the independent model you can better
choose where you spend your marketing
resources, and you get to keep the lion’s
share of your commission earnings.
The last point is important especially
in a location like Halifax. Although it is
the biggest city in Atlantic Canada, it is
only about 400,000 in population and
relatively isolated. Several international
broker firms are represented, yet as
Gerard points out, the real estate services delivery business is really a local
“Real estate here is largely based on
your local relationships,” says Gerard.
“My business is mostly self-generated
through my local networking and marketing initiatives and through repeat
business, but I had to continue to share
too much of it with the national firm. As
an independent I can now reinvest the
additional revenues into my business
and compensate my team better.”
KW Commercial was Gerard’s preferred
solution because he didn’t want to go
back to totally working on his own. The
platform provides him the best of both
worlds for his particular market and, for
a nominal charge, the Keller Williams
Market Centre supplies all the back
office, brokerage management, administration and accounting services.
The Parsons Commercial Group Inc.
in Framingham, Mass., had been independent for 20 years until 2015 when
it announced its affiliation with Sperry
Van Ness International Corp. It is now
called SVN/Parsons Commercial Group.
“The biggest advantage to being an in-
dependent is that you have the utmost
in flexibility, you can do what you want
and when you want,” says Arlon Brown,
SIOR, a senior advisor for SVN/Parsons.
“You have no restrictions as far as geog-
raphy or chain of command. There are
firms in Boston that are totally indepen-
dent and still in the top 12 of activity.”
The big problem as an independent,
Brown adds, is that there are many
large companies that only want to deal
with the national brokerages. The SVN
platform gave Parsons what Brown
calls “a real national springboard.”
“We have a national accounts group and
we can go after that national business,”
says Brown. “That’s a tremendous ad-
Plus, there are people in the SVN
network with expertise in various disci-
plines that Parsons can collaborate with
and can turn to for help.
Brown, personally, sees the difference.
“Right now I’m working with a Fortune
500 company that needs an office relocation,” he says. “I’m also working with
an international insurance company
that needs relocation.”
There is no doubt the trend line in the
commercial brokerage industry has
leaned toward consolidation and there
is a general hypothesis that the days
of the independent commercial broker
are numbered. That may be true — only
time will tell. In the meanwhile, many
independents are doing just fine, but it
really depends on location, expertise,
and a unique set of circumstances.
SIOR, CCIM, MCR
Promoting and sponsoring initiatives that
educate, enhance, and expand the commercial real estate community. The SIOR
Foundation is a 501 (c)( 3) not-for-profit
organization. All contributions are tax
deductible to the extent of the law.