The power of the individual has never been more popular in the workplace, across all industries. For some companies, the challenge has become resolving the tension between back to the office or working from home. For many agents, the pandemic became a defining moment when the corporate shackles were dispensed with. For the ambitious and energetic, they may have been working from a spare bedroom or a shed in the garden and yet they were working harder than ever as the market went into overdrive. And that prompted the question – what value were they building for themselves?
The result has been a surge of interest from a new generation who want a career move to become self-employed and own their own business, with the chance to build a saleable asset. We have been a 30 per cent increase in potential franchisees this year, compared to 2019.
With a track record of 40 years’ experience, we were the first franchise agency in the UK. We now have a franchised network of over 100 offices in towns and cities across the South-east and South-west, Central and Eastern England, including 60 in most strategic locations across the capital. We see the continued evolution of the network as the first wave of franchisees reap the rewards of their hard work by selling to the next generation. For example, the Ealing franchisee sold up after 25 successful years to a highly experienced agent making the move from a corporate employer to running his own business.
Franchisees are looking at who will be their successor and are recruiting on that basis to find real potential. When the right person is in place and has proven to be a major asset to the business, the franchisee may well offer to make them an equity partner.
We opened six new offices last year, demonstrating our appetite for expansion and also the opportunities for agents who want to look beyond the corporate structure and gain control over their career and the financial rewards on offer by becoming a franchisee. The thought of launching your own business can be extremely daunting for those who have always been part of a large company or even a smaller independent agency. We are able to offer the chance to become an integral part of a highly regarded brand and strategic office network, with superb back office support offering training, compliance, IT, marketing and PR services provided by Winkworth’s central team. We also have a China Desk and European operations to provide introductions to global clients interested in prime UK property.
All the Winkworth businesses have multiple values through net profit, rental and management, location and brand. As a franchisee, you are responsible for the asset you have built in the business and can decide when the time is right for you to sell or take on a partner. As an employee, you are vulnerable if there are internal changes or a sale of the business. After two years of uncertainty throughout the pandemic, we are now seeing the rising stars who want to take control of their future.