Engel & Völkers Switzerland: In the first two parts of our interview, we learnt that you still manage various licences yourself. Has this situation changed over the past years?
Peter Frigo: We handed most of our own offices over to new, independent licence partners in 2019. In the last twelve months, we have scaled down from 17 to 5 offices and in doing so, two of our former employees became licence partners themselves. A further eight licence areas were sold to colleagues who already held managerial positions in the corresponding areas, whilst one area was taken over by an experienced external manager who had earned recognition for their work as part of a large international corporation. Everyone involved has expressed their joy at now being able to work with and for Engel & Völkers for their own account.
Engel & Völkers Switzerland: So five licences remain in your charge. Are there any plans for these to be placed in new hands as well?
Peter Frigo: It would be our pleasure to see these five remaining Engel & Völkers offices be run by new investors in the future. In fact, we’re already in discussions with some potential new investors, something which we always do in close collaboration with the people who work at the offices, as these people form a valuable, core part of the business to be taken over by a new licence partner.
Engel & Völkers Switzerland: What advantages do Engel & Völkers offer to a licence partner in comparison to if they were to set up as an estate agent on their own?
Peter Frigo: An Engel & Völkers licence opens doors in a white-knuckle business sector and the holder would become part of a worldwide network which enjoys reciprocal customer referrals spanning countries and regions. In contrast to setting up alone, Engel & Völkers is a successful, well-known brand and so the name brings with it the assumption of competency. All our partners have to keep proving this competency, as a matter of course. The Swiss Master Licence helps partners to do this and does everything in its power to ensure that the brand’s characteristic promise of exclusivity and competency is upheld in all regards.
We run our very own academy which provides introductory training as well as professional development for members of staff. We boast a unique corporate identity which is constantly being developed through our company headquarters. This means that we are widely recognised and that there is a high probability of clients coming back to Engel & Völkers time and again. Our colleagues can find the entire system on the company’s intranet. Here they can gain access to an estate agency system which has been the subject of constant development for over 40 years and which, when implemented consistently, guarantees success.
Engel & Völkers Switzerland: So, the Engel & Völkers system provides licence partners with a basis for achieving success. How does the Master Licence support new licence partners?
Peter Frigo: When new licence partners join the Engel & Völkers system, we keep in close contact with them, sharing our knowledge, as well as our wealth of experience. It is often the case that friendships blossom, as well as business relations, something which our franchise partners hold dear and they become part of an ever-growing, global, corporate family. Our franchise partners and employees get the chance to come together at regional, national and international events which are always characterised by great happiness and a touching sense of togetherness. The Master Licence organises many events of this kind, which also serve as a platform for business exchanges and reciprocal customer referrals. In this way, licence partners can generate a substantial amount of additional business.
Engel & Völkers Switzerland: If we look back to when you started out twenty years ago and consider the progress you have made to get to where you are today, would you do anything differently? Do you still feel happy that you chose to collaborate with Engel & Völkers?
Peter Frigo: Yes, definitely. I feel happy every single day about the decision I made to become part of Engel & Völkers twenty years ago. I can honestly say that I would recommend the franchising system in every respect. Naturally, I am also extremely happy about the fact that my daughter Casha and my son Tom have taken on managerial positions at Engel & Völkers in Switzerland. What’s more, my eldest granddaughter Sara has successfully undertaken various internships at Engel & Völkers during her studies.
Engel & Völkers Switzerland: Peter, I would like to thank you for taking the time out for this interview and for giving us an insight into the story of Engel & Völkers Switzerland.
Have you been playing around with the thought of becoming your own boss? Could you imagine yourself acquiring an Engel & Völkers licence? You can find information on all the free licence areas in Switzerland here. If you find that the region where you work or live isn’t listed and you have a large network there, please don’t hesitate to contact us.