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Are you wondering if it’s time to move your team to another brokerage? Or perhaps, are you thinking about venturing out on your own? Moving a team has a cost. Time, money and momentum are all going to take a hit. Is it worth it in the long-run? Maybe. 

Here are five signs it’s time for your team to move on to another brokerage.

1. Your current brokerage is anti-teams

There is a big difference between a brokerage that is not set up to serve teams and one that has an anti-team attitude. Most of the brokerages in the country are not optimized to support teams. That’s OK. In many cases, the team leader has larger ambitions and is more profitable than the broker. 

As a team grows, it’s natural to become an “office within an office.” If you start noticing an undercurrent of adversary with your broker, hostility with the support staff or the other agents in the office, it’s time to move on

2. Your current brokerage has a culture that is contrary to your team’s 

Whether intentional or not, your team will develop its own internal culture and brand as it grows. Culture will show itself internally among the members of your team and will naturally grow out of the team’s shared core values. Those shared principles are the glue that keeps your team together. 

The team’s brand and reputation are how this culture is displayed to the public. When the team’s core beliefs don’t align with the brokerage’s values, it’s time to move on.

3. Your current brokerage is limiting your growth 

Many of the traditional brokerages were simply not set up to support teams and encourage their growth. For you, it might be limits in geography or office space that hinder your progress toward your vision for the team

It could be internal brokerage policies that stifle expansion. Whatever the reason, if you are hitting a ceiling where you are, it’s time to move on.

4. Your current brokerage is costing you more than 10% of your GCI

There is a dirty secret within the brokerage community: Your broker needs to make money. Each brokerage will dress it up in a different way. Whatever you call the charges, there is a reasonable margin for them to keep to cover their overhead.

A 10 percent margin on GCI is a good thumbnail for a high-producing team when you add back for the cost of all the advertising, tools and space you are is using. Traditional brokerages typically charge their fees and then give “credits” back to the team. The 100 percent brokerages typically charge monthly and transaction fees while claiming to keep the GCI “whole.” Either way, you want to make sure it’s within a reasonable range. 

For this exercise, take your GCI and subtract the brokerage fees and costs. Then add back any marketing or advertising credits you might be receiving. Remember, credits can also be in the form of free office space or shared staff. If that is the case for you, calculate the market rate for those values for this exercise.

Generally speaking, if you are under the 10 percent benchmark, your team needs to have marquee recruiting value, meaning your team has significant market share in a defined area and plays well with others. 

The broker can then leverage that market share to recruit agents in the surrounding areas. If your brokerage is keeping more than 10 percent of your GCI, then it’s time to move on.

5. Your current broker is poaching your talent

The relationship between the team and broker needs to be mutually beneficial. The broker should be excited when you bring on new agents. Those new agents add to the office’s agent count without much effort or energy from the broker. 

A side note on turnover: Between 7-10 percent in annual attrition is normal with seasoned agents. This loss is natural due to death, relocation or retirement. Turnover will be higher, around 30 percent, with agents who have been in the business for fewer than two years. Losing good team members to the office means either you’re hiring the wrong people or your broker is poaching. Either one is a problem that needs addressing. 

There will be times when the other agents in the office want to join the team. There will also be times where team members might want to leave the team and stay with the office. Both are OK as long as it’s mutually agreeable. 

But if your current broker is undermining and encouraging team members to leave you and be independent agents within the office, then it’s time to move on.

If you don’t see any of the five signs above that it’s time for your team to move on to another brokerage, it’s best to stay. If you find it’s time to make a move, please read the Inman article “5 things to consider before moving your team to a new brokerage.” 

Moving your team is a much bigger deal than most realize. Planning is essential to keep your team’s growth momentum during the transition. 

Chris Pollinger, partner, Berman & Pollinger, LLC is a senior sales and operational executive skilled in strategic leadership, culture building, business planning, sales, marketing, acquisitions, operations, recruiting, and team building. 

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