Property Franchise Group reveals reason for shrinkage of high street network

The Property Franchise Group has revealed that it has parted company with five Annagram offices which traded as CJ Hole.

The Burnham-on-Sea CJ Hole branch was one of those caught up in the price fixing cartel in the Somerset town.

The scandal came to light after CJ Hole admitted its part in the cartel, and escaped being fined. The other five agents were fined £370,000.

Yesterday The Property Franchise Group boss Ian Wilson said that when the time came for renewal, it was decided to part company with five of the Annagram offices, although a sixth was retained.

The departures were responsible for a 3% reduction in the size of the traditional high street agency network that trades under the various Property Franchise Group brands.

Speaking to EYE, Wilson also said he was pleased with how the group’s hybrid brand EweMove has been performing, with listings and transactions up.

He said it is now making a profit that covers the original £9m that the firm originally paid for EweMove.

He also said EweMove is now recruiting non-agents again.

Yesterday, The Property Franchise Group said that experienced agents out-performed non-agents for only the first two years: “In the third year, non-agents are as good as agents,” said Wilson.

He said that the criteria for recruitment were transferable sales skills; the ability to manage a business; and access to sufficient capital in the first year.

He said: “In the first year, you are talking beans on toast. I would say you need access to liquid funds of at least £30,000.”

Wilson also spoke of the fees ban, saying that only 5% of landlords had been resistant to having their fees increased.

He said that the strategy was to raise rents by an average of £50 a month and seek an extra 1.25% commission in management charges from landlords.

Wilson said: “Together these two steps can raise £10m, which will fully mitigate the effect of the ban.”

Wilson was upbeat about the future of the lettings industry, saying that he is seeing only a small rise in the number of landlords leaving the market.

He said there is still plenty of scope for growth for letting agents: “Even if the private rented sector were to cap out or shrink, there is still a lot of opportunity, as only 15% of landlords use a managing agent. In the more regulated environment to come, more are likely to do so.”

Wilson said that he has proved himself wrong on one forecast – there are currently fewer, not more, lettings businesses for sale.

“It is the quietest period we have experienced.

“My thoughts are that a lot of agents would like to sell up, but feel they need 12 months of accounts to show how they have performed since the ban.

“We are offering anyone who would like to exit now but is holding off until next year earn-out terms, as we are still looking to expand both organically and by acquisition.”

He said that 70% of the franchisees’ business is still in lettings.

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  1. Hillofwad71


    The devil is in the detail

    Wilson also said he was pleased with how the group’s hybrid brand EweMove has been performing, with listings and transactions up.

    Well that’s alright then .Thanks very much I am off shortly ,see you soon !

    No word then or thought to all those who have been lured in  crashing out monthly with life changing  debts.Carying the can. No sign of that subsiding

    Such a lack of empathy


     I would say you need access to liquid funds of at least £30,000.


    Unfortunately  many Ewemove franchisees are going to need more than that  to get themselves out of a hole



    A few trading  with  over  £100k in deficit with a worrying  lack of instructions to  make any inroads into that


    Ewemove Crewe dissolved a few months ago crashed out with debts over £100k.and annual creditors over £131k Territory taken over now by adjoining franchisee  According to Zoopla today has 0 instructions in Crewe . Next door franchisee in Macclesfield 0 instructions

    Maidstone North just wound up with deficit over £85k 

    Altricham packed up recently  with last accounts showing  defict of £35k with over £40k annual creditors

    The majority of frarnchisees currently trading   are running deficits over £30k according to Companies House

    Doncaster South who went west  recently last accounts showed a deficit of  £57k  and creditors due in one year over £70k

    He said it is now making a profit that covers the original £9m that the firm originally paid for EweMove.

    Presumably he means to cover just  the borrowing charges ?


    He also said EweMove is now recruiting non-agents again.

    Lack of choice?

