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Smaller agencies facing ‘decision time’ over Rightmove subscriptions, OTM claims

Significant fee hikes of up to 23% by the UK's No.1 portal are putting severe pressure on agents facing reduced revenues after June 1st.

Nigel Lewis

rightmove

OnTheMarket (OTM) has claimed this morning that a minor rebellion is underway against Rightmove among independent estate agents fed up with the 20% or more hike in fees introduced this year by the UK’s No.1 portal.

Ian Springett, CEO of OTM, claims that many agents are spending more on their Rightmove subscriptions than they are on renting their branches each month and that ‘decision time’ has come as many face reduced revenues from lettings after June 1st.

“We believe the value provided by each portal will become even more important,” says Springett.

OTM has persuaded five single-branch estate agents around the UK to go public and reveal that they have cancelled their Rightmove subscriptions after signing up to long-term listings agreements with OTM.

These include Albion Sales & Lettings in Northampton; Camerons in Bournemouth; Clintons Management Ltd in Ilford, Essex; Glastonbury lettings firm Jungle Property and Skipton estate agency James Pye & Sons.

Although small operations, it is unusual for agencies to publicly reveal that they have quit Rightmove, such is the fear that vendors and landlords will question why they’re no longer marketing their properties through the UK’s largest portal.

jungle property“I’ve chosen to terminate my contract with Rightmove after nine years because of the successive price increases – many of which have been eye-watering and above inflation,” says Tom Morgan of Jungle Property (left).

“The market has changed a lot in the last two to three years. Back then you probably had to list with Rightmove, but many agents no longer see this as being necessary. OnTheMarket has become a major portal and has given agents a much-needed alternative.”

May 8, 2019

9 comments

  1. VIVE LA REVOLUTION!! It would appear that there is a lot of emotion, and anger, attached to this issue – I know when I got my letter in December for yet another ridiculous increase, my heart sank. I run a small, independent lettings business in Oxfordshire and have steadily built it over 10 years, managing around 70 properties. RM fees already cost me around 20% of gross revenue and with their business model of getting all us small guys on to £2500+vat a month (based on that, that would be nearly 50% of my revenue) they’re on another planet if they think that won’t put small agents out of business. So they will lose revenue through that and the other agents, like me, who are going to ditch them. I’ve never liked them, their soooo arrogant and unhelpful, let alone them effectively price themselves out of our market. I’ve just signed to OTM and will retain Zoopla saving me a small fortune by not funding Rightmove anymore. KEEP THE FAITH, TAKE THE DECISION TO LEAVE RM.

  2. As a small independent Letting Agency, I worked from home for 6 years, building up my portfolio of managed properties. I used to advertise with Zoopla, (it was all I could afford), but over time, the quality of the leads being received, deteriorated. RM knew that they were the big fish in the pond and I pleaded with them to help me financially with some kind of deal. My argument being that it seemed grossly unfair for me to have to pay the same fees as a major high street agent. They wouldn’t budge and so I finally gave in and (reluctantly) went with RM which costs me around £720.00 per month compared with Zoopla’s £275.00!

    I’ve now opened a High Street office with one employee and my office rent is £500.00 PCM (much less than my RM subscription) and I’m hemorrhaging money from my business. To say I’m worried about 1st June is an understatement 🙁

    • Jason
      Very similar story – I’m a one man business (lettings only) and managed to last 3 years without using RM, then effectively had to. I’m now 10 years old and now, following the 25% increase in December, my RM membership is 3 times as much as my office rent. I’ve signed up with OTM and will be dropping Rightmove in the autumn, sooner if I can. Even if I lose a few clients as a result, I will still be better off in terms of revenue due to the savings in not paying RM. I’ve already spoken to several of my biggest portfolio clients and they’re not bothered, so long as I can still find them good tenants – which I will through Zoopla, OTM and investment in social media.
      I’ve had enough of RM abusing their client loyalty this way and I hope that many others follow suit in leaving them. If I put my rates up like RM, I’d lose all my clients! They deserve to abandoned.
      There will be life after RM – personally I think this is now the beginning of a change in the portals, looking at value for money, not necessarily being one of the sheep that stay with them just because others do.

    • Hey,

      We are using this platform, which allows sharing RM & Zoopla costs. It’s within their T&C. It works out great and is much cheaper!

      Let me know if interested

  3. When was the last time someone from RM sat in front of an 85yr old that has just lost a partner, and needs advice on the next stage of their life, from a property professional with over 30 years experience…? As a New Business, having moved away from the ‘Corporate-Way’ I can do just that: and ideally I would need RM to help me help them… but I can’t afford to anymore because of these completely unjustified price hikes… which means that RM are indirectly sticking someone much probably younger than me, with far less experience, in front of that poor person and who knows what advice they may receive!
    WE SHOULD ALL JOIN THIS REVOLUTION AND MOVE TO OTHER PORTALS!!

    • Totally agree – I’ve signed up with OTM and will remain with Zoopla – I will be dropping RM in the autumn with a big two fingered salute and will enjoy the savings and reinvest in an increased social media presence instead. KEEP THE FAITH, THERE WILL BE LIFE AFTER RIGHTMOVE!! This time with OTM really making waves, unlike some of the previous attempts, agents will see there is an option to get away from the out and out ripping off of clients – are we clients? or just cash cows? If I had the same attitude and arrogance towards my clients as RM does to us, I’d go bust very quickly. Perhaps there’s an opportunity for a portal especially for independent agencies that the corporates aren’t allowed to sign up for…..???

  4. “Fee hikes of up to 23%” – this is horrendous. Surely RM should be working with their clients to help them to control costs, post 1 June! Certainly not stinging them with price increases. We are only a small referencing business, but are working with our clients to keep their costs as low as possible in the future. We, as a business, are absorbing any increases we have received from our suppliers of data, staff costs, rent, utilities etc and have frozen our prices for the foreseeable future. Come on RM, play fairly!

    • That’s the real problem here Vivienne – RM don’t play fairly, never have…and I suspect never will. They continue to abuse their so called market position (which I believe, and hope, is beginning to erode) and abuse their “client” base. They think we can’t do without them, and until a few years ago they were probably right – however, if enough independent agents stand up and say “no more” and publicise they are going to use OTM/Zoopla etc instead, perhaps RM will realise they’re not impervious to revenue decline! To be honest, I wouldn’t trust them to stand by any offer they make to retain me when I give my notice, because I’ve been told that’s what will happen – a couple of days before you leave, they will offer you a deal. Personally, unless it’s free for the next 5 years, they can stuff it!! What we, as agents, need to do, is join together to collectively inform the public that they need to not be blinkered into using only Rightmove – the smaller, local agents (who give a better service anyway) won’t be on there so they could miss out on their dream home if they don’t take a few minutes to look at the other 2 big portals.

  5. Well deserved too. RM have been like a milking factory and frankly have taken the absolute …… out of their customers.. yes customers.

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