Sales agent Marcus Washington says his partnership with real estate network Area Specialist has unlocked his earning potential and given him the freedom to enjoy an improved work-life balance.
The busy father of a young family of two, with children aged 1 and 3, Mr Washington now has the flexibility to choose his own hours and be there for his family while working more efficiently to serve his clients.
“Covid and lockdown made a lot of people realise you need to have the work-life balance that works for you,” Mr Washington said.
And one year after launching the new partnership with Area Specialist, everyone is a winner.
Mr Washington started his career in Melbourne’s south-east in 2011 and received numerous accolades for sales achievements in his previous role with one of the country’s biggest franchises.
But he knew the time was right to back his ability and deep knowledge of his patch to build his own business.
In his first year since launching last November, Mr Washington made 90 sales with a gross commission income (GCI) of almost $800,000.
“I doubled my income compared with my previous year under a franchise group,” Mr Washington said.
He works from a home office in a shed in his backyard. A keen surfer, if the surf is up he can take time out while still keeping business on track.
“Covid fast-forwarded the Area Specialist model,” Mr Washington said.
“Clients don’t care that you don’t have an office in the main street. I work at the beach, at a café, the airport, you name it.
“As long as you communicate with your client that’s not a problem. You go to the client and you don’t have the overhead of renting a dead space.
“When I started in real estate people would still walk into an agency and say they want to sell their house. That’s not the way it works anymore.”
The support from his new partnership was key in Mr Washington’s decision to take control of his career.
“Area Specialist simplified the whole process by taking care of the admin and trust accounting. You don’t need to be paying those massive franchise fees anymore to get that support.
“There is no pressure to open a main-street office from Area Specialist and most big traditional franchises want you to have that office.”
Mr Washington estimates a main street office fit-out at $200,000, plus the cost of rent and staff.
“Working with Area Specialist I am essentially debt-free opening my business. Having low overheads is important with interest rates increasing,” he said.
“We now have a team of four sales agents and your level of communication actually increases in this model. We are constantly in touch and find you can work more productively through your phone.
“Working with Area Specialist takes the stress out of starting a business because all you need to focus on is getting those listings and making sales while the rest is looked after.”
While the home office is an efficient, low-cost way to launch a business, Mr Washington’s long-term goal is to buy a factory space as an option for his team.
“We will purchase the property as an investment,” he said.
“That’s good debt, not the debt of doing a fit-out and discovering the office doesn’t suit your needs.”