It's not all about sales, new estate agency league table shows
Sun 28 Jul 2013
A new study has shown a wide variation in productivity across some of the best known estate agents.
In particular, earnings-per-employee once you factor in back-office costs can vary by many thousands of pounds.
The study does not just show what fee-earners bring in to their employers, but what earnings-per-employee are
when all the staff and all their salaries are taken into account.
Accountancy and business advice firm Accounts & Legal looked at information in the public domain and worked
out that, in London, Foxtons employees despite the go-getting reputation of their negotiators are third in a league
table of six.
In first place are eight-office Goldschmidt and Howland, whose earnings-per-employee is currently 134,000 a
year. Next is Marsh & Parsons, hot on their heels, with 130,000 income per employee.
Third is Foxtons, with 110,000 per employee.
Interestingly, Marsh & Parsons are the most generous payer in the league table, with average salaries across all
staff in excess of 50,000. By contrast, Foxtons pays salaries closer to 40,000 on average. Behind Foxtons, in
fourth place, is Douglas & Gordon at just under 100,000 revenue-per-employee; in fifth place is Ludlow
Thompson with around 68,000; and in sixth place is Thamesview whose best known brand is Dexters that
achieves revenue of 60,000 per employee. Accounts & Legal works with a number of estate agents to help them
grow their businesses, but none of the six is a client. Accounts & Legal said that drilling down into the figures
shows that it isnt just the quality of fee-earners employed by a firm that matters, but the efficiency of the
Duncan Green, commercial director of Accounts & Legal, said: Its a constant source of speculation for agency
bosses should you fill your office with negotiators and let them fight it out for their monthly commission, or should
you recruit more moderately so that there is a big enough pot of commission such that everyone gets paid at the
end of the month? Foxtons are well known for having a small army of negotiators in each office, whereas smaller
independents tend to opt for the arguably more gentlemanly strategy. But whats not clear, until you run the
numbers, is which strategy is best in commercial terms. We have a growing number of estate agency clients for
whom we conduct an annual strategy review. Each year, by benchmarking against the competition, we help our
clients identify and address areas of their business that could be improved, aiming to generate real bottom-line
growth in every case. What weve found this year is that even amongst the larger chains, there is a wide variation
in employee productivity, and surprisingly, Foxtons does not head the leaderboard.