Open all hours? Forget it – shorter opening times may be better for an agent’s efficiency

A comparison website has said that agents who are open longer hours do not necessarily sell more properties.

In fact, says GetAgent, its data shows that those which are open for fewer hours arguably perform better.

GetAgent has been looking at the performance of agents that are open beyond the traditional 9-5.

It looked at the average opening hours per week for all agents across the major property portals and the time it takes for agents in each opening time category to sell a house subject to contract.

It did so against a backdrop of online agents operating ‘open all hours’ models – although as we reported yesterday Purplebricks has confirmed its intention to drop its night-time telephone and live chat service, to reflect consumer demand.

While GetAgent could not have known this, it said that the industry as a whole has had to make itself more accessible – but, it asked, “Do longer opening hours really mean better service?”

It found no correlation between staying open longer and selling a property quicker.

Agents with the shortest opening hours – opening for only 20 hours or fewer a week (apparently there are some) – took 158.7 days to sell a property.

Those who opened the longest, over 80 hours a week including both Saturdays and Sundays, sold in 167 days – 8.3 days slower.

However, those who opened in the mid-range, up to 40 hours a week, took the longest to sell, at 197.6 days.

GetAgent found that the best mixture of opening hours and property selling performance is the 41-60 hour bracket.

The most successful agents in this bracket opened for an average of 49.7 hours a week, and took just 142.8 days to sell a property.

GetAgent founder Colby Short said: “A lot has been made over longer opening hours, driven by a change in the industry due to online and hybrid competition.

“The perception is that if you’re open for longer you are able to provide better service due to a greater degree of accessibility. However, this simply isn’t the case and longer opening hours can actually have the opposite impact.

“As always, it’s not the hours you are open, but the quality of the service you provide within those hours.

“All too often, an agent will open for longer, but this can lead to demotivated staff and a greater workload that can be detrimental in the long run.

“Particularly in this day and age, technology can do a lot of the heavy lifting on a day to day basis and the smart agent is the one that incorporates this to work smarter, not harder, providing a better service in the process.”

Hours opening hours per week Average hours worked per week Time to sell subject to contract Open on Saturday Open on Sunday
0-20 hours 14.6 158.7 33% 0%
21-40 hours 36.7 197.6 44% 26%
41-60 hours 49.7 142.8 88% 17%
61-80 hours 66.1 169.1 96% 73%
80+ hours 86.1 167.0 100% 100%

 

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32 Comments

  1. nextchapter

    Oh please.  I don’t want to hear any of this nonsense.   Hard work has always equaled results.  We were showing prospective buyers properties yesterday at 7.30pm.  When the competition was probably sat watching Netflix.  We push harder and that’s what gets the results.   Articles like the one above just creates more laziness and less of a work ethic.  There are so many other factors involved when generating data for an article like this.  Anyway. I’m about to leave for work. Have a great day.

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    1. AgencyInsider

      Of course effort must be made but it is generally better to work smarter, not harder.

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      1. ArthurHouse02

        Agreed working efficiently is really important. Most of those people who can only view at 7:30 in the morning or whatever will be the first to deny a viewing on their own home at a similar time.

        In my experience people who “cannot” view during 9-6 are normally a waste of time and those who are not a waste of time, respect an agent for having a sensible work/life balance

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        1. Flatnose1927

          A fresh, keen estate agent is always going to perform better than a knackered, stressed one. Work yourself or your staff too hard and you will fail. And I completely agree ref inflexible viewers. It’s amazing how often Mr or Mrs “I can only see it at 3pm on Sunday” are suddenly able to come at 10am on a Saturday when you say “sorry, can’t”… if they’re really keen and committed to buy, they’re not going to miss the chance for the sake of the ideal diary window.

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          1. SamH

            Flatnose you’ve nailed all your points there. So many great agents lost to the industry through burn out and so many average ones still around being order takers

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        2. Cheesybiscuits

          Couldn’t agree more. If a buyer really wants a property they will make the timings work within normal hours.

