Striking out on my own

Striking out on my own

15:06 PM, 15th March 2016, About 8 years ago 4

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As landlords and investors, I’d like to pick your brains and gain your thoughts. I have been in the industry for 12 years as a letting agent, but doing sales as well, specialising in buy-to-let and student housing.

I have superb relationships with many of my clients – having been to their holiday homes, even funerals.

However, the company I work for, in my opinion, overcharges its clients and takes them for granted. Staff work insane hours to keep up with their workloads for little remuneration, despite the company posting outstanding financial results and continued growth year on year, seeing the firm become the market leader in the area it operates.

So, I am strongly considering going it alone. Not alone because I am tired of lining the directors pocket and paying for his £1.5m home, but because I truly believe the service I provide is what the clients appreciate and they can have this with me directly, for a lower fee.

My question to you, is that if your agent came to you with the proposition to move to him directly when they leave, would you do this, given you have a strong relationship with the individual, or would you stick with the agent irrespective, for fear of change?

I’d appreciate your thoughts!

Letting Man

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Gary Dully

21:48 PM, 15th March 2016, About 8 years ago

Hello Letting Man,

I personally would dip my toe in the water with you first, to see if your own processes work as they should.
If they did, I would start to swap my portfolio over to you a few months in.

Where are you based?


15:11 PM, 16th March 2016, About 8 years ago

Personal relationships are all very well, but they mean little outside the pub or funeral parlour if a landlord feels she is being impacted on the bottom line or seeing an increase in the hassle factor because the letting agent isn't doing his job properly. You need to be confident that you can demonstrate to your landlord contacts that not only are you taking your experience and contact lists into the new business, but that you have the systems in place to maintain their current level of service, or ideally improve on them.

Perhaps it would help ease the transfer if you had a quiet chat with each of your contacts about where they see their property business going, and think up some imaginative ideas that go beyond the usual services provided by a letting agent. For example, many small landlords bumble along with their tax returns, tax planning and personal finances in general. Perhaps you could consider offering them a tax planning advice service to accompany your lettings service - perhaps by building a relationship with a couple of firms of tax advisors or accountants to push business in each other's direction? A letting agent that actively sought to understand each landlord's business model (even if it's on the back of a fag packet) and help with its development would be an interesting variation on the usual letting services that compete on price and efficiency of delivery. You wouldn't need to oversell the "bespoke" angle, if you sense people are reading this to mean "expensive", but equally you could look to show you understand the issues faced by landlords, from finding a plumber to inheritance planning, and that you intend to be on their side.

Dr Rosalind Beck

16:11 PM, 16th March 2016, About 8 years ago

I've done this in the past when a nice agent set up on his own - if he could find me tenants I went with him instead - he charged less as well as he wasn't VAT registered initially. After all these years you know what you're doing and that would be enough for me. Of course it would help if you undercut the agents a bit more as well.

david porter

16:49 PM, 16th March 2016, About 8 years ago

If your agent looks after you and resolves issues then stay.
If an agent undercuts the others he may not have the revenue to employ the right people.
It is better to have good service than the lowest price.
Rather have a good agent than have to engage solititors to resolve problems.

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