What Our Franchisees Say...
When I decided in 2003 that the time was right for me to open my own estate agency I looked at all the options and tried to ascertain if I should make this big step on my own or should I consider joining a franchise. I was already working within a successful franchise operation and I could see the benefits the wider network gave to help beat the corporate valuers and win instructions whilst other standalone agents in my area struggled so was already leaning towards this set up.
I did speak to a couple of franchise operations, including the one I was already working within and I met with Craig & Mark from Urban & Rural to compare their proposition against the one I was already familiar with and comfortable with. By the end of the first meeting with them my plans were turned upside down. Their enthusiasm and drive was infectious and I loved the additional support they offered, I was not just paying to use a brand I was getting ongoing support and advice on all aspects of agency, running a business, employing staff, keeping up to date with changes in legislation and much more. They make many aspects of starting and operating a business less stressful by knowing you have their knowledge and experience to call upon.
Since joining in 2003 we have traded through fantastic and difficult times, Craig & Mark have always offered support and at times sounding board when I need to let off steam or have had a new idea. Over that time I have seen how much the market has changed and I am very thankful I am not a standalone agent trying to make my own way in the current market. The benefits of an Urban & Rural franchise are numerous but some which I have really come to appreciate over the years are;
Support, support, support – they are always at the end of a phone to listen and offer help or advice, they love seeing branches being successful and their passion is much more than the slight increase in their franchise fees they genuinely want every office to be the best in their area.
Even more support – Every single director knows each other, we are all friends working really closely together to offer each other support. Some are better with marketing, some with technology, some with negotiating deals, some with employee law and we speak to each other regularly and share ideas. I do not have to worry about coming up with every new idea to drive my business forward because we all try new ideas and if they work we discuss them and other franchisees choose whether to adopt them.
Income generation – I make more money back by being part of the Urban & Rural network than I pay in franchise fees, I do consider I am part of the franchise for free by making money from all the income streams provided by being part of the franchise company including;
Selling a property outside of the area I normally operate in and collecting a share of the fee
Referring a valuation to another branch from an applicant who may have instructed another agent
Collecting a valuation from another office which I may have never got the opportunity to value
Passing FS leads to the Urban & Rural solution – in over 20 years of agency by far the best mortgage solution I have ever worked with
Creating a lettings arm within my business which generates income and value without me having to worry about the management
Bulk buy savings – We are able to negotiate very preferential rates due to the size of the company and a lot of the costs can be split between the branches allowing us to invest in much better marketing and equipment that we simply wouldn’t be able to proceed with if I was on my own. Essential costs such as a good website etc are all included and something I don’t have to worry about which makes me another saving.
Finally I do have to say that Craig & Mark are always open to new ideas and are not set in their ways, they are accommodating wherever possible and appreciate that the success of Urban & Rural is attributed to all the individual parts of the network. They do allow you the opportunity to run your own business your way with all the support you need. I have never regretted opening an Urban & Rural franchise and am very pleased that I made that decision all those years ago!
Stuart Scott - Owner (Flitwick & Barton le Clay branches)