Buying a Name

Some real estate agency owners believe you need a big name to survive in the marketplace but this is not necessarily so. In the 25 years that I have been operating as a real estate profit consultant, I have seen franchised offices, marketing group offices and independent offices go broke. I have also seen many thrive, trading successfully for decades.

What makes the difference between success and failure? Is it the name? No. Clearly not. The difference between going broke and profiting over the long term is the calibre of the person who owns the business. All successful businesses need competent leadership. What a competent business leader choose to call their businesses makes little difference.

What’s in a name? In my opinion, very little.

When you join a marketing group or a franchise, you are buying a name. This is a name you do not own and over which you have no control.

The big problem with buying a name is that there are so many available, and they all claim to be better than each other. There are so many that they have all lost their uniqueness in the market place.

Can you really see much difference between any of these so-called big brands? All claim to be different, bigger, offering better branding, but honestly, what does one offer that another doesn’t? Whether marketing group or independent, I personally do not see much difference between one and another.

Is being part of a large group really that important to your typical real estate home seller or buyer? I don’t think so. Buyers will go where the listings are. Home sellers will go where the skill is. They will list with the real estate agent whom they feel will get them the highest price. Skill is far more important than the name you choose to put over your door.

Profit is a good indicator of skill. It takes management and leadership skill to earn high profits from a real estate sales department. Interestingly, however, franchises and marketing groups do not use the profits of large numbers of their business owners as a way of attracting new members. They talk about turnover, the power of the brand, the systems, the marketing, etc, but never the profits their franchisees earn.

Groups who sell their names want as many offices as possible – the more offices they have, the more money they make. Over the years I have heard agency owners complain that their networks have allowed another office to open in a neighbouring suburb. These principals have complained that often they lost business to the new agency because clients thought they were listing with the established agency.

This can be a problem whenever you buy a name. If you are successful, others nearby may want the name, thinking that is why you have been so successful. Essentially, you have helped sell the name to your opposition, and the opposition benefits from your work. And when two offices in neighbouring service areas have the same name, how can clients tell you apart?

So, what is the best option for your business?

  • Should you join, or stay in, a real estate franchise?
  • Should you join, or stay in, a real estate marketing group?
  • Should you be an independent real estate agency?

The option you choose can greatly affect your profit, and it can affect the long-term saleability of your business.

The decision is yours, but if you would like more to think about, visit //pittard.com.au/free-real-estate-agency-resources-and-tools?why_join_franchise and listen to the free podcast.

And, if you do decide to ‘go independent’, you will find a manual and podcast entitled How To Rebrand Your Agency.

All are free. Please share them around and do let me know your thoughts.

Gary Pittard

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