Almost half of all “For Sale” boards in the country have been put up by franchisees of Agency Express, which dominates its market. The company was recently named Franchisor of the Year 2015 and has won a slew of other awards this year for its service.
Q&A subject: Ben Brookes, franchise director of Agency Express
Franchised since: 1999 Number of franchisees: 111 Turnover growth last year: 31 per cent
(1) What’s the position of Agency Express in your marketplace?
Agency Express are the largest “For sale” board services provider in the UK. We service over 40 per cent of all UK offices, which equates to over 95, 000 visits to residential properties every single month.
(2) Is there still room to grow further?
Of course! Although we hold the largest market share in our sector, there are over 50 per cent of UK estate agencies and lettings agencies who would benefit from using Agency Express. The commercial sector of our industry also continues to grow, offering an excellent additional revenue stream.
(3) How did it feel to be named the UK’s Franchisor of the Year?
It hasn’t really sunk in yet. To be awarded the highest accolade in the franchise industry is truly an honour, and represents the culmination of many years? hard work. This award is the pinnacle of success for any franchisor, but when taking into account the fantastic brands also listed as finalists this year, we really couldnt be happier.
(4) A suitable culmination to the last 12 months?
it’s been a record year for Agency Express, and our franchisees. Not only have we have won all three of the major UK estate agency supplier awards a first in our industry but our franchisees continue to strengthen, reporting record profits and client activity. We celebrated our busiest month ever in June 2015, successfully conducting over 100, 000 visits to properties on behalf of our clients.
(5) Property was hit particularly hard in the downturn did that impact the business?
Having the benefit of working with both lettings agents and estate agents meant the property downturn had little effect on Agency Express or our franchisees while it’s true to say the sales market suffered, the lettings market flourished.
Working closely with all franchisees to ensure they held an even client base with both sides of the industry ensured we experienced continued growth through this period, and accelerated growth once the sales market regained its momentum.
(6) How important has technological innovation been to the business?
Roughly ten years ago we recognised our franchisees were limited on the amount of work they were able to complete each day by the sheer volume of paperwork and manual route planning involved, and a solution was required.
Signmaster, Agency Express’s online board management system, was created shortly after to ease the daily procedures for clients and franchisees alike. An immediate effect was noted, with a dramatic increase in the amount of visits an operator was able to conduct each day, a faster turnaround and higher number of life cycles for each board.
Paul Stafford is the British Franchise Association's PR manager, which allows him ample opportunity to indulge in two of his passions: writing and business. A background in various SMEs led Stafford to the franchise sector in 2012 and a role which sees him work closely with businesses of all sizes and sectors, from international giants to kitchen table startups.
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