For all the positive punch and spin about market revivals, agents may see revenues dip as fresh instructions, new property management business and completions take time to get back up to speed. It is, however, still possible to boost income and introduce new revenue streams.
Suggesting ways to achieve cheaper utility, broadband, ‘phone and insurance deals is a great ‘added extra’ service in today’s climate and with the property market restarting, openings to introduce beneficial third-party offers look set to increase.
Agents will need to ensure that those they contact have opted in to receiving third-party communications and that a digital paper trail of consent is held to be GDPR compliant.
Here we reveal our top partnerships to pursue – each offering commission and referral fees to help soften any sales and lettings blows:
Letting agents who are still smarting from the tenant fee ban can tap into Vouch’s fully automated income generation initiative, earning agents up to £300 per property. The scheme builds on Vouch’s referencing product to encompass the entire moving process and actually feels like an initiative designed to help save tenants’ and landlords’ money, as well as boost the income of agents. There is very little work needed on the part of the agent – brief box ticking at most – after which a tenant or landlord will automatically be contacted asking them which quotes they wish to receive.
Services include: rent guarantee, insurance, utility transfer/set up, void period management and a zero deposit option. Vouch’s marketing pack supplies branded collateral to send to clients, a real-time dashboard to see their income, training and webinars to maximise income.
“Our system can offer an unbeatable range of products, with industry-leading, uncapped commission rates upon successful uptake,” says Vouch’s Simon Tillyer. “Our services include rent guarantee products, general insurance for tenants and landlords, utility transfer or set up, void period management, media offerings from Sky and Virgin and also a zero deposit option.”
To support agents selling the service, Vouch offers a free bespoke marketing pack that gives agents fully branded collateral to send out to tenants and landlords, a realtime dashboard so agents can see how much income they have made, and training and webinars focused on maximising income.
This removal company needs no introduction but many are unaware that it works with estate and letting agents. Its revenue share scheme also includes discounts and incentives for customers to incentivise them to choose Pickfords when moving home, making it a very appealing proposition. The referral fee paid depends on the size and value of the removal jobs, and is paid the month after the move is completed.
“We provide co-branded marketing material and support on how to sell our products to customers,” comments Adam Wilding at Pickfords, “and the effort required from the agent to nurture the relationship is minimal as the process is handled by our partnership team once the referral has been sent through.”
Virgin Media Home Connect
Agents can also bolster income by referring new customers to Virgin Media Home Connect – encompassing fibre broadband, TV, home phone and mobile packages. Every referral that leads to a customer installation, results in commission for the agency partner and also for the employee who submits the lead.
Although an extra revenue stream for agents, this referral service carries home mover perks that make the ‘sell’ much easier. From a tenant’s or home buyer’s perspective the partnership aims to have Virgin Media services installed as close to their move in date as possible – and at a great price.
The key to this is having a conversation with the customer early in the moving process, ideally three weeks prior to their moving date, as they will be comfortable knowing that they don’t need to worry about their media services at a time when we know they have a lot going on.
“The key to this is having a conversation with the customer as early in the moving process as possible, ideally three weeks prior to their move in date,” says Virgin’s Jed Topping. “This approach is best for the customer, as they will be comfortable knowing that they don’t need to worry about their media services at a time when we know they have a lot going on. It’s also best for our agent partners to follow this approach to ensure the best conversion rate.”
Once an agency has registered its interest with Virgin, the scheme is explained in detail and a formal partnership is agreed. There is personalised online training to get started and on-going support, so the agent has everything its needs to be successful.
If an assured amount of extra income sounds appealing, letting agents should look at Ittria’s Profit Guarantee initiative – which sees Ittria switching a property’s service suppliers during a void period – a time when the agent has the choice of supplier on behalf of the landlord
“We’ve taken the confusion out of commission by guaranteeing a set revenue so agents know exactly how much they’ll make every month, every year,” says the company’s PJ Darling. Agents can use Ittria’s online calculator to work out how much profit they could make, using an agent’s managed and let-only property figures in tandem with the services it is happy to switch (utilities and broadband for now, with rent guarantee and tenant insurance following later in 2020).
