Team Player or Lone Ranger? The Decision is Yours
One of the biggest decisions a real estate agent makes about their career is whether they want to work as a solo agent or be a member of a team. Competition between solo agents and team agents may not be as big as the current Chiefs/Niners rivalry, but people certainly have strong opinions about which path is better. The truth is, the “right” option for any agent depends on personal circumstances, preferences, and abilities.
Whether you’re an agent who is just starting out or you’ve been in the business a while and are thinking of making a change, you should weigh your options. To help you make an informed choice, we’ve broken down the pros and cons.
Pros of Working Solo
Many people gravitate toward being solo agent because of the freedom it offers. A lot of people join the real estate industry for flexibility, and working as a solo agent takes this to the next level.
- You’re in charge — When you are a solo agent, you determine how you run your business. This includes your marketing, how you serve your clients, and your schedule. Solo agents have the responsibility to fully run their business without much help, but this leaves room for more creativity and flexibility when you don’t have to answer to other people.
- You make more commission — Solo agents have the potential to only split their commission with the agent on the other side of the transaction and their broker (and not even a broker if they have their broker’s license!).
- You have more options —A solo agent performs every duty during a transaction. This means they have more work, but it also means they have more options. They aren’t pigeonholed to a specialization. They become generalists and learn about all parts of the transaction. They also can start side projects and expand their business.
Pros of Working on a Team
Joining a team can offer support and chances to collaborate with other agents on a regular basis. Teams can also provide resources and some training and guidance.
- You get to collaborate — On a team, you will work with other agents and staff to complete transactions. You can solve problems together, pool your resources, and specialize in certain areas. Some leads could even be passed over for you to work and convert, instead of having to rely solely on lead generating from scratch.
- You pay less in fees — While you will probably be splitting your commission in more ways, your team will cover many other fees and costs of doing business, including marketing, association dues, continuing education, and more.
- You have support resources in place — Teams often come with built-in marketing resources, transaction coordinators, lead generation, staff support, and training. This means you can focus on your specific job while other team members tackle their part along the transaction pipeline.
Cons of Working Solo
For some, flying solo may sound like a dream come. To others, this life is daunting. While you get to be creative with your business, you don’t have other agents to rely on.
- You need more reserves — You’ll start from scratch as a solo agent, meaning it will take longer for your business to gain momentum. You need to have financial reserves in place to get you through this time when you’re building your business. You’ll be covering your own fees and costs of education. You also need more time to perform all of your duties, and you won’t have anyone to take over for you if you’re sick or something comes up.
- You need to be self-motivated — There won’t be anyone professionally holding you accountable to get the job done. Yes, you should always have accountability partners whether you’re on a team or solo, but as a solo agent you’ll be responsible for motivating yourself through the day-to-day. You’ll have to be especially motivated to work hard and keep going even when times are tough.
Cons of Working on a Team
When you were in school, did you shudder every time your teacher announced a group project? If so, working on a team may not be for you.
- You have less control — When you’re on a team, you share and work toward a common goal. This means a lot of the marketing and the way you work with clients is decided for you. You also may not be able to implement your own ideas or be too creative when it comes to your business and the way you run it.
- It’s a package deal — Working with a team means you are associated with other people professionally. It will be important to fit into a team’s culture and work as a group on all things. It also means you’re as good as your best player and your worst player.
Choosing whether to work as a solo agent or on a team is a personal and important decision, but one that you can change along your career path. Take stock in what you are working with as you enter the field. Do you have more time or more financial reserves? Are you interested in being creative with your brand or would you rather work under someone else’s systems? Answering these questions will point you in the right direction.