The Hub Honeypot: business by design
The formation of Hub Residential was no flash in the pan. Their view is that real estate is changing and, like so many industries, they needed to change with it by creating a business with better resources and resilience.
The concept of Hub Residential had been brewing behind the scenes for years. Principals Jamie Harrington and Mark Anderson recognised they could deliver a substantially more powerful suite of services collectively, not singularly as they had operated in the past. Based in Perth’s western suburbs, Hub will be a melting pot for the best industry professionals.
With 18 years’ experience as a Real Estate Agent, in 2018 Jamie merged his own business to create a better, progressive, no-nonsense business and is now the Licensee and co-principal of Hub Residential, his third real estate agency.
“It’s been a crazy old year with a bit of battening down the hatches,” says Jamie. “You forget how much is involved in starting a new business, but we started 2019 much stronger with all the groundwork of setting up a new business done.”
Throughout negotiations and then launching the new agency, Jamie leaned on Justin Flavel at Omnis Group not only to be his accountant to crunch the numbers, but also for sage advice around business scenarios.
“Justin is an invaluable resource whenever I have to make a major decision,” says Jamie. “His involvement has changed over the years but he is always the voice of reason and experience.”
“Justin is not just an accountant, but an adviser. He is one of the first people I think of calling.”
Creating a new business meant implementing new systems.
“We pulled everything apart and put it back together with respect to industry best,” says Jamie. “We looked at everything and then made decisions around operating parts of our business in the cloud. Our CRM is now the best in the marketplace and we can access it anytime, anywhere to be in constant communication with our clients. It’s magnificent what we can now do with technology.”
“Justin was heavily involved in helping us with the lawyers and contracts at the start, and now he keeps an eye on our performance with quarterly reporting. The plane takes a lot of fuel to get off the ground and then less to fly and that’s where he has been instrumental in our new business. Transitioning to a cloud accounting system has helped with that immensely.”
Jamie figures there is something in the order of 130 touch points from listing to settling a property!
“Today’s customer is impatient and has very high expectations,” says Jamie. “We’re all experiencing QANTAS or Apple’s service but real estate still has come catching up to do, and we’re onto it!”
“In property management, we constantly play around with our staffing mix because we like to have a higher headcount to give a better level of service, so we’re prepared to compromise on bottom line to allow that.”
Changing up their service approach in these ways allows Jamie and his team to work with their customers smarter and faster than ever before. Jamie believes it’s part and parcel for successful real estate agents.
“My role today is similar but different,” says Jamie. “The process is still about people and we’re still a long way from an Über real estate model, so soft people skills are still needed and my role as an agent hasn’t changed in terms of bringing people together.”
“Real estate is still a transaction between people and though the bells and whistles have changed and ramped up, we’ll always need a cruise director and that’s the role of the agent.”
Jamie believes that real estate agents have a lot more to do with the sale of property today than ever.
“There are layers and layers of legislation across this industry. The single operating agent is gone and, instead, we have small specialist teams as there are so many small functions that need to be carried out.”
“I think the future is less of doing more, so a lot of smaller agencies will be merging with fewer bigger businesses and that’s where Justin is helping – the bringing together of businesses. It’s tricky bringing old businesses together.”
“Justin has been with me through the ride and it’s almost like he’s co-piloting the business with us as we go along. He’s experienced and if you have storm brewing he’s your man.”
“Thanks to Justin I have a comfort around our numbers and our direction. He’s a calm influence and because he’s across so many other real estate businesses, he’s probably seen it before.”
“A lot of agents don’t know what they don’t know but, in our case, discussing growth opportunities, generating greater capacity and having someone help us with our budgetingis a very valuable resource. Justin is involved as little or as much as we need him to create and monitor quarterly budgets, or on strategy and direction. The point is nowwe’re flying a little more solo now and we have a robust accounting system in place.”
“If a real estate firm is thinking to change then Justin will know their business and the challenges they’re facing and that’s why I continue to recommend him,” Jamie added.