Estate Agency – Work Hard Play Hard or Lifestyle Choice?
With growing demand for improved work / life balance, rapid changes in technology and consumer awareness what does the future hold for the traditional work hard, play hard property industry?
With estate agency activity historically focused around their high street offices and as a result tied to core office hours is there really any scope to offer more flexible working? If the office hours are say Monday to Saturday 9am till 18:00 then someone needs to be there all the time the office is open. Add to this the fact that the majority of customers would prefer to interact outside of these times then it’s easy to understand why Estate Agents need to work long (and often pointless) hours. Sitting at desks waiting to answer phones that seldom ring and greet the dwindling number of customers that might visit the branch. They then need to make themselves available in the evenings and over weekends to conduct valuations and viewings when their customers aren’t at work.
Administrators and Negotiators are primarily employed to cover the phones, field and respond to incoming emails and manage paperwork. The office hours system requires a heavy reliance on the “call the office, leave a message, wait for a call back” process which involves several people and can add days to the simplest of transactions. If it were possible to automate a large portion of the administrative process, ie booking appointments, giving straightforward feedback and marketing updates on the progress of a property and the relaying of messages between relevant parties. Then both staffing and premises costs could be slashed at the same time as providing a better service to the customer. This would also diminish even further the need for an office – What would the world look like for Estate Agents without High Street offices?
As consumers we’ve evolved to a point where, when considering a product or service, we consider where our money goes. Customers today look at the shiny high street window, fleet of branded cars and team of superfluous employees and ask themselves “does any of that help me to sell my home more quickly, easily or more importantly for a better price?” As Estate Agents we should embrace these realisations and realise the implications for us as individuals. In a world without offices and without time-greedy teams to manage our time is free to do two important things deliver for the customer and develop a better way of life.
In a recent Huffington Post piece Purplebricks CEO Michael Bruce responded to rising calls for flexible working and outlined our vision for a better future. “We [at Purplebricks] have made it our goal to offer all our people the flexibility never before seen in the industry. We concentrate our time on the customer, not fighting our way through traffic to get to an office where nobody visits.” (http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/michael-bruce/flexible-working_b_5550664.html)
Following our successful launch across the South Coast we are now turning our attention the rest of the country. If you are a success driven, entrepreneurial and customer focused Estate Agent who is looking for a better way then we’re keen to hear from you! Purplebricks are currently recruiting across the midlands.