Whilst nothing is set in stone (or bricks) in the property sector, investing in an agency or property franchise has the potential to create a promising return on investment. According to Luke Capital Group, most independent businesses have a success rate of 15%, but for property franchise businesses that figure is considerably higher at 85%.
One of the industry’s foremost news publications, The Negotiator, says that a property franchise is a tried and tested model guided that not only offers a recognisable brand, but advertising clout, the economies of scale as well as the support and training attached to being part of a large group.
Not surprisingly, franchises are becoming more and more popular as property professionals, like estate and letting agents, weigh up these advantages and disadvantages when striking out alone. However, knowing what is a good investment generally doesn’t help to narrow the field of competing franchise options.
So, if you’re looking for advice on where to invest your time, focus and finances, our guide covers seven of the best property franchises available in the UK.
The Best Property Franchise in the UK
- LSL Property Services
- Century 21
- 247 Properties
- Pearson Ferrier
Winkworth pioneered the concept of a property franchise. Founded in Mayfair in 1835, this established group appears on the London Stock Exchange’s AIM and offers franchisees a prestigious brand name that’s expanded to just under 100 independent branches located across the globe.
Winkworth prides itself on knowing the respective local area and seeks local experts who know the market like the back of their hand. Currently looking to expand outside the M25 in order to complement commuter zones that could potentially benefit from the significant number of London relocations at the moment, as well as some regional areas that “having the Winkworth name would be an attractive proposition for”, this prestige brand is clearly looking to the future.
The cost of admission for joining this mid-premium level brand begins at £125,000-£200,000 for the initial 12-18 month term with a further £20,000 for a franchise fee (this grants ambitious estate and letting agents a 10-year term).
This attractive property franchise includes a host of benefits to accompany their reputation and 400,000 monthly website views. These include ongoing training for you and your staff in areas including accounts, IT and marketing, plus local PR and advertising assistance.
2. LSL Property Services
This extensive estate agency brand has recently announced a considerable restructuring as it completes its move to a total franchise model. In a statement to the LSE presented in early May 2023, LSL announced that “Long-term franchise agreements have been reached for 143 of its branches with agreements for the remaining 40 branches at an advanced stage”.
Offering property franchise opportunities for ambitious property professionals, LSL continued: “Following completion of these agreements, LSL will become one of the largest providers of estate agency franchise services in the UK, supplying services to a network of just over 300 branches”.
Now could be the right time to join given their increased share price following this announcement. Likewise, Estate Agent Today notes the group’s meaningful investment in new systems and technology and lower overall capital expenditure, which boosts the attractiveness of a property franchise with LSL.
Operating as Reeds Rains, Your Move and the LSLi group (consisting of 9 estate agency brands in the Home Counties area), those investing in a LSL property franchise can access long-term royalty agreements. Support is available in the form of a Business Development Manager for each branch, an annual conference for property franchise owners, an IT helpdesk, alongside audit and compliance, marketing and training support.
A giant of the property franchise sector, Grantham-based Belvoir has operated franchises since 1996. Since then, it’s flexed its business muscles to become the largest property franchise group in the UK.
Landlords trust Belvoir to manage in excess of 61,000 properties, with residential property sales and financial services also available. Its impressive cohort of 364 branches each have distinct territories and belong to a well-known brand. Featuring leading property franchise names such as Belvoir Lettings, Newton Fallowell, Northwood, Lovelle and Nicholas Humphreys, franchisees receive the brand recognition and support of these established names.
There are plans to increase this group’s reach across the country, yet Belvoir states that prospective franchise owners must still pass stringent requirements for Belvoir’s franchise license. This is to make sure that all Belvoir offices conduct their business at the highest possible standard. This attention to quality will certainly raise the brand’s growth and standing in the industry even further.
In return for £150,000-£200,000 (including £45,000 cash), investors can expect to receive updates and training so they can continue to uphold Belvoir’s core values (professionalism and good customer service). Areas include marketing, complaints handling, IT and compliance.
Other investment-worthy features are included to tempt new franchise partners. For example, a legal helpline acts as a safeguard for first-time franchisees whilst individual offices are free to offer a range of unique services and products such as landlord and tenant insurance.
Originating in York more than three decades ago, Hunters now has over 200 offices located across the UK and belongs to The Property Franchise Group.
