I had a request to do an entry on the differences between owning a franchise and being an independent. First of all I think if I was going to own a franchise I would go with the one I was with. Century 21 is a well recognized name and They offer an array of great services.
I think the biggest part of my decision to be an independent is control. I want to be able to control the direction my company goes. Now Franchises do give you leeway to run your business the way you want to an extent. However, I see a drastic change in the real estate business over the next few years. I believe the days of the huge franchise offices are coming to a close. I see the industry moving toward technology more than big fancy offices. I think that unless you are running a lean office you will not make it. As a independent I am free to adjust my commissions to compete with anyone. I am free to build my website anyway I want and offer any service I chose from that website. I believe the web is going to be the market place very soon.
Just look at the numbers. 70% of home buyers are beginning their search on line. The actual riding clients around and showing them homes is shrinking. We can look at homes on-line now and only go see the ones the client likes.
Another reason is I don't have to pay those franchise fees keeping my over head to a minimum. If I can keep that over head down I can negotiate my fees. If I don't want to charge 6% or 7% on a home I don't have to.
I think most people like to work with local companies. Being pretty much the only independent real estate company in town I believe I can attract people who wish to do business with a small local business.
I have found that people from out of town really don't care about franchises. If they find my website first they will use it to look for their home. If they are finding my site I capture them. If I ever get to talk with that client I do not lose them. Most of my business has been from the web and I have done a good bit of that business.
I hope I didn't ramble too much here.