Get Real Estate Podcast

SentriLock and the Regional Lockbox Consortium with Nicole Schlosser and Mark Feinroth

November 09, 2021 Maryland REALTORS® Episode 16
Get Real Estate Podcast
SentriLock and the Regional Lockbox Consortium with Nicole Schlosser and Mark Feinroth
Show Notes Transcript

This episode Chief Executive Officer Chuck Kasky is joined by SentriLock's Vice President of Operations and General Counsel, Nicole Schlosser, and Maryland REALTORS®' Director of Political Advocacy, Mark Feinroth, to discuss the history of the Regional Lock Box Consortium (RLC), SentriLock's latest safety features, accessing lockboxes in remote areas, and updates on how the pandemic has effected the supply chain.

For more information please visit: www.mdrealtor.org or www.sentrilock.com 

Speaker 1:

Lockboxes, maybe it's not the spiciest topic we've discussed on this program, but it's one that touches every one of our members virtually every day , because there are significant changes coming to this space. We thought it was a good time to provide an update to our members. Probably won't surprise you to find out there's a Wikipedia page on lockboxes and it actually states it real estate lock box is a padlock shaped box that generally hangs around the door knob of a house that is on the market. The device holds the keys to a house to allow communal access. I love that phrase, communal access for all real estate agents while continuing to keep them secure permission is generally required. I love that too generally required from the seller who is the owner to install such a device on the door that doesn't tell us very much not so helpful. There's also a sentence on that page about technological advances, which we will definitely explore today, given how far we've come from the days of the old combo boxes, which we know some of which are still in use today. Hello, I'm Chuck cascade , Maryland realtor, CEO, and you're listening to get real estate, the Maryland realtors podcast joining me today to discuss the past present and future of lockboxes in Maryland are first of all, mark fine Roth director of political advocacy for Maryland realtors. Welcome mark.

Speaker 2:

Thanks very much. Chuck, happy to be with you today.

Speaker 1:

Also with us Nicole flosser, vice president of operations, general counsel for our last box provider central law . Nicole leads the teams that interact with you every day . She's been with central ox since February of 2021. And before that spent 20 plus years at a fortune 100 company leading various operations teams. Thanks for being here, Nicole,

Speaker 3:

Thank you so much for having me excited

Speaker 1:

To get started. Yeah. So mark, let's just go a little bit of history of the lockbox in Maryland, something you had no idea you were going to end up owning the lockbox consortium, the buying consortium, penis , a picture, how that developed , what kind of hurdles did you have getting that in place? What are the benefits to the membership about that and where does it stand as of today?

Speaker 2:

