Real Estate Brokerage Office Management
So you've gotten your broker's license and you've decided to step out on your own. Since you're at this place, you've been successful as an agent, which means you had a plan and followed it. It's no different now, just more complex with the addition of other people and more responsibility.
Using the resources of this site, you'll find help starting your new brokerage, setting up your business systems and growing it for an exit strategy. Real estate brokerage office management begs a plan. Let's profile some of the considerations here.
The Franchise Decision
When a broker decides to go with a real estate franchise, it's normally for the instant brand recognition, immediate structure, training and ongoing support that the franchiser provides. From national marketing exposure to group buying power for everything from signage to advertising space, the franchise provides immediate "bigness" to the brokerage. Of course, all this comes at a cost, both upfront and ongoing. Most charge a significant up-front fee and an ongoing percentage of revenue.
The Office Facility
Now you jump from your cubicle or home office to a building or large space that must accommodate multiple agents, the support staff, and meeting and storage space. This is a big step in the cost of doing business. New considerations include:
- Privacy for agents and clients
- Communications equipment
- Computers and information technology equipment
- Visibility and client presentation (location, location...)
- Access and parking space
- Training/conference areas
Operating Procedures and Systems
Efficient and productive offices don't get that way by accident. Written operations and procedure manuals that give step-by-step instructions for even the most obvious tasks are necessary. And this isn't a "seat of the pants" thing. Use the resources you'll find here to develop a detailed written plan and outline of what you'll need to get your brokerage off the ground. Do the "leg work" and put together the necessary personnel and systems before you open the doors.
Sales and Lead Management
Most brokerages promise their agents some form of prospect generation from the brokerage advertising, floor time and manning the phones. Untold millions of dollars are lost each year when the broker doesn't set up a system to manage these leads and require agent accountability. At the very least, any leads that come in from the company website should be carefully tracked and the agent's follow-up actions monitored. Identifying top performers for more leads will pay great rewards.
Insurance and Risk Management
It's a shame to have a profitable brokerage business go down the tubes from a lawsuit or lost the ability to get Errors and Omissions Insurance. Train, train, train should be a priority. Passing the license exam doesn't make an expert or even a safe novice. There's a huge amount of sales training going on, but your brokerage will benefit greatly from some legal, forms, ethics and contracts training to go with it. Be available for your agents. Make it easy for them to seek your advice.
Start Your Exit Strategy from Day One
Unless you plan on keeling over at your desk, most of us would like to scale back or retire some day. Planning from the beginning for building value in your business is extremely important to your future plan to exit the business. If you get to the last couple of years before retirement and just start thinking about how much the business is worth, it's too late. Too much value will be lost to poor planning. Use resources here to learn how to plan systems to increase business value.