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TODAY'S OTHER NEWS

Purplebricks: an insider’s story of what it was REALLY like

A former Local Property Expert and manager at Purplebricks has gone on record to reveal what it was really like to work at the controversial company.

Cameron Carter - an LPE in the Southampton area for a year before spending 20 months with the firm as a training manager - claims the agency is now an unhappy workplace where some potential earnings have been exaggerated. He adds there is also “fear” amongst staff about the firm’s future direction under the current management.

In a video interview with Properganda PR - given exclusively to Estate Agent Today and which we show at the foot of this story - Carter lifts the lid on morale, management, pay, complaints and those infamous online reviews.

He admits he personally “did very well” in terms of income “but not a lot of others did, unfortunately.” 

He says recruitment advertisements for LPEs spoke of On Target Earnings up to £80,000 but he claims “outside of London those figures are exaggerated” and that an LPE outside the capital would achieve "£30,000 to £40,000 absolute maximum.” With each LPE being self-employed, they then had to fund their own admin and run a car with those earnings.

In the interview - conducted by Russell Quirk, the former chief executive of Emoov and now co-founder of Properganda - Carter breaks down the pay for LPEs. He says that outside London each listing would produce £200 for the territory owner - that's the person who is the next level up in the hierarchy from an LPE, and who will have several LPEs beneath them.

Of that £200 per listing, £150 would go to the LPE.

For additional services commissioned by a vendor and costing £300, the territory owner would receive £25 and the LPE some £125, leaving £150 to go to Purplebricks centrally.

On top of that, an LPE would receive £35 to £50 if a customer bought into legal services and additional £25 sums for some further services.

Moving on to Purplebricks’ working environment and strategic direction, Carter gives high praise to the now-departed Michael and Kenny Bruce, who founded the company.

He suggests that under their leadership the working environment seemed “generally happy” and that most found it hard to disagree with the direction of the firm.

Once the Bruces shifted their activities towards the agency’s ill-fated US expansion, however, things changed.

The replacement senior management - under Vic Darvey, a former MoneySupermarket executive who has now become Purplebricks’ group chief exec - appeared to have less focus on strategy, claims Carter.

Towards the end of the 30-minute interview Carter reveals that in his experience (and contrary to the views of many outside of Purplebricks) the agency successfully completed sales on around 70 per cent of its listings.

Some analysts had previously put the figure at around 50 per cent, although the company has long insisted that the proportion was much higher. Carter attributes the 70 per cent success rate to “motivated sellers” who - having taken the plunge with a hybrid agent and a low fee - were determined to secure the sale of their home.

It’s a long and fascinating interview, with Quirk giving his views, too, on what Purplebricks did right and wrong; Carter provides many more insiders’ revelations on what it was like to work at the agency.

The video is below - and our thanks to Properganda PR for sharing this with Estate Agent Today readers.

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    15,000 running sales and 45 post sales advisors, 50% chain checks and 70% conversion instruction to exchange - those home sellers must be very motivated. Also plateauing instructions and increasing recruitment challenges. Lots of change still to come. Purplebricks deserve a lot of credit for precipitating this great new phase in agency. We are at the early stage of a new beginning.

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    Err, no we're not. We're actually well in to the beginning of the end for this shower.

     
  • Aaron  Weaver

    Thats not an insight its an advert.

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    commisery right there.....

  • Simon Shinerock

    From the beginning I have pointed out the difference between the type of person who sells privately and the majority who choose an agent. There are two principle differences. The first and most important is the sellers perception of how easy it will be to sell. So, in a fast market if they own a property they know will attract many buyers they are more likely to try and save money. The second difference is one of confidence, private sellers will tend to be more confident they can deal with the process, competently whether they can or not. For these reasons you can’t really compare sales rates for this group with the general population on a like for like basis. Certainly concluding that selling privately is more effective than using an agent would be like saying living in Newcastle makes you run faster having compared ex Olympic runners from Newcastle with average people living elsewhere

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    Getting paid to list your property, paid extra for viewings, extra for legal referrals, extra for getting a board up.
    How much do they get paid for actually selling your property Mr(s) Vendor?
    Nothing.
    Oh didn't you realise that?
    My negotiator will not get any commission if they do not sell your property, who do you think is more motivated to sell your property?
    No. Ok. Good luck

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    Purple Bricks is a company that has so many complaints daily about almost everything from no viewings, poor photos, little contact from LPE, and on and on. Because the vendor has signed up and has to pay they expect a lot and rightly so. However purely relying on the portals to make viewings and having no system in place for ring outs simply meant that it was a lottery if the vendor received any viewing requests. Again this was automated therefore no checks in place whether they can afford the property or being in a position to proceed. Chain checks were not in place and Kenny Bruce takes everything personally. He is a bull in a china shop and blamed everything on the LPE and not his system that is or was in place. They wont be around too much longer, how can you sustain 75 million in losses and never turn a profit after 5 years. If you break down the time you are working, weekends, nights, car costs, insurance, tax tyres, petrol LPE's are not earning that well at all. Huge turn around of staff, inept management and all the crap that goes with it stay clear. Market share under 2% with a 20% prediction 4 years ago come on this company is going nowhere. Their demise is coming and all the poor shareholders losing their investment will be a sour taste in their mouths. Traditional agents surely now must be gaining a lot more instructions and knowing how easy it is to explain about the demise of Purple Bricks.

