Technology-first estate agent Purplebricks intends to move to a fully employed model for its field sales agents, with the transition commencing today.

Since its foundation in 2014, Purplebricks’ disruptive model has seen the company become a fixture on British streets.

Agents are self-employed rather than part of the permanent workforce, which lowers moving costs but critics say results in a less comprehensive service.

However following the departure of founder and chief executive Michael Bruce, the listed company suffered a disastrous foray into Australia, closed its struggling US business and last year disposed of its Canadian arm to focus on the UK.

As part of its turnaround, the company launched new pricing structures in July 2021, including a money back guarantee and a simplified two-tier proposition. 

Now, following a review, Purplebricks has decided that making agents permanent employees will better serve customers, support its field teams and help it scale up quickly to meet consumer demand.

“The company has already created a talent pool of over 100 of the best agents in the industry who are ready to join it as opportunities arise,” it said in a statement.

“Having ownership over the recruitment, training and management of a unified high-performing team will support the delivery of a consistently high level of service to Purplebricks’ customers across the country, including an enhanced opportunity to increase ancillary revenues.

“Additionally, it will provide greater security and benefits to incentivise Purplebricks’ agents. The company’s newly employed sales team will enjoy a highly incentivised package with the ability to work flexibly and remotely, in keeping with the Purplebricks entrepreneurial ethos and changes to ways of working that have come about because of the pandemic. 

“Agents will also benefit from the rights that come with employee status as well as having access to many new opportunities for career development and growth.”

The company is expected to incur exceptional non-recurring costs of £3-4m in FY22, with ongoing administration costs expected to be £1m higher in FY22 and beyond to support the increased size of the team.

Purplebricks CEO Vic Darvey said: “I am proud to be announcing plans to make our sales team permanent employees. 

“The pandemic highlighted the challenges of being self-employed for many people – which is why we created the £2.2m fund to support the agency field during recent challenging times. 

“As normality returns, we believe that moving to a fully employed sales model will benefit and support our people and make Purplebricks fit for the future.”