You want to build your own business in the property sector, but starting out on your own as an independent agency seems too risky for you. You have undoubtedly already heard about Belgium’s estate agency franchising system, which involves a partnership between an independent agent (known as the franchisee), and a major property brand, the franchisor. But, are you familiar with one of the fundamental benefits that this model offers: the network? Investing in a franchise means joining a network with three kinds of relationship: from the franchisor to the franchisee, from the franchisee to the franchisor, and the relationship between the individual franchisees. In a franchise arrangement, estate agents are never left to their own devices: the “network team spirit” is a fundamental aspect of every franchise.
The role of the franchisor: building team spirit across the network
The franchisor, as the primary link between all members of the network, has a duty to generate and maintain a team spirit across the network, with all the franchise partners helping each other out. This means organizing meetings, conventions, and regional conferences throughout the country. However, the franchisor also has a further duty to facilitate communications between the different agencies, providing them with tools for online dialogue such as a newsletter, an intranet, and a forum. In addition, there is an obligation to create reporting tools that help franchisees to understand how well they are performing and how they are progressing compared to their peers in Belgium. These tools enable franchisees to identify their businesses’ weaknesses and to determine where they can increase their profitability, thereby increasing their competitiveness compared to non-franchised agencies.
The role of the franchisee: keeping the franchisor updates
As for franchisees, they have to demonstrate the same “team spirit” towards their franchisor and the other franchisees. This spirit takes the form of escalating any issues in a positive manner, as well as sharing best practices – information that can then be shared with other agencies in Belgium under the same franchise. The franchiser also has a duty to share the reactions of consumers and employees to the brand concept, thereby enabling the franchisor and the entire network to improve their concept.
This also serves as a way to strengthen the network and enabling the brand and all other agencies in Belgium to benefit from the franchisee’s experience. This “network team spirit” is built around an ongoing dialogue between franchisees and the franchisor, but it also extends beyond that.
Belgian franchisees: a mutually supportive network
The final aspect of a franchised network is the relationship between the various franchisees in Belgium. This consists of an exchange of ideas, advice, and expertise. The way in which the various agencies share with each other is a great help, particularly for those just starting out, who may, for instance seek out missing information from their more experienced colleagues. By exchanging advice, ideas and concepts, franchisees can address and solve problems together more effectively than if they were alone.
This spirit of cooperation also benefits the brand’s customers. For example, a member of a network can make use of the network to ensure that a client has access to a property that is not local to the agency. In addition, different members of the Belgian network can work together to sell properties via a shared client file. Mutual support is also possible in person, for example by helping out and covering for colleague during periods of illness or absence.
Franchising in Belgium: a model based on mutual assistance
When you sign up to a franchise, you are, therefore, joining a nationwide network of colleagues and professionals who can help and support you in achieving your objectives. In exchange for this support, franchisees must demonstrate this same “team spirit” and support their brand and franchise by helping their colleagues and franchisor in the ways described above. The major benefit for the franchisee is that, while building an independent business, they are never left alone to solve a problem or issues at work, helping to ensure the success of their agencies. Now all that remains is for you to find out about different franchising options, select your network, and embark on your own business venture.