Commercial real estate (CRE) brokers and brokerages have a couple options when it comes to operating their business. For one, they can join an established national or internationally recognized platform. If you do a Google search for commercial real estate companies in your area, you will likely find a number of these well established CRE organizations. Alternatively, a commercial broker can choose to be independent and operate under their own name. Being an independent commercial broker has some downsides, but they can be overcome. Below, we discuss some of the most common downsides and how to overcome them.
Common Downsides of Being an Independent Commercial Broker
When reading this article, keep in mind there are pros and cons to every avenue of being a commercial broker or brokerage. However, some have more downsides than others, which is always the case in business. Additionally, you need to decide what’s best fit for you. Your business needs may not match up with that of someone else. It is important to evaluate your preferences and weigh the pros and cons of being an independent broker. Some people love being an independent broker and don’t mind the downsides listed below, while others choose to join an existing and well established CRE organization. Look at the downsides listed to see what you think the best option is for you.
Becoming Established as a New Broker
Independent commercial real estate brokers often have a very hard time getting established in their career when first starting out. In fact, it’s rather uncommon to see someone get established and acquire an impressive portfolio of clients in their first year. This is very similar to most other industries, as building up a clientele can be a significant challenge for first-year businesses. When trying to become established as an independent broker, you have to be very creative and usually work overtime to see success.
Commercial real estate brokers usually have a much easier time becoming established when they are part of an existing and well known CRE company. With a large, respectable name next to your own, clients are more likely to trust your abilities as a broker. Understandably, people only want to work with commercial brokers who have a good track record and have great skills with their job. Partnering with a well known CRE company can help new commercial brokers, or brokerages, get the extra boost they need for acquiring clients in their first year.
Similar to becoming established as a new broker or brokerage, you must also maintain your credibility. This is usually much easier said than done. Even though you may have had your first handful of clients, you need to maintain a consistent track record to prove you are credible, talented and current. This will encourage clients and prospective clients to work with you in the future, when they need help finding their next property, or need to list their current one.
Although it is possible to maintain credibility as an independent CRE broker or brokerage, through good reviews and referrals, it is far easier when you are part of a large organization that is constantly showing success around the world. Established commercial platforms (franchises, companies and similar organizations) tend to partner with great brokers who are highly skilled. Your prospective clients know this. Being able to say you work with a platform that’s been around for decades, rather than just a few months or years, is a fantastic way to maintain your credibility as a commercial real estate broker.
As you likely know, getting proper exposure is one of the biggest challenges independent commercial real estate brokers and brokerages face. They have to solely rely on their own marketing, reviews and referrals to get proper exposure for their brokerage. Many people have seen great success with this and feel like they have mastered the art of getting exposure. If this is the case for you, that is excellent news. Consistent exposure can be a great challenge for independent brokers. If getting exposure is a challenge for you, partnering with an established commercial real estate company is a great solution.
If a buyer is interested in purchasing a commercial property in a specific state, but their usual broker is not licensed to do business there, the broker [who is also a member of your CRE platform] will refer your name as one of their partners. This is a great way to get exposure while doing little to no work. Simply being a part of a large and established CRE platform can help you get more calls from people who are ready to work with you.
Using Necessary Resources
If you are a commercial real estate broker, you likely know how expensive CRE tools are. From subscriptions to databases, marketing, to CRE tech, investing in these resources can be expensive. As an independent broker, it can take a long time to get your hands on these tools. CRE tools such as listing optimization or basic marketing tips can be very helpful to an independent broker. There is a reason they are so popular, and it is because brokers find them so useful with their work.
Many national and internationally based commercial companies or franchises include these resources by default, for brokers and brokerages who partner with them. The large companies have access to these tools and are happy to help their partners. This is one of the biggest advantages of partnering with an established CRE platform, rather than being an independent broker or brokerage. Sometimes, CRE brokerages and teams may already have a process in place and may not need these tools. Or, they may already have access to these types of tools. As a new broker or brokerage, you should research to see what resources you need. Then, based on what you find out, decide if remaining an independent broker is the right course of action for you.
Joining a Commercial Real Estate Platform
As you can see, partnering with a large and established commercial platform can help solve many issues associated with being an independent broker. However, it is very important you do your research to ensure the platform you are joining has these benefits. Some only have the benefit of using their established name, while some come with the whole package. It is recommended that you find a company that has benefits to help you grow alongside them. So, take a look at track records and the offered benefits before joining a CRE company.
If you are interested in joining an international CRE organization with great benefits, you may be interested in joining Alliance International. We offer fantastic benefits to our partners and our goal is to help brokers grow. For more information on joining our international commercial platform, please visit our benefits page.