A Tale of Two Agents

One year after the regional partnership of Colvilles was sold to Savills, Edward Heaton reflects on life working for the country's top agent.

One year ago, I had enormous reservations about leaving the comfort of my regional partnership and joining Savills, a hugely successful international property consultant. Twelve months on and I am now one of its biggest supporters.

Although the theory of being a partner in a regional firm had been a good one, the reality was rather different. Instead of being able to dictate the direction of the business, competing plans in a small partnership often seemed to restrict growth; instead of control over my own destiny, it had become all to easy to be stifled by bureaucracy, with hours lost every week on unproductive but apparently essential non-fee earning work. And earnings, which should have been uncapped, had been capped by the limitations of our partnership.

My reservations about joining Savills were founded on my experience of working for big corporates in the past. They had stifled entrepreneurship, there were too many chiefs and not enough Indians, and the chiefs lacked the ability to listen to people working on the ground.

Savills is different - so different! An absence of layers of management is one of its great assets - even the Chief Executive of the estate agency division is a fee earner. Someone else, or several someone else's, are dealing with the necessary legal box-ticking. It is a fast moving, entrepreneurial environment where any member of staff with a good idea can put it forward and be allowed to develop it themselves. It is a dynamic and exciting place to work in, yet fun as well. And earnings really are uncapped thanks to the performance-related bonus system.

Savills is also better for clients. Historically I was convinced that a good regional firm could give an equivalent service to clients as Savills. This is nonsense. A few simple facts give just part of the story - Savills get more visitors to their website than any of their competitors, have 16 London offices to feed buyers to their Westcountry offices and place such a huge quantity of national advertising that buyers are almost guaranteed to contact Savills.

The resources are there too - teams of people to ensure properties get to the market quickly and that they are then seen by the maximum number of possible buyers. As a result, time and time again, Savills achieve more for their properties than a local agent would be able to. It gives clients added value.

Twelve months on and I am happier than ever - working for a great company and providing an even better service to clients. If you would like to come and work for Savills or would like me to sell your house, just get in touch!

Savills, 30.12.2005

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