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    2. nextchapter

      Sounds like there’s lots of average Estate Agents here.  I hate the saying work smarter, not harder.  Greatness is never achieved. Ever. With that mentality.  Do you really think Elon Musk says, see you guys. It’s 5pm.  I’m off home to watch Netflix.  It’s ludicrous.  Those that worker harder, push harder, are always winners.  Are you a winner or a loser?  

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      1. surrey1

        Very Gordon Gecko.

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        1. HD23

          Somebody had their weetabix and power shake this morning

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      2. Eyereaderturnedposter12

        ”Those that worker harder, push harder, are always winners.  Are you a winner or a loser?”…

        …for some reason, I have this image of Nextchapter sitting at the dinner table with the family and berating his children for getting 85% in a less than important class test…followed up with the stereotypical ”High 5s all round, guys!…and no Netflix, Netflix is for losers…and Mr Nextchapter doesn’t raise losers!”

        😉

         

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        1. SamH

          I went home at 3:45pm yesterday ‘coz I was absolutely sapped. Must be a loser ‍♂️. Everything is binary, black and white, ones or twos, red or blue after all.

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    3. Bless You

      I was open for 24 hours a day on Everest but sold nothing….  worked pretty hard as well

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      1. nextchapter

        Maybe you’re a rubbish sales person?

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        1. AgencyInsider

          Those that work harder, push harder, are always winners.
          Try telling that to Theresa May.

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      2. MarketLeader101

        I bet you were the market leader for a time!

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  2. rightval

    We feel there has to be that balance of being available when needed but without burning out. I’m sure what works for one doesn’t for another. Interesting that there are figures for agents that aren’t there on a Saturday though?

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  3. ChumpExecutive

    Customers of Whitegates will soon be able to select 60-minutes of their day which they can re-visit once more, to allow them to book a valuation appointment or attend a viewing. We will be launching the service as “Whitegates, the agent of the future, now open 25/7”. Such innovation is only possible because of our strong cash generation allowing us to fund original research into time travel. Yet another advantage of being part of a franchise Group.

     

     

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    1. mrtickle

      Whoever downvoted this comment clearly didn’t get Ian Wilson’s tongue-in-cheek joke.

      Friday nights must be a real laugh with you lot!

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  4. PaulC

    When I launched into estate agency in 2015.

    I opened with 7 days a week and late night viewings Monday to Thursday.

    Fast forward to 2019 and we no longer do late nights at all.

    We no longer do Sundays unless it’s a very special viewing for a big house and the client is coming from miles away.

    I am even considering closing down viewing one day a week.

    I do not believe the above has cost  me or my clients anything in terms of lost business.

    My staff love their working hours and we have a good work life balance.

    They work 2 out of 3 Saturdays but only work 5 days a week.

    They work 6 days, 5 days then 4 days on a three week rota. So they get a long weekend off every 3 week.

    Today we are the 4th highest selling high Street branch in the UK

     

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  5. AgencyInsider

    I want to view Acacia Avenue this evening at 9pm.

    I’m really sorry but the owners have a small baby and would like to rest after a very busy day at work. Could you do 4pm this afternoon?

    Oh, OK.

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  6. PaulC

    Oh, I forgot to mention that we also do not do viewings in the dark.

    So during the winter months our last appointment is 4:30pm

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    1. ArthurHouse02

      And that is what separates a smart estate agent from one that just drops everything without thinking first.

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  7. MarketLeader101

    GetAgents data is scraped from other sources that don’t even know they’re doing it.  The ‘Time it takes an agent to sell’ is incredibly misleading to any customer listing on their site.  It doesn’t take into account probate properties, properties that are arguably on the market for too much (usually the vendors fault) and properties that are listed on the portals and removed quickly (but not sold).

