The former managing director of Foxtons, Peter Rollings, has spilled the beans on what it was like working at the heart of the company for over two decades, including being one of just 20 staff when the company was in its infancy.
Speaking with Nat Daniels, chief executive of Angels Media, Peter Rollings - who is now a major investor in outsourced viewings company Viewber - says he joined Foxtons in 1985.
“It was off the scale manic and hyper aggressive. They had just launched the first-ever zero per cent commission offering in their Fulham office (their second) and we generated 385 instructions in the first three months” he recalls.
“I had gone from working 9-to-5 five days a week to 9-to-9 seven days a week and within three months I had developed an ulcer. It was an incredibly steep learning curve but I loved it from the first moment I stepped into the business.”
He says that even then, 33 years ago, the branding of the company was so successful that despite its small size and London-focus, individuals often approached him in the belief that it was a national agency.
“The branding was all-encompassing, the ‘For Sale’ boards were everywhere (lettings didn’t launch until 1989), we were the only agent to produce our own monthly colour magazine and we employed ‘hard core’ sales people. Sometimes they weren’t the nicest – however, they invariably got the job done” he says.
Rollings went on to become chief executive of another London agency, Marsh & Parsons, for 17 years before retiring in 2016 with a reported £7.5m payoff, some of which he is believed to have invested in Viewber.
He told Nat Daniels that he continues to admire Foxtons today - although he hints that he may not regard it as the force that it once was.
“It has always been a unique company and has always done things its own way. Arguably it has grown too quickly and is now struggling to catch up in what is undoubtedly an extremely tough market. However, the current strategy of increasing market share in the offices they already have open is the right one in my view” he says.
The full story of Peter’s career is a fascinating one - you can read it in full here.