Agents who sign up will also benefit from Ittria’s free services, such as full tenant referencing, utility and council notifications, and its new void bill management service for extra money saving. The company will also be launching a service for sales agents in the summer of 2020, with utilities and broadband switching revenue streams available soon.
Cashflow looks set to be a hot topic in the coming months, therefore nil deposit schemes may make further ground. Zero Deposit is a win win offering for tenants who have depleted their financial reserves during the pandemic and for letting agents looking to boost their bottom line figures, with referral commissions paid to agents for introductions that lead to a completion. Jon Notley at Zero Deposit says there’s an additional perk too: “The credibility of our product is useful when winning new landlords and remarketing properties that have struggled to rent.”
Jon is at pains to point out that this is not a ‘hard sell’ for agents. “We manage the full sales process once a tenant is referred to us. This ensures that tenants are taken through a rigorous FCAcompliant process, throughout which the product is clearly explained and they acknowledge its important features. The process is backed up by our compliance team, who perform regular mystery shopping calls and other activities to ensure the process works smoothly and fairly.”
To increase awareness and uptake, Zero Deposit recently refreshed its window cards, stickers, and tenant and landlord promotional literature, and a suite of digital assets are available to help agents win more business online.
Sky Property Partnerships
Head of Sky Homes, Matthew Davies, told The Negotiator about their offering. “The launch of Sky Property Partnerships reinforces our ongoing commitment to work with the most trusted names in the property sector, to deliver the best-in-class service our mutual audience has come to expect. Our national team has been built from the ground up to meet the needs of you and your clients; we make it simple for you to connect people to Sky, to put the content and products they love at the heart of their home, when they need them most.
“As an approved partner, you will unlock special access to the full range of Sky products already enjoyed by over 12 million households in the UK, sharing a range of fantastic partnership offers on TV, Broadband and Mobile with your clients, supported by a tailored customer journey tending to their specific needs.
“We combine this proposition with a commercial model that ensures, along with your clients receiving amazing benefits, our Sky Property Partners also get maximum value from the relationship, creating a long-term pipeline that offers ongoing revenue opportunities and a brand alignment that drives confidence across the market.”
This referencing and insurance company has a number of ways for letting agents to earn commission rewards that are banked when a tenant or landlord buys a product or service. Referral fees are attached to tenant insurances, media packages and utility switching services, while agents can also earn when introducing landlords to just buildings, building and contents, holiday home and unoccupied property insurances. Proving particularly popular is its commission-earning void proposition, which also has a built-in utility update facility.
Mark Tidridge at RentShield Direct says its products have been designed in a way that makes uptake simple: “First and foremost, customers purchase our products and services because they are good. They have been designed to help at each stage of the rental process. We simply will not and do not offer products that are seen as ‘money making’ schemes.”
If agents need a helping hand, training, tools and ongoing support is readily available, although Mark’s critical piece of advice is about timing: “We believe that if agents introduce products alongside our existing referencing service, we see a much better engagement from customers due to the excellent service already received.”
Andy Glynne, Commercial Director, says that HomeLet offers a range of products and services for letting agents so they don’t just earn commission and increase their revenue, they also enhance their lettings proposition for landlords and tenants.
“Our Tenant and Landlord Insurances offer bespoke cover to suite the specific needs of their customers. Our Tenant Services (including Media, Utilities and Removals) offer agents commission while providing their customers with unique offers.
“Our property Utility Management system enables agents to cut down on admin whilst earning extra revenue, whilst ensuring landlords receive accurate bills during void periods and streamlines the tenant handover process.
“Commissions are earned on purchase and implementation of the product or service.
“We support our letting agent customers in multiple ways when it comes implementing and marketing these services. We work with them to ensure they’re fully trained on all aspects of our products and services – be that via face-to-face (historically), webinar or telephone. This means we can help them implement the services in ways that fit with their business. We also provide a variety of literature to help inform both themselves and their tenants and landlords – these range from printed and digital flyers/ brochures, to web pages.”