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Hunters offer continued support to franchisees through the Coronavirus pandemic.

Well, we certainly are in a very different place to when I wrote my last blog. I would like to start by saying I hope all of you, your families, your loved ones, and everyone in your local community are keeping safe and well and trying to find positives to focus on in these dreadful times.

We all need to maintain a strong focus on ensuring we are keeping ourselves and others safe while following government guidelines on social distancing and self-isolating, however, no one can deny the stress and worry of running your business at this time. However strong your business was pre-Covid-19, nothing could prepare us for the full impact this would have on our lives and livelihoods. While the consequences of this pandemic are ones we must navigate daily in real time, there is no doubt the ramifications will be played out in the coming months as the nation gets back on its feet in terms of morale and confidence in our financial market.

One of the most outstanding concerns I have found when talking to friends and colleagues in the estate agent industry is that of uncertainty for the here and now, and for the future.

I am hopeful that the property market will quickly recover after the lockdown restrictions are lifted, and everyone can continue to move forward in business. Until our customers are back in the financial position to return to their planned property sales and purchases, we just need to sit tight. Of course, this doesn’t mean do nothing- we can use this time to build new networks and partnerships and maintain our existing ones ready for when times change.

Now is the perfect time to look at what Hunters can do for you. We have a secure business model that can support you through these difficult times, then catapult your business into a stronger position with the strength of our successful established brand.

Becoming a franchisee with us does not take your business from you – you are still in charge of your own business, but we build your business with you using the strength of our vast range of resources- resources that would financially be beyond the reach of an independent SME.

So, how do we do this?

First of all, we are not going to panic, we are letting go of the things we have no control over and focussing on what we can do.

Investment in technology.

Fortunately, our heavy investment in technology and software solutions to streamline our workflow and seamlessly join our business to our customers, clients, and tenants, means that we hit the ground running. To keep up to date with the fast-moving pace of the Coronavirus and the affect it is having on business we offer our franchisees resources exclusively on our Members’ Area of the Hunters website and enable easy access to Dataloft to provide up to date analysis of the property market in their region, and countrywide.

Our software can certainly take care of the sales and lettings requirements, particularly with no face to face interactions possible at the moment. We are currently in the process of bringing a new end-to-end property management software into our portfolio of digital solutions to place us in an even stronger market position.

Our use of an automated lettings platform simplifies and supports the lettings side of your business, and our brand use of Fixflo automates the process of reporting repairs and maintenance issues to offer peace of mind to your tenants and landlords.

Our Training Academy fully utilises the technology solutions available to us and is continuing to train staff via a e-learning platforms, webinars, and ‘virtual’ meetings. This training is delivered as part of the process of becoming a Hunters franchisee and on an ongoing basis – our up to date training offers the business owner, and all staff, at all levels, full access to our training courses to gain the coveted HNQ.

As a brand, we have a positive relationship with our suppliers, so we maintain our belief in all our technology solutions to enable you to keep trading to the highest standards and complete all transactions online, in real time – remotely – keeping you, your staff team, and members of your community safe and shielded.

Keep communicating.

The senior management team are working hard to make sure that all our franchisees can stay connected to us, and they gain access to our guidance and support in several ways.

All our franchise partners benefit from our experienced Network Support team. Their role is to support them through their franchise transition and beyond. The Network Support team are the first port of call when you need to reach out for help, advice, or guidance.

When you become part of our franchise network, we really do mean what we say, we are here to get you there!

As the Coronavirus pandemic hit the UK, we closely followed the advice from government departments and our CEO, Glynis Frew and I produced a couple of initial videos to help make sense of the changing landscape for our franchisees, even before lockdown restrictions were imposed we were fully supporting our franchisees with practical advice and reassurance.

We are continuing to provide daily updates to help our franchisees through this time. Our ‘An audience with’ series of live webinars are regularly being broadcast by me and other members of the Senior Leadership Team to share information and ‘walk throughs’ specific to our areas of expertise.

These webinars are proving invaluable in guiding our franchise owners and staff teams through the complexities of keeping their business afloat until we can all get back out there and do what we do best – meet people, sell houses, and find our customers their new dream home.

Get help with finance.

The furloughing of staff takes a tremendous toll on the morale of any business, we are very fortunate in many ways that our proptech solutions enable us to work remotely; for many industries, and even our less tech savvy competition, this is not an option. The government have put steps in place to help support businesses from the financial impact this will have across UK industry, it will not make everything ok, nor will it eliminate the struggles to keep our businesses afloat when the world returns to normal – don’t underestimate the slower economy we will face, but with great business plans in place this extra financial help in the form of the Small Business Grant Fund (SBGF) and the ‘Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme’  (CBILS) will help us keep our staff, our premises, and ultimately, our strong position in the estate agency industry.

I completely understand how confusing these processes are, which is why the management team here are putting together lots of help and advice to explain how to apply for financial help; we are proactively helping our franchisees fill in the complex forms and showing them how to make sure their loan applications are correctly filled in.

If you are running your own independent agency, can you easily draw on expert advice? If not, now is the time to reach out and see what we can do to help you maintain your business under the umbrella of the Hunters franchise family.

Try to incorporate some pleasant activities in your day.

You cannot be the best version of you if you don’t let your mind take a break from business. If you are short for ideas, why not check out our Activity Zone that is jam packed with recipes, health and wellbeing tips, competitions for all the family and some money saving tips to get you started. Take exercise daily if you are able to, eat well, try not to rely on the booze to unwind, and maybe get those little jobs around the house done that you never found time for before – this will all help to keep the stress-vs-positive wellbeing in balance.

I know this is easier said than done, especially if you are worried about the long-term health of your business, however, it is important to put time aside each day to invest in your own enjoyment and relaxation.

Why not pick up the phone today for an initial, no obligation, confidential chat about how we can support you through these unprecedented times and into a brighter future?

Keep safe,

Andy.