KANSAS CITY — Budgets often consist of hard facts and figures, but for MLSs, there is at least one figure included that is guaranteed to be wrong: the MLS’s future membership count. MLSs are businesses. The number of members — customers — an MLS thinks it will have in the next budget period — be it six months, a year or 18 months down the road — help the MLS gauge its revenue and expenses that period.
- Membership counts drive MLS budget considerations, including vendor choices, dues levels for agents and brokers, and staffing.
- Forecasting next year's membership count is therefore necessary, but problematic. Predicting the future is hard, but there are some steps MLSs can take to help yield better results.
- Aggressive membership forecasting can land MLS execs in trouble if the actual count falls short.