The parent company of hybrid estate agency Ewemove says it expects the network to reach 200 territories by next year, making it a major player in the sector.
TPFG, which also operates traditional high street operators Hunters and Martin & Co, also says Ewemove now contributes 15% of its profit before tax via the fees franchisees pay it to operate each territory.
“I would call it a fairly significant contributor on that front,” says TPFG’s CFO David Raggett.
Ewemove has increased it network by 36 during the first six months of the year, up from six during the first half of 2020.
TPFG CEO Gareth Samples says last year was a big turning point for Ewemove, some eight years after it was established by original co-founders David Laycock and Glenn Ackroyd who exited the business in 2017.
Referring to recent criticism of hybrid agencies including Ewemove who sign up franchisees with little or no experience of the property industry, Samples says this non-high street model is here to stay and that his firm’s training programmes will more than adequate to jump the hurdles presented by the RoPA proposals.
“I’m not convinced that someone who comes into from outside the industry but who’s keen to learn is worse than someone who’s been an agent for say five years,” he says.
“We’re acutely aware of all the commentary about the hybrid model within the industry and that established estate agencies didn’t want another model coming in, but if you look at the number of operations that are now trying to expand via this mode, then you realise the model is here to stay.”
Samples also made an indirect reference to the commentary in some quarters that hybrids agencies are more likely to fail, particularly when they’re not piloted by experienced agents.
“Will everybody succeed in the hybrid space – absolutely not – but that applies to every industry model out there; I could sell them a Martin & Co franchise with a high street branch and it’s just as likely to succeed or fail as a hybrid one.”