President of Centum Financial Group and RPM Canada, redefining the way Canadians access mortgages and property management.
When we think of the word “franchise,” most of us visualize the same thing: a business in a box, a recipe that, if followed, should lead to success based on historical examples within the organization. Tech, training, tools, marketing and vendor partnerships are just some of the beneficial staples you’d want with a good franchise offering.
Having been an independent contractor working for a franchisee, then a franchisee myself and then finally leading a national mortgage brokerage franchise network and Canada’s largest property management franchise brand, I’ve seen the good, the bad and the ugly of franchising across all facets of the real estate industry.
What’s always fascinated me most is the evolution of successful agents in either real estate, mortgages or property management. New or existing agents whose needs aren’t being met, will often join a national franchise network. They’re impressed with the offering and leverage the resources whether it be training, marketing, etc. Between the integration of technology, systems, processes and support, momentum tends to pick up quickly. If you haven’t thought about a franchise network this way before here are just a few reasons I believe franchise networks are the right decision for long-term scalable growth:
• The pooling of financial resources, such as marketing or technology funds.
• Proven systems and processes through years of experience.
• Consumer recognition of a national or global brand.
• Committees, broker councils, task forces and the ability to bring like-minded individuals together.
• Major vendor partnership opportunities.
As a result of these resources and opportunities, an agent or franchisee might become highly successful and then figure they can do it on their own. In the early months, maybe even years, the energy is high as the agent will focus on culture, core value and their new brand, all things that are unique to them now and they’re in full control of. They will likely gain other agents and followers as they attract those that believe what they believe. As the company grows and the quality of agents increases, so do the expectations and demand for tools, technology and everything else to keep agents at the top of their game. This is when the owner eventually realizes that providing top-tier value at scale costs money.
I’ve seen the most fiercely independent operators eventually come around because the enterprise solution a franchise offers is often just as effective at a fraction of the cost. There’s also the peace of mind of knowing that it’s someone else’s problem to ensure the brand stays cutting edge. Relieved and renewed, the independent office comes into the franchise network again and the cycle, largely driven by innovation, continues. That being said, and with innovation in the tech space moving at light speed, franchisors need to evolve even faster to maintain their edge. In my opinion, the future of franchising in the real estate industry will be to provide obvious and fluid cross-selling services that enhance the experience of real estate consumers.
Stick with me for a second, OK? Imagine a world where the consumer can buy and sell their properties, get leading-edge asset management service and do all their financing and insurance in a simple, controlled and enjoyable experience. At our company, we call that mission The Holy Grail and everything we do works toward that vision. We firmly believe that by leveraging our brands we can create an environment where one transaction could mean three or four different opportunities and our people will be positioned to deliver. That to me is the future and where franchisors will need to go in order to continue to provide unparalleled value.
The peace of mind that comes from owning a franchise brokerage is invaluable. Knowing that thought leaders and your peers are working together to keep you on the cutting-edge removes so much stress so you can continue working on your business, not in it. The mission for anyone considering joining a franchise is to find one you can place your trust in, one that has a plethora of happy real estate professionals who can attest to the value of the brand. After that, if I could give any advice, it would be this: Go all in. A good franchisor is committed to serving their people. Join the councils, leverage the tools and resources available, be an ambassador for the brand and its mission because you’ll soon come to discover that they’re all in on you, too. An army of like-minded professionals supporting your business, like it’s their job because it is. What more could you ever ask for?