So , um , not long after I joined Maryland realtors back in the days when we were the Maryland association of realtors in 2003, our then president Alan Ingram asked if I would lead up and staff, the group of individuals they're trying to address a longstanding kind of frustration with electronic lockboxes in thousand three, 2004. And that frustration was about the lack of inability to kind of move seamlessly through the many different jurisdictions in and around Maryland, for our members who wanted to practice throughout the state of Maryland and an end to DC and across the river into Northern Virginia and our provider back then had been promising us for a long time that we would have a seamless ability to travel between those jurisdictions. And in fact, what we really ended up having was just three or four of the jurisdictions for each individual subscriber who could kind of go from Montgomery county to prince George's county or into DC. And if they wanted to go to Howard county or to Baltimore, they had a download new software. They had a fax, the old technology was to fax their requests to change jurisdictions. They had to drop one and add one to , in order to go to a fourth jurisdiction. And that had been the case for quite a long time. And our members had just kinda gotten sick and tired of that , that difficulty, our staff had really gotten fed up with having to manage all that paperwork and all the changes that were required. And the idea was simply from Alan Graham . Our president at the time was to try to bring the group together between all the local associations together and the DC folks and the Northern Virginia folks. And see if we could come up together with a set of specifications for a growing , uh, proving electronic lockbox system. And at the time there were only two or three national vendors who were developing , uh , and working towards a much better product that was going to give us the kind of service that we wanted. So together we all kind of pulled together the 15 or so Maryland jurisdictions and the district of Columbia and a few folks from Northern Virginia, we pulled together the specifications bid out a contract and the successful vendor was this brand new company back in 2003, 2004, 2005 called central lock. And it was before the national realtors have kind of bought into the technology of electronic lockboxes. We all knew that that was offering a better, more secure, safer sort of process. And we could see that the technology was growing so that we would have the kind of seamless ability to move between jurisdictions that we've sought for such a long time. Central lock has been our vendor since 2005. We incorporated the group back in 2005, calling it the regional lockbox consortium. And the idea then was simply to kind of pull together a coalition of local associations to buy a lock boxes and the contract for services of those electronic lock boxes to do it together so that we get the best possible price, best possible service and the best possible product to use. As we were kind of developing an electronic lockbox network in and around Maryland and now kind of grown over time with a couple of different iterations of regional contracts. We now extend north to York and Adams county in Pennsylvania, west into Eastern panhandle of West Virginia and south as far south as North Carolina futuristic, she's a North Carolina, we have 32 33 local associations with better than a hundred thousand realtors that subscribe to the service through the RLC and the local associations that joined the company. And in doing business with central lock the entire time, we've been very happy with central lock. There , there have been issues and problems over the years, but we've always been able to because of our size, because we grouped together and negotiated together. We've always been one of the important vendors from central ox point of view. They acquires those services. So that's what we did. We kind of pulled together there , a political and legal kind of organization to negotiate for services and equipment. And it's been a great boon to our members all this time. We've gradually gotten better at providing that seamless real estate service to kind of move between jurisdictions in our mid Atlantic region.

Speaker 1:

That really is a giant success story. And there were some really significant legal hurdles to overcome. We won't get into that into the weeds too far, but there clearly were antitrust issues. So the RLC creates the template for the negotiations, I guess, but the bottom line is each local board at some point has a role. Is that how we got around the antitrust issues

Speaker 2:

Negotiated a master contract and you see the local associations entered into their direct con contract with central lock , adopted their own rules and regulations that are own decisions about reciprocity, how they would allow their members to acquire services in nearby. And sometimes far away far-flung jurisdictions to acquire, you know, access to properties for sale that they were , they were licensed to provide real estate brokerage. We wanted them. And really for the most part, they are able to acquire access to those electronic lockboxes provided they've got a real estate license in those jurisdictions,

Speaker 1:

Nicole, for the scale. Uh , I don't think it's the largest buyers group, but it's one of them. Is that right?

Speaker 3:

It is one of them. It is definitely one of our top customers. And we appreciate all that they've done. And their faith that they've put into century lock as we've grown together as an organization, both from the , they were organizing to when we were organizing. Yes , they were one of our, probably our first large clients as we were bringing it on when we were in our infancy stage. And when Scott Fisher still owns the company with his business partners and NAR had just been an investor, we are the first, second city venture company from an NAR pilot perspective.

Speaker 1:

