Brokers need one assistant for every 15 deals a month and they also need to cough up more for that labour, said one of Toronto’s most successful agents, laying out a compensation guide for that support staff, focused on retention.

“The problem with brokers is they’re looking to hire cheap and effective,” said Jeff Mayer, a high volume player with Dominion Lending Centres The Mayer Group, at the annual IMBA Conference last week. “That combination doesn’t really exist. I’ve tried the low pay – $10 - $12 – route, and those workers burn out very quickly.”

It’s a Eureka! moment many brokers are slow to come to, said Mayer, a panellist on the conference’s Secrets to My Success session.  The consequences are inefficient application processing and increased admin work for brokers, saddled with high turnover rates for underwriters, office managers and document specialists.

If they do manage to attract and train an efficient underwriter by offering a low wage, for example, said Mayer, that work is open to being poached by a competing firm, he told

Mayer is now offering wage guidelines, which he uses at his own growing firm as a suggestion to other brokers looking to professionalize their staff.

“For a doc specialist, the salary should be between $30,000 - $40,000 (annually),” he told “For an underwriter, it’s closer to $50,000 - $70,000.

Those wages depend on broker volume, as does the decision of when to take on that first support staff, said Mayer.

“If you’re doing 15 deals a month, sustained for at least four months, it’s time to hire,” he said. “But there is no magic number. I say hire good people and pay a little more.”

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