EYE NEWSFLASH: Agents set to be affected by job losses at LSL offered £24,000 interest-free loans

Employees at the LSL brands of Your Move and Reeds Rains are this afternoon being offered £24,000 interest-free loans by The Property Franchise Group – if they agree to open EweMove franchises.

There would be no franchise fee to pay.

EweMove is the online/hybrid brand of TPFG, which also has well known high street businesses, including Martin & Co, which operate UK wide out of over 300 offices.

Ian Wilson, CEO of The Property Franchise Group, said: “The loan is plc-backed, and is available to any of the LSL employees caught up in the current turn of events.

“The loan would cover all their business costs for six months or so, and of course EweMove operates on a no sale, no fee basis, so after that, there should be money coming in.”

He said the offer, exclusive to Your Move and Reeds Rains staff caught up in the programme of branch closures and redundancies, has the full backing of TPFG’s board.

Wilson said: “We just wanted to put something on the table that people in this awful situation might like to consider.”

Under the terms of the loan, nothing at all is repayable for the first six months. After that, equal payments are payable over the remainder of the five year term of the franchise agreement.

Nick Neill, managing director (or head shepherd) of EweMove, said: “We’re genuinely sad that people’s livelihoods are at risk, but we believe we’ve come up with something extraordinary which will provide them with a great option to keep doing what they love.“

“Thanks to the backing of The Property Franchise Group we have created a package for those hit by the closures. It includes a free franchise, worth £1,995 and the option of an interest free business start-up loan.

“Never before has such a substantial financial package been available for any franchised brand operation. But we live in changing times and we believe in acting quickly and decisively.”

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38 Comments

  1. Harry Albert Lettings Estates

    Personally. You’d think they’d be entitled to something for the redundancy. An interest free loan after lain your job for mismanagement of the company seems like a kick in the teeth. “Yes, we’ve made you unemployed but here’s some money to see you through. Make sure you pay us back!”

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    1. AgencyInsider

      Not the same company Harry Albert.

      Very shrewd move by TPFG. Bet there will be some takers.

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      1. Head_Shepherd#2

        Well observed AgencyInsider – Ian WIlson is CEO of the property Franchise Group and we have no involvement with LSL!
        And if people affected are offered redundancy pay, they may choose to take it course, and then consider what they might do next.  Our opportunity is there for them should they wish to explore it.  If we agree we’re a good fit for each other, then we can go ahead!

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  2. ArthurHouse02

    But when does the loan have to be repaid by? Immediately at the end of the 6 months? What if the money isnt rolling in by then?

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    1. AJP123

      I would guess thats when the interest kicks in, but at what rate, thats the question?

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    2. Head_Shepherd#2

      The loan is interest free and repayable over the lifetime of the franchise agreement (5 years).  So with no repayments for the first 6 months, that’s £24,000 / 54 = £444.44 per month.  Not bad for free working capital and to help folks get started in building their pipeline of business.

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  3. Tariq Mubarak

    Very good move – save people going into redundancy, get well trained staff at nil cost and increase number of franchisees – win, win!

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  4. MichaelDay

    Nice effort to quickly grow Ewemove franchises but, whilst might be worth considering by some, I urge people not to jump into something without proper research and a business plan. £24000 interest free will not last forever and is a loan not a gift! Not every employee has the character or skill sets to successfully work for themselves.

    Likewise I am sure PFG will want to “vet” applications thoroughly. Selling (or giving franchises away) is one thing but, for PFG, it is the longer term returns from revenues and brand value that is more valuable.

    Wonder how those who have recently bought a Ewemove franchise feel about the offer to others?

    BTW Linked In is full of recruitment messages from other agency players for redundant LSL staff. Some might be a case if jumping out of the frying pan….

    I wish everyone well but caution against knee jerk decisions.

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    1. FlyingSheep54

      I paid the full price for my franchise and the offer has been tweaked and changed a number of time since then. I don’t see how the current offer affects me in the slightest, apart from maybe bringing more talented professionals into the network to work alongside us. The recent influx of established agents rebranding to EweMove has only served to raise the bar throughout the country and in some cases produce results that ANY agent in the country would give their right arm for.

      It’s a great company to be involved with and I applaud any initiative that helps to grow the brand. I took the deal that was on offer at the time and with hindsight I’d do it again tomorrow. If others are getting a slightly better deal then good luck to them, I look forward to witnessing their success.