Oh, that's it ? Oh, I didn't know that. That's good. That's an interesting point. I knew that it was very early in second century ventures, but I didn't know. It was the first that's really interesting. Yeah. So on many levels, it's been an overall very successful venture for NAR for century lock and also for us. And Mark's done an amazing job. And you guys know because you've talked to mark all the time and , and mark didn't know this was coming, didn't know as part of his job, but here we are in the lockbox . So while the local boards clearly are still, you know , the point of contact, I think it was important for people to know that they , their lockbox is dumped to show up. And there's a reason that we've been able to negotiate such a great deal. And if they talk to people in other states or other jurisdictions, not part of the RLC, they'll be able to quantify the results of the bargaining power that we've brought to bear on , on this very important issue for people. Like I said, it does touch our members every day to contracts and lockboxes, and that's their lifeblood in a lot of respects. So let's get into some of the more recent developments and the reason that we decided to have Nicole here today. Thanks again, Nicole has been meeting with the local association executives on a regular basis. So Nicole, give us an idea where we are, and , and frankly, I don't do this everyday . I don't touch this every single day. I've been trying to follow it. So first of all, if you could give us an idea of the numbers, because the scale of this thing is pretty impressive. So how many lock boxes does the RLC or did they, or have they purchased, what are the coming iterations of the boxes? And then we'll talk a little bit about what the rollout looks like and maybe some of the challenges and pers from your perspective, you know, we've, we have these new things that we didn't know or didn't talk about a lot, two years ago, right? So we have social distance, we have quarantine, and now all of a sudden we have supply chain, everybody knows about the supply chain and everybody's caught up in it. And so our way, of course, so that'll obviously come up. So kind of give us again, a little bit of slight history again, of, and how many does the consortium purchase and where we're going with the new generation of boxes. And then we'll talk a little bit about the challenges.

Speaker 3:

Sure. So at the last count, which actually I had just pulled up a couple of months ago, the RLC had over 55,000 individual card holders that are currently within the RLC. So we think of a card holder as that individual who is accessing the box or using the box with respect to where we're heading into the future. I know that the RLC is adding listings every day, adding new agents every day. And with that comes the need for a lock box . And that is a need. We're trying very hard to fulfill with a supply chain challenges that are being endured across the world. What we're doing at this point is rationing out the lockboxes . It is not the best decision or answer to a question, but it's the best decision that we can make at the time. And what it allows us to do is be able to distribute our lockboxes to as many people as we can, based on their listing count . We have started to use a formula in order to send lock boxes out to those associations. So we're using 120% of the listing count in order to fulfill those orders. It doesn't mean it's not a collaboration or negotiation. So if you have individuals who are coming on board who have listings that they need to put a box on, we are not going to just flat out say, no, we want to get a box on a house. Our goal is to get on lockbox on every listing that's currently out there. But we also know that there's a level of fear at times, and people begin to afford things, toilet paper, paper towels . So we, I don't know if it's good or bad, but we've, we've tended to see some hoarding in the way of not wanting to let go of those last boxes. And so our CSMs are working with each association executives around how many do they really need? How many do we need in order to get a box on a house? And so that is our first and foremost is to make sure that every house, every listing that needs it has a box on it.

Speaker 1:

So, sorry, you said 120%. So we have 55,000 cardholders . How many boxes do we know? Do you know how much it's north of 200,000? Yeah. That's that's okay. So just for scale, I just, I like to scan numbers, think 200,000. Okay. So 200,000 bucks , 55,000 people, 200 boxes. I mean, that's a very rough is four per person. I've no , it's not that. So what do you set? 120%. So what does that mean in terms of who gets, how many boxes? I'm not sure. I understood that kitchen.

Speaker 3:

One of the questions I had received in my first conversations with the RLC was what is our formula as we're doling out the lock boxes. And at the time we didn't have one, right? It was a conversation. It was how many do you need? How many do we have? Can you really help us understand if this is a need or a want throughout the past couple of months, we've evaluated that one completely and came up with a rough formula of your listing count as it exists 120% of that listing count.

Speaker 1:

Okay. So if I have 10 listings, like active listings, I'll get 12 boxes.

Speaker 3:

Right. Potentially it's a comment .

Speaker 1:

And I had my allocation for lack of a better term quotes around that. Correct.

Speaker 3:

Okay. Correct. That's exactly right. And it is a conversation starter at that point. It is to say, here's our listing count . Here's how many we need in our particular area from an association perspective. So our customer is the association and the MLS. Our user is the, is the realtor that's important. And it is important distinction because we serve the association as a customer. They are the ones that enter into our agreement. They are the ones that are in most oftentimes paying the bill. We do provide agent billing as well. And so we will either bill the agent directly, or it just depends on the type of billing arrangements that that association has with their realtor. So we have over 400 associations that aren't currently customers of ours. And then we deal with their real realtors as a user. And those are the individuals who call in to our customer support line, who, who are at the, at the patio. If there's a problem, they're calling our customer support line to get some information on how to make sure they can access that box. So we do serve two masters. We want to make sure your realtors and your members are very satisfied with our service. And we also have our customer success managers who serve associations . And so those are the individuals who get on the phone directly with a mark to say, what can we do better in our service to you as our customer?

