Independent vs Franchise – Which Should You Choose?

When entering the real estate industry, it can be difficult deciding which agency is the best fit for you. Many questions come up during this time, the most common being- should I choose an independent or franchise agency to work for? To help with your decision, we weigh up their pros and cons and what you should know about both types of agencies.

What You Should Know About The Independent Real Estate Agency

An independent agency is a single office owned and managed by a licensee who, alongside their team, offers all real estate services or specialises in either sales or property management.

There are many reasons why real estate professionals choose an independent agency over a franchise agency. To begin with, since an independent is not governed by a franchise policy, you have more flexibility when it comes to branding, marketing, pricing and service standards. This also means an independent may be quicker to adopt new ideas, technology, and tools, giving you more autonomy and room for creativity. As well, unlike the regulated franchise agency, an independent can easily appeal to a niche market by delivering unique pricing or customer service strategies, which gives you the ability to differentiate and win more business. Other reasons many opt to work at an independent are because they’re usually smaller in size, more in tune with the local market, deliver a personalised service, and provide a greater sense of belonging.

However, there are many reasons why real estate professionals choose not to go with an independent real estate agency. To start with, an independent usually has less brand recognition than their franchise competitors. This means you do not have the luxury of winning business simply through using the brand’s reputation, presence or buying power. As well, some independents can be slow to grow as they may have limited resources which could, as a result, hinder your career progression. Due to their smaller size, an independent usually does not have specialist divisions, such as administration, marketing or training departments. Such departments can help you with upskilling and having more available time to dedicate to sourcing clients which can increase your ability to achieve your desired results.

When it comes to deciding if an independent agency is right for you, keep in mind that all independents are different. Some have established reputations and some are start-ups, some focus on community and others focus on marketing, some are forward-thinking whilst others are inflexible and lack resources. As such, it’s important that you do your research on each independent agency to determine which one best suits you.

 What You Should Know About The Franchise Real Estate Agency

In contrast, a franchise real estate agency is when one party (the franchisor) grants another party (the franchisee) the right to use its trademark, tradename, systems and processes to market and deliver real estate sales and property management services.

There are many reasons why real estate professionals choose a franchise agency over an independent agency. For starters, a franchise agency has a larger referral network to help source homes, buyers, sellers and renters, which gives you greater potential to win business due to this extra support. Another reason many opt for a franchise agency is because they have a brand behind them. This high level of brand recognition can help you form instant trust with prospects and win more business. What’s more, a franchise agency usually has greater buying power for marketing and advertising. This means that their website, collateral, signage and other forms of promotion are more visible in the market area. Most franchise groups also put more focus on internal recognition and awards to help keep the group on track and motivated. As a result, many franchise groups offer ongoing training programs and access to mentors to give you the best chance at achieving results and winning awards.

However, there are many reasons why real estate professionals choose not to go with a franchise real estate agency. To begin with, a franchise agency has less flexibility when it comes to branding, marketing, pricing and service standards, which can limit your autonomy and creativity. As well, if the franchise agency belongs to a brand that is considered weak in the market area, it can hinder your chances of winning business. Joining a franchise agency also means abiding by strict policies, procedures and territory restrictions, which may impact on your ability to perform and grow your career.

When it comes to deciding if a franchise agency is right for you, keep in mind that all franchise groups, and standalone franchise agencies for that matter, are different. Some groups have larger budgets, some have greater brand recognition, some focus on training and others focus on technology, some are fast-moving whilst others are slow to change. As such, it’s important that you do your research on each franchise group to determine which one best suits you.

Independent vs Franchise – Which wins?

As you can see, there are many pros and cons to consider when it comes to choosing between an independent and franchise agency. It should be noted that online real estate tools and apps, such as Buzz Sumo, Beacon, Canva, and Coschedule, are now giving independents greater access to resources and levelling the playing field. But, when it comes to choosing the best fit for you, it still pays to do your research. A good place to start is by reviewing agencies’ websites and chatting with industry colleagues about their experiences so you get a greater understanding of individual agencies. When doing your research consider the cultural-fit for yourself and whether the agency’s values and ethics are aligned to yours. If, perhaps, you feel you want to be creative in your role or would like mentoring first and foremost, then select an agency that matches that, whether independent or franchise. Don’t be lulled into a false sense of brand recognition or long-time local agency. Whether independent or franchise, you should opt for the agency that is progressive, aligned with local markets, has a great reputation as a standalone office, and suits you and your career goals.

If you’re looking to become qualified in the real estate industry or upskill your real estate qualifications, call Validum Institute TODAY on (07) 3193 5270 to find out more about our fresh new blended approach to learning.

We’d love to know what differences you’ve found between independent and franchise agencies. Which type of real estate agency do you think wins? Email me your thoughts at