Deciding whether you should join a team or go solo in the real estate business is another big decision you need to make upon starting your new career. This decision will undoubtedly have a significant impact on your success. Before you make the decision, have YOUR goals for your business mapped out. Would joining a team help or hinder YOUR goals? Are you looking for a safety net or do you like to dream big? Do you like helping others or do you often find yourself accomplishing better results on your own? Remember, it depends on what’s most important to you. If you desire a strong support system to help you get up and running, you’ll probably want to join a team. But if you thrive on being independent, you may want to fly solo.
To get a better idea of the pros and cons of each, I interviewed two agents from my firm. One, a new agent on a team and the other, a solo agent who has been in business for 8 years. Here are a few of the pros and cons of each:
- Joining a team can be the fastest way of receiving leads. When you are new in the industry, it can be a bit of a challenge to get some traction with generating leads.
- Teams offer guidance and strategy for marketing. They (should) have systems and support already in place (assistants, transaction coordinator, etc.).
- Some expenses are paid for you. Team leaders often absorb some of the costs associated with being a realtor when you are on a team. This can include MLS fees, marketing expenses, educational courses, signs, business cards, and client events.
- Do you want to work with buyers, or maybe just sellers, or be of more help behind the scenes in more of an admin support role? On a team, you might be able to focus on just one aspect of the transaction.
- You can leverage the team’s experience and knowledge to make yourself seem “not so new” to the business. Your teammates will offer guidance and support, answering your questions and help to problem solve any client issues you may have.
Huge thanks to Al Pham, team member of TVRG Homes, for his input on Team Pros.
- You don’t learn HOW to do the process on your own. With team assistants and transaction coordinators, you probably won’t learn how to complete every step of a transaction, which can be detrimental if you ever leave a team situation and try to go out on your own.
- The splits are generally less to your benefit. Not only does the broker get a split (always), but now the team leader does too (ouch).
- You don’t control your own branding. You will always be associated with your team and must market yourself under the team name and logo.
- Remember those leads and clients you were handed, they now belong to the team. If you leave, you cannot take those clients with you.
- You’re not the boss. You are basically working for someone else with their team rules and expectations. If you don’t get along with other team members or fulfill the team leaders’ expectations, you may be asked to leave the team.
- You generally receive higher splits. You make more in commission. Your only commission split is with your broker.
- You can keep your clients for yourself. Your database is your database. You don’t have to share it with the team.
- You’re the boss. You can set your own agenda, pace, and schedule. You’re not being assigned to certain client meetings or showings at certain times by a team leader. You can decide for yourself when you want to work and make your own schedule (more flexibility).
- You can keep MLS sales credits under your own name. When you are on a team, all listings are entered under the team lead, which can limit your ability to apply for certain awards or get credit for your successes, including potential brokerage, and association awards.
- You have the freedom to market yourself any way you would like! You’re in charge of your brand and can craft your messaging exactly the way you want it instead of having to use a team’s branding. You can make a brand for yourself!
Huge thanks to Paul Mandell at RE/MAX Gateway for his input on Solo Pros. Paul has been a licensed real estate agent for 8 years. He spent the first 2 years of his career on a team. He has been solo (and extremely successful) for 6 years now.
- It might take you a bit longer to get up and running (but not if you followed some of the suggestions in my previous post: Now What?)
- No one helps you with fees. You are responsible for covering all of your business expenses, marketing expenses, membership dues, and licensing fees (plan ahead to avoid this pitfall).
- You must be self-motivated! It’s easy to fall into a rut, and if you’re not the kind of person who can bounce back easily, you’ll stay in that rut for a while. Without teammates to push and encourage you, staying structured and focused is mandatory to service your clients with professionalism.
- You lack coverage when you’re unavailable. If you want to take a vacation, have an unexpected family emergency, or just need to unplug for a while, you’ll have to work it out with your clients who are expecting you to be on call (all the time). You can overcome this by forming a relationship with another agent in your office (a reciprocal one where you help each other in your times of need – we highly recommend this!).
- There is more risk being a solo agent. Leads are not handed to you. You MUST have an entrepreneurial spirit and be self-motivated to grow your business and generate leads.
These are just a few of the pros and cons. If you are still undecided after you have set your goals for your business, go out and interview a few team leaders. See what they have to offer you as a potential team member.
Overall, a good majority of real estate agents are comfortable and successful working alone, they start in the real estate industry to be an entrepreneur and are conditioned to be self-sufficient. Those who work in a team setting naturally tend to need and rely on the support of the team. Those who go solo tend to be more independent-minded. The decision is a personal one. Should you join a team and down the road decide its not the right place for you to be, you can leave. Perhaps you try the solo route for a few months and then decide you need the support of a team environment, go meet with team leaders. Just know, you are not stuck.