The Local Property Experts building up their businesses on the back of Purplebricks

Our story last week about Purplebricks’ mammoth recruitment drive for new Local Property Experts drew some interesting comment.

And none more so than this – which, as it was posted fairly late, you may have missed and it is therefore reproduced below:

“I have mixed feelings about Purplebricks as a brand. The positive is that they do try and get actual industry experts into the positions, but it’s still not really ‘local estate agent’.

“Just something about it feels like it still loses a personalised edge which High Street agents provide best, and that loss of a physical office means they are relying solely on internet listings which can be very hard when the market is struggling. Also I’m diametrically opposed to the idea of someone paying up-front fees for their property to be sold.

“To try and help clarify the earnings side of things for Purplebricks LEs, I applied for an LE position in my local area a while ago and through the interview process I learned about how it works.

“They start you off with a basic salary of something like £2k for a couple of months while you get started. You then earn money from various means including acquiring the listing from valuation appointments, getting the property sold and selling professional photography and floorplans to the seller.

“This works out at a few hundred per listing. You then also earn an additional couple of hundred from the buyer side if you successfully refer insurance, conveyancers and mortgages etc.

“I think the cap per property was something like £550. They aimed to do something like between 15 to 20 sales per month but said there were people working hard to manage 20 to 25.

“On that basis you’d have something like £99,000 by selling all the products every time, and for that high achiever they’re earning around £165,000. So it’s very much product referral based.

“They also ask for applications to have a minimum of three years in a management position within an agency setting. The pull they make is that as it’s self-employed you’re running your own business and getting out of the branch rat race, yet they provide you all the tools you need to get on with it.

“In my area I’ve heard some positives about Purplebricks and like elsewhere there are signs going up here and around. I probably prefer them to any other online agent as it’s SORT of hybrid. Just the up-front fees really get me. I think if they really pull their trousers up they could be quite formidable.”

This post threw up some interesting points, particularly on the earnings potential. Could a local property expert really be earning £165,000 a year? That’s a lot of listings – and a lot of referrals.

We were also intrigued to hear that local property experts are incentivised to see a sale through, although we have not been able to verify this with Purplebricks. It leaves us rather suspecting  that if there is an incentive, it has more to do with local reputation, as presumably it would soon get round if a local property expert never actually sold anything.

But back to the earnings. A bit of scouting around suggests it is likely that the best paid local property experts are actually building up businesses on the back of Purplebricks.

They have sub-licensees and earn a proportion of earnings from their instructions.

Indeed, one interesting case study that formed part of the presentation at the last Purplebricks results shows how Paul Brown has built a team of six in Sheffield and Doncaster, and is recruiting more.

Brown himself is ex-Countrywide, as is one member of his team. Two others were with rival corporate Sequence brand William H Brown, and one was from haart.


purplebricks 5


Email the story to a friend


  1. Farmer

    So that explains it. It’s more of a pyramid scheme than anything else.

    Get control of a territory and split it off gradually. If you are in at the start no problem but if you are further down the food chain your stuffed.

    Just as bad as the old corporate way.

    1. Bless You

      Like everything, it sounds easy on paper.

      Wait till these vendors who have been ripped off/ mislead, havent sold their houses..then the s++t will hit the bricks.

      And stick…watchdog wont be far behind and then its over…

      1. pier197954

        How are vendors getting ripped off, when they are so much cheaper than any high street agency? Have you used the service to sell a property?

        1. PeeBee

          BLIMEY!! You took nine days to query this?

          Take two identical properties, each worth a maximum of £250,000.

          Scenario 1

          High Street Agent charges their client £3000 (inclusive of VAT) and achieves the maximum price.  Call-Centre Agent charges their client £1080 (inclusive of VAT) and achieves a sale price of £247,500.

          Which is “so much cheaper”?

          Scenario 2

          High Street Agent markets the property on a No Sale, No Fee basis and is unsuccessful in finding a buyer.  Call-Centre Agent charges their client an up-front (or deferred) Fee of £1080 (inclusive of VAT) and is unsuccessful in finding a buyer.

          Which is “so much cheaper”?

          I look forward to your response – hopefully before the 25th…

  2. Trevor Gillham

    I can see a lot of these agents breaking out and going it alone, local agents working from home doing what the high street do.

  3. agency negotiation limited

    Just another sad variation on the USA model of brokers/agents that are desperate for business and will do and say most anything to achieve a sale. I agree with the pyramid scheme analogy and what this does is to relax whatever flimsy recruitment safeguards might have been in place. End result. A  plethora of unqualified agents that give it a go and eventually  give the sector a worse name.

