Gareth Samples, the new CEO of Martin & Co parent company The Property Franchise Group, says he is relieved that the Covid crisis has only impacted the second quarter of trading, but that if a second wave were to arrive during the third it would have serious implications for the industry.
“Most estate agents including our brands do the bulk of their turnover and profits during these two quarters so it would be a much more serious scenario if both these trading periods were blighted,” he says.
Speaking to The Negotiator yesterday via a Zoom call along with his Chief Financial Officer David Raggett, Samples also outlined how Covid is changing many aspects of the industry.
For example, before the crisis he was a firm believer that home working was not a good idea, but says he’s had his mind changed by the way many staff have increased their productivity and job satisfaction while working from home.
“I think a lot of our franchisees and estate agency owners in the wider industry are going through the same epiphany,” he says.
Samples is less flattering about Purplebricks, which is a rival to his own hybrid chain Ewemove.
He believes Purplebricks is being weakly lead at the moment and that the its management’s mistakes have left the door open for other hybrids and particularly Yopa, to take market share.
“Ewemove has got to stage one in its development and we’re now consolidating and working with the franchisees to increase their turnover and transaction levels, but then we’ll take it to stage two and further expansion,” he says.
“And that’s the problem with Purplebricks, it got to its first base and then when they tried to take it to the next level it’s sort of fizzled out.”
The duo also confirmed that TPFG’s branches in England are now all open but say they did not put franchisees under pressure to open any quicker than they wanted to.
“We’ve prioritised the health and safety of everyone in TPFG and there were several branches where staff or owners were shielding or vulnerable people so it would have been wrong to set a branch opening date,” says Samples.