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From private jets to business success

“We’ve just signed our first deal after six days on the market in the $1.7 millions… BOOM! I’m over the moon this morning!”

That’s Garry Jones’ opening salvo in what will be a high-energy roller coaster of a discussion about the launch of his new Brisbane agency – Garry Jones Homes.

Garry’s path to business ownership is far from traditional. His 29-year professional journey has traversed two major careers, several continents and four airlines, including private flying.

Come fly with me
At age 20, Garry started a flying career and went on to become Ansett’s youngest ever purser. But Ansett’s eventual demise led Garry to the Middle East to join Qatar Airways, and eventually to a position on the Qatar royal family’s private jets.

“We were their flying concierges and butlers,” he says.

He eventually decided to return home to Australia after securing a position with a Qantas subsidiary, which unexpectedly closed intakes…leaving Garry and his partner without work.

Career, take two
At a loose end but not one to sit still, Garry took some friendly advice.

“A mate of mine got into real estate after leaving Ansett and seven years later he was earning a good income and had a comfortable lifestyle. He told me I should give real estate a go.”

So, Garry started with a national brand in Cairns – where he was abruptly told by the principal that he didn’t have what it takes to succeed in real estate.

“14 years later I’ve been pretty successful and am now I’m opening my own agency,” Garry said tongue-in-cheek.

With some experience under his belt, the next shift was to Brisbane with roles in agencies across Ascot, Wilston, and New Farm.

“Well into my career, I was invited by two separate franchise groups to help open in Windsor/Wilston/Grange – they wanted me to be their key operator… in the end, what was promised to me was not delivered.

“So, I left, and I thought, ‘I’m sick of this! I wanted to go back to just being an agent’.

Garry said that unlike some other agents, he’d found himself extremely busy throughout COVID-19, and it was a revelation.

“I was working from home and living in the area, which was incredibly convenient. Buyers and sellers had no idea I was working from home. Most of my work is over the telephone or in one of the houses I’m selling or in a client’s home. Such a small per cent of my time would be in the office anyway.

“The offices of today are breeding grounds for talent and simply host experienced agents. Whilst I am forever indebted to what I’ve learnt from many great mentors, I’ve outgrown these offices.

“The public don’t go to offices. Buyers are only interested in what’s online and sellers are only interested in who’s the best agent for them, and they search online for that information. Everything now is through an online world.

“Offices are no longer needed for experienced agents. You do not need to have a label behind you to operate and be recognised as a professional advisor and negotiator.

“Since I started Garry Jones Homes, every person who has called me has said, ‘Garry, we don’t care what brand you work for, we employed you and you only.'”

The real estate revolution
Garry is a convert to the new way of business being championed by UrbanX.

He said Australia is a bit late to the party compared to the USA, but UrbanX and Dan Argent are leading the pack in helping agents establish their own brand.

“This conversation around disruption in the real estate industry and the rise of the independent is going to get bigger in the next 12 months.”

Garry collaborated with UrbanX to create his branding, and then worked with a team of close friends to ‘beta test’ the look.

“And everybody loved it,” he said.

“We have all the resources we need to build a bloody good team, and we don’t have to worry about the back-end stuff because UrbanX can do all of that for us. That’s what’s stopped me from starting an agency before.

“I don’t need to be worried about trust accounting, the time spent back and forth between conveyancers, coming up with marketing collateral or any of that.

“I don’t have to ring a sign company, a brochure company, a sticker company, a water bottle company, a flag company, a car branding company… UrbanX have all those contacts.”

And he’s been blown away by the UrbanX‘s efficiency and enthusiasm.

“When it comes to creating Garry Jones Homes and its branding – what we did in two weeks, other companies would take six months to do!

“What they achieved was nothing short of momentous. My branding and market are just as good, and in most cases better, than the older franchise brands.”

And despite opening as an independent agency, the UrbanX platform meant Garry has felt far from lonely, with a shared feel of collegiality among co-operators.

“This is the power of UrbanX. I’m happy to refer business to other agents on the platform. UrbanX is building a collective network of independently operated agencies with their own brand, but they’re still part of a collaborative network.”

Along with all this support comes the financial freedom, Garry said.

“I was giving away 48 per cent of my commission to my previous employer. And then of my remaining 52 per cent, my superannuation came out of that. It’s so ludicrous.

“Mark and I are going to change our lives. We’re going to give ourselves choices and freedom.”

Garry said there are huge advantage for his clients in terms of freedom, agility and focus under the UrbanX model.

“I’m now the only bespoke agent in my area, so I can move with what my client’s needs and wants are. I’m not in a franchise. If the client and I think there’s a better way to do something, we can implement it immediately.

“Also, I’m good at negotiation and marketing, not administration. Now I can stay laser focused on the parts I’m good at, and the rest is done for me in the back end by UrbanX.”

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