    Very few additions recently; Lichfield,Southwark ,Folkestone and Swindon North,Gaping holes appearing in the Greater Manchester Area with recent  losses of franchisees  Stalybridge Bolton North, Salford  and Altrincham


    The West Midlands has become a sheep  free zone  with the loss of Bournvile and Kiddermister last year Startford Upon Avon in 2016


    1. FlyingSheep54

      Her he is, never lets us down. Sad little surveyor who doesn’t even turn over enough to register for VAT.

      Haven’t you got a day full of down valuations to work through?

      1. Hillofwad71

        I would feel very let down if I was’s hard enough doing business in a challenging market.
        Presumably you are a franchisee. Aren’t you at all concerned at the high rate of failures and crashing debts amongst  the franchisees.  I would be as it  would reflect on my business . I would be asking senior management some questions
        Why do you think the failure rate of Ewemove is so high compared to its peer group and shows no sign of halting?
        What about those franchisees who adjoin a territory where the franchisee  has 0 instructions where  a franchisee was recruited when under a restraining order which was all over the local media which might explain the lack of traction ?
        Indicating that  head office failed to undertake due diligence .
        Big holes appearing in the map of franchisees and very little growth
        Sometimes the best investments are those you don’t make    

        1. FlyingSheep54

          I don’t feel let down. I have made my business profitable. I have had good support from the franchisor but make no mistake, if I had relied on them to make my business a success, it would have failed. Maybe that’s where others have gone wrong, maybe not.

          However if my business had failed the last people I would be blaming would be EweMove. There would only be one person to blame, me.

          As for others in the network, I love seeing them do well. I feel sad for the ones that have failed but I do not worry about it because I have zero control over what happens in their businesses. I know nothing about the recruitment of anybody but myself so I can only comment on that. The one thing I was never promised was a business in a box, it was made very plain that it would involve lots of hard work, blood, sweat and tears. Much like any start up.

          I have to say your obsession is quite weird and i can’t for the life of me imagine what your motives are. Did you get turned down for a franchise?

          1. Hillofwad71

            Flying I am an investor and never opeated  as a residential agent  . If I were a franchisee where the franchisor highlights personal service as a USP I wouldnt be very happy that the front of house is shunted out remotely to a third party ‘
            The chatline answered by somebody unfamiliarwith the  properties and can’t even tell you if a franchisee is still trading or shut down  A company chopping and changing beween  offering franchises  to those with experience and without charging different entry tariffs 
            Clearly I have too much time on my hands!!!! 

  2. Cheshireguns

    I hope his surveying is considerably more accurate than his reporting…… As of this morning Zoopla  is showing 19 listings for Ewemove in Crewe, not 0 as he has stated, and this excludes further  properties for sale in neighbouring small towns such as Sandbach. For the record, the previous owner of Ewemove Crewe wanted to retire and he was able to sell his franchise to a neighbouring Ewemove operation. Anyone who thinks that Companies House information tells the whole story about a business is quite naive too. There is a warning on this site about posts not being defamatory, and whatever bee he has in his bonnet about Ewemove as a whole, this rather obsessed gentleman should be careful that he doesn’t inaccurately denigrate hardworking and committed agents working under the Ewemove banner.

    1. Hillofwad71

      Well  Companies House doesnt lie Ewemove Crewe was dissolved and the debts are there to be seen I hope they didnt pay to much?
      Acc to Zoopla O in Crewe
      On Ewemoves website no listings for Crewe just Sandbachand Middlewich

  3. Hillofwad71

    Post above couldn’t edit Well  Companies House doesnt lie Ewemove Crewe was dissolved and the debts are there to be seen I hope they didnt pay too much?
    Are you suggesting that the series of accounts submitted are false?  i have just checked Acc to Zoopla O for  Crewe branch  On Ewemoves web listings for Crewe under  Sandbach and Middlewich and not Crewe    Yes noted that there are instructions in Crewe but not being handled by that seperate franchise. So apologies for that ambiguity. 
    Certainly  the franchisees  under the same umbrella in Cheshire are performing well and hats off to that
    Maybe you can shed some light on the recruitment by Ewemove of the other franchisee close by  and how that has impacted  ?          

