuters] working for me."

To make the strategy work, Cannondale Financial decided to equip remote workers with the capability to provide fast local service, while communicating quickly and easily with the company's headquarters. Cannondale turned to Telecommute CT! for help with analyzing their telephony and technology needs. One of the recommendations the company has adopted is use of a centralized virtual voice mail system. "Each person has an extension here [at headquarters]," says Reyes. "When they get a message, they're paged. When they are in their remote office, they stop forwarding calls to our system and retrieve their messages. It's much less costly than setting up a separate voice mail system in each employee's home."

Currently, Cannondale employs two telecommuting loan originators in New York, and one each in New Jersey and Massachusetts. The company has spent approximately $2,000 per employee equipping each with a PC, a multifunction copier/printer/fax machine, and two or three communications lines. "It's not expensive," Reyes explained. "And, once an individual gets that first loan done, we break even on the equipment."

By offering telecommuting, Cannondale has been able to attract people with the skills and talents required to sell mortgages. Many of their telework recruits had been in the business but stopped for family reasons, such as caring for children. "Telecommuting is an excellent recruiting tool," says Reyes. "People came on board because they were amenable to the idea of working at home," says Reyes. "They liked the flexibility, and those are the people we were looking for."

Telecommuting has made it possible for Cannondale to offer better compensation than his competition. "Because my loan originators [work at home], my overhead is lower. I don't have to open offices elsewhere. And because my overhead is lower than brick and mortar companies, I can offer more commission."

Telecommuting has Reyes developing ambitious plans for the future. "I'd like to go to a new state every year," says Reyes.

For a no-cost analysis of how your company could benefit from telecommuting, contact Jim Lush at 1-800-255-7433, or e-mail [email protected]