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Martin & Co hosts 15th national conference

Over 200 franchise owners attended the national conference of award-winning lettings business Martin & Co, held at the Whittlebury Hall hotel near Silverstone racetrack on Saturday 17th November.

The conference theme was innovation and re-invention. Martin & Co’s 17th year as a franchise brand heralded 12 months of re-invention – the company has rebranded and launched an estate agency service which charges 0% commission when a property is sold, and has also added a ‘Landlord Hub’ to its business interests which will provide a range of innovative services specifically designed for investor landlords.

Group managing director Ian Wilson commented: “The most extraordinary thing about our business is how it has prospered during the credit crunch and the two recessions of the past 5 years. When other businesses have had to cut back, we have launched 97 new businesses since 2007.”

Martin & Co head office has bought back three of its successful franchises during the last 12 months with Worthing completing on Christmas Eve 2011, Bournemouth in February followed by Birmingham Kings Heath three months later. The total network size now stands at just under 200 offices/online agents across the UK. “Our franchisees know that when they are ready to retire or move on we are interested in buying them out,” said Wilson.

Plans for 2013 were also discussed, with an ambitious roll out plan for Jupix lettings and sales software for the network progressing alongside further enhancements for the company website, including a mobile solution. Digital development will continue in 2013 and beyond.

The online agent franchise model, established 18 months ago, continues to grow, with 17 offices due to be trading by January 2013. The new year will also see a Scottish logo added to the existing Martin & Co, London and Student Homes brands.

Wilson believes the marketplace is set to grow further, explaining: “We are in an era of ‘rental Britain’ where one in five households (5.9 million) – by 2016 – will be privately renting and paying £70 billion in rent annually.”

The event concluded with an awards ceremony, where winners included: Chelsea – Franchisee of the Year; Tonbridge – Best Young Business; Huddersfield – Best Established Business; Witney – Best Business for Growth; Cupar – Best Market Share; Kirkaldy – Best Customer Service.

The Property Franchise Group

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