Speaker 2:

So Nicole correct me if I'm wrong here, but the 200,000 lockbox figure that I mentioned earlier and kind of that round number, those are boxes that are already out in distribution that are owned. And in some real estate agents, automobile, or at their home office, those are already deployed lockboxes. And the formula that you and Chuck are talking about, that's the formula to deploy newly manufactured boxes as they're coming on, as they're built by central lock and then distributed to the individual local associations to be sold to the individual real estate agent for their new listings, or if they're coming into the industry as brand new agents, right? That's , that's what we're talking about. So the 200,000 is already there. And then the, th th the formula is designed to kind of deploy and distribute the newly manufactured stock as it comes available.

Speaker 3:

That is correct. However, let me qualify that. So if you have locked boxes today, so say you have 10 lock boxes , we'll use Chuck's number. You have 10 lockboxes today, you have 12 listings. So you would have enough to cover your listings 120% of your active listings incorporating what you currently have in your inventory today. So we're not going to send you another 12. We don't have it, right? So we want to make sure that we have enough in reserve to get a box on every listing that needs it and not necessarily for somebody's shelf. And that's why our CSMs are having the conversations with each association, executive or leader of that association to say, here's what we have is your listing count. Here's what we have in your inventory, help us understand, do you have enough inventory today to cover it? Or how many do you really need ? And can we recapture some of that inventory that is currently sitting in some individual pans ? We did run a report. We did find over 10,000 lock boxes in the hands of terminated agents today. So how do we help our customers, the associations, see, where can they recapture some of those lockboxes and redeploy them. We are able to refurbish them to an extent, depending on what condition they're in, how can we begin to read, deploy that inventory to those that are needing it because they have active lists .

Speaker 1:

That's something I hadn't thought about. That makes perfect sense. We do have churn email . We've 30% of this business. So people are new people come and go out of this business all the time. Yeah. I really hadn't thought about how many lockboxes are out there. Yeah. Like you said, people are not in the business anymore. Is there a secondary, do they use your value to them ?

Speaker 3:

Um , there is a secondary market that we've learned. There are two we'll go out and sell them on the day . I know this is going out to your members. So I would maybe

Speaker 1:

Discourage that if they would find empty extra boxes, what do they, what would you recommend they do with them now?

Speaker 3:

So depending on the version of the box, and we are in the process of defining this program right now, so look for more information to come over the next 30 to 45 days. And that is, we're looking to define which version of the box we can buy back. We believe it's going to be three dot six today. How much will we offer to purchase those back ? And then how much would we resell them for? And how long will it take us to refurbish them? Once we get them back in, we need to update the firmware, replaced the battery, get them in a state that some individual would be proud to put that on their listing. And it's not a box that looks beat up. And so look for that information, the next 30 to 45 days with that, your CSM will be working with you to say, here's how many that we see are in the hands of terminated agents, is our data correct. And then how do we help you retrieve that inventory back, refurbish it and potentially redeploy it

Speaker 1:

That's helpful. Anything else about present situation before we talk about the new version, the new iteration, if you will,

Speaker 3:

No, because the new version really goes into the present situation of our supply chain challenges and what point happened in the future. Yeah .

Speaker 1:

Okay. So let's talk a little bit, if I have about that. I have, so I have the current version of the lockbox , which is what

Speaker 3:

Century guard or the three dot six. So we have a new version which has century guard .

