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When it comes to corporates versus independents, the easy winners are independents, with the corporates performing “really poorly”. A new article by Russell Quirk, founder of Emoov and who now runs a property PR company, claims that in any town it is an “absolute exception for a corporate giant to be the number one agent” based on their SSTC performance. Quirk analysed ten towns and cities (Brentwood, Hastings, Lowestoft, Maidenhead, Huddersfield, Lincoln, Bedford, Exeter, Salisbury and Darlington), evaluating every agent in each. If you ask why these places were chosen, Brentwood made the cut because it’s Quirk’s home town. The others were chosen by Lilly, his ten-year old daughter, sticking nine pins randomly into a map. In every single case bar one independent agents came not just first, but second and third. The single exception was Maidenhead, where Roger Platt (part of Connells Group) led the way. Quirk asks: “Why are the big boys (and girls) so, so lacklustre? Why are they wholeheartedly trounced by the little guy? “Why, pound for pound, is the local entrepreneur smashing the grey suits in their Milton Keynes office blocks?” He speculates that independents have a greater need for survival and keep grafting because they have to – unlike the 9-5 corporate salary takers. They’re also closer to the local ground, care about the competition, and want to prove they’re the best. They also want to earn more than the £20,000 corporate basic plus 5% office commission – and they like the freedom. Plus better cars than a corporate fleet offers. Quirk concludes: “Am I saying that managers and negs that work for Reeds Rains, William H Brown and Abbotts are terrible people, lazy and uninspired? No. I’ve met a few and most are fine people. “What I am saying is that there is a particular type of person that starts, owns and runs an independent estate agency business and they… well, they are just in a different league altogether. And the data proves it.”