It’s hard to believe it’s been 20 years since Rick Clegg signed on as the first Weichert franchisee in October 2001, which officially opened as Weichert, Realtors® – Sunshine Properties on February 1, 2002.
Since then, Rick and his team have been going strong and many more Weichert affiliates have emerged around the U.S. – 376 offices spread across 41 states. The Weichert, Realtors® – Sunshine Properties team operates out of Jupiter, Florida, north of Palm Beach.
In honor of this special milestone for the Weichert Family, we’re sharing our exclusive interview with Rick Clegg.
How long have you been a real estate broker?
My parents owned a real estate company, and I was taught the business at age 18. I initially got my real estate license in 1975 after graduating from high school.
I went to the University of Miami and worked summers with my family in Connecticut. While in Miami, I got my Florida real estate license. I stayed in Florida after graduation, working as a security guard at night because it’s not easy to make money right away in real estate.
I realized that nobody was specializing in vacation rentals. I thought that I could start a company on the basis of specializing in vacation rentals and property management, specifically resort properties.
My Dad came to work for me under one condition, which was that I called him Howard, not Dad. Mom was answering the phones. My dad got his license and was a big part of the business, Sherlock Home Finders. Within four years, we opened up the sales brokerage.
What were your thoughts on franchising?
I saw the benefits of franchising in general around age 20. I could see the value in partnering with a bigger entity. My mother and father’s company was part of a franchise and because of that, could provide better service to sellers and buyers, and their agents through that affiliation.
I thought I needed to affiliate with a brand–a system–so I could give sellers and buyers the service they really deserve and my agents the training they need.
People who were renting in Florida wanted to buy, and a lot of them were raised in New Jersey and knew the Weichert brand—there were yellow signs everywhere.
I wasn’t interested in a company that was owned by a Wall Street conglomerate. I knew Jim Weichert started the company. I wanted a company that was like my Dad’s company–run by a real estate broker.
Franchising was a way to provide buyers, sellers, and agents with the service and support they deserve while allowing me to compete with the bigger brand names.
At the time, other than those from Jersey, Florida locals couldn’t identify with the Weichert name yet. We planted the flag and declared our “Weichert-ness”.
Other than brand recognition, what made you franchise with Weichert?
We were committed to customer service, just like Jim Weichert was. In general, people were very happy with Weichert, which was important to me. It’s the traditional, fundamental sort of real estate I saw my mother and father practice at their successful company in Connecticut.
On the first day, a Weichert agent stopped in as soon as we put the sign out. There was immediate connection in the network.
It’s a great recruiting pipeline because I want agents that already have Weichert ties. They know the value of the yellow sign and the affiliation of Jim Weichert.
How has Weichert evolved to help grow your business?
Effective recruiting tools, training courses, and videos from the 24/7 Weichert University, Weichert Fast Track training. All the training used to be provided in person, but now it’s online and so much more convenient and effective.
Before, to get the DOORS Listing Presentation, it needed to be shipped to you. Now, you can create it digitally, which is such a leap from where I came from!
myWeichert powered by kvCORE is a resource that I love. My sales force loves it as well.
What’s your proudest achievement as a Weichert franchisee?
Seeing us as a company fulfilling our mission to deliver the best service possible to our sellers and buyers.
What’s most important to you as a Weichert broker?
Value alignment between my business and Weichert.
What are some of your brokerage’s core values?
Jim Weichert used to always say, we do what we say we’re going to do. Pretty simple, right?
Everybody that I’ve talked to that’s been a prospective franchisee has always had values that aligned with Weichert.
It’s like, if you’re married and you look back, would you do it again?
It’s a resounding yes.
We’re in year 20. Shout out to Bill Scott, our Regional Director. He’s been awesome and he’s one of the reasons why we continually renew our franchise agreement. Having a business consultant like Bill Scott has made a real difference in my real estate career.
I consider him a dear friend.
Thanks to Rick for taking the time to share your experience!
If you’re interested in how you can write a success story like Rick’s or learning about the ways Weichert can help you meet your goals, don’t hesitate to reach out. We’re always looking to expand our franchise family. Start here!