Almost a year after launching his own business in partnership with real estate network Area Specialist, leading south-east Melbourne sales agent Marcus Washington is certain he made the right move.
Mr Washington won numerous awards for his sales achievements in his previous role with one of Australia’s biggest real estate franchises and is off to a flying start in his own business.
In the Area Specialist model he keeps 100 per cent of his sales commissions while paying a flat fee for their office support.
“I have doubled my income compared with what I was earning with my previous employer,” Mr Washington said.
“That gives me more options financially and I can dictate how that money is allocated so I can build the business, increase market share and have more profit.
“The response from my past clients has been fantastic. People are more likely to support you when you are starting your own business because they are dealing with you exclusively and that’s why Area Specialist works so well. You are the brand and for me that has been a huge success.”
Mr Washington launched his Area Specialist Solutions business last November. In his first year he is matching his sales record with his previous employer, with commissions averaging $70,000 a month despite the tougher market conditions.
He now operates from a home office servicing the Cardinia Shire region, working with two other agents.
“The Area Specialist head office looks after the admin and the trust accounting and that takes a lot of the stress out of starting a business,” Mr Washington said.
“That really gave me the incentive to get out there and list properties and do those cash-flow jobs, which create opportunities.”
There are many advantages in working from his home office or wherever he needs to be, Mr Washington said.
“We don’t need an office on the main street so we are saving $50,000 in rent,” he said.
“We don’t need to do an office fit-out, which could be $150,000 to $200,000. We don’t need a receptionist so that’s a saving of $60,000 a year.
“We make those savings while working more effectively online.”
Mr Washington said clients appreciated that they didn’t need to go into an office to finalise a sale.
“We meet them at the property to do the handover,” he said.
“Our clients say, ‘We love that you meet us here and we don’t have to come to you.’
“We don’t have an office but the by-product of that is we offer a better, more personal service to our clients.”
Mr Washington has a young family, with two children under four, and being his own boss gives him the freedom he needs.
“Working with my previous company it was hard to have that work and life balance because they wanted you to be in the office and in those meetings. Now, we can call anyone in the company on FaceTime.
“What is the point of having kids if you aren’t there to see them grow? That is why the real estate business is changing so much because people need that flexibility.”
Area Specialist Founder Michael Choi couldn’t be happier with the success of a star recruit to the network.
“Marcus was one of the top agents in one of the largest franchises in Australia,” he said.
“Since moving to us he has grown his market share while doubling his income.
“We are also helping him grow a rent roll and managing it for him until it is big enough to justify employing a team to take it over.
“When top agents from big brands move over to us and do so well it proves that the future of the industry is in agent direct models like Area Specialist.”