What are the benefits of becoming a letting agent franchisee? [+ podcast]
Derrick Maguire, Director at Anthony Martin Franchising, shares the five benefits agents get when taking on a franchised lettings business.
When you go into franchising as a letting agent, you normally see five main benefits. I like a good acronym, and the acronym to cover those five benefits is TOMBS: training, operations, marketing, branding, and support. The five combined give agents a strong foundation for starting or expanding their business.
1. Regular and in-depth training opportunities
If you were to try and go it alone, you'd have to get your own trainer. I've come across some brilliant trainers in my time, but they are expensive. As a franchisee, agencies get regular training that enhances their staff's knowledge and skills. This obviously helps to alleviate that cost burden, as it's included through the franchise agreement.
The cost of training also would be difficult to avoid as training is key to a good business. A lot of people are too busy working in their business and not on business - which means their staff may get a bit disgruntled if they feel sidelined. However, if you train your staff, make them feel part of the team, they'll be more likely to stay - and your team is what makes your business work.
Training also should be continuous. Your team needs to keep up with relevant industry knowledge and, if you look at your stats and spot a weakness in a team member's performance, training may be the solution.
It could simply be to refresh what they already know, but your team will feel that you're investing in them. Plus, it's a good opportunity for them to learn from others too on the courses. They start talking together, realise that they're not the only ones having that trouble, and their self confidence goes up. That's what a franchise can bring, that unity and sense of camaraderie.
2. Tried and tested operating systems
As a franchisee, you get an operating system, such as a CRM or a lettings platform like Goodlord, that's been tried and tested and you know will work. You get economies of scale too, because the franchisor can negotiate prices with portals and with other suppliers.
If you go out to find them yourself, there are so many out there, you may fall for the one that gives you the best sales patter. Or you might go for the cheapest, because you're looking solely at the cost - and that could set you up in the wrong way straight away.
Under a franchise, you'll likely get an operations manual to go with it, helping you train and showing you exactly how to do it. That operations manual is very important. The one we have at Anthony Martin Franchise is 93 pages long. I update it every six months - and when I say update, I mean add to. This covers everything that the agent needs to know to be a success.
3. Ready-made marketing expertise
You should also get marketing help. At Anthony Martin, we use a company called Sharphawk to do all our marketing and they're exceptional.
We share their ideas out there for the franchisees to use. The franchisee gets marketing and they only really have to pay for it themselves if they want something a bit more bespoke to their business. Agents have the freedom to invest their own budget in this area if they'd like to expand on it further.
Marketing is very much key to an agency's success, so it is something that agents should be doing. If McDonald's stopped marketing, Burger King would take the market share. If an agency wants to become established in an area, they first need to build that awareness of their presence. Marketing is the way to do that.
4. An established and recognised brand
Franchisees also get the brand - a big part of taking on a franchise branch. It's normally a well known name that potential customers will recognise from the start, so establishing that brand awareness in an area will take less effort.
When I started my own franchised branch, I could easily have opened up as DM Properties saved myself around £18,000 plus VAT. However, it would never have sold for the amount that it did. It probably wouldn't have been a success because the brand gets potential customers to the door. Once they go through that door, it's you they see. But what gets them to the door is the brand name of the relevant franchise.
5. A support mechanism, to help you through the whole process
When you combine training with the right support, you're more or less guaranteed success. Tiger Woods was number one in the world for 10 years - and he still had a coach. Everyone needs that support and guidance.
While I love training and learning - LinkedIn do some good stuff, and the emails that Goodlord shares with advice are superb - there's no point in training a franchisee if you're not going to support them too, to give them assurance that they're doing the right thing. Every now and again, you need that support to make sure you're moving forward in the right way.
Setting up a franchise is a two-way street. Our role is to see how we can help you make more money. Yes, we make money too. The franchise model means that I'll charge you a percentage, but you're getting the vast majority of the profits. So I want to know, how can I help you? And that's what good franchisers should do. We want the franchised branch to be a success, just as much as they do.
Plus, all the branches can support each other too, it's not simply from the top down. You have friends in the network, not enemies. You have advice at every turn to help build a successful community under the one, established brand.
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