Real estate boss poised to open seventh office

Rapid expansion has given one principal greater buying power, more database opportunities and better career pathways for his staff.

LJ Hooker franchisee Paul Campbell has just opened his fifth office, LJ Hooker Warners Bay, all of which are in the Lake Macquarie area of regional New South Wales.

Mr Campbell said there are also plans to start another two offices in the next six months, both in the nearby city of Newcastle.

He told Real Estate Business that the large network gives him the ability to offer vendors a greater pool of buyers.

The economies of scale also mean he can afford to install tailor-made IT and phone systems and to hire external trainers.

“It’s very difficult to bring a trainer in to train three or four people – it’s just not cost-effective – but when you’re bringing in a trainer for 20 or 25 sales staff, it just makes sense,” Mr Campbell said.

He has installed a 90-seat auction facility in the Warners Bay office, which will also be used for training sessions, information nights and project marketing.

There are now 63 staff spread over the five businesses, which means it can offer better career pathways, whether for agents, property managers or receptionists.

Mr Campbell said his growing empire is no less nimble than when he had one or two offices, because he’s the sole owner and can therefore make decisions just as quickly.

Another reason the multi-office model works is because the staff understand the business plan and don’t need to be micro-managed, according to Mr Campbell.

“If you have the wrong people and you need to micromanage people, then you can’t have five offices.”

Mr Campbell’s first LJ Hooker office was Toronto, which he joined in 1991, partially acquired in 1992, then fully acquired in 2007. In 2009 he bought Wangi Realty, which he turned into LJ Hooker Wangi Wangi, and in 2010 he bought Lake Macquarie Real Estate, which he turned into LJ Hooker Rathmines. His other office, LJ Hooker Valentine, was opened this year.

Mr Campbell said one reason he needs five offices is because each region is parochial and wants its own local presence.

Another advantage is that it allows him to spread his business risk, he said.

“Business is changing so quickly, and if we don’t move with the times, adjust and change quickly, I think we will be irrelevant.”

[Related: LJ Hooker Toronto makes Top 50 Sales Offices ranking]

 

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