A business billing itself as the ‘next generation letting agent’ is launching a franchise operation before going live to landlords and tenants next month.
Purplebricks-style Accommodation.co.uk is recruiting local lettings experts and will shortly be launching a platform which it says will streamline and automate most admin tasks. It has set out its ambition to be the “largest and best loved letting agency in the UK”.
The initial franchisees – to be called Local Lettings Consultants – will pay nothing.
A price of £1,000 will apply before the end of the year, with a price rise early next year.
The firm says this has yet to be confirmed but that it will be “extremely affordable compared to traditional letting agent franchise fees”.
On an ongoing basis, Local Lettings Consultants will pay a minimum £100 per month to Accommodation or 5% of revenue, whichever is greater.
The firm is looking to recruit franchisees in 12 areas by the end of this year, but says the number could easily be greater.
Accommodation says that franchisees will be able to set up without the barriers that come with traditional letting agent franchises, such as a high initial payment and additional set-up costs.
Franchisees will get training and marketing support, while a central property management team based at the company’s Manchester support centre will handle day to day property management duties.
Landlords can choose between let-only and full management with charges from 4%. Properties will be advertised on Rightmove, Zoopla, Facebook and SpareRoom. Renters choose from ‘curated’ properties, which will have been individually inspected.
The business model, with its local self-employed agents on the ground, is similar to that of Purplebricks but as a franchise operation is probably more directly comparable with EweMove.
Clive Tomlinson, former business development manager at Belvoir and now performing the same role for Accommodation, said: “A lot of talented, ambitious lettings professionals are facing immense difficulty in the face of mass closures of traditional letting agents.
“We’re offering a highly competitive start-up fee to empower experts to set up their own business while still benefiting from Accommodation’s expertise, training and resources.
“The majority of time-consuming administrative tasks will be handled by the platform, freeing up our franchisees to concentrate on delivering a great experience for landlords and tenants alike.
“We’re an ambitious company and we’re excited to work with our franchisees as we grow across the UK to improve renting for everyone.
“By sharing the power of proptech with our Local Lettings Consultants, we’ll enable them to focus on what they’re good at and what really matters to landlords and tenants.
“By enabling our lettings consultants to work remotely with the full backing of our central team, we’re able to keep outgoings low and earnings high – something that traditional lettings agents simply can’t do.”
The firm, an ARLA member, was founded last year by Aaron Short, 24, and Matthew Meekins, 23, who met at Lincoln University, and has the backing of ex-Dyson director John Lomas, 58.
The company says it plans to create 50 new jobs in the next three years.
Short said: “We’ve already had an overwhelming response from property professionals who are looking to set up a franchise, with several already undergoing training.”