International Women’s Day is held on the 8th March each year with the aim of re-addressing gender imbalances and recognising the achievements of women across the globe.
With International Women’s Day campaigns kicking off this week, what better time to celebrate some of the most successful female franchisees in the No Letting Go network?
Many of our successful No Letting Go branches across the UK are run by women. We spoke to some of these flourishing branch owners to get their insights into their experiences as women in the property industry.
Celebrating the achievements of women in property and lettings, we’re turning the spotlight onto No Letting Go’s most successful female franchisees.
Before we dive in, here’s a brief history of the development of the day.
The International Women’s Day movement is growing from strength to strength each year.
The movement took its first steps back in 1909 in the US with the first National Woman’s Day, inspired by working women’s protests against poor conditions in the garment industry.
The first International Women’s day took place in 1911 and was celebrated by over a million women and men demanding women’s right to vote, to hold public office and to end discrimination at work.
It was 1975 when the United Nations implemented a recognised International Women’s Day to be marked on the 8th March each year. The International Women’s Day 2019 theme is all about “balance for better”. The idea behind this slogan is to foster a more equal gender balance around the world.
With the recent focus in the media on the gender pay gap, it was revealed that women working for estate agents and consultancies can earn up to 58% less than their male counterparts. These pay gap figures are above the national average, indicating that something needs to be done to ensure more women are filling senior roles.
According to the National Association of Estate Agents, 3 in 4 salespeople are men, however lettings is a more female dominated sector.
Thankfully, businesses are beginning to introduce flexible working and put more effort into re-balancing their hiring processes. The Bisnow property site’s ‘51 most influential women in UK real estate’ also points to women making waves in the industry.
No Letting Go is proud to champion successful women in property. We interviewed some of the most successful female No Letting Go franchise owners for their perspective on the industry;
Rachel purchased the No Letting Go Bath franchise in 2014, and by 2016, was already delivering 200 property reports every month.
Rachel and the rest of the Bath team have a reputation in the area for reliability, quality and excellent customer service.
‘I started working as a property/refurbishment manager doing up buy to lets for clients living and working abroad. I was in procurement and marketing for many years before moving into property’.
‘Growing and managing a business whilst having two small children and through two pregnancies.’
‘A great business partner and building good client relationships.’
‘Anyone who is a working mum and who manages to juggle everyday life and run a successful business in any industry.’
‘A good work-life balance, no day is the same and I get to meet new people’.
‘To build and grow the business we have by taking on more employees to offer a greater range of services.’
Rachel’s impressive list of accolades include; No letting Go Best Regional Office, Busiest Office, Customer Service, Franchisee of the Year and a nomination for the Woman Franchisee 2017 EWIF awards.
Alison Hardy became a No Letting Go franchise owner along with her husband over eight years ago. Since then, the pair have been busy winning their own clients and building their business in the Swindon area.
‘Winning all our own clients, having one of the lowest percentages of national contract work, and winning marketing and customers service awards from No Letting Go.’
Alison attributes this success to; ‘immense pride in the No Letting Go brand, a lot of flexibility, adaptability, resilience and hard work’.
‘Getting into agents that use local competition or do the work themselves and maintaining motivation with lower paid national contract work which is driven by volume sales across the whole network of offices.’
‘None whatsoever. Especially compared to previous career roles in large organisations.’
‘I have had many over the years and like to think that I have used the experience of working with such positive role models to empower me to be a little bit of each of them… and at least the best I can be!’
‘Yes. But in relation to the structure/ranks they sit in is a very different answer. But that is an observation of the Lettings Industry as a whole and in no way a reflection of our franchise business which, of course, is equal as we [Alison and her husband] are joint business partners.’
‘Greater understanding from the government, more mandatory regulation, compliance standards and best practice that brands like NLG can deliver on. These expectations would improve the recognition of what we do and it’s key relevance in the process for agents, landlords and tenants alike.’
