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Agencies & People

Purplebricks ditches self-employed model and makes LPEs staff

Company says decision will offer improved security, training and pay packets for sales staff and help company scale up to meet rises in market activity.

Nigel Lewis


Purplebricks is to ditch its self-employed model for it sales agents and bring them into the company as staff.

The company says the announcement is part of a review into how it can best serve its customers, support its field teams and meet the demands of a strong market.

This announcement follows its recent decision to offer a money-back guarantee to customers albeit with strings attached, and a simplified two-tier fees structure.

But this announcement is the most significant change to Purplebricks’ business since it withdrew from the US and Australian markets; running a network of self-employed local property experts centred around regional territory owners has been at its core from the start.

Its self-employed model has also been widely copied by many national, local chain and independent agencies.

Purplebricks hints that the decision to offer self-employed status to its workforce has been prompted by the huge boom in the housing market recently during which it has struggled to recruit agents quickly in order to scale up to meet demand.

It also wants to have ‘ownership over the recruitment, training and management of a unified high-performing team… to a consistently high level of service to Purplebricks’ customers across the country’.

A hundred agents have already become self-employed and are now enjoying a highly incentivised package with the ability to work flexibly and remotely.

CEO Vic Darvey (main pic) says: “The pandemic highlighted the challenges of being self-employed for many people – which is why we created the £2.2m fund to support the agency field during recent challenging times.

“As normality returns, we believe that moving to a fully employed sales model will benefit and support our people and make Purplebricks fit for the future.

“The Board strongly believes this move will increase market share and enhance performance in the coming years.”

Read more about industry views on the self-employed model.

City investment adviser Zeus Capital, says: “Purplebricks management now has control over the supply of sales agents, its productivity and training. The move from “self-employed” to “fully employed” status is a natural development following Purplebricks improvement to its pricing  – the addition of a Money Back Guarantee – and its focus on delivery.”

Proptech expert Andrew Stanton (pictured) comments: “For me the bigger story is whether this ‘new model’ employment approach is linked to HMRC who have long looked at the Purplebricks gig economy model, where LPEs are solely working for the agency which provides them their sole source of work, trains them and gives them a schedule of what they do – and decided that they are employees all along.”

August 10, 2021

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