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Compass Explores Possibility Of Franchising, Company Says | Inman

CEO Robert Reffkin floated the thought of a franchise model throughout an earnings name Tuesday, describing it as a “extra worthwhile” methodology of rising the enterprise.

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In a shock twist, Compass CEO Robert Reffkin revealed Tuesday that his firm is exploring the potential for franchising as it really works towards profitability.

Robert Reffkin

Reffkin made the feedback throughout his firm’s earnings name. In a response to a query from a Wall Road analyst, he stated that “franchising is unquestionably a extra worthwhile solution to develop.” Although he stated the corporate is exploring the choice, he offered few particulars on the way it may work — as an alternative saying solely that “we might not do this in a manner that will impair the expertise for our current brokers in any manner.”

“We’d not franchise throughout the similar geographies of our personal operations,” he added.

Reffkin additionally didn’t say when Compass may start franchising, or which markets could possibly be the primary to see such an choice roll out.

Inman has reached out to Compass for extra particulars and can replace this story with any data the corporate offers.

Nonetheless, even with sparse particulars, the information is a serious announcement. Since its founding, Compass has managed to develop into the biggest firm of its type even whereas sustaining a centralized possession construction. At finest, brokers who wished extra management might kind groups, however they couldn’t really personal their very own companies in the identical manner a franchisee at one other firm may.

Compass has additionally confronted elevated competitors recently from firms, similar to Aspect which offer back-office help for brokers who wish to function their very own manufacturers.

A Compass foray into franchising would upend the established order, doubtlessly permitting the corporate to broaden its model extra rapidly and nimbly. It might additionally make Compass look extra like its older rivals; companies, similar to RE/MAX and types beneath guardian firm Wherever have lengthy operated franchises.

Although a Compass franchise enterprise can be a serious shift for the brokerage, such a transfer isn’t with out precedent within the broader business panorama. Again in 2020, for example, Chicago-based brokerage @properties launched its personal franchise model. At present, the agency has franchises unfold out throughout a number of U.S. areas.

California-based luxurious brokerage The Company additionally runs a franchise enterprise.

No matter occurs at Compass, the information of potential franchise operations comes because the brokerage scrambles for profitability. Reffkin stated throughout Tuesday’s earnings name that he expects to be free money movement optimistic within the second quarter of 2023, and total for the yr, and that he’s ready to do extra value reducing if vital.

In whole, Compass introduced in $1.11 billion in income and suffered a internet lack of $158 million throughout the fourth quarter of 2022. Income was down yr over yr, however that loss was really an enchancment in comparison with the ultimate months of 2021.

Reffkin was finally upbeat about Compass’ prospects, however in his firm’s earnings report additionally described 2022 as “one of many worst years for the actual property market.”

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