Three of the original senior team who helped launch and grow Purplebricks have joined forces to launch their own hybrid estate agency, The Agency UK.
Its new website went live this morning and the business, like Purplebricks, is to concentrate its launch efforts in the Meridian TV area of the South and, once the business has proved itself, spread to the Central TV region in the Midlands later this year.
It will concentrate on sales, use a traditional commission structure but otherwise be a hybrid agency.
The agency has already recruited the firm’s initial self-employed agents and is now seeking further candidates to join the start-up who are ‘local stars’ in their areas. Its launch properties are already listed on Rightmove.
Its three founders are Andy Vass, Mark Bruce and Stephanie Walker. Vass is a well-known industry trainer and agent who, after a career on the high street, helped the Bruce brothers launch Purplebricks in 2014.
He also helped launch the business in Australia and the US.
Bruce, who joined Purplebricks during its early years and until recently was a Territory Owner, worked at Countrywide and Fine & Country prior to ‘going hybrid’ and has been an agent for 21 years.
Walker was part of Purplebricks’ global management team and helped launch its operations in the US, alongside Vass.
But following the departure of the Bruce brothers from Purplebricks and the company ‘going corporate’, plans were hatched by the trio to start up their own hybrid agency.
“I think one of the positive aspects of Purplebricks is that it did help more agents realise that they could ‘go self-employed’,” says Vass (main pic, centre).
“We want our business to offer our self-employed agents the ability to sell lower volumes of homes but earn more commission for themselves from each sale, which will also give them more time to concentrate on a higher level of quality customer service.”
This contrasts with the Purplebricks approach – Bruce says at Purplebricks most LPEs were dealing with 30 sales, as can listers and negotiators at traditional firms.
Many agency customers feel abandoned once they have instructed, something he wants The Agency UK to remedy by keeping sales volumes for each agent to a manageable level.
Vass adds: “We want to take the best aspects of the US and Australian models such as local agents being their own brand and earning a higher proportion of the commission, and make them relevant to this market.
“The Agency UK will enable agents to concentrate on doing the deals and keep the admin, marketing and business process stuff off their plate.
Low volume, high commission
“We will use our marketing to generate say three or four instructions a month, but we will expect them to go out and work their contacts book to create the rest up to a maximum of eight.
“Too many agents whether hybrid or traditional concentrate on getting instructions but leave the sale progression to more junior staff.”
The trio are self-financing the business during its start-up phase but talking to City backers about funding later on. The Bruce brothers, who know them all well, have been watching from the side-lines, says Vass.