The head of EweMove, the hybrid agency operated by The Property Franchise Group, says he applied for the top job in order to protect the business model.
Nick Neill, who is marking two years as managing director of EweMove, admits to having had no experience of estate agency at all when he became a franchise owner for a EweMove branch in 2014 - but just three years later he applied to be MD.
He was one of over 100 vying to take over the agency’s top job following the departure of EweMove’s two high profile and flamboyant founders, David Laycock and Glenn Ackroyd.
“I suppose I applied out of self-interest to a degree to protect the brand and my own franchise but I was confident I could do a good job” says Neill in a statement to mark his second anniversary in the post.
“My three years as a franchisee had seen me become even more committed and passionate about the EweMove way of doing things and I was concerned a new chief might come in and change the company.
“I’d seen in my corporate career MDs come in and try to change too much and end up ripping the soul out of the company and damaging the brand.”
He adds: “I genuinely believe that the franchise model, when well done, is the future of estate agency. This is because of the scales of economy, support umbrella, expertise and financial rewards it can offer.”
Last month EweMove announced that it had welcomed its 125th franchisee - Damien Guest, who previously worked for Your Move. He was reported to be only the 44th EweMove franchisee with previous agency experience.
Earlier this year EweMove boasted of having the industry’s shortest average sales time for vendors’ properties moving from new instruction to completion, and TPFG reported that in 2018 EweMove made a modest pre-tax profit of some £400,000; its sales completions grew by 22 per cent in 2018 last year and its lettings completions grew by 26 per cent.
However, this week’s statement by the company is light on specifics, simply saying: “EweMove has seen good returns for the past two years despite the political uncertainty affecting the property market.”