Speaker 1:

Okay. What's different and better. And what are you hearing about that? Is it, has that been deployed at all yet? That kind of stuff, give us an update on that because the members really want to hear

Speaker 3:

Sure. So the new century guard lock box has been deployed as of this year. And we just put our hometown Cincinnati on it, which as you know, is a pretty large base of users. What is different about it is in any sort of technology, things advanced , right ? If you think about the old next telephones , if you ever recall those, I know I'm dating myself, but if they were rugged as all get out and you could throw that thing up against the wall, but not necessarily something that you can use today, because a lot of people conduct business on their phone . So throughout the years, we've made a lot of technology advancements. We've had through the versions of a lockbox , and we have yet to force an upgrade, meaning we still have several of our gen one lockboxes in the field. They replaced the batteries and they move on. What's different about this new lockbox is first of all, the battery life is far better than has been in the past. It is lasting. It looks like 10 years. It is a battery that has been tested in different industries. So it's a battery that you use , not only in the lock box , but other industries and has been known to last 10 years, battery life are three dot sticks , which was launched in 2015 or six years ago. If you think about how , how much technology is going to released in six years, that battery lasted on average six to seven years. Okay? Our batteries are able to be user replaced, which is huge. You don't have to send them in to be replaced. And the century guard lock box , what's very unique about its battery is it lasts approximately 10 years, but if it should die, it has a built in backup. So the built-in backup little value to release the shackle and take the box off in order to replace the battery versus you'd have to do a char , um , to have to do the power paddles and the NXT version. We have a charge kit for this redox six for the century guard. There's a built in battery backup. That is very different. It also has. It's also Bluetooth enabled, which was famous three dots , six . The difference in this one is they have near-field communication. So if you think about apple pay where you can take your phone and place it up to something to pay, you can actually take your phone and place for that for the century guide loss box, have it do face identification or your thumbprint and the key box drops. So you don't have to worry about putting in a code or any of those things. Once you're authenticated and credentialed your app, you put it up to the century guard box and the key box, then we'll drop allowing you to gain access to that key. One of our most secure versions as well, it can take up to 3000 pounds of force. I don't know if you've ever seen the YouTube videos where some of our competitors boxes are a little bit easier to get into at this point, if they're looking at Yes , yes , there are YouTube videos out there on people trying to access the boxes. One of our competitors. Unfortunately, it's very easy to access by the time you do 3000 pounds of force on our lockbox . At that point, you're just going to break a window to get into the house. It is not going to be by the lock box that you're getting into that location. And that is what we wanted to make sure was that the lock box was not vehicle getting into that location. And then finally, the shackles on the box , uh , cannot be cuts made of reinforced steel .

Speaker 1:

What are you hearing from our local associations? As far as connectivity? I know one issue is, and we have significant amount of rural parts of the state, and these are Bluetooth enabled and all that. And it requires a certain level of connectivity. That's one issue. What other kinds of challenges, if you will , uh, that are you hearing or questions, are you getting from users of the new generation and how are you addressing them ?

Speaker 3:

The questions that we're getting really are around the near-field communication and how does that work? And so that's different from device to device. And so training them on how to use that, the shackle, because it is quicker , we are helping to train them on how to release that. There's a little bit of, not a trick, but just a little bit. You just have to pull it a little bit harder because of the Le a little thicker and a little bit harder in order to release. So where our older lock boxes were easier to release because the shackle is a little thinner. This one is just slightly more pressure required to release it. But for the most part, we're getting very little calls on that. So when you asked me about what calls were getting, it was the shackle release and it was around how to use the near-field communication for the first time. How does that work? There is asking for a face identification or a thumbprint , and that's because they set up their phone in order to do that. And we provide training on that from our customer support center. They're loving the ability that with the new century guard, our one day codes or access codes have now gone to what we call flex codes. And those codes lasts anywhere from 30 minutes to 30 days. And you can generate multiple codes. So say you have an individual who needs several things done to the house and inspection. If they need to have an appraiser come in, the listing agent can now go in and generate those codes in advance and not have to keep going in every time the person needs one, but being able to plan those in advance anywhere from 30 days to 30 minutes. And then finally our century guard lock box, as well as any of our lock boxes are fully integrated because we built it integrated with our showing solution. So it's,

Speaker 1:

It's correct me if I'm wrong, but it's basically, it's, Wi-Fi enabled the VR . I mean, it has, so there has to be a signal. I know this has come up and if an area has weak or none, which we, you know, just not unheard of what is the work around .

