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EweMove hybrid defends recruiting franchisees with no agency experience

The parent company of franchised hybrid estate agency EweMove says that experienced estate agents outperform inexperienced franchisees - but only for two years. 

It says it has come to this conclusion after an analysis of agents’ and non-agents’ performance as EweMove franchisees.

“Consequently, we have resumed recruiting non-agents as franchisees at EweMove provided that we are satisfied they have transferable sales skills and access to sufficient working capital during the build-up period” says parent company The Property Franchise Group in a statement this morning.

It continues: “As well as also increasing its lettings revenue our hybrid brand EweMove demonstrated that its unique, highly customer centric offering can defy the challenging sales market, as its sales revenue increased. This was through existing franchisees achieving higher sales conversion rates.”

EweMove has improved its cash generation year on year, sats TPFG, and tight cost control has delivered a corresponding improvement in profitability. “We are on track to materially improve on the 2018 result for the full year” according to the company.

The statement goes on to say that EweMove has 115 franchise territories as of the end of the first half of 2019, which is “broadly flat against the prior year.”

However, at the start of summer in a separate announcement TPFG admitted that of those new franchisees buying into the EweMove brand in 2014 and 2015, some 42 were no longer trading.

This morning’s statement says EweMove’s property listings have increased to 3,173 in H1 2019 against 3,062 in the same period of last year “which was pleasing against the backdrop of a falling market.” 

Meanwhile for the entirety of The Property Franchise Group - which also consists of established High Street brands CJ Hole, Ellis & Co, Martin & Co, Parkers and Whitegates - revenue in the first half of the year was £5.5m, the same as in 2018’s first half year and in line with expectations.

Management Service Fees - the amount franchisees pay the company - increased five per cent to £4.6m while pre-tax profit also rose some six per cent. 

Operationally, TPFG’s brands now have 56,000 tenanted managed properties, some six per cent more than in 2018; there have also been 17 new acquisitions completed by franchisees.

Across TPFG’s brands, it has some 369 trading offices - nine new ones opened in the half year to the end of June.

The group remains heavily weighted towards lettings, accounting for 70 per cent of its Management Service Fees.

Outgoing chief executive Ian Wilson says: "Historically, the group experiences stronger trading in the second half year, associated with heightened lettings activity in the period from June to September. At this stage we believe that this pattern will be maintained … Thanks to our franchise business model, diverse brand offering, lettings weighting and high levels of cash generation, resulting in a strong balance sheet, we are well-positioned to outperform our competitors, increase market share and deliver value for all our stakeholders in the immediate and longer term." 


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