    Most agents, in my experience, will do everything they can to do the upmost for their clients.  But my biggest worry is that thousands of estate agents information is being advertised by a company they have no contract with, is inaccurate and doesn’t want to work with them.  I wonder what Connells, Countrywide, Arun Estates and the big online agents would think of this misrepresentation?

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  8. gardenflat

    I’ve been considering office appointment by prior arrangement for a Saturday. Although we are “High St” we are not in the busiest part of Town and I feel our time is better spent on viewings/valuations than behind the desk looking out, calls can still be taken remotely and if it’s a slow one then there are no set hours.

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  9. WiltsAgent

    You can make a choice, live to work or work to live. Through my career I have regularly come across individual agents prepared to work all hours 7 days a week. Without exception they were all highly successful but also deeply flawed people with soap opera personal lives. I have run my own business for 18 years, we close at 5.30 each day and 3 on a Saturday. We never open on a Sunday or a bank holiday. I will do appointments out of hours only when I have assured myself the client is not wasting my time.

    There are plenty of agents who are more successful and good luck to them but I work on my terms. As for ‘Tech’, the answerphone has always proved reliable.

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  10. DASH94

    Being prepared to do viewings or vals out of hours is different from keeping a branch open and paying the staff and overheads that go with that.  I also have 24 hour access to emails and an emergency phone – so that’s 24/7 365 days a year

     

    I’d expect staff that on commission to make the extra effort but opening the office for more that 9-5 Monday to Friday and Saturday mornings is the same as burning money.

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  11. Thinker89

    I regularly agree sales after Sunday afternoon viewings and evening viewings. One of our marketing plans is specifically about Sunday afternoon viewings and both sellers and buyers love it.

    Having an office open for 8 hours a day isn’t necessarily what sells houses and we know that PB and the others aren’t actually selling houses 24/7 an more than the rest of us are. Listings can be viewed 24/7 but the time I answered the phone when it rang at 1am because I was still awake, I freaked the lady out as she was expecting to leave a message while she was on a night shift at the hospital!

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    1. Mothers Ruin

      That’s great as your USP but you may well sell those same houses on general working days anyway.

      Too many moons ago to mention the Halifax (after bribing their staff with £500 to sign a new contract) starting opening on Sundays.

      Not very long after they did a detailed survey and realised that no more business was generated as a result.

      I could have told them that but dang why didn’t I sign that contract!

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  12. PeeBee

    nextchapter:

    “We were showing prospective buyers properties yesterday at 7.30pm.  When the competition was probably sat watching Netflix.”

    “Those that worker harder, push harder, are always winners.”

    You’re closed on Sundays, are you not?

    No 24:7?

    No “Call 0800 N-E-X-T-C-H-A-P-T-E-R for round-the clock viewing and Appraisal Appointments for the insomniacs of Brentwood?

    Wow! – I somehow expected… more… from you after such rousing statements of work:life balance intolerance.

    Go on, nextchapter… admit it – you’re a bunch of part-timers just like everyone else.

    You stop work for silly things like sleep, food, potty-time.  Can’t multi-task and dovetail those annoying wastes of potential working time  in with some ring-outs.

    That’s a big fat fail in Gecko’s eyes.

    What commitment?  What drive?  What enthusiasm?

    But – I suppose it’s a case of you need your Netflix time just as much as anyone else…

    Is that right or is that right?

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  13. claris

    There’s an old saying ‘The harder I work – the luckier I get’!  Says it all.

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    1. PeeBee

      claris

      There’s a rule of thumb that says if you make the decision to remain open 24 hours a day; seven days a week, one day someone will ring you at a ridiculous hour and prove you right in that decision.

      The same rule of thumb states that without exception, when that call comes in, whoever is on duty will be on a potty break…

      …and the caller will leave a message.

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  14. The Future Is Tech

    Did anyone else know that GetAgent only promotes high street agents who pay them for generating leads?

    Smells like a con to me and I would take any data from them with a pinch of salt

    Report
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