Size Matters

The first step in starting this company was easy. Lloyd Trimble and I had a rock solid partnership and had been working together for a couple of years so there was no question that he was coming on board with me as an owner.

From there though, things were more complicated. 

To begin with, how do we attract and hire good people?

If you look at the Big Box Brokerages you’ll see that it’s a numbers game. Hire as many agents as you can and hope that some of them can sell houses. And even if they can’t you can still make money - desk fees, training fees, mark-ups on E&O insurance, etc.

This is the way most big outfits operate - hire anyone with a pulse and a real estate license. I remember way back when I was getting my license interviewing with all the Big Boxes in Chapel Hill. At the Coldwell Bank franchise they gave me a personality test to determine whether or not make a good broker. The results of that test indicated that I would fail miserably, but they offered me a job anyway, so long as I could cover the desk fees. 

If all you care about is numbers then this approach can certainly work. Look at the biggest Big Box in the country, they have over 150,000 agents. 

Impressive? 

To some, maybe.

But me, I look at what most of these folks are doing.

Cold calling.

Door knocking.

Begging for referrals and pestering the ever-loving hell out of their friends and family.

[Side note: Y’all, with the housing market in full swing and the surge of new folks in this business over the last 5 years it’s gotten sooooooo bad. There are literally more agents than there are houses that need to be sold. If 50% of the agents were vaporized today there would still me more than enough to serve the actual demand. 

I have a property listed right now where the owner fired her first agent two weeks into the listing agreement. That means the status of her listed changed to “withdrawn.” And when it did the telemarketers came out like rabid dogs - she got something like 15 calls in first day, starting before the sun came up.

It went on that way for a week, all with the same cheesy pick-up line, “I might have a buyer for your house.”

Maybe I should call that the "pick-up lie" as opposed to line?]

Anyway, over the last decade we’ve had as many as 10 people in the company and as few as four. Some of those people are still with us, some have moved on to other places. Some have even left for a Big Box brokerage and returned having learned they didn’t care for that culture.

But, for the most part, they’ve had one thing in common. They care more about their clients than their commissions. They have more respect for people than to telemarked them at 7:00 in the morning. They certainly would never “pop by” on Saturday morning and interrupt family time just to make a sales pitch.

That’s the way we like it here. In fact, none of that stuff is even allowed. 

And if that means we never have 150,000 agents I’m totally cool with that.