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  5. P-Daddy

    Lets hope its not lambs to the slaughter!

    Quick off the mark, so 10/10 for opportunism, although £24,000 won’t cover many business expenses for long. It might spur one or two on that harbored an ambition and now their hand is forced…opportunity from adversity

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    1. Head_Shepherd#2

      Indeed it is opportunity from adversity P-Daddy.  Given our operating costs are low for franchisees £1,000/month for all they need including Rightmove, Zoopla, Property Mangement Software, rent collection and client accounting, personal website, PPC management, marketing tools, training, 24/7 webchat etc etc etc, £24,000 gets you quite a long way…..especially given that franchisees keep 100% of sales commissions less a low £250 completion fee for each property completed.
      It is a compelling business case when you stack it up against a traditional business P&L and compare the resultant operating margins.

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      1. J1

        What is the average sheep charging their clients – would be useful to know.

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      2. P-Daddy

        Depends if they can open with a stock or not

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  6. GeorgeHammond78

    Even with this ‘incentive’, with that branding and marketing, who could bring themselves to be a ewemove franchisee. Someone with no self-respect or just plain desperate, perhaps?

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    1. Head_Shepherd#2

      I love a chap with an opinion GeorgeHammond78  But I’m sure if you ask our 125 franchisees if they have self-respect they’ll shout loudly and proudly that they do! When you work with an agency brand that has so many top-flight awards and achieves record sales stats, why wouldn’t you. Glad you noticed the branding.  That’s why it works!

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      1. GeorgeHammond78

        Well I suppose it takes all sorts. They must be made of tough stuff to put up with everyone laughing at them when they enter the room.

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        1. GeorgeHammond78

          PS HeadBoy: ….’Glad you noticed the branding.  That’s why it works!’…. and that’s exactly why I would never pay for your services, comes across as just a name rip-off and frivolous plus you haven’t got an office I could walk into to talk to a real agent, not unless I want to meet them in their 3rd bedroom and sit on the bottom bunk bed.

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          1. FlyingSheep54

            To be honest George you sound like the sort of vendor I gladly walk away from. Nobody wants to work their **** off for someone with such a narrow mind.

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            1. GeorgeHammond78

              You’re missing the point FS54 – you wouldn’t be given the chance to walk away from my business! However, I agree no-one wants to work with people they don’t like but want and need are two different things.

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          2. Head_Shepherd#2

            George Hammond – we have a mix of high street shops (only a few!), serviced offices and people who work from home.  So depending on where you live, you might very well be able to walk into a High Street shop.  A simple Google search will reveal the answer….!

            Given all the value transactions happen in the vendors home or the Landlords property, not someone’s back bedroom, it makes the need for an expensive High Street shop rather redundant.  And perhaps that’s why LSL and others are struggling – as how many sellers and landlords actually carry out value-based transactions in shops any more?

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            1. GeorgeHammond78

              HS2 : 1) How does your boss feel about you saying the largest part of his profitable portfolio of businesses is redundant? 2) LSL are shutting up shop because of their wonky lettings strategy over the years has focussed on tenant fees and cheap LL deals 3) Lots of clients, particularly the wealthier asset rich ones want to be able to feel the substance of their agent by going to their office at some point along the ‘purchasing decision chain’ 4) I did some google searches at random – estate agents basingstoke – that sort of thing. Got bored by the bottom of page 3 in not finding an organic listing. And I may have accidentally clicked 14 times on their PPC Ad – sorry about that 5) Unless you’re a niche business and I would argue that you’d rather not be, then branding/marketing albeit bland needs to appeal to the masses (or at least not offend them). Yours is offensive and unappealing to a large section of your target audience – why? because it was started by a couple of marketing boys seeking niche differentiation not by property experts. You may well have a wonderful bunch of people with a great ethos blah blah blah, I wouldn’t know cos you don’t have an ‘office’ anywhere near here but I just don’t get why anyone would trust their most valuable asset and/or emotional well-being to a fluffy green sheep and people who use Ovine language to attract their business?

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  7. smile please

    Lose your job and get offered a 24k loan

    Nice debt hanging over your head …

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    1. AgencyInsider

      Try losing your job and applying to the bank for a loan to start a business. This won’t be good for everyone, might not even be good for someone. But at least it’s a potential lifeline if wanted.

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      1. smile please

        Reason the bank would not offer a loan. It’s irresponsible.