    1. Cheshireguns

      Ewemove Crewe Limited were the previous franchise owners and having sold the franchise it makes sense for them to dissolve their limited company business, nothing unusual in that. No one lies to Companies House, but matters are often arranged on  accountant advice, and it doesn’t always represent the entire picture. If I were you, I would be cautious about using this source as your only guide to financial health, especially when you are making comments about identifiable individuals and their businesses.
      However, I accept your apology for very inaccurate reporting of Ewemove performance in Crewe.

      1. Hillofwad71

        Well I should have a word with Zoopla as Ewemove Crewe & Nantwich is showing 0 listings
        On Ewemove Crewe isnt being shown as a seperate office with itsown listings.
           Sure accounts are prepared with a view to minimising tax or even sometimes maxing tax losses!! if there is a set off However what the accounts show was an increasing defict and more importantly  annual creditors due  in  one year and continuing losses into 6  figures .
        The accounts paint a vivid picture of a failing business
          If the company was seeking finance or credit of any sort without personal guarantees   -no chance  
        The majority of Ewemove franchisees are single purpose vehicles by many who have never run their own comapny before Some have borrowed money from banks  With accounts showing increasing annual creditors and deficits  they are going to be under the cosh .
        Clearly the accounts  dont show actual revenue but a steer on that can be obtained by the number of instructions and sales.Taking a view on fees Its clear in many cases the paucity of instructions and the creditors due in one year which might or might not include a Director’s salary  there is a huge gap       

  4. FAQs

    HillofWad71, why are you so obsessed, it is a little odd.

    1. Hillofwad71

      As an investor, I tend to examine foresnsically before I invest I had been invested in TPFG so the acquistion of Ewemove was a big move and led me to examine my investment which I moved to Belvoir who I am very impressed with  .
      The RNS at TPFG spins a  different story  for Ewemove to what is taking place that is what I find unacceptable as an investor In addition I find it very sad watching some franchisees who clearly aren’t going to make make it ,incur some life changing debts and seemingly very little done by head office 
      There are some very good franchisees indeed who should be angry at some of the recruitment  .
         There are 2 husband and wife teams currently heading for perdition where any responsible management should intervene before they are crippled Its like a pantomime where you shout “He’s behind you”

      1. BigVillan

        But that doesn’t explain why at every opportunity you turn a news story such as the recent TPFG story into a EweMove story. Doing your own due diligence is fine. Publicly slagging off a business that many of us work hard within is quite another thing. Especially when you make schoolboy mistakes like not realising that EweMove Crewe, Sandbach and Middlewich are one and the same. Take a look at the EweMove branch finder. Your money is nicely tied up with Belvoir instead of TPFG now so you no longer need to be dredging through our accounts and shouting them from the rooftops. Spare a thought for how that impacts on those you are talking about.

        I think everyone gets your message HoW71 so how about giving it a break now please and letting those of us that are trying and succeeding in making a living within EweMove to do so without your incessant finger poking?

        ps. You obviously didn’t read the instructions when entering your comments: Your comment must not defame any individual or entity and must not contain hyperlinks to other websites.  2 for 2!

        1. Hillofwad71

          Well appreciate your frustration and your indignation as a franchisee I would be too
            Rather than shoot  the messenger I would direct that at the management who take every opportunity to say how everything is rosy in the garden 
           Self-congratualtory slaps on the back   about turning in a profit at HO whilst many  at  the coalface  carrying the can
          Its clear there is something going badly wrong  in recruitment and that  needs to be addressed   Its the elephant in the room
            Surely you must be concerned . Somehow  I dont think the message has  got through It reflects badly on the profession
          Maybe some of the new entrants would think twice about risking all if they were made fully aware of the failure rates I bet they werent made aware that 10 out of the 16 cherry picked poster boys and girls have already disappeared  
          The “schoolboy  error” you refer to is both on the company   website and Zoopla  Crewe is highlighted as a seperate franchise   The unfortunate consequence of that it appears  that it has no instructions in Crewe  on Zoopla  when clearly that is not the case  

