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EweMove's cut-price franchise offer to lure traditional agents

EweMove - the hybrid agency now part of Martin & Co’s Property Franchise Group - is slashing its up-front franchise fee in a bid to lure existing agents from traditional firms. 

Back in the autumn the Property Franchise Group, which paid £15m to acquire EweMove in September, suggested the number of EweMove franchisees could expand from its then-level of 90 to around 800.

As part of achieving that goal, the firm is cutting its up-front fee for existing agents to £1,995 plus VAT. It describes this as “an unprecedented opportunity for individuals to run their own business for a fraction of the cost – greatly enhancing accessibility, opportunity, and ultimate earning power.”

Glenn Ackroyd, co-founder and so-called Head Shepherd of EweMove, says consumers want 24/7 service and real time updates. 

“Booking viewings online needs to be as simple as ordering from Amazon. Today’s customer doesn’t want to be tied down to phoning up during office hours” he says.

Ackroyd argues that most traditional agents cannot handle such a service - and as a result he says transactions are down, fee levels are dropping “and hardly anyone turns up at their swanky branches for a frothy cappuccino.” 

He adds that “unless [traditional agents] change, quickly, they risk joining the ranks of Woolies, BHS and Blockbuster.”

To promote the franchise offer, which runs until the end of January, EweMove has set up a specialist website www.MyAgency2017.com with one of Ackroyd’s distinctive videos. 

The agency was launched by Ackroyd and David Laycock in 2014. Both were retained when Martin & Co’s Property Franchise Group acquired the agency.

  • Kristjan Byfield

    The mail shot out today is asking about people looking to make 6-figure incomes. A brief check (and I do stress brief as I only looked at 6-7) of several of the older franchises started in 2014 doesnt appear to support this claim. In fact (and maybe my pickings were unlucky) showed every one I looked at filing a loss in their latest accounts. Out of interest Glenn (if you're reading this) how many of your franchisees are actually taking home a 6 figure income?
    On another point, having looked at the Ewe Move website ther is a claim that the average let is 4 years- how can this be possible for a company that isnt even 3 years old? Maybe I am being naive or sill and I am sure someone from EM can explain this to me but found this a bizarre claim to make.

  • Glenn Ackroyd

    Hi Krisjan,

    The £100k of sales that you refer is a figure that a number of our established franchisees are achieving, but certainly not all. Of course, we would never pledge that any agent would be able to guarantee this figure.

    We also allow applicants free reign to call franchisees to discuss how their franchise is going compared to plan as part of the process.

    We make it quite clear in our business plan that in the first year, businesses will be operating at a loss - simply to reflect the cash flow realities of estate agency. It takes on average 6 months from instruction to receipt of completion funds and not all instructions will be successful.

    We have actually just changed our model to significantly address some of this year 1 cash flow pain.

    So now a franchisee can elect to get a £250 cash advance from us upon listing a property - repayable once the house sells or is withdrawn. Quite unique in franchising and certainly in our sector. It means that with typically bank funding you can start a franchise for under £12k, covering your Year 1 cash flow - Vastly better than other franchisees in this sector, or the start up costs of a traditional branch.

    Given that we are a relatively new business, with new franchisees, and accounts information is always recorded for the year/18 months past, you should see a pattern of losses recorded for franchisees in the first year of trading. It's planned and built into our 'What Can You Earn' Business Model which each applicant models for themselves based upon house values, commissions and anticipated sales in their area.

    We're very open about sharing this information and the realities of the costs involved and the cash flow hurdle to overcome in the first year and we do so very very early in the process.

    We'll be going through all of our numbers on an online webinar on the 17th January at 7pm which you're welcome to attend (register at www.myagency2017.com). At the end of the webinar, each attendee is emailed the model to work through the numbers to see how it might pan out for them.