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    The 'disruptors' are being disrupted by their own brethren. The likes of housesimple and doorsteps and eating in to their market share at an alarming rate.

     
  • Velgram Quaid

    Purple Bricks is luring agents away from high street branches with the promise of high earnings as LPEs. But most of these recruits will have little or no experience of self-employment, and when, a year after starting their Purple Bricks career, the tax man comes knocking at the door for his cut, how many of them will have put aside the cash to pay him?

  • Tony Sinclair

    I keep hearing the same old echoes ringing around my cavern of solitude.

    It's Brexit's fault. It's Brexit Uncertainty. Deal or no deal. Bojo will fix it or Bojo won't. It woz Brexit that done it. Etc Etc Etc.

    The Blame Game my friends, is the first step on the road to bankruptcy. It sorts the wheat from the chaff. A business with weak leadership will sit tight and wait out the storm in a futile hope that problems will miraculously solve themselves, whereas a strong leader will grab the ship's wheel and steer out of the storm by making changes and adapting to the new conditions and environment.

    The Blame Game is a sign of weakness and a precursor for failure.

    And so it came to pass that I blew the dust from my crystal ball for a quick peek into the immediate future so we won't have to listen to the wishful thinking and self-denial of struggling hybrid agencies.

    As I peek into my crystal ball, the mists begin to clear. I see a great storm on the horizon for the hybrid estate agent market in 2020 AD. A storm of epic proportions that most will not weather. The few that do will be so badly damaged they will need to limp back to port and rethink the blueprint.

    PB is streamlining by dumping it's wild ambitions for International Conquest and will focus on it's UK domestic market where it all began. This tactic alone will finish off some smaller hybrids who don't have the deep pockets of PB et al. But money is not the problem nor the answer as they will realize later much to their chagrin.

    The main pretender Yopa likewise is losing ground. Some key management staff has left which has started a domino effect of decline as it descends from good customer service to incompetence resulting in angry customers jumping the sinking ship almost as fast as their agents, the beating heart of any estate agencies online or nay.

    Yopa claims to be the 2nd largest hybrid behind PB but in reality, it only has a very small share of the market compared to PB. Yopa will not survive in 2020 AD. It will either fold or be swallowed up by PB or a larger company because like others they either cannot see the problem or they are ignoring it.

    Yet the answer is there hidden in plain sight for all to see.

    The final demise of the Online Agent will not be caused by lack of money or lack of effort or lack of service although they are all supporting factors. It will come because of lack of good field agents, the lifeblood of the property industry, the hard working people who do the donkey work for little appreciation and even lesser money.

    In real-time we have seen the best agents dip a toe into the hybrid market for promised riches that never came for the greatest majority. Moral quickly ebbs away when they realize they have been duped with the dangling carrot of a self-employed lucrative business owner so they can live a lifestyle of choice.

    But alas and alack, this ruse is quickly dashed when they find out they are being micromanaged and therefore treated as an employee while the agent pays for everything an employer should be paying for.

    The best agents have already discovered that the hybrid online agency dream is not paved with gold and success. It is morphing into a nightmare paved with debt.

    If any of them are going to survive, they will have to correct the fatal flaws in the blueprint.

    Instead of throwing good money into mass promotional advertising, they should take a long hard honest look at how they are treating and what they are paying their own staff. If you want to keep the best you have to pay the best money.

    Movers and shakers do not rest their hats where there is no money to be made. It's not rocket science but where shareholders are involved, it's a moot point. They want the lion's share while those who made it for them are left to fight over the breadcrumbs.

    However, this is merely the tip of the iceberg. I also see a big change coming to the housing market in mid-2020 AD which will shake it to its foundations and it will not bode well for Online Agencies in general.

    I commend my metaphysical findings to you and your common sense.

    Simon Shinerock

    I predicted the same end at the beginning :)

     
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    Russell Quirk

    Try to keep up. I was interviewed on video for hours by Graham Lock and then Chris Watkins back in December and January. No holds barred. Life moves on...

    PS. ‘Missing millions’ makes for a nice sensationalist line but is a silly thing to assert. And defamatory

     
  • Velgram Quaid

    Are there any stats relating to the number of people who have used an online agent, returning to use them again? Fool me once.... etc?

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    Michael and Kenny Bruce should be investigated ("pump and dump scheme") with how they ran up the stock on global expansion and SOLD while employees could not. Unless you were their family or close friends from their former estate agency days. They fraudulently played the system while ruining many many lives.

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