A new agency is to launch this month offering what it says is an entirely different business structure.
Its agents, in teams of one or two and with their own personal limited companies, will run small portfolios, taking full responsibility for the total transaction of each individual property – handling everything from valuation to negotiation and completion, in return for the chance to earn what the firm says will be substantial rewards.
Harding Green, headed by ex-Chestertons director Nick Carter, will offer agents the chance to work for themselves, either individually or as a pair, with commission structures of up to 70%.
The business, in Kensington High Street, London, is ditching the concept of all staff in an office working on all properties. Instead, individuals will solely manage 15-20 properties for sale or let; those working in pairs will manage 30-40 properties.
The business, which draws some of its model from US franchise companies such as Keller Williams, will run a hot-desk system which Carter says will allow agents to have a work-life balance. He envisages that half will be employed, and half will be freelancers who might, for example, want to run their kids to school rather than work conventional hours.
Agents wanting to work at Harding Green can choose from a tariff of commission structures, ranging from a salary plus 20% of the commission banked, to a self-employed option where commission will be up to 70%.
Pairs will be given the same options, with commission split equally.
Carter said: “The 70% commission structure will be if an agent lists and sells/lets the property themselves. There is a monthly commitment fee of £250 paid to Harding Green by the self-employed agents in order to continue to be part of the group.
“These agents pay for their own photos, floorplans, general expenses etc.. as it is their own business launched through Harding Green. There is a cap on the number of instructions r to make sure our agents are not spreading themselves too thinly and the clients are receiving the best one- on-one service possible.”
The office will provide central support, including admin, IT and marketing tools.
Carter said: “All too often I have heard sellers’ frustrations of being passed around the office, having chosen the company based on the likeability and expertise of the professional they initially met.
“I have also seen the industry change substantially over the years, in some cases beyond recognition, where pressure on fees, salaries and service is a race to the bottom. Agents are not generating the level of commission they used to and agencies are struggling to turn a profit.
“My aim is to therefore attract the best property professionals across London by offering unlimited earning potential for our associates, their own portfolios, flexible working arrangements, attractive commission structures and slim overheads. We can then deliver exceptional personal service from valuation to completion.
“I’ve been delighted with the positive feedback I have received so far and strongly believe this is the future of estate agency. I’m looking forward to seeing how we progress.”
Carter has signed up two associates – as the agents will be called – and looks to have 20 in place by the end of next year. He is insisting on a minimum of five years’ experience in the London market and last night said he is particularly targeting senior agents who want out of corporate structures.