Speaker 3:

Sure. We've been working with our associations on this work around and feel that we've landed on a pretty good solution so far, which is in order for your app to work, you have to be credentialed. And so that wifi signal signal goes to say, are you still an active member of that association? Or have you been terminated? We're going to now allow that to be instead of a daily feed on whether or not you're terminated to whatever the association says is acceptable, meaning a day, 10 days, 20 days. And then we also are going to say, allow that to say, how long has it been since your credentials have been renewed and give you that timeline. So you know that you need to open the app while you're in cellular connection or wifi enabled renew your credentials before there's a risk. So we're providing more proactive tools to allow that to be done before you leave . Why hire cellular connection ? That's on the newer products as well. The older products we as of January 1st, we'll be downloading all of what we call Mac posts on each individual box. And so when you go to that box, your apple have those already downloaded by serial number. You won't be able to see them, it's all behind the scenes , but when you go to that box, it will have the box code that's needed more to open it. But if you're outside of coverage, you hadn't been able to get that code downloaded. It will work because it will all be downloaded into the app by serial number And the two devices just talk to each other. Okay .

Speaker 1:

Park, were there any other questions about the new generation and other concerns or issues before we talk about the supply chain and other issues

Speaker 2:

Just quickly mention the security features that are built into the box that are really wonderful for our members to use when they're going out to remote locations, dealing with a lockbox.

Speaker 3:

Yes. So when you access the home using the app, it will ask you to turn on the agent safety feature and you should have that turned on at all times. And it will make sure that you are checking it as you're having your individual view that home. So if you feel unsafe, it has the ability to call anybody on your list that says you're feeling unsafe or that you're in danger. And it will make sure that the proper people are notified and that the proper officials are on their way to help you. If you're feeling unsafe, we have partnered several times with the Carter foundation that Beverly Carter foundation in making sure that our safety feature is top-notch and doing exactly what it needs to do and do a lot of partnership with that foundation. They have helped inform what we need to do in that agent safety feature. And we can constantly make updates to it. It's something that we feel very proud of in the industry. And it's something that every person, regardless of gender, or if you just feel unsafe as you're going to a location, you make sure it's always on. And then you just turn it off. Should you feel better about the situation it makes you check in a certain period of time to make sure that you're checking in and that they haven't lost contact with you

Speaker 1:

Let's go to the most recent developments . So first of all, supply chain and the announcement on the surcharge. So tell us about supply chain, what you're dealing with. I love the container that we found that we can open. Tell a little bit about that story, if that's true. And then the most recent announcement about if that's still a thing that's surcharge thing .

Speaker 3:

Yes. It is still a thing. Nothing is better than coming on to a podcast the Monday after you ,

Speaker 1:

Uh, Friday for that . Yeah. Right?

Speaker 3:

Yes . And it is something that we, I know that Scott Fisher had grappled with several, several weeks, actually it's been months now. So as we all know, COVID has definitely disrupted the supply chain across the world. We are not the only industry having these issues. And in our first time in 18 years, we are really at risk of missing deliveries. And you all have felt the pain. You've had realtors calling you for lockboxes, and you've had to tell them to wait, or we can't fulfill that order. At this point, if we understand that the level of difficulty replacing our customers and with their users, one of the things that we want to do though, is make sure that we're distributing some of the lock boxes to all of our people versus all of the lock boxes , just some . And we have our customer base ranges to the RLC, which is large and a very valued customer of ours to associations with less than a hundred individuals who are just as important to us, but just not as large. And we want to make sure that we're providing a lock box for every listing so that those individuals can serve their clients with the supply chain challenges. We have seen delivery dates go from next week to next year. And we are at the mercy of those individuals supplying us those products. Over the past few months, we have had situations where we had a container delivered , uh , to the port and needed to be inspected. And they couldn't get an open. Now these containers sit on the Bart shifts coming the sea and the ocean. And I don't know what happened, but they couldn't get it open. They have since gotten it opened . And it is now in transit, which is great. Okay. That transit though, it can be very tricky. And so if you've seen any of the pictures of, of the, the port, all the container ships out in the port , then when they get on to the shore, you have hours worth of lines and truckers trying to pick those up, or they're trying to get onto a rail system. We've had a situation where we had a container on the train sitting still for two weeks, which I don't quite understand, but the rail didn't move for two weeks, which then sets all of that back. So what we're trying to do from a logistics standpoint is bring all the parts in at the same time, to be able to assemble the product in our assembly, to do that. Everything has to align all the stars have to align. They all have to come in at once. We have started to understand that the Delta variant, I think there was a gamma variant of COVID. These are not going to be the last of the variants until we can see a freeing up of the supply chain challenges, which we believe are going to last anywhere from three to five years, we needed to do some alternative sourcing. We know we're owned by the national association of realtors. We need to get lock boxes into people's hands to get onto the home . How are we going to do that in a way that allows that to happen more, more freely? And that is to try to onshore source the components. We'll walk blocks over the past few months, when we started to see the containers being delayed in, in the, in the sea and on rail, we started to explore air shipping. So did everybody else in the world, apparently because air shipping costs has since Quinn tackled at a minimum, they , the airlines have figured out that they can make more money transporting parts and they can transporting people. So what we've done is started to take a lock box and say, what are these parts? Can we begin to source on shore? So we found a location in Wisconsin. That's actually going to be stood up from a tooling perspective to begin to on source that, and we believe we have almost every component of the lock box except the computer chip, to be able to be shore source . What that means. So, as we all know, unfortunately, is an increase in labor costs and increase in supply. The increase in supply costs are happening right now, regardless. Things are just in short supply, the steel, we were able to locate the steel after several calls and several contacts . And then we had to find someone to be able to bend the steel because it's such a high grade steel. So we are hoping to be able to start to onshore source the lockbox and then doing so it has increased our costs. The air shipping has increased our costs. Everything has gone up. I , I don't know how else to explain it except to say it is just what's happening today. So we went through and started to document all of our costs that we have been enduring and say, okay, how can we share this? We are not charging the associations for all the costs that we have been in , in order to get the lockboxes on listings. But we do know, we want to try to continue to manufacture them. The alternative is we just stopped manufacturing them . We just stopped sending them out. And we don't feel that that's an option. So what we did was implement a surcharge, which we felt was reasonable. It was sharing of the cost with the associations and not totally on century lock and not totally on the association and felt that we would put that in place for a short period of time. Our hope is no longer than six months. Once we see this supply chain challenges begin to free up and parts and supplies begin to normalize, then our hope is that we can remove the surcharge, which is why we worked very hard in our it organization to make sure it's a separate line item on the invoice, but it's not a price increase, but this is something that is separate and apart. And we feel temporary.

Speaker 1:

The, what the announcement I saw, I said $9 and 48 cents. Is that still the number

Speaker 3:

$9 and 48 cents

Speaker 1:

Per box. Okay. And the announcement mentioned , uh, delivering 50,000 lockboxes , uh, sourcing components for 34,000 gen 3.6 boxes. And when the 3.6 boxes are , so , uh , there'll be permanently out of production and 200,000 century guard units coming in 2022 said still accurate.

Speaker 3:

That is our goal. Yeah . That is still accurate based on what we know today, that is what we have ordered. We are awaiting delivery. Those are the pieces that are very key. We have ordered , we have placed ordered for all of these. We've ordered ahead and now we're awaiting delivery, but that is what we are slotted. Once we receive them, we can assemble them and we can sell that .