        Some poor neg could see this as a life line sign up to 24k debt and realise 6 months later after spending the cash it was the wrong idea.

        I hate to say it but a safer bet would be PB or Yopa.

        In my experience not many good agents make good business owners.

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  8. LordElpus56

    There’s nothing negative about this, and I’d seriously consider it. Shame it’s only being offered to LSL personnel!

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    1. Head_Shepherd#2

      LordEplus56.  Get in touch and you might find the regular offer is astoundingly good anyway.
       

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    2. smile please

      Think hunters are offering 20k if you really are looking at options. 
      Franchising I feel is full of holes especially with a loan but I would rather have a firm like hunters than a sheep!

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  9. coleface

    There is a huge negative – RISK!! This is not a license to be a success. This is a tough business to crack whatever your model or marketing back up. Very few agents are currently making good money and your risk of failing to make a living and ending with a debt are substantial.

    Much as you can bemoan the Your Move brand, its not like the company are entirely awful or don’t have some successful branches. So it is reasonable to suggest some of those affected maybe weren’t ideally suited to agency in a tough market, because the branches they are closing clearly weren’t being successful.

    Not only do you now need to do deals you weren’t doing before, but you might have to learn lettings if you were in sales and that is not a cake walk. Sort your own vehicle, deal with banks and insurances, employ support staff, be valuer, viewer, sales progressor, handle complaints (although based on ‘surprise surprise’ the Trustpilot 5 star rating – maybe Ewemove never get them) and so on and on and on…..

    Good luck to anyone who takes the plunge and respect for trying – but have your eyes WIDE open – being your own boss has a wealth of challenges and stresses you didn’t previously have to consider and like any franchisee pitch – they always make it sound easy. It’s not. And especially not in this climate.

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    1. FlyingSheep54

      I agree with every word you’ve said there apart from “they always make it sound easy”. EweMove never gave me the impresssion this was a business in a box that would make money regardless of my input. It is all about the franchisee and their staff where applicable.
      Some people have tried and failed and inevitably blamed the business model, the housing market, the franchisor and many other reasons. However the overriding factor in most cases will have been the individual not having the talent, the wearwithal or the the work ethic to make a success out of it.

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      1. Mothers Ruin

        ‘wearwithal’ is that sheep terminology?

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    2. Head_Shepherd#2

      I think the key point to note here is that where we have a EweMove franchise we are the fastest growing agency by market share* – so whilst others may be struggling / or doing well – EweMove is able to capture market share and grow, as our model is so different to other agency models on or off the high street.
      And we do have some disappointing reviews on Trustpilot as these are 100% genuine.  You can see them among the 5 Start reviews very easily.  We don’t hide the fact that sometimes things go wrong, but thankfully it happens very rarely with the operating model and tech we have deployed and the people we work with to represent our brand are very carefully selected and a great bunch!
      *Data courtesy of TwentyEA

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  10. Property Poke In The Eye

    Would rather slit my wrists than be associated with Ewemove franchise.  It a joke of an agency with sheep’s etc.

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    1. Head_Shepherd#2

      There’s really no need to do that! Just carrying on with what you’re doing would make more sense.

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      1. Property Poke In The Eye

        Will do, thanks.

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  11. Woodentop

    Sounds to good to be true. Wish anyone who takes this offer up well but remember if LSL couldn’t make a go of it with their backing … what makes you think you will? Only a handful or are LSL getting rid of their best performers?
     
    You need captial to cover you for the best part of the first year, 6 months is a risky minimum often influenced by your ability to grow stock and chains to completion. It also depends on the saturation level of agents within a specific location.

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    1. DoubleO

      How hard can this be to understand.  It’s very very simple. There are cases where the cost of the high st premises is disproportionate to income and it is these offices that face closure.  Remove the cost of the these High St offices and the model works

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      1. Woodentop

        Salaries and benefits are the real problem with expenditure, then marketing overheads which soak up income so very quickly. Office space costs are insignificant in comparison.

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  12. PropPro69

    I can only suggest that ANY prospective franchise of EweMove, ‘free’ loan or not, has a good look on the Companies House website and see just how many previous franchisees of the Company have already failed.   I am surprised that they haven’t been thrown out of the British Franchise Association yet and can only suggest that any franchise that has already failed or has a EweMove franchise that is failing (and l am sure there are many) make a complaint directly to the BFA.

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