And while it may seem like an extravagance, David can’t imagine his business without diversity.
“Scale is what allows us to do this. Having it all in-house is ultimately cheaper for us and our clients, but it’s only cost effective because of our size,” he said.
“The reality is the costs of running a real estate business are going up, and a lot of the expenses are the same for small agencies as they are for large agencies. You need to control costs if you want to have a future in the industry and one way to do this is by scale. For larger businesses, it makes sense to have it all under one roof – but only if it’s managed well.
“We are innovative, but we’re not pretending to be something we’re not. None of what we have done is possible without good systems and good people running them. Developing the creative team and project marketing department, along with the incredible people we have attracted across the business in recent years, has been my biggest career achievement so far.
“I love our team and I love what we are able to achieve together.”
Most real estate agencies understand creating a company culture that allows employees to thrive is key to not only business success but client satisfaction. From day one, David always had a clear vision for the company culture of Highland Property Agents.
“I wanted to create something unique in the market and I chose to be independent because my personal vision wasn’t aligned to a franchise model,” he explained. “We’re large, but we aren’t a ‘cookie cutter’ business and I’m proud to say our company DNA and culture is different to most large agencies. We have a belief that our clients should never be left in the dark and we’re totally transparent and straightforward in all of our dealings with clients and colleagues.“All our staff have aligned values. We’re family orientated and this culture means our 90 staff are working collaboratively, not in competition with each other. We also have a lot of processes and policies around quality control and accountability that not only help to keep our service exceptional, but contribute to excellent morale across the business.”
With staff retention high, some who have been with the business since it opened 10 years ago, David believes having a culture that ensures employees feel supported is key. And a good company culture can then extend to excellent customer service.
“We encourage transparency across all areas of the business, our company values are discussed openly and often, and I’m proud of the way all our teams work together.”
Like many real estate agents and business leaders, David believes giving back to the local community is essential.
“I have always believed that our business is sustainable and successful because the community supports us,” he said. “We have a strong focus on giving back to the community, which is a value that is shared by everyone across the business.”In less than three years, Highland Property Agents have raised a total of $750,000 for the Sydney Children’s Hospital in Randwick.
“One of the biggest fundraisers for the Children’s Hospital is our annual ‘Blue Lunch’, which last year alone raised $345,000. I love that we can use the scale of our business to make a real difference to our community and support causes that we believe in.”
While David is excited by the strength of the business he has created, it’s the future of the company that he’s really looking forward to.
“My role in the business is constantly changing. I enjoy exploring how we can take advantage of new technology in the marketplace and embrace opportunities to move forward as our industry changes,” he said.
“Over the next few years, I’m focused on controlled growth and making sure we have the right systems and processes in place to ensure the business runs smoothly as we move into our next phase. I want to secure greater market share in patches we’re not as strong in and look at the potential for us to move into other sectors of the industry.
“I also want to make sure we have the absolute best leadership for our company, and make sure the brand remains relevant in the marketplace and all our staff continue to thrive.”