As a franchisee you can draw on an enormous fund of knowledge

Engel & Völkers gives you the opportunity to be successful in leading your own shop as shop manager or function as an investor and creating a strong team under your control. It is not necessary having years of real estate experience. Thanks to our strong support coming from our headquarters in Hamburg and our regional office in Brussels, our concept is made for startups and for people who have a passion for the real estate market.

Bruxelles - nick-de-clercq.jpg

Interview with Nick De Clercq

Owner of the Engel & Völkers licence of Gent-Zuid, Sint-Martens-Latem

(Nick De Clercq has been a franchisee of Engel & Völkers since he was eighteen)

You’re young and you’re ambitious - to be self-employed, for example. But how do you get started? Nick De Clercq decided to become a franchisee so that he would have support for his business. “In a network and a brand that’s already earned its stripes.”

Starting your own business is never an obvious choice and definitely not when you areyoung. Yet Nick De Clercq (26) says: “As an only child of self–employed parents, as well as grandparents, I grew up seeing my father work until the late hours very often, but still being able to take a breather when a deal ended successfully. I quickly realized that I wouldn’t be satisfied working in a 9-to-5 job either.” With the full support and help of my parents, franchising was a good formula for several reasons. “It’s an excellent way to start your own business with the necessary support. You have access to an abundance of information through the brand and there are all sorts of tools available to help you – for example a website, advertisements templates, a functioning CRM package and much more. You work within a well-oiled network and you benefit from the brand name and brand awareness.”

Nick’s attention was caught by the logo in a newspaper ad. Which was the logo of Engel & Völkers, a German-based international real estate business specialized in luxury/residential property. “I’d seen the logo before abroad, through my father’s work, and it must have stuck with me because when I saw it again it acted as a trigger.” Nick looked for more information about the brand and was soon convinced. “Engel & Völkers was not really looking for estate agents. They wanted managers and investors with a broader view, people who were not stuck in their habits and who preferably came from the service industry. The fact that neither my parents nor I had any real estate experience wasn’t really important.” So they opened up a branch of Engel & Völkers in Sint-Martens-Latem / Ghent-South. “The majority of the market research had already been done, in the sense that Engel & Völkers themselves indicated which areas showed potential.”

Higher financial input

The job of a franchisee is very varied, says Nick: “First of all, starting up a business with my parents was a great learning school for me and they gave me the opportunity to gradually take on more responsibilities. One of my first tasks was the marketing. It’s an aspect that really fascinates me. I set up the advertising campaigns, take photos – I’m an accredited professional photographer – and make sure that they follow the corporate identity. Not long after that I began to immerse myself in the financial side of things with as a result that a while back I took over the bookkeeping. As I run my own business within the franchise concept. Of course on top of that, I’m a manager. I lead my team – at the moment of six people - in their day-to-day work.” That was quite a challenge in the beginning, but with my father’s help I’ve learned a lot and I’m mastering the role. “In the early days, I ran against a few obstacles and it took a while before I was able to get past these obstacles. But in the meantime my self-confidence and my expertise have grown, and that is getting noticed both within my team as well as in the network. This is good as it makes it easier to introduce new ideas and makes managing so much more pleasant. ”Meanwhile Nick is still studying to get a Bachelor’s in Business Management. “At my own pace via the Open University.”

Nick De Clercq is clear about the financial input. “We had to invest more than if we had begun our own business. But that’s always the case for franchisees, and it’s logical too. You join an established brand that has already earned its stripes. You don’t start from zero; you have resources available to you and therefore can achieve higher sales volume at a faster pace. On the other hand, you have to satisfy a number of conditions: your office has to have the look and feel of the brand, and you can’t start small and slowly grow. You have to be up and running immediately.”

A franchise contract is complex

To give you an idea, the investment in a branch of Engel & Völkers, or in any other franchise concept, is more than just the license fee. You have to meet certain rules and requirements in terms of location, visibility, office, etc. These investments far surpass the license fee and should not be underestimated if you want to embark on a franchise business. “But you get a lot in return.” The fact that Nick has to give a certain percentage of his profits to Engel & Völkers is logical in his opinion. “The name isn’t mine; neither is the concept, nor the expertise.” According to him, Nick’s business is doing well thanks to brand awareness, hard work, and good management. “Initially, most people came in here because they knew Engel & Völkers from Germany or Spain. It was thanks to them, among other things, that I was able to get through the crisis this well, even though I was just starting. You have to realize that I was only the fourth branch of the brand in Belgium and the first in Flanders.

”The figures, rights, and obligations are set out in great detail in the franchising contract between the franchisor and the franchisee. “That’s necessary, too, because it’s quite complex. But it also makes me feel well protected. Did you know that it’s required in Belgium to have the contract in your possession for thirty days before you can sign it? You need to be well aware of what you’re getting yourself into.”

In the meantime, Nick knows the system well and he’s sold on it. “It’s turned out to be a good choice for me. My agency is doing well and the real estate market suits me. So for the moment this is and was a right choice.”


Engel & Völkers is organizing a roadshow on September 22nd at 19:30 in the Regional Office in Brussels. We are going to present our unique real estate franchise concept and having a great Get-together afterwards. If you also want to join this event just send an email to with "I want to join" or click here.

If you would like to discuss our systems and tools, our strategy and what sets us apart as a truly international real estate brand, please don’t hesitate to contact Jan Saunier our Head of Expansion by calling +49 (0)4036 13 13 63 or or use the email above.

Place of the roadshow :

Engel & Völkers Regional Office Brussels

Avenue Louizalaan 523 - 1050 Brussels

Engel & Völkers

Franchise Belgium
Avenue Louise 523
1050 Bruxelles
+32 2 613 16 63

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