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I became an estate agent because...I worked on a number of building sites to earn some cash during my uni holidays, and it struck me that the people in control of the developments were really quite wealthy. That drove me to get into property somehow, and it so happened that residential lettings was the first industry to accept me.

The biggest threat to our industry is...Failure to regulate soon and/or effectively. It bugs me every single day that the compliant, law-abiding firms can have business taken away from them by rogue agents, not to mention the damage they can do to investors' portfolios and, by association, the reputation of the industry as a whole.

My proudest moment in estate agency is...Probably my first ever viewing. As nervous as I was, it felt great to have a 'proper' job and I've always done my job as though it's the most important one in the world ever since.

My biggest mistake in estate agency is...One or two of my recruitment decisions would probably be up there.

The most stressful part of my job is...If you do it properly, there shouldn't be anything stressful about this industry; any time I spend worrying, it's normally about something trivial like making this year's Christmas party better than the last one.

If I could change one thing about estate agency it would be...The popular misconception that there's an inherent dishonesty among all estate agents; there's not. But sadly many firms accept poor training, bad management and unprofessionalism as standard. Couple this with an unregulated industry whose methods and remit are not well understood by the public, and the results can be interpreted as deceit.

My one piece of advice for young agents is...Push your bosses to help and support you in developing your skills, knowledge, qualifications and exposure to challenges. This will enhance your own personal value to the company, your enjoyment of the job and, as a natural by-product, your earning potential.

The best thing about being an estate agent is...The people who go out of their way to say thank you for a job well done by my team - makes it all worthwhile.

*Ben Evans is managing director of FleetMilne Property in Birmingham


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