PropertyGuys.com franchisee Nathan Dautovich is thriving thanks to the brand’s unique model and diverse service offering
By Kym Wolfe
After more than 13 years as a PropertyGuys.com franchise owner, Nathan Dautovich still keeps prospecting for new clients on his daily to-do list. Over time, the franchisee started outsourcing some tasks instead of juggling everything himself, but he knows that to avoid the downturn of revenue that is typical in any sales work, he needs to keep filling the client list from the front end to maintain a steady revenue stream.
PropertyGuys.com has operated for more than 20 years, starting as a service to help buyers and sellers avoid real estate commission fees by going the “For Sale by Owner” route. Since Dautovich purchased his franchise territory in 2009, the franchise has changed and grown significantly. It now provides access to a much broader suite of options that includes licensed services which are delivered to buyers and sellers over the PropertyGuys.com Marketplace and Platform.
Dautovich, who also became a licensed agent in 2014, helped prove out a concept that has now been introduced across much of the franchise system. He notes that although franchise owners aren’t required to be an agent themselves, they can instead partner with agents who are able to deliver a wide variety of services, such as helping users set their asking price, assisting with offers and negotiations (including help with the required paperwork), and help with showings, too. Buyers can also benefit from a unique program offered through PG Direct Realty Ltd. Brokerage, where they can receive commission rebates when they use the brokerage to buy their next property.
“I love working with buyers, too. Working with both sides—buyers and sellers—has really helped us appeal to a much larger audience. Not only that, having more services to offer has also contributed to higher client satisfaction rates and even higher revenues,” says Dautovich.
It has also impacted what a day in the life of a PropertyGuys.com franchisee looks like. “One thing I love about my job is that there is no ‘typical’ day,” says Dautovich. “I could be meeting with sellers, doing showings with buyers, or negotiating offers. I could also be doing market research or preparing pricing reports. Just about every day, I am out in the community meeting with people. I might be handling the logistics of listings, scheduling social media or a home staging or photography services, or making arrangements to have signs installed or removed. Having such a great variety of tasks is great!”
Dautovich also loves the flexibility that the franchise offers, which was especially valuable when he and his wife started their family. “When my daughters (now ages four and seven) were young, I was at home with them a couple of days a week,” he says. “There is definitely some evening and weekend work, which includes meeting with clients and performing services, but that doesn’t feel like a burden to me, as I really enjoy my work.”
Delivering a more “customer-centric” service
Although it sounds cliché, Dautovich says, “It’s the old ‘not only am I the owner, I was once a client, too.’” His first experience with PropertyGuys.com came when he was fresh out of university, when he and his brother purchased a property to flip. After putting hundreds of hours of sweat equity into their project, they became a little discouraged once they realized that a significant part of their profit would be eroded by their agent’s sales commission. “To me, the idea of paying five per cent of the sale price in commission was just crazy,” explains Dautovich. That’s when they instead ended up advertising their property on PropertyGuys.com for a low flat fee, which they paid up front. That positive experience with PropertyGuys.com was all the proof he was looking for before deciding to buy his PropertyGuys.com franchise.
From the very beginning, he believed in the company’s unique value proposition, he had a passion for real estate, and he was willing to work hard—these are many of the qualities and attributes necessary to own a successful PropertyGuys.com location, says Dautovich.
PropertyGuys.com’s model combines a high-tech/high-touch approach that helps attract a large pool of buyers and sellers. “Those who choose us love our approach because it offers them real choice and the options that we can provide cost only a fraction of the price they’d likely pay elsewhere. In fact, my location has been consistently recognized as a top-performing location over the past years—having already helped over 1,200 buyers and sellers. The sheer number of people I’ve been able to help so far is something that I’m truly proud of,” adds Dautovich.
Dautovich isn’t the only one who understands the magic of PropertyGuys.com. He says that more and more real estate agents are now recognizing that PropertyGuys.com represents one of the few franchise opportunities within real estate that offers a fresh new approach that is significantly different than anything else out there.
“Our unique set-up, which comes with exclusive and protected franchise territories, really helps us appeal to a much wider, broader, and more savvy audience,” says Dautovich.
That’s important, since Dautovich believes the real estate industry is overdue for a disruption, and he’s confident that PropertyGuys.com franchise owners are well-positioned to succeed regardless of which way the market turns.
“Sellers who choose PropertyGuys.com are able to choose as much or as little help as they need for only a fraction of what they’d expect to pay. That’s why I’m so confident that owning a PropertyGuys.com franchise is the way to go,” adds Dautovich.
Sellers who choose their flat-fee program can choose among different service options where the fee isn’t in any way dependent on the property’s actual sale price. In fact, Dautovich recently helped the owner of a $6-million-dollar property successfully sell over the PropertyGuys.com platform for just around $7,000. He says that sellers really like that the fee they charge has nothing to do with the final sale price of the property.
A system with great support
Another key element of the PropertyGuys.com program is their centralized resource centre, which helps locations like Dautovich’s acquire and retain more customers.
“They support my location in many different areas of my business, including technology, marketing, customer support, prospecting, lead capture, and lead nurturing. They also help me build my team so I can do even more business,” says Dautovich.
The key, he says, is knowing your local market and getting out there to talk to people and promote your business.
Dautovich has found that in his territory, where many of his listings are in condo buildings, visible signage is important. He contracted a local entrepreneur to look after signs for him, including setting up directional open house signs and removing them at the end of the day. It’s one less thing he has to do every day, although he does have to provide ongoing direction about locations where signage needs to be installed, moved, or removed. He recently had the signage transport van wrapped, turning it into mobile PropertyGuys.com advertising. “It was a big investment,” he says. One that he’s confident will pay off.
He’s also looking at expanding his business by bringing another agent on board. That will undoubtedly change his daily routine, as well. As Dautovich notes, when you own a business, you need to be ready to change and adapt. “You can’t just buy a franchise and sit back waiting for the phone to ring. You need to get out there and meet people—there are dozens of ways to do that. And you need to be willing to work hard, every day.”