I frequently get calls from people asking for career advice. A common question I get asked is whether it is better to work for a small boutique agency, a large franchise brokerage or a cloud-based company? The answer is a big fat, “It depends.”
When you first start in the business, you probably need training more than anything else. You might want someone to hold your hand through your first few transactions. When you have twenty years of experience, you hopefully aren’t looking to your broker for hand-holding – you might be focused on the technology tools, leads, or maybe even how much they leave you alone.
I happen to have my license with a large franchise because that is what works for me right now. However, I have friends who have their licenses with boutique firms or owner-developers and they are happy with that. So much depends on your personality and what you need from a company. This might change, in fact it will change, as time goes one.
A small boutique company will usually offer a work environment that is more personal. Since there are only a few people in the office, you get to know them pretty quickly. You will have easy access to your broker because there are only a handful of people. They probably won’t have a formal training program. When you sign up, the sales manager will tell you that someone will help you, but it is likely not this person’s job to help you. In other words, their title is not “trainer.” It is probably someone who is trying to get their own listings, but if they have time, they might teach you a little.
A cloud-based company will probably be very cheap to work for. You will have a good commission split and very few fees. That’s all you get. You won’t even have an office to go to if you want to. You will meet your clients at Panera. If you are at the point in your career, where you don’t need any support, this might work for you. But it is going to be a difficult environment for a beginner.
The large franchise companies offer formalized training programs, technology tools, and other support. A large company has more resources and name recognition than the other two. The large company name will lend credibility, which is important when starting out. Once you have developed your a reputation, this might not be as important. The large franchise companies often offer technology and marketing support that is not available to smaller companies.
None of these is better than another, they are just different. All industries have an ecosystem. It is necessary to have small firms, large firms, and in-between firms. Some of the smaller firms are trying to grow to become larger, or may be eventually bought out by a larger company. But some of the small firms will stay small firms forever. None of these is better overall, but one of them is better for you. This depends on what you need from a brokerage company right now.
If you need any help finding a good brokerage company to start your career, I’m happy to help. If you don’t have a license yet, but want to get started in real estate, I can help you with that too.