As part of the Hesse Real Estate Convention, the closing event of the Business Start-Up Weeks 2013 took place on 11th April at the Frankfurt Exhibition Centre. In conjunction with the local Chambers of Commerce and Industry, the IVD (German Real Estate Industry Confederation) toured all over Germany in order to provide those interested in starting their own business with useful tips on how to gain a foothold in the industry. Like last year, the feedback was once again very positive, with up to 100 attendees at each event.
Franchising is playing an ever greater role when it comes to starting one’s own business in the area of real estate sales. As an IVD cooperation partner Porta Mondial AG introduced prospective business owners to its concept – under the motto of “More brand. More performance. More success.” – as an attractive alternative to an independent start-up. Stephan Bruns, Franchise Manager D-A-CH, had many interesting conversations. We asked him about his personal impressions:
Mr. Bruns, what was your overall impression of the Business Start-Up Weeks 2013?
“Lively attendance once again bore witness to the high level of interest in real estate brokerage and setting up business as an estate agent. Many participants were already close to making a final decision, as was evident from the very specific questions; other visitors used the events to obtain preliminary information to find out if this was the business for them.”
In your opinion, what sets this series of events apart?
“In my view, general business start-up information from the local Chambers of Commerce in conjunction with presentations by the IVD on real estate-specific matters that are geared to estate agents, produces the ideal combination. In addition, the highly practice-related element in the shape of feedback from individuals in the region who have already successfully started up a business, as well as details of the training and further education options available, presented by the European Real Estate Academy, combine to produce a concentrated fund of business start-up know-how, making this event a virtual must for estate agents who want to go out on their own.”
You mention real estate-specific issues with regard to setting up business as an estate agent. What are you talking about specifically?
In his presentation, for example, Nils Werner explained the ‘10 Steps to Starting Your Own Estate Agency’. These are the specific points that need to be borne in mind:
- 1. Cashing-up
- 2. Licence, addresses
- 3. Qualification
- 4. Company
- 5. Website
- 6. Business documents
- 7. Financing, grants
- 8. Business plan
- 9. Real estate market
- 10. Network
Essentially, apart from number 9, these points apply to all industries, but Nils Werner presented them exclusively from the perspective of an independent estate agency, and it was precisely this tie-in with real life business that made the information so valuable for the audience.
Special reference was made to the subject of qualification because, theoretically, anybody with a trading licence issued in accordance with Section 34c can start up in the estate agency business with no further professional certification. Porta Mondial shares the IVD’s view that estate agents must have professional certification, which is why, for example, we train our non-industry partners in Germany at the European Real Estate Academy – a state-accredited and certified academy for the industry.
Must a franchise partner also bear all of these points in mind?
“On principle, yes, but in the case of Porta Mondial many items such as a trademark-eligible company name, search engine-optimised website and business stationery are provided by the franchisor, so that the individual starting up the business does not need to concern himself with these issues and can thus concentrate completely on, say, local networks – which are of huge importance to any estate agent. Furthermore, we provide valuable assistance with many of the other points – for example with putting together a business plan which is crucial for getting financing. In conjunction with the European Real Estate Academy (EIA), we also make a valuable contribution when it comes to the necessary qualifications. Our admission fee already covers training as an EIA-examined estate agent.”
How much interest was there in real estate franchise systems such as Porta Mondial?
“Like last year, many participants used this opportunity to inform themselves about our franchise system. Visitors told me that they had only just realised how much is required to set up one’s own business, and how difficult it is to deal with all of the requirements by oneself. It therefore makes sense to have a strong partner at one’s side.”
Thank you very much for talking to us, Mr. Bruns.