    I find it amusing that PurpleBricks tout this ‘opportunity’ as an ‘own business’. It is simply building up the PurpleBricks brand, just as happened with Avon Cosmetics and Forever Living. The reality is that the projected figures won’t add up and the churn of prospective agents will continue. But, PurpleBricks aren’t really in it to help the vendor. They’re in it to help themselves and there’s the difference – between the best agencies and those that rely on an intensive sales culture.

  4. J1

    Surely PB will fall foul of employment law rules at some point.

    One day somebody will argue that they are indeed behaving like an employer and will challenge them for the usual rights that most people enjoy.

    Of at least I hope they will.

    These LE’s are bound by strict rules and I would think they don’t really have the freedoms they would like – especially if they don’t bring home the bacon.

    Worth investigating perhaps?


    1. pier197954

      They cannot fall foul of employment law as it is a self employed business model. Plus they pay their new recruits guaranteed wages for the first two months and provide two week training, which no other business is doing on a self employed model.

      1. PeeBee

        “…which no other business is doing on a self employed model.”

        And you know this because…?

  5. Property Paddy

    There’s a very old saying people really should remember.

    If it sounds to good to be true it probably isn’t true.

  6. coleface

    Apart from the well founded employment concerns and the potential damage of pyramid selling models – most ridiculous is the figures quoted here. I run market leading branches that do 14 – 16 sales in a month that require a BM, 3 negs and sales progression / admin support.

    Behind that I then have accounting, technology and business admin support.

    The proposition that one local PB property expert (which is a total contradiction in terms) can run their business while they acquire stock, vet applicants, arrange viewings, negotiate sales that they then have to sales progresses  (while I assume being stuffed if they want a holiday or are ill) at any consistent level beyond 4/5 sales a month is laughable.

    That’s before you then get to the realistic conversion rates on conveyancing / mortgages both of which would be ambitious at 50% and then factor in a cancellation rate – likely to be higher than the norm for the lack of time feasible to give to the process (as all other agents are fully aware from chain links).

    And finally that’s before any sort of tightening in the market at which point you better have some serious sales skills. At and which time the impracticality of being able to accompany viewings over the scale of location you cover has to hurt.

    I see the appeal of having your own set up and working for yourself of course, but those considering it need a massive dose of realism to counter the sales pitch they will be given.

    PS – Who deals with the Ombudsman complaints?

    1. Farmer

      Spot on. Too many think they can operate alone only to burn out when they realize they haven’t had a holiday for 2 years.

      You need people to build a business and a single agent working from his bedroom can’t do that.

      1. LocalAgent201625

        It’s in the LEP’s control, you are responsible for your own diary. If people burn out it’s down to them not taking enough down time.



        1. pier197954

          What happens as an LEP if you only go out on 1 listing a week or a Month. Would PB allow this? Or would they say no thanks and get another LEP who would meet the demand for the service and be out on listing every hour of the day?

  7. LocalAgent201625

    PB will continue you progress and grow until the market really turns to the worst.


    I have a couple close friends who work there and earning a very good wage, and on target to earn close to 100k. both very good agents who have worked through tough times and survived.


    There are a few points in the opening post which aren’t correct, but it’s not my place to go into the PB structure.

    1. Farmer

      You are in a better position to know the way it operates so I accept I may be a bit inaccurate.

      I have seen in my local area a similar setup with a franchise model.

      The main franchise takes the whole area and splits it up into sections.

      The sub franchise, while self employed and paying their own marketing pay a chunk upwards. This money keeps the main franchisee in business and the sub franchisee without much of an income and no time off!!


      1. LocalAgent201625

        As the picture shows, they have “territory owners” i.e regional managers for those who work at corporate companies, then you have your LEP’s – depending on the size of area it’s split as you say.


        In my local area we haven’t had any real issues with PB – yes they’ve taken on the odd house here and there but they have next to 0 market share.





        1. pier197954

          Where is your local area? Who is the market leader in your local area?

          1. PeeBee

            Define ‘local area’.

            It’s something that Call-Centre Agents constantly struggle to grasp the concept of…


You must be logged in to report this comment!

Comments are closed.

Thank you for signing up to our newsletter, we have sent you an email asking you to confirm your subscription. Additionally if you would like to create a free EYE account which allows you to comment on news stories and manage your email subscriptions please enter a password below.