    As for tenancy lengths in excess of 4 years, I've been operating a letting agency since 2005 - We simply re-branded and launched the franchise in 2013. So we've got lots of data. For more recent instructions we apply a formula based on the number of managed lets and ratio of tenant turnover. For example:

    If you have 120 properties under management and on average 10 tenants give notice and leave every month, then all tenants would leave over a 12 month period inferring an average tenancy length of 12 months.

    If only 5 tenants give notice and leave every month, then all tenants would leave over a 24 month period inferring an average tenancy length of 24 months.

    Whilst our average has just breached 5 years, in our model 'What Can I Earn' model we only assume 3 years average tenancy length to be conservative with any projections.

  • icon

    Sorry Glenn, somone needs to say this.... Firstly £100k of sales is not difficult these days. I did that in my first year. £2k x 50 homes is hard and you'd need 70 to cover costs at that fee then turning a profit is another thing. I personally feel you are a Prat. Yes capital. Likewise are the people that buy into your moronic company. I say moronic because it really looks it. You dress up for starters and have no class nor style. I will try to refrain again from the personal but how is this professional? I really get quite annoyed when you spam me via text and email so I thought I'd reply.... I'm sure you like the feedback. I would personally not listen to your rubbish. You are not an agent, you sell franchises (rubbish ones at that). You will allow people to pay for you to build a business and effectively work for you for free then if and believe me this is a big if it works (which with the current branding it certainly wont) you will hike the agency franchise fee to 25% of turnover per year and you will become rich whilst your franchisees end up worse and worse off. You should not call yourself an ewe more like a leech sucking the blood from passionate people who love the industry. I hope you fail. Why would anyone trust a muppet who thinks an ewe is a good roll model or even deserves to be in business. For starters they are slow off the mark and follow each-other around. So you are saying you are not forward thinking? Perhaps another quality is that you get herded around? Or perhaps maybe instead of opening a franchise of agents open an abattoir and jump in the front for us. I think I will let you drive down fees with the likes of the other online agents who you won't compete with and then will eventually go bust anyway. Either way best of luck in your failure to make money. The quicker you go udder (get it) the quicker we can all go back to being professionals!

  • Glenn Ackroyd

    Hi Sue,

    I seem to have upset you as a result of marketing to you. I do apologise as we've clearly caused offence.

    Estate agents are happy to send out canvassing flyers en masse and door knock customers on the market with other agents, and that's fair game - But woe betide if someone markets to them :-)

    In terms of your comments about us 'upping the price', we get paid upon a successful sale or let - And the prices are fixed in a long term contract with a RPI price rise cap.

    And concerning your other points about your thoughts about me and the business generally, I respect your opinion. Being objective, I am a competitor and estate agents never cheer along their rivals which is completely understandable.

    But in truth, the only opinion that any business should listen too, and in particular, estate agents, is that of the customer.

    On Trustpilot, we have a score of 9.9/10 - The highest ranked estate agent in the UK.

    And we've just scooped the prize of 'Best Estate Agency Franchise' at the Times/Sunday Times Estate Agency of the Year awards.

    Sorry again for spamming you - there is an unsubscribe link to make sure we don't trouble you again.

    All the best.

    Prat.

  • Kristjan Byfield

    Hi Glenn- thanks for the candid response. I'd still be intrigued to know what percentage of current franchisees are acheiving a £100k income which is the very tag line of the marketing you are bombarding us with through the industry media channels. Whilst you gave comprehensive answers, you swiftly avoided this question.
    I did make a point of looking at the accounts of your earlier franchisees (2014)- as a founder/director myself I totally understand that cashflow and profitability takes time. However, I do want to know if you can substantiate these claims in any factual way as this is the carrot you are using to atrract uptake.
    As for Tenancies undertaken under a different agency- how on earth can these be atributed to the Ewe Move brand? Factually they cant so surely this is a false and misleading statistic. What is more, your method is logical but not literal- any software you are using should easily be able to identify genuine tenancy lengths.
    Maybe I'm wrong but then again maybe I'm just (as your email tag line made clear) just one of those 'stupid estate agents'. When you take this approach I dont think you can be surprised that some take a more personal affront to your approach.

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