Agents have been told by Rightmove that they face substantial hikes in their monthly fees when they come up for renewal.
This includes one Home Counties single-branch agent who is a long-standing customer of the portal whose account manager has told him to expect a hike of 11% on his current monthly cost.
An email sent to this agent, and others, points out that the costs of their core membership will increase even though their overall package options are being pared down.
Instead, they are invited to either drop their spend on existing bolt-on services or upgrade to an enhanced package and eliminate their core membership fee altogether.
“Whichever way you look at it, the portal is pushing through increases to recoup its lost revenue from the ‘reduced bill’ policy during the darkest days of the first lockdown,” says industry and proptech analyst Andrew Stanton (pictured).
“Rightmove makes 74% gross profit and in 2019 made a pre tax profit of £213 million, so if they hike the baseline fee to each agent by between 8% and 12%, which are the figures numerous agents have shown Proptech-PR, will add anything from £15 million to £20 million or more in turnover, or 5% to 7%.
“With new technology from other portals and platforms ahead of the game, and failure to innovate, the last thing I would do after last year’s schism and wall of silence is hack off your core clients.”
Zoopla, which has a comparable agent client list but lower fees, says it spent £30 million on its agent discount scheme last year.
The Negotiator approached Rightmove for comment. Its spokesperson said that: “We can confirm that we’re having conversations with some agents where their contracts are due for renewal.
“As well as discounting agents’ bills to help them when the markets were closed last year and delivering a record numbers of leads and exposure for agents’ properties when the markets reopened, we’ve also worked on a number of innovations to help them for the long term.”
Rightmove says this includes online viewings, its Local Market Indicator data service, a redesigned property details page, and its Rightmove Hub platform.
The portal also says it is in the process of rolling out its viewings manager service to help letting agents book and manage viewings with tenants.