Speaker 1:

That's company-wide , that's not just RLC , that's it ? That's the entire footprint. We're not getting all of that. So mark would would is you find a little thought for our members who are listening, who are frustrated, who have these issues. Um , but I know Nicole, I know that they're working overtime trying to get these resolved. And, and much of, I would say almost all of this is really not within our control. So what is the message that the RLC has been delivering and , and any members who are listening, what is our overriding message to them? So

Speaker 2:

Course the challenge is that we're experiencing at the real tour level. The agent level is very, very hot sellers market. That's only cooled off slightly in the last very few months. So we're, we're very eager of course, to , uh, to use the product because on our end, it's a very, very hot market. And a central lock is doing everything in their power, everything humanly possible to, to provide additional lockbox units for our members who have houses to sell , uh, in this very , uh, kind of heated , uh , sellers market that we're experiencing at the moment and likely to continue, even though it's cooled slightly, it's not cool very much. So that's where we're at at the moment. And we're doing everything we can to try and repurpose , uh , second generation and third generation lockboxes to make them available for our members who have residential properties to sell. And we'll do everything we can to work closely with central lock and our members to provide them with the lock boxes and the service that they need to access those boxes. So it's not just on the listing side, it's not just on the selling side, our members who have buyer, clients , uh , who are eager to , uh, access the lockbox and show the particular property. We're working hard to make sure that they've got the equipment and they've got the , the , uh , the mobile app open the lockbox and to access the property for a showing,

Speaker 3:

We would like nothing more to be able to style the lockboxes believe .

Speaker 1:

Yeah . And I , I just wanna make sure. Yeah. And , and, and, you know, we, we are partners and we are holding your feet to the fire though, you know , as you know, and, and I just want our members to know that when Nicole comes and your local AAE grills her, and she's volunteered to appear at our zoom meetings once a month. And the last couple of months, and my guess is she'll continue to respond and answer questions, knowing that these are going to be tough questions. And so I just want our members to know that we're not defending bad practices or anything, you know, wherever this is our vendor. And we, we do need to be realistic about it. And so Nicole, I do appreciate your candor on, and working on the things you can work on and address the things you can address. But at the same time, there are so many of these things are just outside of our control. So at the end of the day, we do need a , a little bit of patient and understanding. And as long as we're satisfied, and I believe we are that century lock is doing everything within their power to address these concerns. Then we're not going to blame you for stuff over which you have no control. So that's the kind of balance we're trying to find. And that's the reason that I wanted to hear it from you today. And hopefully that answered a significant number of our members questions. So anything ,

Speaker 2:

Yeah, this remains a pandemic driven problem. Yeah. Uh , that was not central asphalt or our fault, or really, you know, anybody in the real estate industry's fault and we're all struggling to make it work the best way we can.

Speaker 3:

I just very much appreciate you having me on today in order to be able to , to , to talk to the members. I appreciate your partnership. It's been a pleasure working with the RLC. It's been a pleasure of getting on those meetings and hearing from the association executives, what their concerns are, being able to make sure our communications are clear and concise. And that is something that I appreciate the feedback from as well. So I decided to, for the partnership to continue, we will continue to work on getting these parts on shore so we can get these orders delivered for you. And we'll continue to work in tandem. It's been a , it's been a pleasure. Thank you.

Speaker 1:

Thank you. Thank you, Martin. Thank you, Chuck. Thank you, Nicole. And to our listeners. Thank you for the privilege of your time. This is get real estate, the Maryland realtors podcast. I'm Chuck cascade, Maryland realtor , CEO. And thanks as always to our esteemed producer, Joshua Woodson, please subscribe wherever you get your podcasts like us. Share us, give us five stars. If we burned them and give us feedback, including guests you'd like us to invite or topics to explore until next time be well. And remember, things are more like they are now than they ever have been.