By using this website, you agree to our use of cookies to enhance your experience.


Blame game starts as local Keller Williams UK Market Centre shuts

Keller Williams’ (KW) Warwick Market Centre has closed, prompting a blame game between its former owners and the franchise brand.

KW Warwick has been owned and managed from the outset by JP Downes and Sarah Downes since February 2020.

A spokesperson for the Warwick Market Centre, which employed tree people and supported 11 agents, revealed yesterday that it was closing and accused KW’s UK chief executive Ben Taylor of false promises.


The spokesperson said: “On Wednesday 31 August, the company will close its doors to all new business. The company will apply for voluntary administration and will be wound up. 

“Many of the representations made to us by KW UK and by Taylor prior to us agreeing to purchase this Keller Williams franchise turned out not to have any substance at all and were wildly exaggerated. 

“Stated market centre performance and the likely financial outturn of our business together with most of the benchmark key performance indicators provided to us, were a total fiction.”

The centre’s former owners are also seeking legal advice for what they describe as “blatant misrepresentations.”

The spokesperson added: “We have therefore taken the disappointing decision to voluntarily close to all new business from here on and to cut our losses. We will be supporting our agents to ensure that they and our mutual customers are unaffected by this sad but necessary resolution.”

But Taylor claims it was KW UK that terminated the agreement with the market centre due to its lack of growth.

He told Estate Agent Today: “Our model is based on growing the market centres.

“From when we awarded the centre to now, they had a total of 11 agents, effectively it just didn’t grow.

“Our model works by helping multiple agents, not a dozen of them.

“Despite multiple training and the systems available, they couldn’t control the market centre, that wasn’t in line with market agreement,.

“They had some really good agents, but only 11. We didn’t feel that market centre could continue.

“Everything they have been told was the case but they have not implemented the training and models we have been asking them to do.

“This is the nature of franchising. They want somebody to blame for what happens.

“You have to grow the business."

Taylor said the sub licence agreement for the area will be available to a new operating principal.

He added: "We believe the Coventry, Warwick and Leicester areas are all strong markets to develop into.

"Our priority now is to support the 11 agents and their businesses in transitioning to another Market Centre, and we are talking to them each individually to find the best solution for them..

"They are already supported by the KW Prime Central London Market Centre for a variety of platforms and portals and our 40-strong leadership team across the country are all available to them too."

The statement from KW Warwickshire's former owners also makes a number of other claims including that the national brand is behind on PAYE and VAT payments to HMRC.

Taylor declined to comment on the company’s financials but said there were no issues with the taxman.

KW Warwickshire's former owners also claimed that high profile names have recently left the business, including recent investor Russell Quirk.

Taylor confirmed that Quirk is no longer an investor.

Quirk said in a statement provided to Estate Agent Today: "Quirk Readings Limited operates a franchise of the Keller Williams real estate

concept in the United Kingdom, through the Market Centre known as KW Plus in Essex. 

Russell Quirk, Anthony Quirk, Sheraz Dar and Graham MacKim, who were each shareholders in Quirk Readings Limited, have agreed to sell their interests in Quirk Readings Limited to new investors who will continue running the KW Plus Market Centre alongside existing principals Mark Readings and Claire Readings."

Taylor added that KW UK’s other market centres are growing and the brand now has just under 400 agents.

KW UK's Bristol market centre closed in April.

  • icon

    300 postmen / "real" estate agents included. How many instructions is that? What a shambles

  • Simon Shinerock

    As I pointed out long ago, a strong High St culture and not enough commission to make the model work in the UK

    Steve Meade

    It has been proven that the model works Simon, just not successfully with KW. There are a number of top Agencies out there that are making great inroads with their Associate and Franchise offerings.

    Algarve  Investor

    Franchising can work very well, Steve. We only need to look at Belvoir, one of property's best-run businesses, and the growth of TPFG for evidence of that. But the KW-style model, more akin to the US, doesn't translate very well.

  • Algarve  Investor

    I don't think the American model of agency works very well in the UK - the markets are just too different. I've always found it strange that KW, despite being so successful in the States, have struggled to really get a foothold in the UK. But, like easyproperty trying to translate success in one industry to another, trying to be successful in another country is also really hard.

    Just ask Foxtons, Tesco, Purplebricks and Robbie Williams.

  • Chris Arnold

    "TOAST your inner circle or you will be toast."
    Talk to them, Offer, Assistance, Send them something Text them.
    Naturally influence people to work with you. Incorporate time-saving strategies and techniques that will take your business to the highest levels. Build an abundance of leads into your business.
    Powerful mindset exercises, language techniques, business building strategies and live leadgen techniques, over 7 weeks BOLD conditions agents."

    Just a sample of the arrogant, ego-driven narrative from the KW playbook.

    A self-professed world-class learning" facility that focuses on interruption marketing on steroids - oblivious to the fact that times change and homeowners value privacy. A business that encourages agents not to think for themselves.

    "To those that think of quitting - what you need to do is make the touches strategic and systemised. You want to take all the thinking out of it - systems, systems, systems."

    Then, with an about turn of epic proportions, Gary Keller comes up with this revelation:
    "Training and education is no longer key, but technology and only technology ".

    KW is almost single-handedly responsible for the mess this industry is in with regard to lack of trust.
    A company founded on the principles of hustling, manipulation and volume transactions. Luring agents in with the promise of wealth, selling them second-rate methodology and cult-like visions of success, I wish them a speedy departure from these shores.

  • icon

    As long as KWUK looks American, feels American, gives American training but has few of the resources that agents get in America, I suspect that market centres will continue not to grow.
    But things are looking up entrepreneurs! "Taylor said the sub licence agreement for the area will be available to a new operating principal.".... yes that one and 90 others in the UK..... form an orderly queue.

  • icon

    Fact 1 – There are now only 11 UK market centres claimed by KWUK. Down from 12 at the start of the year. Bristol & Warwick have gone. Exeter has been added. The reality is there are only 9. Weybridge exists only in name as it has no leadership team, and the agents have all gone to the Marlow centre. Edinburgh is merging with Glasgow (see LinkedIn today). The number of market centres is shrinking. Ben Taylor’s goal was to sell 25 new SLAs this year. HE’S SOLD 1, LOST 2 AND 2 MORE ARE PHANTOM CENTRES.

    Fact 2 – KWUK claims to have over 400 agents. A simple tally of the agents on the KWUK website shows about 333. When you factor in agents that are also in leadership or who have left then it’s about 320. THE AGENT COUNT IS ALSO SHRINKING DOWN 20% YEAR ON YEAR.

    Fact 3 – If you look up the relevant limited companies that are involved with the market centres and the KWUK region the debt issues are plain to see. Grifettey Limited owns the UK license – it is carrying a significant 7 figure debt. Taylor Maximus Group Limited will point you in the direction of others (cross reference with Ben Taylor’s name to see other appointments held). You will notice a lot of juggling to say the least.

    This article is entitled ‘blame game’; but that’s not the point. It’s about the truth. So, here’s an invite to Ben Taylor. Why don’t we meet face to face, Chris Watkin can chair and record it for all to see. We can then let the court of public opinion decide. I might be who you think I am, or you may be surprised. The only way to truly know is for us to meet on Chris’ sofa…


Please login to comment

MovePal MovePal MovePal
sign up