MLS & Associations

Member forecasting a necessary evil for MLS budgets

Aggressive predictions can spell trouble for MLSs
  • 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.

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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 --  helps the MLS gauge its revenue and expenses that period. That figure could mean the difference between raising dues for brokers and agents or keeping them the same; bringing on a new vendor to help agents be more efficient or getting rid of a vendor; or bringing on new staff to deal with support requests or letting someone go. But membership forecasting, like most attempts to predict the future, is, well, really hard to do well. Elliot Eisenberg Experts don't do any better than novices, Elliot Eisenberg told attendees at the first-ever Conference of MLS Financial Executives (CoMFE) in Kansas City on Tuesday. CoMFE was ...