Two key things make owning and operating a brokerage really hard
First, it’s a tough business to make money in—especially if you experience rapid growth. Back in the day, brokerages might take a 50% split of agent commission, but the industry has changed dramatically, with increasing pressure on aggressive agent splits and lower margins.
Second, broker-owners are often producing and operating. Hitting monthly goals while running your back office, managing staff and transactions, and juggling legal and compliance issues, among many other things— can become overwhelming very quickly. BarbCo Founder, Paul Barbagelata, learned this first hand.
Safeguarding a 68-year legacy
One of the top real estate brokerage firms in San Francisco, BarbCo offers a wide range of commercial, residential, and condominium real estate services to its clients. Led by Paul Barbagelata, BarbCo had over $250 million total sales production in 2019, with 147 transactions, averaging over $1.7M per transaction.
In early 2020, Barbagelata was in the process of looking for a new operations manager. However, he quickly realized that between technology, lead generation, marketing, and legal and compliance challenges, this position would be an overwhelming job for one person. With Side, he found the right solution.
“Side provides the operational management we need and offers access to teams with expertise in various fields. Now we have a streamlined approach, from transactions to marketing to business planning, etc. It’s like hiring a company to do the heavy lifting for my brokerage.”
But most importantly, Barbagelata wanted to protect his family’s legacy.
Family owned and operated since 1952, BarbCo is a household name. This 28-agent team prides itself on being a trusted community resource in San Francisco. “I didn’t want to give up brand equity in a 68-year family legacy, so I knew partnering with a traditional brokerage wasn’t an option. That would mean sacrificing our name, branding, and personality.”
Next-gen brokerage model keeps indies indie
Side, defined by its CEO as a ‘silent partner brokerage platform,’ saw the struggles independent brokers were facing and set out to create a business model that meets the unique needs of broker-owners without any sacrifice. With Side’s white-label platform, independents no longer need to fold into national brands. Indies remain front and center while expert support teams handle back-end operations and help brokers grow.
By partnering with Side, Barbagelata continues to grow his business and protect BarbCo’s brand legacy without having to spend time operating a brokerage. He says, “Side is the best foundation for us to build our house on. What we’ve been doing for many years has worked, but we needed a one-stop technology solution in order to deliver a consistent, seamless client experience. Our relationship with Side is symbiotic—it enables us to be creative salespeople, focused on making great impressions and building relationships with our clients, while they take care of our critical back-office systems.”
Unexpected benefits of a collaborative real estate business environment
During the pandemic, Barbagelata realized a benefit unique to Side: the exclusive Side partner agent community. He says, “The best minds in the business are collectively tackling the new normal head-on and share how they’re pivoting. I was able to gain perspective and share learnings with my team, a benefit I wouldn’t have had access to if BarbCo remained a standalone brokerage.”
BarbCo is one of many independent brokerages that has chosen to partner with Side. Other well-known brands include Stroyke Properties Group at Bayside, Amalfi Estates, Happen Houston, Level Up Realty, Major League Properties, Sac Platinum Realty, Olani Properties, Cove Canyon Realty, Pacific Oak Real Estate Services, Prime Real Estate, Tera Real Estate, Voyage Real Estate, Market Real Estate, Power of 2 Realty, Trillion Real Estate, Haylen Real Estate Investments, Edge Real Estate Agency, Town Real Estate, and Thrive Real Estate.
Side transforms high-performing agents, teams, and independent brokerages into successful businesses and boutique brands that are 100% agent-owned. Side exclusively partners with the best agents, empowering them with proprietary technology and a premier support team so they can be more productive, grow their business, and focus on serving their clients. Side is headquartered in San Francisco. For more information, visit www.sideinc.com.