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Placed Australia

The Red Pill or the Blue Pill. When is the Right Time to Step-out as your own Real Estate Agent?

Updated: Apr 9

For many top-performing Real Estate Agents, the thought of stepping-out and running your own show has always been the goal, but it's a big decision...

Maybe you've already gone out on your own and want to start building your team...but you're wondering if the grass is greener under another Brand? …maybe it is...maybe it's not...

Maybe you have a long established Agency with a full team in place already, but think it's time to look at other options? Maybe you're just not where you though you would be at this stage? Maybe you're finding it hard to attract the right people? Sometimes staying put and delaying a shift can cost you more in the long run...

There are so many players in the market now, all trying their very best to attract top-performers to their networks. It's hard to navigate what all your options are unless you put in some serious research, and get some real facts directly from the Agencies on how it could work for you...

What are your options?:

Do you start an Agency Franchise, stay with an Agency and keep selling, or have a crack at working alone? The awesome news is, all these options and more are available to top-performing Agents these days. It's super encouraging that the industry has a little something for everyone...but what works?

If you're serious about setting up an Agency or going out on your own, you're going to need to look at some actual numbers and make an informed decision based on what you're trying to achieve.

It's vitally important to be introduced to the right people who can break it down, give you real examples, give you access to others in their network who made the decision, and show you everything you need to know before you leap...

Most top-performing Agents would already have a fair idea of what flavour suits them. If you find yourself checking the websites of the Agencies you would consider opening a "Brand Franchise" with...then it's a safe bet to think you might open up your own at some point...

If you're checking the websites and performance stats of Agents in "DIY Network Setups" then you're probably thinking to work for yourself as an independent Agent...or are you just trying to hide?


It's true...we talk to a lot of Agents. Some have already taken the leap...but not all are surviving, in fact, most are going broke!

You can kid yourself however you want. We don't mean to call people out on this...but all we need to do is look at their last few years sales figures... 3 - 5 - 8 or 12 sales for the year... that's not a business, it's a hobby. 35 - 85 + sales a year is good business...

Agents coming to us looking for work, who have been self-employed Agents and want to turn back to an Agency, but need a base salary, leads and "flexibility to work from home" tells us everything we need to know. You're simply not making sustainable money and you're not confident you can do any better than you have been, even if you do go back and join an Agency!

Some Agents who have been self-employed, sometimes ask if we can find them a job in "Project Marketing", selling Apartment Buildings or Home & Land releases, where they don't have to chase listings, commissions are phat and selling is about as hard as turning up to the office.... awesome... you just described the dream setup of every Real Estate Agent in Australia...

I can see some Agents reading the above that already know this deep're cringing right now right? (sorry, not sorry). It's time to start looking for a "normal job". You're wasting your time.

Sales people inherently thrive off other people in their team performing. If you made the decision to work for yourself because you didn't want the pressure of an "Agency" pushing you and investing in you to make sales and you don't perform, then no one can have any reason to to tell you you're just not that good at it right? Retreating away from "big brother" to work for yourself can be the downfall of any Agent that loves the idea of selling Real Estate...but finds it hard to motivate themselves to push, push, push...

For the few Agents that can rely on themselves to go-hard and make it work, innovation and sentiment around working from home is no longer taboo, and many new Agency platforms have seen the opportunity to leverage Tech to give Agents the ability to step out on their own, backed by all the services they would need to sell property working for themselves...

Setup to win the attraction game:

The reality most independents face is, it's always much harder to win the Recruitment battle and grow your team when you're up against big brands. The #1 attraction tool of any Agency is their culture. Top-performing people want to be surrounded by other top-performing people...and they want the market to know their top-performers too...

If you settle for working in a "DIY Model" for the time being, then get to a stage you want to start recruiting other top-performing Agents to work with could regret not taking on that "Brand Franchise" that you already know up & coming Agents would be attracted to.... You have to make it easy. Easy for them & easy for you...

If you ever want to be truly successful as an Agency's simply about numbers. It's about how many properties your Agency can list & sell and it's about how many gun Agents you have selling them. Make no mistake, Real Estate Agencies are basically Recruitment Agencies with a constant thirst for more Agents to join the ranks...

Big Agency Brands and Franchises continue to dominate the landscape, and it's for good reason. "Success leaves clues" as they say, and when you're part of a network of Agencies that show long history of strong performance, it can be a safe bet when you are wanting to branch out with some confidence...

(Image purely for Interest - Not all Brands represented.)

Do you take the Red Pill or the Blue Pill?

As Real Estate Recruiters, we speak to Agents on a daily basis who are torn between the comfort of where they are on commission only...or taking a leap of faith and opening up their own thing...but how would one go about it? Where do you start?....

