An estate agent who has now gone self-employed after working on the staff of Connells and Spicerhaart says her move is not all about earning extra money.
Two recent stories on EAT, relating to Keller Williams and Nested, have concerned agents working under those brands but in a self employed capacity claiming to earn sums well in excess of staff agents.
But now Anna Smith - who has moved to being self-employed, working under the brand of Hertfordshire-based agency David Lee - says it’s not about money, but about lifestyle.
“I moved to David Lee as a supported, self-employed agent because I had a baby. There was no way that I was going to be afforded the flexibility and choice of working style at a corporate estate agency that my new circumstance as a mum required” explains Smith.
‘I now have a little girl, Isabella, that I fit my working life around rather than having to fit my family around my working life as is so often the case when employed. If my daughter is sick or I can’t get nursery care I simply work from home or not at all.”
She adds: “I choose my hours and indeed my days and yet am still earning several fold what I was in corporate estate agency by listing and selling between 5 and 10 homes a month. My newfound flexibility and independence have literally been life changing for me.”
However, Smith also states: ”In the last year I’ve bought a Jaguar F-Pace and saved for a house. The extra deposit I’ve accumulated in just four months would have taken me years to put away previously despite me working when I like now. So yes, earnings are important, but I wouldn’t trade what I earn now for an employed role with all of its restrictions – no way".
Lee O’Brien, a director of David Lee, says “We all know that the estate agency business is about people and so David and I are taking this to its logical maximum by promoting the quality of life that our partner agents have rather than just shouting about cash. It’s how we’ll build a sustainable, quality proposition over many years with fantastic people like Anna”.
You can see recent stories about self-employed agents here and here - they have raised substantial controversy.
Critics point out that the estimated earnings of the high fliers in the self-employed world exclude the costs that would be covered by employers in the traditional business model.
These costs include insurance, membership of professional organisations and some taxes; meanwhile being self-employed means not having sick pay, a company pension, company car nor other entitlements. In recent times, self-employment has also been an obstacle to securing a mortgage or other loans at favourable rates.