‘Being responsible for generating our own workload, a portfolio of clients and building something ourselves (albeit with the backing of a proven brand identity). Also, the sheer diversity of properties we attend. We can be in a rambling country farmhouse with outbuildings and paddocks and then on through some gorgeous countryside to a swanky penthouse or urban apartment in the same few hours. No two days are ever the same which is exactly the same when it comes to our agent clients, landlords and tenants so it’s a great mix for the property mad and if you are a people person all rolled into one!’
‘Yes. More people want to rent, more agents want to do things properly, everyone wants contractors to do things for as little as possible. The government is trying to bring in changes that are causing increases in rent and lack of affordability on a monthly basis rather than via fees charged in the first place.’
Alison and her husband are currently in the second stint of a five-year franchisee renewal cycle and are considering their options for the future.
Virginia became the owner of the No Letting Go Edinburgh branch along with her husband when looking for a way to escape her busy job and make a living in preparation for their retirement.
After a tricky first year, the business is moving in the right direction and seeing some great successes.
‘Myself and my husband both wanted to leave our previous roles and work for ourselves. I previously worked in the Scottish ambulance service as a paramedic which was a very physical job, requiring me to work night shifts. The No Letting Go franchise opportunity was something we could both do together. We visited the Aberdeen franchise show, did lots of investigative work and eventually decided on No Letting Go due to lower start up costs and great support.’
‘We did well last year. Every time we win a new account we celebrate with a bottle of bubbly!’
‘Learning to run a business and keeping accounts as this was a big career change. Our next big challenge will come in May when all the students leave and we have to manage hundreds of properties in less than two weeks. Interviewing and taking on part-time clerks has been another challenge, although I have previous teaching experience which made this easier.’
‘No, not particularly. Especially compared to previous roles I’ve had where I worked in a more archaic, masculine environment.’
‘I’m not sure about the industry as a whole, but I seem to work with more women agents.’
‘My family has a very strong work ethic. My daughter is very hard working, that’s just how we were brought up, I hope I’ve passed that onto my children.’
‘I like the admin side of working in the office, something I wish I had more time to do!’
Virginia and her husband have no plans to throw in the towel for the foreseeable future, aiming to keep building the business until they reach the age of 70 (at least).
Claire Parfitt of No Letting Go, Portsmouth purchased a No Letting Go franchise with her husband in 2017.
‘After graduating I moved to London and worked in the recruitment sector for a while before taking a job as an inventory clerk for a large estate agent. After a few years my husband and I moved from London to Hampshire and I continued to work as an inventory clerk but in house for a local estate agent and then self-employed, working for a few small inventory companies. My children were young at the time and I worked part time to fit in with their needs.’
‘I had 13 previous years’ experience in the industry and a good local knowledge having worked for local agents. I also worked for the previous owners of the franchise for 3 years prior to us taking over. My experience has been combined with my husband’s experience outside of the industry.’
‘Currently the greatest challenge is recruiting and training suitable staff’.
‘Having children can impact the job roles a woman may consider as not all roles are easily adaptable to family life.’
‘Yes, generally, although working part time around family life may affect sales target roles within the industry.’
‘Being my own boss.’
‘When the tenancy deposit scheme was introduced in 2007 it meant that more landlords were using proper inventory companies to complete their inventories which increased business. The increase in online estate agents has changed the dynamic of the industry and high street agents are having to adapt to compete.’
From the successful female franchisees we spoke to, juggling work and family life was the main issue faced by women. However, each franchise owner asserted that they felt little to no disadvantage to being a woman in the industry with No Letting Go.
Is a franchise for you?
Franchising allows you to hit the ground running by offering tailored training and support. You don’t need any previous industry experience as No Letting Go provide everything you need to get started, as well as the backing of a well-established and trusted brand.
If you’re interested in joining the No Letting Go franchise network, request an information pack or call back to find out more.
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