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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 of 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 Avenue analyst, he stated that “franchising is unquestionably a extra worthwhile option 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’d not do this in a approach that might impair the expertise for our present brokers in any approach.”

“We might not franchise inside the identical geographies of our personal operations,” he added.

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

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

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

Compass has additionally confronted elevated competitors currently from corporations, akin to Facet which offer back-office assist 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 could additionally make Compass look extra like its older rivals; companies, akin to RE/MAX and types beneath mother or father firm Wherever have lengthy operated franchises.

Although a Compass franchise enterprise could be a significant shift for the brokerage, such a transfer isn’t with out precedent within the broader trade panorama. Again in 2020, for example, Chicago-based brokerage @properties launched its personal franchise model. Right this moment, 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 doable franchise operations comes because the brokerage scrambles for profitability. Reffkin stated throughout Tuesday’s earnings name that he expects to be free money circulate constructive within the second quarter of 2023, and total for the yr, and that he’s ready to do extra price slicing if vital.

In whole, Compass introduced in $1.11 billion in income and suffered a web lack of $158 million in the course of 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 in the end upbeat about Compass’ prospects, however in his firm’s earnings report additionally described 2022 as “one of many worst years for the true property market.”

E-mail Jim Dalrymple II