          1. BigVillan

            I’m shooting the messenger because you’re the one shooting your mouth off and I’m bored of hearing it. Shock, the Head Office of a corporate business is focussed on central results and delivering a positive message. Really?
            You’re not in this business and have no idea how the recruitment works and have not gone through that process. No, not all in the garden is rosy and to be fair, The Sheep Pen don’t dress it up as that internally. You have to work hard to be successful. They have also always rejected more applicants than they have accepted. Any franchisee coming on board has to do their own due diligence and determine whether it could work for them, just like any other business and we are made clear of the performance required to make a profitable business. The amount of support centrally is fantastic, you really have no idea what you are talking about so it is time to get off your soap box, preaching from a set of statistics that reveals only part of the story.
            I am amazed that PIE allow you to continually defame EweMove at every opportunity from a point of very little knowledge. Very disappointing.
            As for the “poster boys & girls”, you have taken a 5 year old piece of marketing literature to prove your ill conceived point. There are some sad stories as to why some of those franchisees are no longer with us and not all financial reasons, but that was 5 years ago! Things change. And some of our franchisees are still with TPFG but by the nature of their business growth have moved from our model to the high street model of our sister companies.
            And no, the schoolboy error I was referring to was you not doing your homework. Sit in the corner and be quiet, there’s a good chap. Oh, and get a life.

            1. Hillofwad71

              Well the answer to that is fairly simple,ignore my posts.  
               Don’t forget Ewemove are part of a listed company where Directors are accountable to shareholders. Investors rely on RNS  to influence their investment decisions .They aren’t promotional items
              Reading the RNS  you wouldn’t  be aware of the financial suffering  or the failure rate which far exceeds its peer group.
                Clearly what  goes on inside or the recruitment procees outsiders aren’t privvy too . However  when there is a franchise with 0 instructions and you then find out on Google that the  franchisee was recruited whilst subject to a restraining order  naturally questions are raised to how  robust that process is!  
                Factor in the  high number of failures also and it doesn’t appear good It beggars belief that  10 out of the 16 have  disappeared  over whatever time span  .
                The irony is things havent changed they are still failing and Ian Wilson has now announced Ewemove   is now recruiting from  outside the industry again .
              Rinse and repeat .
                As for the “schoolboy error” keep up As identified Ewemove Crewe  still appears on Zoopla with O Instructions. Perhaps you ought to tell Head Office!
              The best of luck

  5. MAC123

    Dear All as a Scottish Franchisee of 8years with TPFG (Martin & Co) we must make this clear that these statements have no bearing on Scotland.

    We stopped charging Tenant Fees many years ago and survived, indeed we have made profit year on year and increased our portfolio.

    Anyone starting a Franchise thinking its easy money is either stupid or deaf because it was made very clear to us at inception that we had to build the business and provide a quality service which we have done.



  6. Hillofwad71

    All credit to you but  maybe have a look at how 2 of the 3 Scottish Ewemove franchisees are faring. Have a look at their  instructions and their accounts at Companies  House and make your own appraisal 

  7. Hillofwad71

    As a parting shot 10 of the 16 of  these case studies franchisees highlighted  in the recuitment drive have gone (Bob Brown to Whitegates within TPFG)
    You couldn’t make  it up

  8. Industry insider

    There does seem to be a far too high failure rate of Ewemove franchise holders.

    The PR put out for Ewemoves franchise failures does not appear to present the overall picture noted by other posters.

    A key intended benefit of taking the additional, ongoing costs of any franchise is to significantly reduce this failure rate to a very low level.

    Looking from the outside a helpful suggestion would be to hire an external, top quality Director with a minimum of 20 years national experience so they can actively lead Ewemove in preventing franchises from failing.


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