The Charter for Independent Estate and Letting Agents (CIELA) says it is unlikely to launch on October 1st as planned.
The announcement comes after just 5% of agents who pre-registered with the organisation signed up to pay its pre-launch £35 a month memberships fee.
CIELA, which revealed its plans begin a new mutual body for independent agents in January this year, says it has yet to attract enough paying members to be able to launch.
“While we have received very strong vocal support, thousands of agents visiting our website and much encouragement from agents and suppliers we meet, this is not translating into membership sign-ups,” says CIELA founder Charles Wright.
“Less than 5% of the hundreds of agents who pre-registered with us declaring their support when we first announced our intention to form have actually proceeded to join.”
“It seems to be a case of chicken and egg. Everyone agrees the independent industry needs a collective voice to improve its national reputation, but hardly anyone seems willing to risk even £35 a month to support it.
“The wait-and-see problem will cause CIELA to die before launch, unless it’s overcome. Everyone is waiting for everyone else to join first. Or, there simply isn’t the demand for such an organisation that we were led to believe.”
CIELA’s launch strategy, which has copied many online business’s approach to starting-up with in “incubation period” prior to full launch, appears not be working.
This is despite initial enthusiasm for a body just for independent agents within the industry, and an impressive array of key independent agent members including Perry Power, Simon Gresswell of Finley Brewer, Luke Gidney of Let Leeds, Nick Goldsworthy of Logic Estates and Vivienne Harris of Heathgate Properties (pictured, above).
CIELA has also been very vocal in its criticism of Purplebricks and in March said it would report the hybrid agency to the Advertising Standards Authority for being ‘misleading to consumers’.
But despite its downbeat assessment of the organisation’s future, CIELA is mounting a busy schedule of roadshows around the UK including one at Manchester Airport tomorrow and then in 11 other location all over the UK during June, July and September.