Late last year, the Rawson Property Group’s Somerset West franchise took the National Chairman’s Award in the 2014 competition – one of the group’s most highly respected awards. This franchise was taken over by Johann van der Merwe in 2006 and has since 2007 been under the management of his son Schalk. Van der Merwe also owns the group's Strand and Gordon’s Bay franchises. At the annual awards function held last year at Grand West Casino in Goodwood and attended by some 700 estate agents and franchisees, Tony Clarke, Managing Director of the Rawson Property Group, announced that the Somerset West franchise raised its turnover above R250 million and in 2014 had doubled the number of sales that it made in 2013.
His franchise’s success, said Johann van der Merwe, could in part be attributed to the new system under which his estate agents now operate. During 2014 his team had adopted a model which gives access to four dedicated in-house admin support staff whose task it is to process much of the clerical work — thereby freeing up the agents’ time to concentrate on client service. This new system has been described by Clarke as “ground-breaking”.
Another highly sought after award, the Rawson Property Group’s Regional Chairman’s Award for the Western Cape went to the group’s Durbanville franchise. This franchise was taken over by Louis Schoeman two and a half years ago and since then he has taken new premises in Langenhoven Street, opposite Durbanville High School and is now employing some 18 agents altogether. He has made it his aim to give as much coverage as possible to all 21 sub-suburbs of Durbanville and he is on his way to achieving this.
Schoeman has also regularly propagated the message that Durbanville, with its mainly new buildings, excellent schools, retail centres and its big houses on large plots, tends to offer better value for money than most upper middle bracket Cape Town residential suburbs. On several occasions, he said, houses selling here for between R1,8 million and R5 million would in any of the more popular Cape Peninsula Southern Suburbs cost 50 to 100% more.
Schoeman, like other franchisees, has supported his team by providing them with services that give the agents a freer hand in their primary task. He has placed particular emphasis on the accumulation of stock, a key factor to success in an era where stock shortages are now a major challenge to many agents.
At the annual awards function, Clarke explained that the Chairman’s Award is given to a franchise who, in the management’s view, is seen to be operating in a truly customer-orientated service-minded fashion. While it is not possible, he said, to win the award without achieving a high turnover and a good profit margin, other factors, particularly client satisfaction and staff morale, are also taken into account.
“To win the Chairman’s Award,” said Clarke, “the franchisee must not only be competent and a good leader but also able to foster and grow his staff. In short, the winner of this award is the sort of franchisee which we would like to see the other franchisees emulating.”