Haart - one of the brands owned by Spicerhaart, which laid off staff in the first hours of the pandemic - has announced it's closing 23 branches and will have a structure involving a Partnership scheme with agents working remotely.
So-called Partner agents will work from home or from haart’s Local Property Centres and will be supported by a national call centre; there will be training at a Partnership Academy which will also “bring new talent into the industry.”
“The pandemic has shown us just how effective and productive our teams can be working from home, making 18 per cent more calls” claims Haart managing director Antony Lark.
“This bodes well for our new Partnership scheme and we are now starting our search for estate agents who are well-known in their local areas to become Haart Partners, with all the backup and support of our well-known brand and marketing expertise” he continues.
“We have reviewed and assessed all types of employment models and feel that by being fully employed by us, our Partners have the best of all worlds. It’s far better than being self-employed as the role comes with all the associated employment benefits, along with industry-leading technology and marketing that gives incredible lead generation to support the individual to grow their business.
“Very importantly, individuals have far more autonomy to manage their own day, giving them a much better work-life balance and enabling them to provide a more flexible service for our customers.
“Partners also have access to our £6m purpose-built IT support system, which gives them their ‘office in their pocket’, so they can work while out and about. We are also retaining and investing in our existing Elite network as part of our major expansion plans.”
Haart says 23 of its existing branches will not re-open, while the Partners programme will start in the West Midlands, Leeds, Brighton, Southampton, the Oxford-Cambridge corridor and in additional locations around its existing Bristol Property Centre.
Haart says it wants this structure to ultimately involve staff at 250 locations.
Spicerhaart chief executive Paul Smith says: “We have been planning our new Partnership scheme for some time but the Coronavirus pandemic has shown us how important it is for estate agencies to respond swiftly to changing circumstances and adapt to new ways of working.”
Meanwhile, Haart’s bricks and mortar branches are set to re-open within the next 10 days, following alterations.