Purplebricks say it’s going to complete its transformation from an agency using self-employed local operatives in the field, to having fully employed agents only.
In August last year the agency - which had long prided itself on local property experts being self-employed, and waged many battles with critics arguing that the self-employed status could not survive - announced that it wanted its 600 LPEs to move to employed status.
At the time the then-chief executive Vic Darvey said in a message to shareholders: “The move to a fully employed model for Purplebricks' agents represents a further enhancement to the company's business model, following a review of how the company can best serve its customers, support its field teams in the future, and meet the demands of a strong market.”
The move last year involved only LPEs on the sales side; yesterday Purplebricks confirmed that its lettings division, too, would make the transition.
The change of status, however, would impact only 30 LPEs, giving an indication of how modest the lettings side of the operation is.
“The benefits of the new operating model in lettings are expected to mirror those in sales where the move has been well received, resulting in an improved customer experience and better support for the field team” says the company.
And Tom Bailey, Purplebricks lettings director, adds: “Lettings remains a crucial part of our growth ambitions. Moving to an employed field model will give us a strong platform for our growth and investment ambitions and I am excited to lead the Purplebricks lettings team in the next phase of its growth.”
Darvey - who tomorrow leaves Purplebricks - said at the time of the announcement last summer that the pandemic had highlighted the challenges of being self-employed for many people.
As a result the company set aside £2.2m to execute the change of status of agents, which it said would also allow the workforce to “scale up quickly to meet consumer demand, and continue to deliver a high quality, locally based service for our customers.”
Meanwhile Monday sees the first day in office for the agency’s new chief executive, Helena Marston.
She joined Purplebricks in May 2020 as Chief People Officer, taking over as Chief Operating Officer at the end of 2021. She has no estate agency experience outside of Purplebricks, having held human resources roles at Virgin Media, Kuwait Energy, Jaguar Land Rover and Vodafone.