Unlocking Franchise Economics: Pt 3
Have we ever wondered how the consumer views our real estate industry franchises? If we are going to unlock franchise economics and truly understand the value propositions inherent in franchising we must also see them (franchises) as the consumer sees them and we must ONLY value them as does the consumer.
If you were to create a list of distinctions…real ones…dynamic ones…that separate one franchise brand from another in the eyes of the only true client, the consumer, what would those distinctions be and how are they manifest in the process of transacting business?
Enjoy the PhotoBlog below. Read it carefully and ask yourself what might happen if the consumer could place all franchises into one blender and extract the best. What would the “best” be? What are the clear distinctions between franchise A, B and C?
If franchises have any value, and REALonomics believes they do, what is the empirical value to the consumer? Is franchise value a black-and-white proposition or, will we see living color coming out of the recession in 2009 and beyond? What changes do franchisors need to make to create distinction in local markets? Can distinction even be created and sustained? Do we need to blend the franchises? Do we need fewer franchises? Will franchises be blended out of economic necessity and through mergers and acquisitions?
If a Broker/Owner adopts a franchise model what is the set of “measureable” distinctions derrived from the relationship that will impact the consumer? Specifically, how do franchise distinctions create revenue for Broker/Owners in the crowded marketplace?
In the post “Unlocking Franchise Economics,” Part 1, we opened the door to asking relevant questions that will help owners analyze the economics of real estate franchising.
In this series of posts REALonomics has one primary objective it would like to accomplish on behalf of owners and that is as follows:
…to help owners unlock the door to franchise economics so that gain an understanding of the substantive value propositions that exist and how a franchise name and associated promises can be quantifed in real dollars that are converted to a profit equation that is greater than it would be if the brokerage firm operated without the franchise.
Franchising is an Add-On Toolkit, with Limitations
At its most fundamental economic level a real estate franchise is a brokerage toolkit. Yes, there are all sorts of issues such as marketing, relocation, referrals, training, conventions, etc. But for now, we are setting those aside. A real estate franchise is an economic toolkit, at least it should be. Franchisors spend a great deal of time butter-balling brands, numbers of offices, growth, name recognition, relocation, referrals, etc., and that is how most franchise sales people will present their proposition to an owner. It’s the owner’s responsibility to translate the presentation into real economic reality and performance and to insist that the franchisor do the same.
As a toolkit, there are some things a franchise can do, there are many things it cannot do and there are more things it does not want to do for a brokerage firm because to do them will harm the franchisor’s bottom line. Let me be clear on this last point. At some point in the franchise relationship, an owner may find the franchisor a competitor for market territory, referrals, relocation and even local business.
Brokerage economics is undergoing a massive reordering. The way Brokerage firms make money is changing faster than our ability to absorb and adapt to the demands of the New Real Estate Economy.
To be “REALonomical” actually means something. REALonomical enterprises recognize the facts surrounding their business models and how those facts play out in real world situations, producing predictable and sustainable ROI. REALonomical is a brokerage mind set and it has something to do with how we model the financial aspects of a company in light of the Third Economic Wave; The Consumer-Centric Era.
It was Once a Simple World
During the First and Second Economic Waves of the real estate industry the model math was fairly simple and easy to interpret. From this interpretation we developed strange economic terms we called “desk cost” and “per person productivity” (ppp). Such economic models delivered notions of profitability because we could run formulas for operating our “offices” and hypothetically project our margins. Our simple formulas appeared as:
Gross Commission Income (GCI) – Cost of Sale (COS) = Gross Company Dollar (GCD). From the GCD, expenses were paid and profit, if any, was realized.
It was a simple world then. Broker/Owners understood how to create profit. Physical space was a huge part of the formula and for many years “cyber” was something we read about in Batman comic books.
Too much of the real estate industry is still living in the former model while being confronted with the transformative power of the cyber model.
“When I first saw the NASA photo, I knew instantly that is was cocaine embedded and growing in the Martian real estate,” said Marty Turf, Broker/Owner of Turf Realty in Miami, Florida. “NASA said it melted when they scooped it up…oh, come on…the wind blew it away, everyone knows what happens when you try to scoop up snow when the wind is gusting,” he replied, sniffing loudly to clear his sinuses.
NASA’s official response to the photo was, “it’s just ice.” Turf believes it is not ice but a sign of real estate recovery through new, highly innovative marketing approaches…in fact, he has approached the National Association of Realtors (NAR) with a proposal that would allow certain properties to be induced with approved narcotics in order to improve their value.
NAR Considers Several Proposals
Marty believes that real estate cocaine may provide a solution to the real estate market depression hitting Florida and the rest of the country. He is determined to seek approval from local and national authorities, such as NAR to hide (embed) cocaine in the soil of carefully selected distressed properties, thus increasing their street value (the house, you dummy! Not the cocaine!).
NAR gave no immediate or official response. But insiders tell us that NAR is reviewing a proposal from Mr. Turf. A former NAR official, wishing to remain anonymous, remarked, “This is the first glimpse of any new marketing strategy that could help bring the recovery we’re all looking for…I for one would favor seating a task force to look into the concept of marketing property that has been infused with prescription drugs but not cocaine, heroin and other hard drugs…this would allow property owners and their personal physicians some degree of anonymity under the physician/patient confidentiality ethic.”
NAR faces many obstacles as do Broker/Owners who are considering adoption of new, innovative and exciting marketing programs that move away from websites, real estate magazines and blogs. Since the Martian photo hit the Internet, ideas have been pouring into NAR to consider including traces of Prozac, Ambien and other prescription solutions as substitutes for Martian or other cocaine.
“Nothing could be more consumer-centric than this, let’s forget blogging and social media for just a minute or two and look at what people really want,” said Betchu A. Dime, one of the real estate industries preeminent bloggers on her blog www.WhiteXmas.com.
One analysis submitted by the Washington based group known as the Strategic National Organization for Realty Transformation (SNORT) boldly proclaimed, “Property values could be immediately and substantially increased…almost overnight…creating a wave of new mortgages, inspections, title and escrow services and yes…a new round of wealth.”
SNORT‘s report also stated, “People who are standing in the way of this initiative proposed by Mr. Turf are standing in the way of a new real estate appreciation cycle that could escalate prices as much as 50 percent in just a matter of days.”
A Palm Beach condo developer had his own spin. “This could revolutionize the dying condo market, bring a whole new definition to ‘undivided interest’ and provide association members with new reasons to celebrate!”
SNORT’s Public Relations and Marketing Manager, Line S. Upsomemore, reports that phones were lighting up from cities around the country. “Most people just don’t care what it takes, they just want their property values high and the opportunity to find a buyer,” said Linus.
NAR could not be immediately reached for comment. No response is expected until after the 4th of July holiday weekend.