Business Inside a Business

Here we are in the third week of September, enjoying the refreshing 90 degree weather and all things pumpkin spice. I am very much missing the cooler temperatures of earlier in the month, but alas such is life in our WV hills. I’m going to stick with the ins and outs theme I started and talk about business this week.

Licensed real estate agents work under the supervision of a broker. Agents are overseen and supervised to make sure we are conducting ourselves professionally and within legal guidelines. That is the extent of the typical boss/employee relationship, however, especially considering in most cases we are not employees but independent contractors. What’s the difference? Let me explain.

As independent contractors, our brokers can’t set working hours and can neither pay us salary or wages nor provide benefits or withhold taxes. In other words, outside the supervisory aspect, we run our own businesses and are paid strictly on performance in the form of commission. For that reason we are completely self-motivated, getting out of bed every morning to work toward our personal goals, not those set forth by our bosses. We have to set aside our own income tax money, provide our own insurance coverage and retirement plans, and cover our own costs of business such as marketing and supply overhead. If we have a slow month we tighten our belts, if we have a highly productive one we sock away. That’s the nature of our business and working on a commission only structure.

More times than I can count I’ve had conversations about how lucky I am to work for myself and not have to deal with the confines of a ‘real’ job. In so many ways I totally agree! When I first moved back home I decided I wasn’t going to be in real estate anymore and got one of those ‘real’ jobs. After working for myself for over 20 years it was absolutely excruciating and the impetus for me getting back to the career that is my calling. But there’s a price for everything, right? Ask my family how often I just watch TV without my computer on my lap. Vacation? It’s very rare I take one without being plugged in one way or another. Because I love what I do, and I am married to the salt of the earth, I’m okay with this. But there’s a level of discipline and dedication under the surface most people don’t see.

To be successful in this business requires more than just real estate knowledge and proper licensing. It also requires self-discipline, personal drive, business savvy, and strict planning. So when you question our fee structure please keep in mind we have families and businesses to take care of. Paying fair value for a professional service is not unreasonable when you consider the quality of the business person you are hiring and what is required behind the scenes to perform at our highest level in order to be the best we can be for our clients, families, and ourselves.

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