Estate agency chain Humberts says it plans to go national once more, just 18 months after the company was bought out of administration by its franchisees.
The eight-branch agency, which has a history going back to 1842, tells The Neg that it is looking to expand its franchise network following the success of its four latest joiners in Honiton, Yeovil, Taunton and Sevenoaks.
But its Head of Franchising Tim Stephens (pictured) says there are no plans to return to the ‘hybrid’ approach adopted unsuccessfully by the previous incarnation of the company.
“When you’re starting up in an area agents often work from home before setting up in a high street branch, but we will be encouraging new franchisees to embrace a high street presence as soon as possible, and certainly not using a hub-and-spoke arrangement of any kind,” he says.
Stephens is seeking new franchisees in London, Wiltshire, the Cotswolds, Hertfordshire, Essex and the East Midlands and says there are already three more franchisees in the pipeline.
Humberts endured a turbulent couple years up until January 2020.
In mid-2018 the then directly-operated business went into administration, was saved after being bought by travel firm Natural Retreats but then went into administration again before being bought by its franchisees.
“Humberts is a tried-and-tested name and has enormous goodwill among those who have used its service before,” says Stephens.
“We want to be back up there as a major agency in the UK and it’s just a question of building up the momentum, so we’re looking for agents to join us.”
Stephens say the company is now more attractive to entrepreneurial agents who would like to set up their own business and features much greater regional marketing adaptability but without the need for costly central HQ operations and branch management.