The Guardian has obtained what it says are details of the salaries and commissions of Foxtons sales staff. The basic payments are low and are reported not to have changed significantly for many years.
The paper claims negotiators receive an initial salary of £22,000, but once they are considered sufficiently experienced, usually after about four months, they can earn a commission-led income.
The commission takes the form of either 5.0 per cent of Foxtons’ overall take on each transaction, plus a salary of £17,500; or 10.0 per cent of the overall take on each transaction and a salary of £10,000.
“Most opt for the latter” according to the article’s author, Andy Beckett.
He says Foxtons “pays lavishly if things are going well - a negotiator selling a property for £1m earns a bonus of £2,500.” But Beckett says that in lean periods the basic salary, which has not changed for a decade, quickly threatens to make living in London impossible. ironically, this is partly down to the capital’s high property costs “for which Foxtons negotiators are themselves partly responsible” he says.
Beckett also writes of motivational and accounting meetings held each Friday and consisting of staff from what he calls each “cluster” of Foxtons branches. Quoting a formal Foxtons negotiator, the article states:
“‘First, there is a pep talk – or you’re all told off .... and then you get to shout out your figures. It shows on the screen where you are in the rankings. If you’ve done well, you’re buzzing. It’s one of the funnest parts of the week.”’ Successful employees are offered an elaborate sequence of bonuses. There are ‘trip targets’ – sales attainments that earn company-funded skiing or Mediterranean holidays; and ‘car targets’ – first a Mini, then a BMW, then a Mercedes.”
On the company’s distinctive office layout, visible from outside every branch, Beckett writes: “Foxtons has a more individualistic culture than its rivals, who generally pay higher basic salaries and sometimes hand out commission on a team basis. At Foxtons branches, the negotiators’ telephones are arranged facing each other, in gladiatorial rows. Despite this, or perhaps because of it, the young men in suits are always ducking outside to make calls.”
His article concludes by saying: “For all the company’s provocatively prosperous image, last year the average price it secured for a property was £544,000, only £30,000 above the value of the average London home.”