While a lot of noise has been made about the stand-alone agent model, the tried and tested franchise is the only way to build a true, sustainable business, offering proven long-term rewards that go beyond the day-to-day, according to Explore Property Group Chief Executive Officer Andrew Acton.
“I think of these two models as a practice and a business. A practice, which is the stand-alone agent, allows you to earn while you work, but it doesn’t go any further than that,” Mr Acton said.
“There is no growth or equity being built, you have nothing to sell when the time comes to wind down, and when you take a holiday, the income stops.”
Conversely, Mr Acton said owning a franchise gave you purpose and direction, allowing you to build a rent roll, grow something you could sell, and provide a long-term foundation for your life.”
While some agents assume they’ll earn a higher income working individually, Mr Acton believes doing so could become a liability, costing you business along the way.
“You may get a bigger commission split, but that doesn’t mean you keep more in the long term,” he said.
“Most of the best performing agents in this country work for an office and benefit from the support.”
Mr Acton said the current noise around the stand-alone model was a classic case of the silent majority not speaking loudly enough about the proven benefits of the franchise model.
“Those who are operating stand-alone agent models have just done a really good job of making a lot of noise because it’s a new way of doing things,” he said.
“However, the established way – which works brilliantly – hasn’t spoken up enough; or more importantly, explained the benefits of this true business model, and how dependable it is for the agents operating within it.
“The support and resources of an office are a valuable asset to an agent, and the camaraderie of being in a team and office is a meaningful way of life.
“These things help you write more business which means you take home more money anyway.”
Mr Acton said some agents perceived franchising as a dilution of their personal brand, but he believed the opposite was true.
“An established business name is able to lift your personal profile even higher,” he said.
“The agency name is a side signature to your own independent brand, which is your personal name.
“In fact, having a good, strong brand platform supporting your name is a positive and assured brand combination that gives customers security and reassurance.”
At the same time, you’re also building something of worth, that holds equity, and can eventually be sold, Mr Acton said.
“There is the opportunity to sell yourself, but also engage other agents and create real wealth,” he said.
“In a true business, you can create more than one income stream and often it costs no more to have six agents than it does three, so the economies of scale become relevant, and you start building a meaningful, sustainable business over time.”
Of course, building a business does take time, energy and resilience, but according to Mr Acton, that’s why companies like Explore Property exist.
“We have done it all before, so we can help people and guide them on their business journey,” he said.
“In a franchise like ours that is progressive and people-focused, you get the five pillars of agency success that drive your business,” Mr Acton said.
Those pillars include:
- Brand and belonging
- Marketing and resources
- Advice and support
- Web, communications and technology support
- Leadership and direction
“Bring these five pillars into your business and you will succeed,” Mr Acton said.
“Don’t get caught in fads, business and agencies are here to stay and a good office to work from is more beneficial to an agent than ever before.”