The Rawson Property Group is now establishing new sales, rental, commercial and auction franchises at a rate of approximately one per week.
This, says Louis Taljaard, Franchise Sales Manager for the Rawson Property Group, and Chic Berkhout, the group’s Franchise Expansion Manager for the northern half of South Africa quite possibly indicates that at no stage in South Africa’s history has a career in property been as attractive to the general public as it is now.
That is the good news – and it is relevant, says Taljaard, that surveys have shown that the majority of estate agents have very high levels of job satisfaction. This, he says, is not simply due to the fact that the career can be financially rewarding but also because helping clients to achieve improved, more fulfilled lifestyles is an intensely satisfying process — which has the additional advantage of giving the client a steadily appreciating asset for which, as time moves on, he will become increasingly grateful.
“The big challenge today,” he says, “is to conform to the regulatory legislation. This stipulates that a franchisee must have his NQF5 qualification – he cannot simply walk in and take over as many successful entrepreneurs would like to do. This will be especially valid from next year.”
In practice, therefore, the typical new property franchisee today has already worked for at least three years, either as an estate agent or as a franchise principal and has achieved the NQF4 and NQF5 qualifications. Such people, says Taljaard, tend to slot very quickly into the Rawson Property Group and have relatively few problems launching a new business.
If, however, the applicant, despite lacking the educational qualifications, is prepared to knuckle down, to be trained, to study and learn through practical work required of an intern agent, he or she can quite often be accommodated, but this process could take up to three years before the intern agent will become a qualified principal capable of employing staff and agents.
“In these circumstances,” explains Chic Berkhout, “the aspirant franchisee will spend a year under the mentorship of a registered estate agent, who, among other things, has to conclude and sign all agreements negotiated by the intern. At the end of that first year, the intern will have to have his NQF4 qualification and can then work as a full status agent in his own right. He can also operate a one man franchisee business. However, another two years is required to attain the NQF5 (which generally takes one year) and to be accepted as a fully registered franchisee with the legal power to employ other agents.”
These conditions, says Berkhout, may sound extremely difficult but if the new franchisee does an equitable deal with his mentor, he can often be earning good money throughout the training period.
Another challenge facing the aspirant franchisee, says Taljaard, is that considerable research is needed to find the franchisor that will suit him best.
Here, he says, the temptation is always to choose the franchisor offering the lowest franchise fees. However, it is quite often these bargain basement franchisors who are the most difficult to work with and who also give the least back-up and support.
“If the new franchisee has no previous real estate experience, he should look for a franchisor that provides “the full kit”: all the necessary systems, a proven track record, operating manuals and instructions to make it possible to go into business without evolving these for himself.”
While it is absolutely true that a genuine entrepreneurial spirit is needed to be a successful property marketing franchisee, says Berkhout, the prototype aggressive entrepreneur out to better his opposition and carve out his own future is not suited to real estate marketing. Here, he says, success depends on the ability to foster and maintain relationships, to give service and to go the extra mile on behalf of clients.
“Many a successful operator from other fields, e.g. car repairs or contracting, has found it very hard to adopt this sort of mindset and has, as a result, not been as successful as he should have been in this particular field,” says Berkhout.