There are many ways to Agency Ownership:

1) Equity Stake in your current Agency (buy in)

2) Share options given to you by the Agency (earn equity over time)

3) Partnership with other Agents that want to spread the risk

4) Independent Agency Ownership (Start your own Brand)

5) Licensing (bit like Franchising)

6) Franchising

7) EBU - Establish another Branch of your Current Agency

8) Plug & Play Networks like @Realty, UrbanX, EXP etc...(work for yourself)

Of course, the attraction for most Agents wanting to go out on their own, is a higher commission split right? Or, maybe it's just always been your goal to have your own Agency and build a powerhouse... regardless... It's smart to run the actual numbers first.

Some Agents who have taken the leap to establish an Agency or go it alone, either thrive and never look back, or decide to turn back to an Agency structure where they can fit into someone else's Agency Brand and focus their attention on selling and leave the pressures of owning a business behind. Some successfully go back with great results but 82% end up leaving the industry altogether!

Some Agents who do come back, bring newly discovered insights into where they went wrong, and find they earn more money and do more sales by being a Sales Agent, than being weighed down by all the other things you need to worry about when you own an Agency... They appreciate it. There is no right or wrong way...there is simply appetite for ambition. It really is go-hard or go-home. So when is the right time to switch Agencies?

With such a multitude of options these days, it can be a good idea to reach out to a Recruiter and have a chat about what they see in the marketplace.

Real Estate Recruiters have a unique insight to the inner sanctum of Agency Brands, see what's working well, and get to speak to people who took different paths to Agency ownership or working for themselves. We also speak to the ones that want out for various reasons too...

Another good place to check out would be some of the REB top performers lists and see what Agency structures the top performing Agents & Agencies are hailing from in your state. It all of a sudden becomes a bit easier to see who has the dominant Agency structures...

You might be feeling a little frustrated on 50% - 60% - 70% split or more with your current Agency, especially when some DIY platforms are touting up to 93% Comm splits. It's easy to see how Agents, who are capable of big numbers, light-up when they hear's hard to ignore admittedly...but what's the reality of working in those structures?

When you actually take into account what Agencies take care of, like, cost of the Office Space, Marketing, Virtual Assistant, Trust Accounting, Paying for the Receptionist, Admin Support, Property Management Team, Team Training Events etc, can quickly work out, if that cost was coming out of your 93% comm split...the reality is, your not on 93% at all...not even close...

A top-performing Agent should never be scared of sharing a good chunk of the Comm with the Agency. They are the ones taking that Comm split to build that awesome culture that attracts more top-performers like you. They take on the risk & hassle of all the infrastructure and staff to back you up. Would you rather sell 50 - 80 - 100 properties a year on a 60% - 70% Split or 15 - 25 on a 93% Split? You have to ask yourself if you could do 25 on your own without buying help...

If you take on an Agency Franchise, there is a lot to consider. Franchise costs, what subscriptions you need to pay for, what fitout cost might be, rent, recruiting, how many agents you may need to cover costs, etc, etc...

The upside is...Franchising allows you to open the doors with a recognised Brand, who have all their systems for success already locked in. It's paint by numbers system. Do what they do...bring your selling skills and ability to attract more top-performing agents and get on with it...

Does Brand mean anything?

You bet it does! Brand is a unified structure of recognition, not just to your customers, but also works in attracting talent to the business. Brand recognition is what you pay for!

You have to look deeply at what Agencies the top-performing Agents are coming from. This is a window into what works best. Some Agents say it's all about the Agent, not the Agency, I believe it's both! I will leave it to you to decide...

You have to be brutally honest with yourself before stepping out on your own as a Franchise Owner, Licensee or Independent. Can you rely on yourself to turn enough numbers to make it profitable? If you just doubted yourself while reading that...maybe you're not ready yet.

Some things to note: There is a fundamental difference between being a top-performing Sales Agent, to being an Agency owner or working for yourself.

Take Personal Inventory:

Not everyone is cut out to be an Agency owner!

Are you motivated enough to do it all on your own? There is a lot to consider before you do take the leap!

Understand the real costs!

Are you going down this track regardless?

What are your options?

Who should you meet with first?

Are you cut-out for running a business?

Are you better with growing & managing teams or selling yourself?

You also need to ask yourself if you are prepared to put your capital & time into your own Agency?

If the answer is yes...then feel free to reach out an have the chat with us today.

Placed Australia work with most of the top Agency Brands, Boutiques and independents in QLD and other parts of Australia too. After speaking with Agents who are ready to explore their options, we regularly take those opportunities to The CEO's of Agencies who have the appetite for brand growth and additional offices. We will organise a time for you to have a chat directly with them and they can give you all the information you need to make informed decisions.

If you're are we. Call Andrew Turnbull (in Brisbane) @ Placed Australia for a confidential chat today on 0474 974 545 or email

You can also get Licenced to Sell Real Estate by checking out

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