One of my first jobs after college was delivering packages for a company in Belmont called Local Parcel Service. I made minimum wage plus, .50 cents for every address I delivered to, plus .10 cents for each package delivered. Each stop was a minimum of .60 cents. My first route was delivering in beautiful Woodside and Portola Valley, where, during an 8 hour day, I made about 50 stops. I wasn't making a lot of money, but my days were spent driving through the country, and I did not really have to work very hard.
As I made more friends in the company, I found that I was on the bottom of the pay scale. Some of my friends were making over $100 a day, and done with their routes by 3 in the afternoon. There were delivering to high rise office buildings in San Francisco. They would spend their whole day at one building. They were able to deliver more packages by not driving around. I can't use the expression "working smarter not harder" because, they were working hard. The benefit was that they made more money, and got off work earlier. So I guess they were simply, "working smarter". I eventually took a route in Palo Alto delivering to some Silicon Valley biggies, and like my fellow employees, began working smarter.
As new employees were hired and assigned the routes in the country, I'd whisper in their ear, "try to get inner city routes with lots of apartments".
Real estate in Sonoma County is the same way. Recently, while taking a 45 minute drive to Cloverdale to meet a seller (125 Elbridge), I thought "This drive is killing my day". 90 minutes spent in the car driving to and from Cloverdale not to mention the amount of time spent with the client. It took my whole afternoon. Don't get me wrong, I did not mind meeting with the client, it was all the time and gas getting there.
I thought about my time at Local Parcel Service, and thought, my time could be better managed if I only worked in Rincon Valley. My overhead would be less, I would be able to take on more listings, and still have more time for myself and my family. Since I'd save money and have more available time, I thought it only fair to set a commission that was more in tune with my reduced overhead. That's when I decided to charge 4.5% commission to anybody who wanted to sell their home in Rincon Valley.
I still take listings in other parts of the county, but I feel 4.5% for listings close to home is very reasonable.
There are some brokerages that provide listing discounts based on what services it provides to the seller. My 4.5% offer is not a discount. I provide personal, superior service to all my clients regardless of where they live or what commission we agree on.
I have to limit this offer to single family homes with a value over $200,000. Some homes will not qualify, such as mobile homes, distressed properties such as short sales etc. All commissions are always negotiable. I would consider commissions below 4.5% subject to negotiation.