Offering their Hunters Personal model to work-from-home franchisees who want “all the freedom and flexibility of owning [their] own business, without jumping headlong into a high street estate agency”, they’re quick to reassure prospects that this doesn’t mean they’re left to their own devices.
Offering a wealth of support through their Hunters Academy, established in 2007 and approved by ARLA and NAEA, Personal Agents can also join online and face-to-face regional meetings for additional training. New property franchise owners can also access a personal coach for six months to help them hit the ground running. Overall, an emphasis is placed on supporting franchisees in terms of their continued personal and professional development.
Gone are the overheads of renting a large office. Hunters’ website entices their franchisees with the ability to “retain 90% of income”, “hold an area of prime responsibility” of approximately 20,000 homes and note they’ll have their “own social media accounts”. Retaining autonomy after signing a five-year deal, the figure for investment is £20,000 plus a packaged license fee, one set territory fee and a monthly marketing fee.
5. Century 21
With over 15 years of experience in the field here in the UK, this award-winning property franchise has been named as The UK’s Best Property and Estate Agency Franchise. Perhaps this success was due to Century 21 launching a trio of new business formats in recent years.
The Solo and Flex routes allow entrepreneurs and experienced agents to work remotely. They do however share territories with other Century 21 agents but can set their own working hours. No high street premises are required, which is likely to appeal to on-the-go franchisees. Century 21 Max, on the other hand, features a traditional brick-and-mortar high street space.
These three options have helped this 8,000 strong global franchise grow Century 21’s presence to 43 UK branches. Coupled with the power of joining a considerable international group, this potential to attract overseas buyers and tenants could prove a major selling point, as the brand is recognised throughout Asia and other parts of the world.
Other benefits include a Business Development Manager, additional earnings and partnership opportunities. In addition, property franchise owners can access in-house marketing support, comprehensive training and technology.
6. 247 Properties
Founded in 2023 with its main office in Doncaster, 247 Property Services thrives on living up to its name. An estate agent group, they work hard for their clients whenever they’re needed and describe themselves as a “family” of personal Estate Agents. Acting locally for their clients, joining this franchise means you’ll need to meet higher industry standards than the law demands and “only provide a first-class service”.
Members of ARLA Propertymark, the Property Redress Scheme and supported by the Client Money Protection scheme, those who invest in a 247 property franchise can rely on this group’s well-deserved reputation. TopFranchise.com reports that 247 Properties have ambitions to grow its network and are “looking for people who just believe that customers come first”.
For an initial investment of £15,000, franchisees can expect a healthy package of benefits that allow estate and letting agents to deliver high levels of customer guidance to their customers. Partner solicitors plus accountancy and IT advice are on hand to help them achieve this.
They also advocate flexibility for property franchise owners, meaning they can build their working lives around other commitments. Naturally, this move away from 9-to-5 hours means there’s a requirement to support customers whenever the seller or landlord calls them.
7. Pearson Ferrier
This Greater Manchester property franchise is a good move for those looking to establish income from multiple sources. It offers keen entrepreneurs the opportunity to offer commercial property services and lettings as well as domestic lettings. Allocated a significant area free from the competition of other Pearson Ferrier franchises, property franchise professionals benefit from having their own part of the property market under this umbrella.
Considerable training and advice will also be given, backed by their expertise and success in business for more than 25 years. Founded in 1996 with a “shared vision in mind”, Pearson Ferrier offers clients an impeccable service, with an aim to ensure that all property transactions are completed as smoothly as possible.
There are three levels of franchise packages to choose from. Becoming a Premium Agency costs £29,950 (plus VAT) which grants partners a 10-year license besides an exclusive area comprising 235,000 houses, full marketing support and quick growth with cost-effective set-up costs.
Alternatively, a Property Specialist can expect a price on application, a 5-year license to operate in an area of 78,000 properties exclusive to them, low set-up cost and full marketing support. Pearson Ferrier’s website cites this package as “perfect for your work/life balance”.
Finally, the Conversion package allows lettings and property agents to rebrand under the respected Pearson Ferrier brand. Given this national support, tried and tested systems and the prestige of this property franchise, franchisees can take their business to the next level.
Manage your property franchise the right way
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