As ride-sharing – or ride-hailing – services like Grab (and the recently-bought-over Uber) become increasingly common as a means of transport in the Klang Valley and other major cities in Malaysia, more people are turning to driving as a means to supplement their income (#2kerja, anyone?), or even going full-time as ride-sharing drivers. So why do real estate agents make great drivers for these platforms? As it turns out, both occupations share a lot of similarities on the road (pun intended) to success.

#1 Flexible schedules
As a real estate agent, you don’t work office hours – you show up at office occasionally for paperwork but the rest of the time, you’re on a non-traditional work schedule due to viewings, open houses, meetings, and any number of appointments that are out of the usual 9-to-5 timetable. For a Grab or Uber driver, some of the busiest times are during the evenings on nights and weekends when people are out and about for social events. As a real estate agent, you also have to work around the schedules of your clients, which usually means working some nights and weekends to accommodate their needs. In fact, it’s no surprise to find real estate agents who take ride requests between viewings as a means to supplement their income and to pass time between appointments.

#2 Being a people person
In your line of work, meeting strangers from all walks of life is part of the job description. Likewise, accepting ride requests from strangers via a mobile app is similar. If you’re doing real estate for a living, you are definitely personable enough to have a conversation with riders from different backgrounds to earn good ratings. It is well-documented that people do business with people they like. This is true in any field. If you’re likable, you’ll do more business.

#3 Street smart (literally)
Whether you need to get to a school, shopping mall, cafe, or housing area, Grab and Uber drivers know their way around town. (Even if they don’t, Waze is always there to help.) It’s the same story with real estate agents. If your job is to drive around town to pick people up, drop people off, tour different areas or check out property, it looks very similar from the perspective of a ride-sharing driver and a real estate agent. Besides that, if you’re on the road most of the time, you’ll likely have a good idea of which areas have new projects coming up, the progress of various developments, and what areas are more/less popular among local residents.

#4 Meeting strangers is part of the job
The hardest part of the real estate business is finding new clients. It’s NOT about learning the housing inventory or real estate laws (although you do need to have an idea of what’s legal and illegal). New clients don’t just knock on your door, so you’ll need to be proactive and go out to find them. What better than a job that allows you to have conversations with random strangers in an area you are familiar with? This way, you will inevitably find people who are thinking about buying or selling their property.

#5 Lots of patience
Dealing with clients take a lot of patience. When people are in the middle of a real estate transaction, they can be sensitive at times. Likewise, when customers are running late and frustrated due to things that you cannot control (traffic, buggy app, roadblocks, accidents, etc), you learn to take it in stride and try to make the best of it. Learning to have patience and not to take anything personally is a skill that transfers well from real estate agents to drivers.

Do you think you have what it takes to be a real estate agent or ride-sharing driver? Heck, why not be BOTH? 😛