Giving a new shape to the real estate industry in India, Samir Chopra, Head of RE/MAX operations in India talks about its entry into the country, their franchise journey and achievement.
Neha Malhotra (NM): Tell us about the entry of RE/MAX in India?
Samir Chopra (SC): I have been following the real estate sector from quite a long time. While I saw enormous potential in the industry I was disappointed to see the highly unorganised and poorly networked state of the real estate brokerage sector.
In Jan 2009, when I came to know that RE/MAX, World's largest network of real estate professionals was considering an entry into the Indian market, I immediately applied for a national franchisee. My entrepreneurial success and my association with various national and international industry bodies strengthened my candidature.
NM: How many franchisees do you have at present?
SC: In a short span of four months, we have managed to appoint nine offices across India with a head office in Gurgaon. Our network has now spread across Bengaluru, Gujarat, Chennai, Tamil Nadu, Delhi NCR, Chandigarh and Pune. Although I will retain the Delhi/NCR region myself to maintain first hand experience with the trade, I found very capable partners across these regions to expand our network.
NM: What kind of training and support do you provide to the franchisees?
SC: RE/MAX India will provide professional training and technical support to its franchisees. The regional owners are trained in RE/MAX International at Denver, Colorado, U.S.A, where they learn about the RE/MAX heritage, goals and values. The broker owner and broker associates are trained at the Gurgaon head office. The training for the broker owners is administration oriented while training for the broker associates is sales oriented. They are also provided sessions on soft skills, negotiation skills, customer relationship management and relationship building exercises. Our associates will also benefit from the advertising, public relations and all marketing related initiatives that brand RE/MAX will take.
NM: How much investment is required by an aspiring franchisee?
SC: The investment depends upon two factors, first is the level of hierarchy one wishes to join and second is the location where one would like to take a franchise for. For a regional owner we provide a license for 10 years while for a broker owner, we provide a license for 5 years. The broker associates are the ones who perform the transactions and work on their individual contracts with the broker owners.
NM: What is the break even period for a RE/MAX franchisee?
SC: There is no stipulated break even period; it all depends upon the level on which the franchisee joins us. In the normal course of business, regional owners should break even in 12-18 months, broker owners should break even in 6-12 months and the broker associates pay us a nominal fee which could either be an annual lump sum or a monthly fee, but that’s a call which the broker owner takes.
NM: What are company’s future plans in terms of expansion?
SC: RE/MAX India plans to expand its foot print throughout the country in a span of three to five years. We have divided India into 32 regions depending upon its market potential and regional dynamics. In four months of operations we have already expanded into nine regions, I am confident that I would be able to establish a nation wide presence very soon.
We want the citizens to have access to a safe, secure and transparent global network for making real estate transactions. We want to inculcate a new value system in this industry which is otherwise marred with various negative accusations. Further, our services will help organise this highly unorganised sector and infuse global standards of operation for better facilitation to the customers.