Cost savings on portals subscriptions lure more independents to join large network

The high costs of portals are specifically given as a reason why small independents could be interested in converting to the Hunters brand.

Hunters yesterday reported robust results for last year.

In its report, Hunters chairman and co-founder, the MP Kevin Hollinrake, said independent agents who have converted to the brand have made more money than they used to “as well as significantly reducing their key operating costs, such as portal subscriptions, through our economies of scale and purchasing power”.

He reiterated the point a few sentences later, saying that the “subdued” levels of transaction are likely to play in Hunters’ favour this year.

He said: “We would expect this market to provide us with an enhanced opportunity to expand our branch network further and strengthen our brand.

“The case to encourage independent operators becomes even more persuasive in providing a way to be part of a stronger group that can also offer significant cost reductions, particularly in terms of portal charges for Rightmove, Zoopla and OnTheMarket.

“We are already seeing an improved level of enquiries from high quality independent businesses.”

Hunters, now almost entirely a franchise business, follows Belvoir and The Property Franchise Group this week in saying that it expects consolidation in the agency sector.

Hunters recruited 37 new branches last year, including the conversion of 15 independents, and the acquisition of the Besley Hill franchise network in the south-west.

As at the end of the financial year on December 31 there were 213 branches, with an average income of £182,000 – down from £190,000 the year before.

Overall network income rose, with the increase in branches, to £38.9m.

Headquarters income rose by 3% to £14.2m, with adjusted pre-tax profits of £1.94m.

Hollinrake said these were robust results in challenging conditions.

He said: “We have out-performed the market each year over the last three years by on average 10%.

“Our model is about both the number and the underlying performance of our branches.

“We invest a great deal of time and resource helping to improve each branch’s revenue.

“Our out-performance against the market per branch reflects that investment, those improvements and then the underlying increased strength of the component parts of our network.”

He went on: “Our business and our network partners commit to deliver for our customers.

“This underpins our belief that business owners will work harder and deliver better results than a network of employees, self-employed operatives on short-term contracts or those engaged to simply list a home rather than actually selling or letting a property.”

Hunters chief executive Glynis Frew said that she expects more growth of the network this year, mainly through conversions to the brand.

She said the forthcoming tenants’ fees ban is driving many of the enquiries.

Hunters is proposing a dividend of 1.5p per share.

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6 Comments

  1. Property Poke In The Eye

    So what do Hunters pay for portal charges?

    Any Hunters Franchsises out there wish to comment?

    #JustCurious

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  2. Essjaydee51

    They have outperformed the market each year by on average 10%!

    what does that mean?

    Im sorry the office income is down by £8000 per office, some will be up but most will be down hence the Average per office is £8000 down!

    so where is this 10% outperformance!!

    today he is defo reporting as a politician speaks

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  3. Russell121

    I believe it is around £700 per month for rightmove & zoopla

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  4. Woodentop

    What’s the levies to join Hunters in comparison to the portal fees savings being offered?

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    1. WestMidsValuer97

      I was thinking the same thing…what the gain in Portal costs they simply lose in franchise fees.

       

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  5. WestMidsValuer97

    This a poor attempt at scaremongering. Small agents are probably feeling the pinch at the moment and this idiot thinks he clean up. I’ve met Kevin previously (and his wife) and they are just very good at painting their own picture, it is not good having large power houses like the corporates in this industry. People don’t want overbearing sales people in their home, they want a nice experience and this customer focus is lost in the large brands because of overbearing targets. I work for a leading independent and if anyone in this industry thinks it’s all about low fees and the internet, you couldn’t be more wrong….it’s actually about differentiation. Standing out and caring. The large multi branch agents simply don’t have that – what they gain in lower branch overheads is lost in head office running costs

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