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Network co-founder celebrates 50-year career

By Juliet Helmke
26 November 2021 | 1 minute read
Vic Care

Looking back on his 50 years in real estate, the Barry Plant director said the key to his success has been keeping company culture as a number one priority.

Vic Care believes that the people you work with should be treated like family. “Whether that’s the team at the corporate office or the business owners in the group – build a culture of care and support,” is his advice to today’s aspiring business leaders.

It’s this approach to business leadership that back in 1999 made Mr Care realise he and another Melbourne real estate agency owner, Barry Plant, had something in common.


Before that, Mr Care had joined EJ Doherty Real Estate’s Coburg office in November of 1971. Soon taking over the venture with business partner, Gary Harrington, he had his sights set on expansion.

“I always had a vision of building the largest real estate group of offices in Melbourne’s northern and western suburbs, and under the EJ Doherty brand, I was able to achieve that,” Mr Care said.

With an eye to grow into the city’s east and southern suburbs, Mr Care noticed that Barry Plant Group was well-placed for a merger, with no overlapping offices. The partnership seemed predestined when the duo discovered they also shared a similar outlook on running a company.

“We both had a focus on growing the network but in particular by mentoring agents and then helping them to become business owners. We preferred growth from within as people then already understood our culture and values,” he explained.

And like their complementary office map, Mr Care found they each brought a needed skill set to the equation.

“I enjoyed applying my business skills and addressing the legal and financial details to grow the business while Barry, with his involvement with the REIV and his auctioneering awards, had a more public profile. He was passionate about being innovative in marketing the brand and won us a crop of awards,” he reflected.

They shared a strong knowledge of the market and an understanding of how franchising could operate for success. And they were prepared to be nimble to embrace change, according to Mr Care.

The advent of the internet, for example, certainly switched up the game.

“It meant that buyers could research their options, they could view multiple properties and shortlist and, as agents, we could market to them in a cost-effective way. Vendors could research the best agents and as a result, the quality of agents in the industry lifted,” he said.

But on a basic level, Mr Care believes that real estate hasn’t really changed. 

“It still has a highly transactional focus and at the core of each transaction is an agent, a seller and a buyer being brought together to agree on a deal,” he remarked.

While the industry is, at its core, very similar to when he started out, Mr Care’s situation within it is obviously remarkably different.

Barry Plant group now boasts 73 offices across Victoria, a feat that Mr Care stressed they never would have achieved had they not had lofty ambitions.

“Shoot for the stars – love what you do. Have a vision, set your goals high, and be the best that you can possibly be,” he said of the duo’s guiding principles. 

“Never compromise standards, and provide a product or service that is high quality – something people want to be associated with.”


Network co-founder celebrates 50-year career
Vic Care reb
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Juliet Helmke

Based in Sydney, Juliet Helmke has a broad range of reporting and editorial experience across the areas of business, technology, entertainment and the arts. She was formerly Senior Editor at The New York Observer.


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