Let me preface my words clearly that I have no beef with franchises and treasure my many colleagues at other firms, large, small, independent and corporate. Everyone should hitch their trailer to the train that they feel best about.
My choice is that of an independent broker with no franchise or corporate affiliations because that is right for me. I am approached from time to time about merging with a franchise, but I don't think that's a fit for me. Many of the agents with our firm were at one time with a franchise. We were a better match. We also have parted ways with a small number of licensees who sought greener pastures at a franchise. That worked for them.
The reasons for my choice have always been personal, and I have resisted writing or explaining them because I don't want anyone to think I am knocking franchises; I would never do so. However, since I have just spent 2 paragraphs disclaiming any bias, I'll explain why I remain an indie.
First, I dig building my brand. It is what inspires me. I have always felt that you either build your own dream or work for someone else's. This is mine. It matters that the name on the sign is mine. I am proud of what I have built over the past 7 years in a tough market period and a competitive area. Everyone who knows me knows what kind of a guy I am to do business with and what kind of an operation I run. When an agent joins our firm, they know they may not be expected to sell a billion dollars a month, but they are expected to be honorable above all else. And I am humbled by the group of people we have now.
Second, I greatly value my autonomy. I never lose a moment of sleep over what a coporate entity might say about my blog posts, my methodology, or my policies. I never have to ask for permission to explore a new plan or idea. I am completely comfortable with my destiny being in my own hands- as a matter of fact, I prefer it that way. This is my masterpiece, my laboratory, and my legacy to my children. It is mine. After working 17 years for others, I am still jazzed that I work for me. It hasn't always been easy, but it has been worth it.
I also believe that independent firms are needed. It would be a loss if every brokerage just sort of graduated into a larger franchise and all we had was a big-box driven market. Independent firms make a difference for both the consumer and for innovation, because we offer a choice and a fertile ground for the kind of innovation that only competition can create. I love being on the front line of that effort.
This is highly personal, and I am sure that someone could write a very compelling reason why they are happy to be at their franchise now and forever. That's cool. It is what makes the world go 'round. To each their own, but that is why J Philip Real Estate remains an independent brokerage.