A growing number of seasoned agency owners are beginning the new year with a new name and more bang for their business buck after moving to the Richardson & Wrench franchise family.
As 2021 moved into 2022, more than half a dozen established offices reopened under the Richardson & Wrench banner and several more are set to join the group as the year gets underway.
Value for money
Richardson & Wrench’s Managing Director Andrew Cocks said the end of the calendar year had brought with it numerous conversations with business owners and individual agents who were keen to re-badge and take advantage of a longstanding reputation, a substantial toolbox of marketing and technology resources, and an attractive franchise value proposition.
“Earlier in the pandemic principals were trying to protect their business and probably just too stressed during lockdowns to have an appetite for change,” Mr Cocks said.
“But I’ve been amazed at how many inquiries for new business we’ve received more recently and just how much people are seeking to engage in conversations about the future direction of their business.”
With the more traditional bricks and mortar franchise opportunity operating under a fixed fee structure, offering full franchise service solutions and no fees on property management, Richardson & Wrench’s new business operators are reporting they get much more value for money than with their previous brands where sales and rent rolls often attract hefty percentage fees.
Savvy operators are seeing the benefits of belonging to a boutique family-focused business with sophisticated marketing and digital solutions, plus exclusive territory agreements.
“Regardless of the type of franchise they’re operating under with us, everyone gets an exclusive territory so they know they can invest in an area that’s theirs and build a profile knowing they won’t be competing with any other R&W office,” Mr Cocks said.
“Competition in the industry is hard enough without having to compete internally..
“I know that these newest R&W offices see that R&W’s service offerings are very attractive.
“We’re able to provide them with a host of resources and experts they can count on as part of their business but these don’t come with the same exorbitant costs they’d be paying in a percentage model,” Mr Cocks explained.
Specialists on hand
While many traditional real estate brands have teams of regional managers taking care of a large number of individual offices, Richardson & Wrench has a unique but advantageous alternative.
“We changed the classic structure and employ a team of industry specialists,” Mr Cocks said.
“Our Brand, Marketing and Strategy is led by Amanda Ward and Our Head of Group Operations, Amy Bruce manages all operational and technology solutions for the network.
“We’ve got property management and social media experts, specialists in CRM systems, along with highly skilled administrators and marketing coordinators.
“Our senior leadership team is focused on providing regular, personalised support to our business operators and their staff.”
Mr Cocks said the purpose of his specialist team is for all members of the Richardson & Wrench family to have comprehensive assistance.
“They’re on hand to give swift advice and support, rather than being told someone will look into it and eventually get back a week later.
“Often in real estate, especially in the current climate, when you’ve got an issue you need it resolved immediately.”
He added the network support is a great sounding board for principals navigating the many challenges of modern real estate businesses.
“If you’re a small business owner, it can sometimes be really lonely,” Mr Cocks said.
“You can have all these people looking to you, expecting all the answers.
“The engaged interactive support from a franchisor is the absolute minimum every franchisee in the country should be looking for so they can actually add real value to their business. If we’re not doing that for them, then what’s our role?”
Fixed fee freedom
Without a percentage of earnings being handed over to a franchisor, Mr Cocks said the Richardson & Wrench traditional model allows business owners to turn a greater profit.
“It also gives them a greater incentive to grow their sales. We’ve got a number of franchisees who’ve doubled – and even tripled their sales – since starting with us.
“If they can triple their sales, it just means a massive increase in profitability for them,” he said.
“Ultimately, our fee structure means any activity an office is undertaking, is being undertaken in the knowledge they’ve got fixed overheads.
“That way they benefit from all the services and infrastructure we provide, which is at least equivalent, and in many cases superior, to the services other franchises are charging for, but with us it’s at a much lower cost.”
With margins being squeezed across the board, Mr Cocks said business owners are looking to turn a profit without feeling like there is a hungry hand dipping into their pocket every day.
“It’s just getting harder to do what you would typically do because the workload involved in every transaction is gradually increasing; whether that’s to do with compliance, vendor and buyer expectations, or landlord and tenant requirements – every one of those elements of the communication process is becoming more complex.”
And due to tight competition in the marketplace – many property professionals choose to retaliate by dropping their fees and doing what they’ve always done for slightly less.
“Unfortunately this has been a long term issue and it isn’t going away anytime soon,” Mr Cocks said.
“So the more we can help an office deal with some of those external market issues, and to be more cost effective as a flat fee operator, then that’s appealing to them.
“In terms of value for money, if you look at us compared to percentage-based franchise options we’re presenting a much better return on investment for those successful operators.”
“When you combine these benefits with our key focus on culture, the provision of cutting-edge marketing and tech solutions plus expert support services – it’s too compelling an offering not to seriously consider joining the Richardson & Wrench team.”