Kristian Scott, a managing partner at Midlands estate agency chain Andrew Grant has contacted The Negotiator to reveal that his company’s recent closure of its Redditch branch is part of a move to shut most of its high street offices and move to a new model.
Scott says the Worcester-based company is embracing the ‘hub approach’ and basing staff mostly at non high-street premises.
This makes Andrew Grant one of at least half a dozen multi-branch agencies to have left the high street over the past 18 months as increasing costs of maintaining a high street presence, and consumer indifference to branches, bear down on businesses. Others have included Humberts and Orchards.
Scott (left) says the move is both better for staff and better for his clients who, he says, rarely visit branches these days, and that ‘walk-in’ leads are rare.
Scott suggests many other agents may follow suit as the ‘knife fight’ for business in his operational areas has become increasingly intense over the past few years and that ‘everyone’s desperate’.
“I think quite genuinely that our new model will work because I don’t see why it wouldn’t,” he says.
“It’s a response to the rise in the number of small boutique agencies or franchisees with one or two staff who are really getting traction in the market because they are not held back by the traditional agency model of fixed costs.
“They work from their front lounge or Starbucks – and therefore I think traditional agents need to evolve their models and adapt to this.
“For example, we have 100 staff spread out over a wide geographic area and I want the teams to collaborate together rather than being isolated and only working from home, and that’s why I believe in hubs.
“Equally, if an agent lives near a client, why make them drive all the way to a hub and then back again before the meeting?”